Category Archives: All

Over the Rainbow — Pynchon and the Pandemic

“Toto, I have the feeling we’re not in Kansas any more…” — Dorothy, arriving in Oz It hadn’t rained for weeks. Still, rainbows beam in the sunshine. Rainbows painted and crayoned by kids, taped to windows, facing outwards to the … Continue reading

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Remembering Spalding Gray

Spalding Gray, who died in 2004, would have been 79 on June 5, 2020. Here is my personal remembrance of a sadly missed storyteller and artist. I was so excited waiting in line to enter. I was there early, eager … Continue reading

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Emancipation of the Shufflers Passing By

“If you ride around on the subway with Jack,” Kerouac’s friend “Davey” Amram remembered, “or just go out on the street, he would talk to everybody and be natural and real with anybody.” “We used to walk around New York’s … Continue reading

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Goofing at the Table

My favourite Beat diner image is an inspiring black & white shot, taken in a long lost Lower East Side diner. In the photo, we can see Kerouac (left, front on) sat at a booth with poet friends Allen Ginsberg … Continue reading

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On the Road and On the Sidewalk

THAT ARTISTIC ROMANTICISM I spoke about last time was somehow urban: it evoked the thrill and possibility of urban life. Inscribed in the art, in the activity of that age, in its human poetry, was something about the city itself; … Continue reading

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Burning Like Roman Candles

BURNING LIKE ROMAN CANDLES: Burt Glinn’s Beat Night Vision One of the many amazing things about the Beat generation is just how photogenic its protagonists were. They liked taking pictures of themselves, and celebrated photographers of their age, such as … Continue reading

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Marx, Dead and Alive

This essay originally appeared at Monthly Review online (November 26, 2019) It’s late November, nine months since I last stood in Highgate cemetery, beside Marx’s vandalised grave. It’s a chilly autumnal morning, damp and grey, and even before midday the light … Continue reading

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Marx on Technology

The longest chapter in Capital is the fifteenth, on “Machinery and Large-Scale Industry.” At almost 150-pages, it’s really a book in itself, a staggeringly dense and expansive discussion that could easily standalone—not only as a brilliant exegesis of capitalist machinery, … Continue reading

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Marx in the Museum

Essay originally blogged on September 20, 2019 at Monthly Review Perhaps it’s not hard to visualise a ragged and moth-eaten Marx traipsing from Dean Street to his British Museum hide out. He’d be shuffling along, incognito, through Soho’s crowded backstreets, … Continue reading

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Marx’s “Dangerous Classes”

Most Marxists know that Marx infamously dismisses the lumpenproletariat — those band of “vagabonds, criminals, prostitutes,” “the demoralised, the ragged,” swindlers and tricksters, ragpickers and pickpockets, tinkers and beggars (all Marx’s words). These ruffians, he says, “dwelling in the sphere … Continue reading

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