The political landscape

Photo: Derek Turner Green Albion – Restoring Our Green and Pleasant Land Various authors, Conservative Environment Network, 2022, 101 pages, free download DEREK TURNER welcomes a practical contribution to often overheated eco-arguments Environmental protection is conventionally seen as a ‘leftwing’ concern, because its most voluble advocates are often equally vociferous on what are dismissively called…

Voyages through vanities

Gulliver’s New Travels: Lemuel Gulliver Collides with the 21st Century Guy Walker, self-published, 2022, 140pp, £4.99 DEREK TURNER is entertained by a clever updating of a classic Satire, often thought of today as a liberal genre, can also be a conservative art. Any writing that relies for its comical or scourging effects upon the discrepancies…

Seas within seas

Bucentaur at the Molo, Ascension Day, by Giovanni Antonio Canal (Canaletto) History of the Adriatic: A Sea and its Civilization Egidio Ivetic, Cambridge: Polity, 2022, hb., 352 pps, £25 DEREK TURNER wallows in warm world-historical waters The Mediterranean flows always through European awareness, Homer’s ‘wine-dark-sea’ and the Romans’ Mare Nostrum becoming ‘Our Sea’ too by…

Deptford dreaming

Credit: Shutterstock DEREK TURNER pays tribute to grittily resilient S.E.8 Aircraft always overhead, trains pulling in and out, traffic backed up along the New Cross Road, pulsating rap from open windows, plastic bottles in the gutter, pigeons with fungus-eaten toes, gang tags on gritty walls, smells of exhaust, fast food, sweat and the shower-gel of…

Crises of a confidence-man

The Man Who Conned the World: Victor Lustig Christopher Sandford, The History Press, 2021, 300pp, £20 DEREK TURNER is forced to admire a brilliant rogue Christopher Sandford is an acknowledged expert on the cultural history of the twentieth century, who has written to scintillating effect on subjects from the Rolling Stones to Arthur Conan Doyle,…

A road by any other name…

Shutterstock DEREK TURNER takes a Brum road-trip What’s in a name? A great deal – so Birmingham City Council hopes. In December, as part of a £500m redevelopment of the city’s blighted Perry Barr district, it revealed the names of six new roads to “reflect community and Commonwealth sport values”. Diversity Grove, Equality Road, Destiny…

Stuff and nonsense

The Culture of My Stuff Adam Crothers, Carcanet, 2020, 84 pps, £10.99 DEREK TURNER finds a celebrated poet’s latest collection dazzling but lightweight This slender assemblage comes weighted with prestige – Adam Crothers’ prize-winning history (Shine/Strong and Seamus Heaney Centre in 2017), and endorsements of his latest offering by equally well-regarded contemporaries. But any potential…

Un-easy listening

DEREK TURNER tries translating Lingua Ignota Radio 6 is one of the rare good things about the BBC, championing alternative, independent or overlooked pop and rock from the 1950s up to the present. On any evening of any week, you can hear anything from film scores to 1960s psychedelia, prog rock to trip-hop, industrial to…

Something about Stonehenge

DEREK TURNER wanders in the West Country “Quite something, isn’t it?” the American woman asked, nodding towards Stonehenge. “However many pictures you see, it’s something to see it for real!” I didn’t disagree. As over-exposed as the Mona Lisa, emblazoned on a billion brochures, co-opted into countless works of counter-culture, and passed by an often…