A realm apart – why Brexit happened

SHUTTERSTOCK This Sovereign Isle: Britain In and Out of Europe Robert Tombs, Allen Lane, 224 pages, £11.22 KEN BELL praises an exceptionally historically-informed Brexit explainer The small numbers who read the Guardian will no doubt disagree, but the argument over Brexit is now as much a part of history as the Free Trade debate that…

Campus tragedy

MICHAEL WILDING surveys the sorry state of Australia’s universities The systematic degradation of the universities has now been continuing for 40 years. It began at the end of the 1970s, with the election of Margaret Thatcher in Britain and Ronald Reagan in the USA. Australia dutifully followed suit. The policies were a mixture of reprisals…

The resurrection and evolution of a metalhead

Jacek Karczmarczyk, CC BY 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons WILLIAM STROOCK reforges an old musical allegiance In 1987 this scrawny, disgruntled 14-year-old became a metalhead. It’s an old story. I hated school and life and everything, really. Metal was the best available outlet for expressing that. I stamped my feet and pumped my fist to…

50 years of Sticky Fingers

CHRISTOPHER SANDFORD recalls the shambolic genesis of the Stones’ masterpiece At about eleven on the Monday morning of 9 March 1970, a somewhat distressed-looking olive green, midsized BMC lorry of the kind typically used to haul heavy goods around the country, crunched up the gravel driveway of a sprawling manor house located just outside the…

Rewriting the Middle Ages

LIAM GUILAR likes a radical reimagining of a venerable Welsh work Isolated in Aber Cuawg Harry Gilonis, Oystercatcher Press, 2020, 19 pages ‘Claf Abercuawg’ is a Welsh poem composed perhaps in the ninth century. Claf, as a noun, means a sick person, a patient or a leper . Abercuawg is an area of north…

Four poems by Caroline Davies

CAROLINE DAVIES has an MA in Writing Poetry from the Poetry School and Newcastle University. Her books are Elements of Water (Green Bottle Press 2019), Convoy(2013) Voices from Stone and Bronze(2016) (Cinnamon Press).  She co-hosts the Ouse Muse poetry readings (Bedford) currently taking place online.  These poems are from her latest project, Strange Alchemy, poems…

Beacons – Brands – The Loki Stone

DANIEL GUSTAFSSON has published volumes of poetry in both English and Swedish, most recently Fordings (Marble Poetry, 2020). Much inspired by the beauty and history of both his native and adoptive shores, exploring themes of cultural and spiritual regeneration derived from Blake and Scruton, among others, Daniel's increasingly formal work also shows an interest in alliterative verse.…

Four poems by Janet Kenny

JANET KENNY is very old. She has been an opera and concert singer, anti-war activist, editor, publisher's researcher and food writer. Born in New Zealand, sang in the United Kingdom, agitated in Sydney and now watches birds in Queensland. Her poems have been widely published. She co-edited, compiled and wrote Beyond Chernobyl published by Envirobook;…

Richard Whiting – Comedy – The god of modern life

ANDREW THORNTON-NORRIS is the author of The Spiritual History of English, described by The Times as "an enjoyable, erudite and cohesive journey through the history and philosophy of English literature in 150 pithily written pages." He is also an accomplished poet, described by the University Bookman as "refreshingly direct, in contrast to contemporary poets whose poems are like hearing half…

Seasonal Interlude for an Arthurian epic: from Autumn

RAHUL GUPTA holds a PhD from the University of York for a thesis on Old English and Norse poetry and the 19th-20th century mediævalist alliterative revival. His poems, prose, and translations have been published in Agenda, Acumen, Eborakon, Equinox, Molly Bloom, Spectral Realms, and Wiðowinde, among other journals, and online by British Intelligence, and The…