The Trip’s Romanticism: Impressions, the artistic value of imitation and celebrity symbols

Daniel R. Smith

The premise of The Trip, currently in its second series on BBC Two, is ostensibly tenuous. While Coogan and Brydon are being employed to write a food column in The Observer on English or Italian cuisine while following in the footsteps of the romantic poets – Wordsworth, Coleridge, Bryon, Shelley and Keats, – the real ‘content’ consists of mimicry of well-known actors, self-parodying their own personas and dealing with being middle-aged and ‘famous but not-famous enough’. And yet this seemingly tenuous link with the romantics is, in fact, the central driving force for the artistic ideology and drama of The Trip. Continue reading

Nigeria and the power of lobbying

By Sarah Cant

It never ceases to amaze me that many young women and even some female sociology students announce that feminism is dead.

It seems to them that the gender battles of the 19th and early 20th century have been won and so that calling oneself a feminist is unduly forceful and antiquated.  There is actually plenty of sociological evidence based on the experience of women in the UK to suggest that this view is short –sighted. And, in other parts of the world the subjugation of women means that feminism has never been more needed  and that the voices of women have been actively silenced. Continue reading

Gardening Arcadia: racial and national identity at Sting’s The Lake House

Daniel R. Smith

I remember reading somewhere that the political economists of the nineteenth century, on whose reading we owe Marx’s labour theory of value, considered England as one big farm. While I forget who said this, the significance of the statement couldn’t be more telling of how we conceptualise ‘labour’ or human creative practices in general. When we are creating we are bringing something into being, but we are doing so from the raw materials we have been granted: on the one side is person, on the other the materials they builds their life out of, human species being as Marx liked to say. Going on this fashion, Marx writes:

“The taste of porridge does not tell us who grew the oats, and the process we have presented does not reveal the conditions under which it takes place, whether it is happening under the slave-owner’s brutal lash or the anxious eye of the capitalist.” (Marx, 1994:280)

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