On excess

Too much of a good thing is wonderful. Mae West Context is a wonderful thing. Mae West was speaking in the context of the Hays Code, Prohibition, and the general backlash against freedom of expression of all kinds, but especially those involving sex, alcohol and recreational drugs. It was in the same context that H.Continue reading “On excess”

On markets and competition

The free market is a myth. Everybody knows that. Just very few people say it. If you’re in the position like I am and do business all over the world, and if I’m not smart enough to know there’s no free market, I ought to be fired. The reason we don’t call it socialism isContinue reading “On markets and competition”

On the longest day

If eternity had a season, it would be midsummer. Autumn, winter, spring are all change and passage, but at the height of summer the year stands poised. It’s only a passing moment, but even as it passes the heart knows it cannot change. Ursula K. Le Guin Edward Gibbon begins his epic history of TheContinue reading “On the longest day”

On supply-chains

Workers of the world unite; you have nothing to lose but your chains. Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto Until quite recently, many people lived their lives in blissful ignorance of supply-chains. Unless you happened to work in logistics, you would just order stuff and it would magically arrive. There would be thingsContinue reading “On supply-chains”

On processed food

“Eating is an agricultural act,” as Wendell Berry famously said. It is also an ecological act, and a political act, too. Though much has been done to obscure this simple fact, how and what we eat determines to a great extent the use we make of the world – and what is to become ofContinue reading “On processed food”

On living in interesting times

Far-called, our navies melt away; On dune and headland sinks the fire: Lo, all our pomp of yesterday Is one with Nineveh and Tyre! Rudyard Kipling, “Recessional“ Everyone, of course, has heard of the Chinese curse, or the supposedly Chinese curse. And it’s hard to deny that the times we’re going through will make interestingContinue reading “On living in interesting times”

On taking the first step

Houston, we have a problem. Jim Lovell (attr.) It is a truism, although nonetheless true, that the first step towards dealing with a problem is acknowledging that it exists. We know this because a very large fraction of adults in the industrialised world are either in an addiction programme of some sort, have been inContinue reading “On taking the first step”

On greatness

Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. You can be that generation. Let greatness blossom. Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela “I think continually,” the poet Stephen Spender wrote, “of those who were truly great.” Personally I often find myself thinking of something else, but there are certainly people, living and dead, who I would considerContinue reading “On greatness”

Book review: Going to Seed

Going to Seed: A Counterculture Memoir by Simon Fairlie (Chelsea Green, 2022), ISBN: 978-1-64502-061-5 You might know Simon Fairlie’s name from his previous book, Meat: A Benign Extravagance (Permanent Publications, 2010), which rather remarkably caused George Monbiot to change his mind about veganism. Perhaps you’ve come across the magazine he founded, The Land, if youContinue reading “Book review: Going to Seed”