bowie’s in space

It’s been fascinating watching people mourn David Bowie. There’s a sadness there that I suspect comes from more than just the loss of a major creative icon. I think we’re also mourning the loss of the conditions that created and supported that kind of icon. Bowie’s iconic status was a product of certain cultural and […]

machine cycle upgrade

“Expelled as commander to be integrated as connector, the human is transformed by its own works from a brain legislating life to a ligament binding machine cycles.” Brian Massumi, quoted by Pierre Joris in “Nomad Poetics” I stayed in a Mercure Hotel last night (the picture’s the view from my room), and was struck by […]

Running by the missile silos

I’ve been spending a lot of time in Newbury lately. I usually stay in the same hotel, just by Greenham Common. I end each working day by running through the woods to the old airbase. Every time, I pass the empty nuclear missile silos. They fascinate me. They’re brutal pieces of architecture. I assume they […]

Tracking down the Mirage Men

Mark Pilkington is one of the few people I know who can genuinely say that they’ve broken people’s religions. He was an active crop circler in the late 90s and early 00s; his calm and careful descriptions of the truths of circle making has disrupted the reality of more than one person who’s built belief […]

On Britishness

I recently took part in the BSFA’s British Science Fiction & Fantasy survey, which led to the publication of a rather nifty little book comparing genre self-perception now and 20 years ago – more details here. The book was edited by Niall Harrison and Paul Kincaid; they’ve done an excellent job of picking out interesting […]

Enclosing Wild Orchids

For today’s post, allumination brings you – Iain Sinclair live! He’s reading from ‘Hackney, that Rose-Red Empire’ at the British Library, with musical and spoken word accompaniment from John Harle. Together, they create a rather wonderful aural collage; and, although my little N95 made them look rather blocky, it caught words and music pretty well. […]

William Blake understood as a West London Shopping Mall

On Sunday, I went to the William Blake 1809 exhibition at Tate Britain, reviewed here in The Guardian. It’s absolutely fascinating; it restages his first and only public display of prints and paintings, and sets them in a context which helps explain their abysmal critical reception. I wanted to do a video review of it, […]