I was a teenager when the Spice Girls had taken over the world. A new single seemed to come out every month, they were on the cover of every magazine, interviewed on every TV show, they had a movie out and not a day went by without hearing or seeing something from them. This total domination of the popular sphere was held not simply by the fact they had some good tunes and were a charismatic bunch, but the ‘tip of the spear’, as it were, was the ill-defined but potent slogan of ‘Girl Power’ that they carried with them…


I can’t and won’t pretend to be an expert on the current crisis is in Afghanistan, nor the still ongoing civil war in Syria, nor the conflict between Saudi Arabia and Yemen, nor the continuing assault on the people of Palestine by Israel. What I do know — what we all know — is that these conflicts involve millions of innocent people and that we, who consider ourselves safely tucked away in wealthy countries, miles from the conflict, are intrinsically involved and therefore responsible for those people’s welfare. The UK & US have occupied Afghanistan for nearly two decades, UK…


Just being alive has become a lot of work. Whether it is being able to afford the basic necessities of survival like food and shelter or avoiding the deadly virus that is still burning through the global population, the practical reality of staying alive has become the product of constant effort. It is only through alertness, demands of near constant productivity and the sheer will required to weather the constant onslaught of awful, world-ending news, that we survive day to day. It is little wonder then, that ‘Burnout’ has become a contemporary buzzword adopted by cultural commentators today to describe…


It is the stairs I remember most about my childhood home. The house I grew up in. It was an old victorian end-of-terrace and the stairs were part of that aesthetic. Despite the ‘licks of paint’ the house was given intermittently over the 15 years we lived there, its features, its character, remained in that long gone period of British history. Including the stairs. The dark brown wood that lead you right to the top of the house and the darkened landing leading you into the low ceilinged loft rooms. Those stairs were all lined with twisting, winding, bulbous Victorian…


We have become too comfortable with death. Whether we see it simply as the idea of unbeing, or the skeletal, hooded figure with his scythe, or Charon beckoning you across the Styx, death has become an unwelcome, yet common, bedfellow. What, in recent years, has become a stranger to us, is now on every screen, in every page, at every door and on every tongue. Incomprehensible charts and figures wash over us as death now moves quicker than birth. Bodies pile high in specially dug mass graves as the Ganges grows swollen with the dead. Even before the plague that…


I’m not an anime fan. Back in the 80s/90s when I was a kid a lot of my fellow school friends would wax lyrical about Japanese animation and Manga. There were a lot of kids animations at the time that were either French or Japanese at the time and I remember always being able to tell the difference. The lip-sync was strange, the animation wasn’t particularly fluid, their visual design and style was much more angular, it all just rang a false note to my Disney-Brainwashed child brain. I’m afraid to say that hasn’t changed much. I’m better able to…


I loved the first season of HBO’s adaptation of Westworld. It was all the things I love about their best shows, it was dark, thought provoking, well written, well acted, with an intellectual rigour that belied its pulpier moments. I loved it so much I wrote an article about how it is a great example of the philosophical concept of ‘The Uncanny’ for Philosophy Now magazine. The second season however… eh. It had its moments, some of the show’s best in fact, but it was also too long and meandered around its plot points without as strong a drive as…


For no other reason than ‘It’s a Pandemic’ I decided to binge a TV show recently. Anyone who knows me will realise how strange this is as I am generally not a big fan of TV shows and certainly not ongoing serials but the one I chose was the British sitcom Red Dwarf, as the first 8 series are available on UK Netflix at the moment and I wasn’t sure I’d seen them all.

Red Dwarf was a staple of BBC scheduling in the 90s when, if there wasn’t a new series on the way they would consistently show repeats/reruns…


In 1992 Francis Fukuyama’s book The End of History and The Last Man was published. A book of political philosophy that made the case that the relative peace and prosperity in the majority white, English-speaking world indicated an end of mankind’s social and ideological evolution. We had attained a level of social and ideological perfection that would, thereafter, only require trimming at the edges, a sort of democratic maintenance that would allow this prosperity to continue and only improve. Within a decade this belief was proved so hilariously, tragically, clangorously wrong that to look back on it now is frankly…


The trailer for Edgar Wright’s next flick, Last Night in Soho, dropped on Tuesday and it, yet again, shows another shift in tone in the director’s filmography. While it’s tempting to say “It’s another Edgar Wright horror movie” that ignores the trailer’s clear shift in pace to his previous work and, most notably, a shift in visual style.

Much has been said about Wright’s facility with the medium of film. He’s clearly a film fan and is interested in how it can be used to tell his stories. Most fans and critics tend to focus on his signature editing style…

Leo Cookman

Peripatetic Writer and Musician. “Time’s Lie” out now from Zero Books.

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