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Cut Up on Copacabana by David Scott - Book Review by Frankie Gaffney

This review was originally presented in speech form at the book’s launch in Dublin, May 2018


It’s a great honour to be asked to speak about this book, which, like its author, is exceptional. I mean both David and his book are exceptional in the sense of brilliant—but also in the sense of very strange.

The text announces its weirdness from the outset, opening with a series of different dialogues, in which several different and conflicting explanations for the same set of scars on the protagonist’s chest are offered. There is no narrator, the reader is left to chase truth themselves. These playful verbal back and forths immediately call to mind the good-natured dominance contest of sparring in the ring. David’s sophisticated relationship with the sweet science of boxing is present explicitly and implicitly throughout this book.

Next the reader is treated to a series...

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Is Gardening for Guerrillas? by John Latham

There has been increased turmoil and panic in financial markets over the last week. By Tuesday, $4 trillion had been wiped off global stock marke

Is Gardening Really for Guerrillas?

Guerrilla gardening has been a thing for quite some time. People have been growing stuff on disused sites, unappreciated spaces and private property which does not belong to them. Enterprising and colourful as this may have been, are practitioners of this art urban guerrillas?
An urban guerrilla would actually be in conflict with a government. It is unlikely that an authentic urban guerrilla has much leisure time. Participant observation is not necessary to establish that the majority of governments have the capacity to survive an onslaught of daffodils. Nevertheless, gardening in unauthorised plots may be subversive in a manner which initially avoids direct confrontation

The French philosopher Voltaire...

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Dan Riley - Walk the Other Way - EP Review

Dan Riley is a man of many talents. Not only is the Lancashire-born troubadour a poet of some renown—having found a platform for his work in publications as sophisticated and widely admired as this one—he’s only gone and dropped a five-track EP of easy-listening alternative folk and smooth pop-rock that’s pretty much all hits and no misses. And the whole thing’s available for you to listen to immediately. Well shucks, this must be your lucky day.

Evocative of a host of great forebears from The Beatles through Pink Floyd and John Martyn, “Walk the Other Way” is a pleasing traipse through summery emotions with Riley’s earnest, crooning vocals running the gamut from plaintive and introspective to hopeful and energized, but always imbued with a vigorous, pleasantly-contagious optimism. Here’s a man who believes the words he’s singing—or perhaps, more to the point, feels the emotions that underpin them—and it gives the piece a vitality...

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Mindfulness: a Postmodern Form of Procrastination by John Latham

There is a consensus that procrastination is negative. We live in an era where productivity is celebrated. When grand metanarratives like Marxism are widely scorned, the idea is that workers should put in long shifts. The call for work-life balance is seldom heeded as the British economy continues to underperform.

Nonetheless, the trouble caused by overwork has not escaped the attention of the state. People are often diagnosed with stress or related mental health issues. What’s left of the National Health Service is having to pick up the pieces. Furthermore, the DWP is obliged to deal with lots of people who have been unable to keep up with the excessive demands of their employers. Unfortunately, there has been insufficient emphasis on helping people to recover. The pressure to get people back to work is often perceived as intense by those struggling near the breadline.

While talking therapies may help some individuals to discover a healthy equilibrium, many doctors feel that antidepressants...

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