Archive for June 2011

Left or Right?

“Liberals in Western politics,” wrote the feminist political activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali in her essay ‘Breaking Through the Islamic Curtain’, “have the strange habit of blaming themselves for the world’s ills, while seeing the rest of the world as victims. To them, victims are to be pitied, and they lump together all pitiable and suppressed … Continue reading »

In Profile: Jo Stafford

In an old handbag factory in the centre of Norwich sits Stew, the art gallery and studio space. Among its numerous facilities for local artists can be found the Stew Print Rooms, a specialist studio for screen printing which is proving increasingly popular in the city. The venue is special for another reason, however: it … Continue reading »

In Profile: David Drake

I recently met fellow Norwich photographer David Drake for a conversation in the Underbelly, the artistic space in the cellar of the city’s Rumsey Wells pub, which is currently exhibiting his most recent project - a series of portraits of the artists who have exhibited in the space since its opening one year ago. Along … Continue reading »

Faith, Atheism & Creation

Alex Irving and I have been extremely firm friends since meeting at UEA – though where I would be delighted to see an end to religious faith – in the public sphere, at least – Alex, as a student of theology in London, holds rather an oppositional point of view. This is the second of … Continue reading »

‘You Should Try Harder’ - Women and Domestic Fiction

V.S. Naipaul’s vainglorious and conceited comments last week on women’s writing have enraged me far beyond the bounds of mere irritation. Such literary spats usually fail to attain more than a raised eyebrow or tiresome rolling of the eyes from me (Ah, Naipaul, that cantankerous old toad) but this one ignited a deeply-rooted, gut-wrenching emotion … Continue reading »


On the whole, my points of disagreement with New Statesman journalist Laurie Penny are numerous, but in late April I thought she was absolutely spot-on when, ahead of the wedding of William and Kate, she attacked the United Kingdom’s ‘retro’ culture as “a fantasy of lost Britishness”, and pointed out that “the accumulation of cultural … Continue reading »