Category Archives: Current Affairs

A German Idealist on Globalization – and what he might have to say to an anti-Brexiteer

  Rüdiger Safranski is one of the best-known philosophers in contemporary Germany. Together with his many prizes, the highly rated television programme, Philosophisches Quartett, ‘The Philosophical Quarter’, he has presented with Peter Sloterdijk, since 2002, has secured his name. In … Continue reading

Posted in Britain Today, Current Affairs, Europe, German Literature, Philosophy and Philosophers, Things German, Who are you? | Tagged , , , , ,

Tony Blair: Idealist, Liberal or just Confused?

People fell in love with Tony Blair when he was elected Labour Prime Minister in May 1997.  Ten years later they hated him. Parliament had been lied to over the Iraq war. There never were convincing reasons to believe Iraqi … Continue reading

Posted in Britain Today, Current Affairs, Europe, Philosophy and Philosophers, Who are you? | Tagged , , , , ,

From Pasternak’s novel to David Lean’s film of Doctor Zhivago

Pasternak told an interviewer from abroad in 1960 that  I wanted to record the past and to honor in Doctor Zhivago the beautiful and sensitive aspects of the Russia of those years. There will be no return of those days, … Continue reading

Posted in Britain Today, Cold War, Current Affairs, Film, Russia | Tagged

Siegfried Kracauer’s idea of ‘Mass Ornament’

Mass society as its own ornament was how the German social critic Siegfried Kracauer understood the street life of the dying years of the Weimar Republic. You can find this clever idea which brings us right to the present day … Continue reading

Posted in A Shoe Story, Art History, Britain Today, Current Affairs, Things German, Who are you?, Writing | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Conservative British Childhood Two Hundred Years Ago John Ruskin and his Parents

Ruskin born in February 1819 was five years old when his parents took him to visit the field of Waterloo. It was a moment in an heroic Tory childhood he might like to have remembered better. His autobiography Praeterita records his … Continue reading

Posted in Art History, Britain Today, Current Affairs, Europe, Who are you? | Tagged , , ,

Charlie Hebdo and the Enlightenment

Looking though a copy of Charlie Hebdo, after the appalling murders of its editor and contributors in January 2015, I was struck, as many commentators have been, by how French it was with regard to one salient Western ‘value’ : … Continue reading

Posted in A Shoe Story, Current Affairs, Europe, Philosophy and Philosophers | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Getting away to Europe to write: an English confession

I had to get away from my desk. From the train window, on this nearly last day of April, the sun shone through a basin of mist somewhere in Essex.  Between glances through the thick window, the phrase ‘the ecstases … Continue reading

Posted in A Shoe Story, Art History, Cold War, Current Affairs, Europe, Philosophy and Philosophers, Who are you?, Writing | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment