1. Articles

Review | Arrested Development: Caleb Klaces’s Fatherhood & Ben Lerner’s The Topeka School by Houman Barekat

When my little brother was a baby he was extremely fond of a certain turquoise-coloured comfort blanket from Mothercare, which he christened Sha. Nobody knew why he called it that. Was it, perhaps, some obscure tribute to the Shah of Iran? This seemed unlikely: it was 1993 and the Shah, having been dead for fourteen years, was rarely if ever in the news. Some years later I read about Noam Chomsky’s famous thesis that the capacity for language is not something learnt but innate […]

Essay | The Disappearing Acts of Robyn Denny by Jonathan McAloon

From the earliest formation of his artistic intellect, the British painter Robyn Denny (1930-2014) was interested in the way images lose their greatness and meaning over time. From his 1957 Royal College of Art thesis, which began with a photograph of the Rosetta Stone: ‘Some walls have been decorated in this way so frequently that the message has been obliterated, layer upon layer carrying the conflicting symbols of passing generations, and finally expressing […]

Review | Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann

In October another fatberg the size of a double-decker bus, reportedly weighing in at a modest 40 tonnes, was hand-scraped from the sewers of London by Thames Water engineers. Monuments to our collective waste, these titanic coagulations of faeces, fats and unflushables – a mixture of common household products, cotton buds and wet wipes – are a uniquely unnatural disaster and symptom of modern living. They are a sordid example of what happens when a system becomes ill-equipped to deal with the unprecedented quantities of crap pumped into it […]

Fiction | Sex, drugs and dead birds by Clare Fisher

The birds kept dying. They kept dropping out of the sky and splatting onto the pavement. They were a Sign – of what, I didn’t know: I just documented them on my phone in the hope they would make their meaning clear, if not to me, then to one of my friends […]

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