Posts Tagged: UK

Brian Eno Against a Brexit

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Brian Eno released a statement on Facebook this weekend urging British citizens to vote against a Brexit from the EU.

Eno urged British citizens, who he referred to as “complacent on the issue, like me,” to consider the importance of the EU’s influence on the global stage, citing its significant work in promoting workers’ rights, gun control, environmental issues, and more:

What the ‘Leaves’ have on their side is their unquenchable enthusiasm for a ‘Great’ Britain that they think we can revive – and several powerful media outlets to propagandise the idea.

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Intellectual Property’s Much-Needed Evolution

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World Intellectual Property Day, the greatest of all spring holidays, was this Tuesday, April 26th. In honor of the holiday, the UK’s Intellectual Property Minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe made a statement calling for an update in the legal concept, Billboard reports:

The process of digitization has transformed the world around us at a furious pace.

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Censoring Censorship

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Emma Garman discusses the ability of UK’s elite to pay lawyers to keep their names out of the press. She raises the topics of censorship, public interest, and the availability of these resources to people of all classes:

The loftiest interpretation of public interest is our common concern with the workings of government, but we’re more often drawn to stories wherein someone’s carefully curated public image conflicts with their private behavior—especially if their image helps them make money.

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Public Poetry

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I’m interested in Roland Barthes’s idea that mythology is essentially a type of speech, and that speech defines a culture. Poetry can define the dominant languages we have in culture—and now those languages are advertising and the news media.

So says Robert Montgomery, a Scottish poet who creates public art with his poems by posting them over advertising billboards, in empty swimming pools, at airports, and on the backs of pickup trucks. 

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UK Reggae Renaissance

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Influenced by the heyday of 70s and 80s reggae in the UK, new artists are gathering a following in the region, the Guardian reports. Marcia Richards of the London band the Skints believes the renewed interest has something to do with the fact that the other bands in her scene have built followings organically, by playing show after show, rather than relying on networking through the Internet:

People appreciate us because we have built up a following by connecting directly with audiences live, and nowadays that seems rarer.

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This Week in Indie Bookstores

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If you ever wanted to own one of the nation’s oldest bookstores, now’s your chance. Otto Bookstore in Williamsport, Pennsylvania has been operating since 1841, but the 81-year-old proprietor is in the market to sell.

The Oregonian names Portland’s 10 best bookstores, and world-famous Powell’s didn’t make the cut.

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Paying Authors to Appear

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The British Society of Authors has called on literary festival organizers to pay authors who make appearances at events. The organization is asking that any literary festivals that charge entrance fees pay authors a minimum fee. At present, few events pay, and those that offer an appearance fee typically pay as little as £150, or about $227, while celebrity speakers are often paid significantly more.

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This Week in Indie Bookstores

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Hong Kong is dominated by two kinds of bookstores—the independent shops specializing in political books and pornography banned by China and the shops secretly owned by Beijing’s communist government.

A Tokyo-based bookstore hosting a book fair centered around democracy and freedom suspended the event after criticism.

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This Week in Indie Bookstores

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The Canadian bookstore that discovered a hundred-year-old photo album has solved the mystery of the photos’ origin. They belonged to an Edmonton man born in 1919.

San Francisco is a city filled with bookstores, and SF Weekly takes a look at some of the best.

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Criminalizing Kink in the UK: The 50 Shades Effect

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Last month I reached out to LA-based expat Anna Span, an English porn producer (and one-time Liberal Democrat candidate) who awhile back, fought the UK’s ban on showing female ejaculation in porn—and won! I was anxious to hear her take on the recent crackdown on sadomasochistic practices in adult films, specifically whether “BDSM-themed art porn” is technically even legal in the UK nowadays.

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UK Publishing is Racist, Too

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The Writing the Future report . . . found that the “best chance of publication” for a black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) writer was to write literary fiction conforming to a stereotypical view of their communities, addressing topics such as “racism, colonialism or post-colonialism as if these were the primary concerns of all BAME people.”

On the heels of the depressing statistics of the first-ever Women of Color VIDA Count, the UK’s Writing the Future report reveals that things aren’t any better for writers of color across the pond.

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Somebody Who Has Found the Words

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Recently in the UK, poetry seems to have found its way back into mainstream culture, which of course elicits the question: did it ever leave? Over at Newsweek, Howard Swains examines the reasons we return to poetry even in an age when words like “distraction” and “multimedia” tend to hijack any dicsussion of art or literature:

“In some ways it’s that question of whether poetry is dying that keeps poetry alive,” Chris McCabe, a poet and librarian at the Saison Poetry Library at Southbank Centre in London, says.

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Proposed Internet Censorship In The UK

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Cory Doctorow explains a law currently proposed in the UK that would automatically censor internet user’s browsers.

This automatic censoring is proposed by several Members of Parliament, the Daily Mail, and various British religious groups. The proposed web filtering aims to protect children from stumbling upon pornographic material, however, there are concerns that the filter may inadvertently make non-pornographic sites inaccessible:

“Sites will get blocked if they casually mention sex.

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Phone-Hacking Scandal’s Latest

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With more unraveling of the Murdoch/phone-hacking scandal, the consequences and reverberations of the case have grown extensive and increasingly grave.

The latest development came to light this morning when Sean Hoare, a former employee of the News of the World, who initially outed Andy Coulson for his involvement and awareness of the phone-hacking activity at the newspaper, was found dead in his home in Watford.

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I’m on a Boat

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Fear not, the saddening disappearance of independent bookstores is being countered by literature lovers all over the globe.

The Book Barge, brainchild of Sarah Henshaw, is a canal boat turned bookstore that flows leisurely on the UK’s canal network.  See how this “buoyant business” stays afloat and provides readers with a more pleasurable shopping and literary experience.

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The Rumpus Interview with Alasdair Gray

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Writer and artist Alasdair Gray is his own best nightmare. It took the modern Scottish bard twenty-five years to finish Lanark: A Life in Four Books (1981), his fat, strangely inspirational novel of urbanism gone awry.

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