Monthly Archives: June 2013

Does it really make a difference whether it was James Gandolfini or Tony Soprano who died?

‘Death’ seems to be the most common word applied to the natural. Even ‘birth’ is less broadly applicable to natural processes: a flower is not ‘born,’ the seed is planted and it grows. A fire is not ‘born,’ it is lit or it is started. But flowers die, flames die and people die. Whilst the […]

Anxiety and the Modern Pop Song: What does Lily Allen Fear?

Lily’s Allen’s ‘The Fear’ was released in 2009, winning two Ivor Novello song-writing awards in 2010. It remains, in the opinion of this contributor, one of the most significant pop songs of recent years, thanks to its portrayal of modern life. The key lyrics are in the chorus: I don’t know what’s right and what’s […]


The mobile phone game sensation Angry Birds needs little introduction. Released in 2009, the game has sold (including free versions funded by advertising) clear of 1.7 billion copies across mobiles, video game consoles, laptops and PCs. To put that in context, the first and most popular Mario game sold only 40 million. There are nearly […]

Sex and Porn: Everyone’s Talking About It… (Shh! We’re Trying to Sell it Here!)

It was Michel Foucault who busted a few myths about the previous few centuries’ ignorance and censorship of, and prudishness about, sex, in his first volume of The History of Sexuality. In the epochs in which it seemed that nobody was talking about sex, in those eras which ostensibly wanted to be seen as having nothing to […]

The Two Fathers in Man of Steel

Zack Snyder’s take on Superman’s double parentage – the dead biological parents from the destroyed Krypton, and his adoptive parents in Kansas – presents an opportunity for thinking through a point made by the French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan. This oddly damaged iteration of the Superman character keeps his good works a secret because of his […]


The accusation that Tesco use electronic tags to monitor the productivity of their workers sounds like something from a dystopian novel. The tags reportedly measure how fast shelf stackers work, giving them a target that is difficult to meet if one even takes a bathroom break. Clearly, this amounts to poor working conditions, but what […]

‘I am Burial’: Anonymity, Gaze, and The (Un)True Self

Who is Burial? Why doesn’t he want us to know, and why do we care?  The recent discussion over the identity of electronic recording artist Burial began when an online magazine claimed that musician Kieran Hebden, who goes by the stage name Four Tet, was also Burial. Burial is elusive – he doesn’t do DJ sets […]