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Thursday, 12 December 2019

England: A Shitstorm of Ineptitude










It's election day in the UK - there's a whiff of hope in the air, with the fear that over the horizon there's a blazing bush fire of disappointment.



Anyway, it's the perfect day for my review of John Angerson's English Journey (my photobook of the year) to go up on the Ph Museum website. Here's a snippet....


A new England was created, one where a burgeoning multiculturalism came up against a racist England bathing in an overwrought nostalgia filled with Spitfires, stiff-upper lips, ‘two world-wars and one world cup’ exceptionalism and little else. Very little else.



And that is essentially why people are voting Conservative. The little England hegemony that Mishra writes about here has won. We’re wallowing in a dream of a dream that never existed. We are the spectacle, the simulacrum, the medium-become-message all wrapped up in British irony and a sense of humour that is second to none! Fawlty Towers. Just amazing, except for the racist bits.



This idea of Englishness is what John Angerson’s book is all about. It’s controlled and good-natured but it still has bite. The outsourcing of industry, the nostalgia market, the pursuit of impossible dreams the undertow of a deepseated denial are all there. It’s a book where Englishness is a shadow of a Platonic shadow, a structure on the verge of collapse, where even the foundations of fox-hunting and country homes seem worn-out and shabby.


Read the whole review here....

Buy the book here...

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