In the latest issue:

Boris Johnson’s First Year

Ferdinand Mount

Short Cuts: In the Bunker

Thomas Jones

Theban Power

James Romm

What can the WHO do?

James Meek

At the Type Archive

Alice Spawls

Where the Poor Lived

Alison Light

At the Movies: ‘Da 5 Bloods’

Michael Wood

Cultural Pillaging

Neal Ascherson

Jenny Offill

Adam Mars-Jones

Shakespeare v. the English

Michael Dobson

Poem: ‘Now Is the Cool of the Day’

Maureen N. McLane


David Trotter

Consider the Hare

Katherine Rundell

How Should I Refer to You?

Amia Srinivasan

Poem: ‘Field Crickets (Gryllus campestris)’

Fiona Benson

Diary: In Mali

Rahmane Idrissa

Days of 1985Michael Hofmann

Warm air and no sun – the sky was like cardboard,
the same depthless no-colour as the pavements and buildings.
It was May, and pink cherry blossoms lay and shoaled
in the gutter, bleeding as after some wedding ...

Broken glass, corrugated tin and spraygunned plywood saying
Arsenal rules the world. Twenty floors up Chantry Point,
the grey diamond panels over two arsoned windows
were scorched like a couple of raised eyebrows.

Tireless and sick, women hunted for bargains.
Gold and silver were half-price. Clothes shops
started up, enjoyed a certain vogue, then
went into a tailspin of permanent sales,

cutting their throats. A window waved Goodbye, Kilburn,
and Everything Must Go. The Last Day was weeks ago –
it didn’t. The tailor’s became Rock Bottom.
On the pavement, men were selling shoelaces.

A few streets away, in the renovated precinct,
girls’ names and numbers stood on every lamp-post,
phone-booth, parking-meter and tree. Felt tip on sticky labels,
‘rubber’, and ‘correction’ for the incorrigible.

At night, the taxis crawled through Bayswater,
where women dangled their ‘most things considered’ from the kerb.
A man came down the street with the meth-pink eyes
of a white rat, his gait a mortal shuffle.

A British bulldog bowler hat clung to his melting skull.
... Game spirits, tat and service industries,
an economy stripped to the skin trade, sex and security:
Arsenal boot boys, white slaves and the SAS.

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