Pellatt Road

In East Dulwich there is a Pellatt Road. I still don’t know how to pronounce it; a simple “pellet” seems most statesmanly. I’ve wondered where that name came from. It struck me as a person’s name, probably. I started looking, and found an MP for Southwark who died a little before a plot called Friern… Continue reading Pellatt Road

History of the bible

I read The History of the Bible this weekend and enjoyed it a lot. I have a little collection of books about theology now, not because of any interest in faith but because I think it’s an interesting vein of history and culture. The bible is so often quoted, wittingly or unwittingly, in popular culture and everyday… Continue reading History of the bible

Wasps

I read the Penguin Classics translation of Wasps by Aristophanes the other day. It’s a satirical play about how an older generation of Athenians who fought in the Peloponnesian War were taken in by a pandering demagogue called Cleon. To grasp what’s happening and get the jokes, you have to know a little bit about the context… Continue reading Wasps

Eugenics and statistics

There were lots of interesting and terrible things in Superior: The Return of Race Science by Angela Saini but here’s something that stood out. Eugenics was a widely respected field of study around the time of the turn of the 20th century, well before the rash of state-sponsored genocide programs we now associate with Nazis etc. University… Continue reading Eugenics and statistics

Madame Tussaud’s tall tale

I started reading Little by Edward Carey without knowing what it was about. Soon it emerged that it’s a fictionalisation of the life of Madame Tussaud based on her memoirs. It is typical of a revolutionary French narrative in that it involves a exploited child orphan, the beautiful disarray of Paris at the time, and finally: no… Continue reading Madame Tussaud’s tall tale

Music is changing

At its most basic level, music is simply a series of amplitudes and frequencies that make human beings move and vocalise in diverse and strange ways. However, like all other forms of human expression and entertainment, it is now a commodity. This commodity is now packaged to be sold, streamed, licensed and advertised to us.… Continue reading Music is changing