“Intelligent and witty, a terrific page-turner”

5.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent and witty, a terrific page-turner

21 July 2011

By Mark Webb “marcos_cu” (TOP 500 REVIEWER)

You’ve got to stay alert while reading How to Forget; ironically, you also need a good memory, because there’s a multitude of twists and turns, sudden changes of direction, shifting identities and aliases as you follow the clever, crude and utterly compelling tale of poor Peter, aka Mr Magicov, entertainer to the elderly, whose life was ruined in a disastrous and hilarious child molestation case, orchestrated by the monstrous Titus, now a celebrity illusionist in the Derren Brown mould.

The story follows Peter’s struggles to forget his agonising past and make a new life, a struggle pushed to dizzy new heights (and very much against Peter’s will), by self-obsessed con-artist Kate, on the run from her own nemesis, the obsessive and sociopathically vicious FBI Agent Brown. I don’t think it gives too much away to say the tale ends with a delicious double twist in which practically everyone gets their just deserts.

The ‘academic’ inserts seemed a tad intrusive, interrupting, as they did, an otherwise fast-moving, page-turning narrative. I feel they would have worked better if they could have been somehow woven into the story, rather than as ever-more distracting `case-notes’. I did find myself skimming them a little, as the plot became ever more compelling.

How to Forget is a terrific story with brilliantly worked characters and an intelligent, fast-moving plot. One of the best novels I’ve read this year and very highly recommended indeed.

via How to Forget: Amazon.co.uk: Marius Brill: Books.

“Narrative Pyrotechnics”

‘Narrative Pyrotechnics’ is about the only nice thing this slightly grumpy review from the Eastern Daily Press (27.10.11) could come up with for How To Forget… apparently I failed to write the book required because I bothered to make it humorous.  As Kurt Vonnegut so often said (with deference to the seven dwarves) – heigh ho.  Still lots of story description so at least I kept his attention.

(click on review to enlarge)

“Extremely clever and funny novel”

So far… I’m loving my Amazon reviews.  It’s brilliant to get feed-back to see what I’m doing right and where I’m going wrong. A big thank you to S Riaz “humz” for this 5 Star “Review of the Day” here on Amazon.

[box] This is an extremely clever and funny novel. Peter is a magician and the hero of our story. His life turns on a pivotal moment, when a childrens birthday party went hysterically and horribly wrong (I thought it was the funniest part of the book) and he is reduced to entertaining geriatric patients in a care home. There he befriends Cedric, who was once a famous magician himself, and the neuroscientist Dr Tavasligh, who is currently working on memories and Alzheimer’s patients. Cedric is the father of Kate, a con artist, who is on the FBI’s most wanted page and being pursued by Agent Brown – an agent with a personal vendetta.

Dr Tavasligh sees Peter as his perfect patient – a man who can replace his past. Peter’s story is narrated by Tavasligh, as a way of preserving his old life, and Peter’s life is about to get a whole lot more interesting. When Peter meets Kate, he sees the daughter who abandoned her father and she sees a life that she cannot remember. As Kate is forced to flee, again, Peter finds himself also on the run and, quite frankly, having the time of his life. But what of his nemesis, the TV charlatan Titus Black? The boy who ruined Peter’s life and is now a famous and successful star? Can Kate help him wreak revenge and can they trust each other enough to pull it off – will Peter win for once?

There follows an amazing chase, with many funny and wonderful characters. Titus Black, the smarmy TV personality and his two sidekicks, a kind of Jewish Ronnie and Reggie Kray double act; Agent Brown, always hot on the trail, and Peter and Kate trying to evade capture and come out on top. The book is extremely clever, with a fast paced plot and wonderful dialogue, plus so many brilliant one liners you will be unable to stop yourself laughing out loud. A real winner for a feel good read and wonderfully written. Excellent book, which I really enjoyed and highly recommend.[/box]

 Buy How To Forget - Now






“Project” Interview

Q&A with Foyles

Buy How To Forget at FoylesThe lovely people at Foyles have uploaded an interview with me here.  They have a great site and it’s a great shop to go and buy How To Forget – I’ve stolen the entire interview below:

Marius Brill attended St John’s College, Oxford, after a career as a doorman, journalist and prize-winning playwright at the Soho Theatre. The script of his film, Diary of a Surreal Killer, was nominated for a BAFTA Carl Foreman award. He also wrote the acclaimed BBC Radio 4 comedy series, sLaughter in the Dark..

His first novel, Making Love: A Conspiracy of the Heart, was published in 2003. An ingenious comic thriller told by a distressed library book that has fallen in love with its reader, it was described by Time Out as “‘a smorgasbord of romantic romp, pseudo-scholarship, urban melodrama and metafictional mystery”.


His new novel is How to Forget: A Book of Laughter and Regretting. Magicov the Magnificent earns his living entertaining the geriatrics in a care home; he is envious of his audience, as they have mastered a trick that eludes him: how to forget. For Peter, as he is known without his costume, cannot forget the shameful moment an eight-year-old wrecked his life. Peter has also fallen for Kate, a veteran con artist on the run from the FBI, but trust between two such masters of illusion is in short supply.

Peter’s desire to escape his past makes him the perfect subject for renowned brain-scientist Dr Chris Tavasligh, whose latest experiment promises to wipe memories forever and replace them with new ones. Is this the only option Peter has left? And if so, who will he become?

How to Forget combines the plot of a thriller with the wonder of magic and the sharpest of humour to tell a story that you’ll certainly never forget. In this exclusive interview for Foyles, Marius talks about his own dabblings in the world of conjuring, the prevalence of goatee beards in the Magic Circle and rats on acid.


Questions & Answers

Why did you decide to structure the novel around the notes and letters of neuropsychologist Dr Tavasligh?

Narrators need to be memorable; the thing about inquisitive neuroscientists is you just can’t get them out of your head. Literally as well as, um, literature-ally. Tavasligh explores the reader’s head as much as the characters. I love elements of meta-fiction: moments that don’t just include the audience empathetically, but emphatically. Like Tristram Shandy leaving a page blank for the reader to draw his or her own impression of one of the characters, or the Sid James wink, when he’s about to get lucky in a Carry On and he doesn’t just wink at the camera, he winks at you, and at that moment you’re there with him, he’s your mate. It’s definitely part of the comic arsenal. I don’t want a reader to have to suspend their disbelief totally, to forget who they are as they read, but to come with me, sentient and aware. Even Tavasligh’s name is based on the first character in The Taming of the Shrew who ends up watching the entire play with the audience, one of the world’s earliest meta-fictive characters.

Peter/Mr Magicov’s life was ruined by an unfortunate incident at a children’s birthday party. Did any of what he endured come from your own memories of childhood parties?

Magic didn’t really figure in my childhood. I never had a kindly relative, a crazy uncle or the like, to take coins out of my ears. My uncle was mad but in a depressive sit in a corner, never speak, truly disturbed kind of way, which was not really the same thing.

The interest in conjuring started very suddenly about ten years ago when, as financially embarrassed as I still seem to be, my about-to-be-four-year-old son demanded a magician for his party like his friends had. We really do do strange and terrible things in order not to disappoint our progeny. After enquiring about prices from Mr Noodles et al, I declared, foolishly, that I would do the show myself. So, with reference to a few ropey books from the library, a facility for basic woodwork to construct my grand illusion, a little – no, a lot of – practice palming things and misdirecting – I did the show and, well, it went down a storm. Unlike the birthday cake which went the other way with my performance nausea.

Unfortunately it (the show, not the vomiting) was witnessed by other skint parents of our acquaintance who recognised a cheap opportunity when they saw one. For several years a very modest income from a dozen or so kids’ magic shows was made. I never got a stage name, just George’s Dad doing some magic – but it kept the little darlings occupied and the cash helped. I’m sure all my fear and loathing of kids’ shows is captured in the book.

You go into quite a lot of detail about some of the scams that con artist Kate has pulled off in the past. Were any based on real-life examples?

When I was a journalist I spent some time investigating grifters and confidence tricksters. I lived in New York with a three-card-monte crew. It was a pretty low-rent operation, a team of card sharks tempting passers-by to ‘Find the Lady’, a queen flung down with a couple of deuces on a cardboard box. The ‘game’ is of course not a ‘game’ in any way we understand – that chance or skill might decide a winner – more like a dance, a series of moves designed to entice and fleece.

Even if you could second guess the misdirection, even if you did find the lady when the big money was on it, someone would suddenly shout ‘cops’. Then half the supposed audience and the cardman would disappear in all directions smashing the box dramatically to visually threaten what might happen if you give chase and confuse your attention. In a moment everything would be gone, cards, punters, thrower and, of course, your money. It was all temporary, too unglamorous, the gang members all had stories of long cons and short cons and maybe they were true, maybe not, it’s not like they were trustworthy sources. They were all story tellers and many of Kate’s stories were theirs. They even took me for at least two hundred dollars so fair’s square.

Peter explains to Kate that all magic tricks are based on six basic illusions: the vanish, materialisation, passing through a solid object, the restoration, telekinesis and defying gravity. Does this really cover everything?

It’s an argument that magicians have had for centuries and I’m sure the argument will rumble on, but there are only so many physical laws that you can visibly break. Robert-Houdin stated there were six branches of magic, Devant contended that there were seven, S H Sharpe insisted there were nineteen distinct conjuring feats. In Magic In Theory, Professor Richard Wiseman and Peter Lamont argue that there are eight physical magic effects but include incredible feats like the endurance performances of David Blaine buried, boxed or frozen. To me, although they are impossible without using trickery to achieve, they’re not ‘magic’ as such. Mentalists like Derren Brown have three non-physical tricks which are, at core, either prediction, revelation or influence.

But working magicians all seem to agree that the success of an effect is not which one of the small number of wonders the magician achieves, nor the method by which it is achieved, but the effectiveness of the story that is woven around the phenomenon. You can either make a coin just appear or you can wrench a piece of eight out of history and the very hands of Blackbeard through warping the time space continuum.

Is the famous TV illusionist Titus Black, against whom Peter is determined to exact his revenge, based on any real-life magician?

Some readers have pointed out a passing resemblance to our own Derren Brown and the American mentalist Max Maven. I admit that some of Titus’ effects, and the methods he uses to achieve them, may appear similar, but unlike Brown or Maven, Titus Black is thoroughly detestable, immoral and, quite crucially, possesses no goatee. I hasten to point out that all my characters are completely fictitious and any resemblance to real people living or dead is purely coincidental.

Comedy on the page is notoriously tricky to pull off, perhaps because it lacks the comic intonations joke told aloud. Is there anyone you rely on for an objective opinion on which comic lines work best?

An old comedian once told me that ‘Jokes are really like mooses: you can only try them out once on anybody.’ As soon as you start asking someone, is it funnier this way or that way, it’s down to their opinion not their actual reaction so ‘objective opinion’ is just a contradiction in ter… oh, no, that’s ridiculous: not mooses, I’m sorry, not mooses, nooses, I meant nooses. I meant you can only try nooses once. How do you try a moose out? How would that even work? Sorry.

The point is sometimes a joke works straight off and you know it and sometimes, as you can see in the previous example, it doesn’t. But then I’d spend ages working out loud through all the possible cadences and vocabulary shifts until I can read the line out in a swathe of ridiculous voices and no matter how I try to trip it up, always hit the punch-line. It’s very careful work, like writing poetry. But without the genius. Or the rhetorical devices. Or the rhyming. Or the thought. Or the feelings.

Dr Tavasligh has been working on a device that wipes the memory, allowing new, false memories to be implanted in their place. Do you think that neuroscientists are getting anywhere near being able to develop this technology?

In short – yes. But at five foot nine-ish it’s not like I enjoy being short, so here are some real world examples of advances published in the last couple of months, mainly dealing with rats on acid:

In Israel, Rami Yaka of Hebrew University’s Institute of Drug Research “got a pack of rats hooked on cocaine over a two-week period, and then managed to wipe their memories of their high, meaning that they no longer hankered after the drug. The rats lived in a cage that contained one chamber with a supply of saline solution and another with a supply of cocaine. During the fortnight that Dr Yaka spent offering the drugs, they were drawn to the cocaine chamber. He then gave half of the druggie rats a peptide – a compound of amino acids – called ZIP. He injected it directly into a part of the brain that controls pleasure and reward. The injected rats were no longer drawn to the chamber of the cage where cocaine had been, while the non-injected rats were.”

Using an electronic system that duplicates the neural signals associated with memory, scientists managed to replicate the brain function in rats associated with long-term learned behaviour, even when the rats had been drugged to forget. “Flip the switch on, and the rats remember. Flip it off, and the rats forget,” said Theodore Berger of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering’s Department of Biomedical Engineering, lead author of an article published in theJournal of Neural Engineering.

Scientists at SUNY Downstate Medical Center have discovered a molecular mechanism that maintains memories in the brain. In an article in Science magazine, they demonstrate that by inhibiting the molecule they can erase long-term memories, much as you might erase a computer disc. An enzyme molecule called “protein kinase M zeta” preserves long-term memories through persistent strengthening of synaptic connections between neurons. This is analogous to the mechanism storing information as 0s and 1s in a computer’s hard disk. By inhibiting the enzyme, scientists were able to erase a memory that had been stored for one day, or even one month. This function in memory storage is specific to protein kinase M zeta, because inhibiting related molecules did not disrupt memory.

I really don’t think it is any longer about ‘if’ we will discover the proteins and manufacture the chemicals to control, erase or enhance memory, just ‘when’.

As well as magic, you seem to have an interest in the operations of the intelligence services; they appear in both this book and your first one, Making Love: A Conspiracy of the Heart. Does the clandestine nature of what they do make them an attractive area for a fiction writer?

Although I don’t see the FBI, who figure in How To Forget, as an intelligence service as such, there is something about the investigative authorities that sometime use clandestine methods to operate, that seem to work well in fiction. Fiction can often explore and guess at methods which documentary fact could never find or, if it did, may well be prevented from revealing. In terms of plotting it also ups the risk for criminals. Police follow procedures, but spies and maverick investigators are harder to predict. It’s one of those wonderful validations of the power of story that it must now be impossible for anyone to join the intelligence services without having Bond somewhere in the back of their mind.

You know a few magic tricks yourself [Marius came in before publication and fooled us all with a vanishing coin]. But can you saw a lady in half (and put her back together again)?

To research the book and gain confidence from other magicians I had to perfect a few tricks myself. But I’m not sure I’d be comfortable with sawing a woman in half, even if I knew which half I’d keep.

Magicians will tell you that misogyny in magic is over, that the days of glamorous assistants, often wives, being boxed up and then sawn in half, zigzagged, drilled, run through with swords or just vanished in outfits providing less cover than a cocktail umbrella in a thunder storm are a thing of the past. But they’re not. Ladies who can bend themselves into tiny spaces and fleshly distract audiences will always have a place in this sort of spectacle.

Just, statistically, look at the membership of a body like the Magic Circle, or even try to name more than one female magician. They don’t even have the dignity of a feminisation of the word like ‘actress’ that they could proudly reject. Magicianess? Witch? There is something about magic, conjuring, and the puzzle it presents, and the power over physics that it pretends to have, that attracts men more than women. It seems to attract, especially, shy young men, who want to feel empowered as they go through adolescence, who need props to help them through their insecurities, something they can pull from their pocket to amaze a girl with – without being done for flashing. And then many magicians just never grow up.

Can you tell us anything about what you might be writing next?

I’ve written about the madness of the heart in my first book, the vulnerability of the head in my second, now I want to tackle the soul. It’s my trilogy. At the moment all I can say is it is based on ‘grace’ and how that works evolutionarily in a world where success is most often to the graceless. So – with that in mind – I would like to thank you for your questions. Thank you for helping me think even harder about what the hell I’m trying to do and say. Thank you for reading the book, thank anybody who has read this far. Thank goodness and thank G_d it’s over.

via Marius Brill on his new novel, How to Forget.

VIDEO: Welles on Cold Reading

Orson Welles talks about the art of cold reading.

“Cold Reading is the secret discipline behind the art of phoney fortune telling, of faking talking to the dead, of voicing the impossible and convincing the gullible. It works by making a little knowledge go a long way.  But, my friends, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing….”

Chapter 16 How To Forget

The term cold reading is an old one, and predates Orson Welles’ talk here.  It is used as the background to the novel and film Nightmare Alley and not only does it feature in my book but in A.L. Kennedy’s recently published Blue Book which I’m reading right now… and enjoying immensely.  Let Orson explain.

I have my doubts that Welles did half the things he claimed to.  This looks more like well informed wishful thinking to me.  An imagination thank fully unchecked by my sort of cynacism.  And what a genius for story.

He did like to pose

Talking about Memory on Radio 2

BBC Radio 2 – Talking about Memory with Paddy O’Connell on the Jeremy Vine Show (12.08.2011)

Well it was a first for Bradley, my ‘driver’, who had to locate me, in my tent, in the middle of a field in the New Forest, just to whisk me off to London for the day.  (A wet holiday richly interrupted) All provided for by Transworld to make sure I didn’t forget to turn up for my ‘Special’ on Radio 2 on Friday on the Jeremy Vine Show.  Hosted by one of the most genial men in the world, a man with A’ levels in amiability and affability, Paddy O’Connell.

Paddy O'Connell

Paddy O’Connell, a man who puts the Geni into Genial

I cannot describe how nervous I was after somebody mentioned there were 6 million listeners on a Friday.  We didn’t get a chance to talk about the book, but I got to put my research to good use.  Here is my part of the show…
Click on the arrow to listen.
[sc_embed_player fileurl=”http://www.mariusbrill.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/mbtalksmemory.mp3″]

VIDEO: Things not to leave on a bus

Another Reminder: Do Not Read This Book if you are responsible for minors…

you have been warned!

As publication day looms, it seems only right and proper to start warning people about this dangerous book and the trouble it could cause.

The main minute long ad comprised of four stories about forgetfulness.  This particular story was shot entirely on location in the glamorous settings of Kings Mall, Hammersmth and on the number 19 bus edging up Sloane Street.

The lead (pictured) performed flawlessly every take without once getting upset or grouchy or falling asleep.  A star in the making.

Witch Hunt

Burn The Witch!!!

Oh she looks the part with the wild red hair and defiant demeanour.  And the Kabbalesque spelling of her name doesn’t help.  Nor does being a woman in a ‘man’s job’.

And now Rebekah Brooks stands before us accused in dabbling in the dark arts of ‘phone hacking’, a magic we barely understand but somehow we know is immoral.  And worst of all she consorts with, nay is supported by, the devil Murdoch himself.  But don’t worry.  To save us she has the full host of the holier-than-us expense-scandal revenging parliamentarians ranged against her.  She even has the hoards of her former media bretheren screaming hysterically and pointing at her as if that will do anything to cover their own culpability.  Sounds familiar?  This is a witch hunt, this is The Crucible, this is Salem.

Arthur Miller’s 1953 play The Crucible retold the story of the infamous Salem Witch Trials of 1692 when over twenty people were killed by an overzealous god fearing town.  It was also an allegory of Macarthy’s search for communists through the Committee on Un-American Activities.  In the play the villagers of Salem become obsessed with the notion that the girls of the village are being possessed by the devil and have become witches.  Everybody points the finger at everybody else, petty scores are settled, deals are made, land of the accused is grabbed, and the puritan church elders come in hard to dish out their biblical justice and strengthen their grip as the moral power not to be challenged.

I have no love for the News Of the World, nor for invasive journalism, but I have never met a journalist, who cut his or her teeth in news gathering, who hasn’t wondered whether they’ve overstepped the line of privacy at some point, whichever newspaper they worked for.  Personally I will never forget Dirk Borgarde’s rage when I was working for the Daily mail and I accidentally walked right into his flat – having sneaked in to the lift of his apartment block to try and get an interview.  I had assumed that there would be a door between lift and living room.  There wasn’t.  Every interview I conducted as a journalist I would ask questions that would pry further than I was comfortable asking – but if the celebrity rewarded me with some news that others had dared not ask for, it was news, it was payday, it was what readers bought the paper for and in that it was worth the embarrassment.

And there’s the rub.  We read the papers because we’re nosy, we literally pay them to be nosy for us, we pay for them to pry and tell.  And we love it.  The News Of The World has long been the highest circulation paper in the News International canon.  Even George Orwell in his seminal essay ‘Decline of the English Murder’ recognised its superlative taste for scandal, he described an ideal traditional Sunday afternoon: “You put your feet up on the sofa, settle your spectacles on your nose, and open the News of the World.”  He then decries how unsensational murders have become since the NoW’s  hay day when they would dish the dirt on the likes of Dr Crippen.

The ‘phone hacking’ scandal has rumbled on for months now making little impact.  This has been mainly becasue its victims were pretty unsympathetic; celebrities and desperate politicians whining about invasion of privacy when we all know that if you court publicity you can’t complain when it bites you back.  This all changed a few days ago with the revelation that the NoW ‘hacked’ murder victim Milly Dowler’s phone and, apparently, deleted messages.  If true that’s pretty terrible.  But thankfully, realistically, it did not affect the outcome of the hunt nor the conviction of Levi Bellfield.  But it is worth asking: why would NoW delete messages anyway?  Unless it was a terrible accident.  But, it would seem that the messages had already been noted by the police.

Rebekah’s News of the World is also accused of having the numbers of 7/7 bombing victims and dead soldiers from Afganistan.

What?  That’s a crime?  I’ve got hundreds of telephone numbers of people who were parts of news stories.  Many I never ended up talking to.  Better investigate me and every other journo who once worked in Fleet Street.

Just how are we supposed to think that news gathering happens?  Why have we always called journalists ‘hacks’? Are we expecting investigative journalists to just sit in the press room and wait for the official police line – the same one spun by the incorruptable, unbiased, pure white policemen (literally/figuratively) who were being bribed £100,000 a year by the News Of The World itself?  So the News of the World was in possession of the telephone numbers of people who were part of news stories.  Excuse me but – big fucking deal.

The reason why I keep putting the words ‘phone hacking’ in quotes is because whatever the NoW was doing, it wasn’t phone hacking.  At worst they have been ‘answer machine hacking’ though that doesn’t sound quite so sexy. Let us be clear, they are not accused of bugging or tapping  phones, nor using recievers to pick up mobile conversations like the notorious Charles and Camilla ‘tampon’ pillow talk.  They rang people up when they weren’t at home.  In my book the ringing of an answer machine and then dialing in the standard access codes that ship with all answer machines when people have been too lazy to change them, isn’t exactly hi-tech enough to really constitute ‘hacking’.  So NoW ‘hacks’ were ‘answer maching accessing’… and in doing so I’m not even sure I can find the part of the data protection act that they compromised… and neither could the private investigator who did this.  Unethical, possibly, illicit, undoubtedly, illegal… hmm.

Let’s see.  So hypothetically… I ring my wife’s answerphone and accidentally press 000* as I fidget whilst waiting to leave my message as she drones on about not being there, and then I hear her boyfriend setting up their next motel assignation, and then I use that information to instigate a divorce.  – I’m in the wrong and she sues me for ‘illegal’ ‘phone hacking’?  Blimey.

But, my dear Salemites, however naughty Rebekah and the NoW have been, this is the Governement at their most opportunistic.  They will undoubtedly use this to tighten privacy laws, none of which will help the likes of Milly Dowler’s parents and all to protect their own sorry arses from appearing in full pimply colour on the front pages of the redtops.  They will rush through new laws on the back of this to further curb investigative journalism until it is unable to investigate without telling everybody that that’s what’s happening.  But lets remember – for every investigation that has overstepped the mark there are hundreds that have put the world to rights.  What if Panorama had had to inform everybody in the abusive carehome in Bristol that that they were filming them and could they please sign a ‘release form’?  The abuse would still be going on now.  What if the Telegraph had had to ask the government permission to publish their personal duck house and moat cleaning receipts?  The abuse would still be going on now.

So please stop and think before you stand and point hysterically.  Yes journalism often lacks scruples.  But better to have an effective opposition to the power-mongers even if it sometimes get’s too big for it’s boots than to have none at all.  With each new Government curb on independent journalism we lumber slowly once more towards a world of fact-free opinion, totalitarianism and unanswerable potentates.  Invasive journalism is just one of the prices we pay for an open democracy.  I have never met Rebekah Brooks and I sure as hell wouldn’t want to take on a woman who floored ‘hard man’ (ahem) Ross Kemp, but I sure as hell know that she isn’t a witch, that disposing of her will not bring sanity and respect to the world’s privacy.  But this I do know, if we all stand to accuse her, we stand to lose our freedom of information and our rights to free speech.

I could kiss you my ol' cobber.


Oh… and if Cameron thinks this will do anything to rein in the power of the media imperium, he better think again.  Now Murdoch has closed the NoW – my heart goes out to the journalists at that paper – I have no sympathy for the devil but this is hard business and Murdoch has bigger fish to fry.  If he gets rid of a title – he reduces his monopoly position in his bid to dominate the media with his BskyB deal.

So Murdoch comes out of this on top again, he has offered the head of journalism to the Government on a plate, just when he needs friends in government.  It makes you wonder who has been getting this information out there.  You can’t beat Beelzebub… nor his flame-haired witch bride.  But I guess we could try burning them…



Thank goodness

Adam Curtis is back again on the BBC which means there is some real thinking going on on the telly again.


Here is the link to the iplayer version streamed by the BBC that, I believe, won’t play in the United States – the same place which, ironically, is exactly where Mr Curtis’ work needs to be seen.

It’s hard to recommend that people should watch this as it is, in fact, so dense in places it needs to be watched twice.  But it is that good – twice it is.  Curtis again uses his cold war information film technique as he skips through and carefully selects his modern history. He gracefully draws the link between an American obsession with ‘justified self-interest’ as expounded by Ayn Rand in “Atlas Shrugged” and used as a social template by Alan Greenspan -to the policies of Clinton’s administration, leading to the collapse of the Indonesian and east Asian economies, impoverishing the East, tempting the 9.11 attacks, and how it culminated in the 2008 crash as America fooled itself that it’s economy was stable because it was driven by computers – when it was really China freezing their own currency to drive down prices and flood the American market with goods, using the dollars they gained, not to invest in their own economy but buy US bonds. The stability of the US ecomomy drove riskier and riskier atittudes until the system imploded… oh but there is a conspiracy of the elite financiers trying to save themselves behind it all.  Watch. Enjoy. Think.
Someone has kindly serialised it on YouTube:

Ayn Rand got a stamp of disapproval