Adam Curtis

The Year In Documentaries

  Just as the literary world yielded some of its best surprises in non-fiction books this year, the top factual films have bested their fictional counterparts in terms of courage and originality. Fiction films have suffered from the black hole created by studio absence, but our attention has been shifted onto far more interesting material. […]

The Lockdown Diaries 4: Breathe In, Breathe Out

1. The Joy Of Illness I’m wary about the oversharing. To my mind Vivienne Haig-Wood could have just listened to her husband’s poems and gone to bed with a hot water bottle. To lower the paywall of the conscious mind and admit something serious to a fellow being is to impose upon them, however slightly. […]

New Ways Of Seeing Conflicts

There’s a bit of a war theme running through my head this week because of the Armistice commemorations, and the sense that the passing of one hundred years since ‘the war to end all wars’ might bring some sense of closure. I hadn’t watched the BBC documentaries made by Adam Curtis about post-war life for […]

Predicting The Future From The Past

The science fiction author JG Ballard predicted that writers would soon become obsolete. They would be like Victorian stock characters, with no discernible purpose in the world. He suggested that given external reality is now a fiction, you don’t need to invent it anymore. It’s an idea echoed by Adam Curtis, a Ballardian documentary-maker, here; […]


It means we live in a time when anything can happen at any given moment, and what’s more we’re so used to it that we cope by turning away from the world’s issues, knowing we can do nothing about them, and look inward instead to body and mind. It’s also the title of Adam Curtis’s […]

No Repression Of Expression

The appalling events in Paris are still unfolding after the Islamic extremists’ attack on the staff of Charlie Hebdo magazine, but one thing is clear; around the free world a deep sense of outrage is overcoming the usual liberal breast-beating. The attitude of ‘Why did we fail these people?’ is for once notable by its […]

Why People Can’t Be Trusted

For your delectation we present the billionaire Charles Koch, a key financier of the Heartland Institute, which apparently works to undermine the established science on climate change. The institute has built a reputation over the years for providing a forum for climate change deniers. It hosts lavish conferences of climate science doubters at expensive hotels […]

Hauntings and Nail Bars

I’ve mentioned documentary maker Adam Curtis here before, and over the last year I’ve managed to track down all of his extraordinary polemics-on-film that seem to have a very polarising effect on his viewers (argument is a good thing – there are too many tentative opinions on websites). Now he’s assembling a vast amount of […]

Watch The Skies!

Here’s a terrific read from Mark Pilkington’s Strange Attractor Press – there’s something about the books Mark chooses to publish; they manage to be esoteric and immensely readable. ‘Welcome To Mars’ by Ken Hollings is a timeline that marries America’s postwar conformist social development with its often irrational obsessions about the future, taking in UFOs, […]