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A northern man

As this story is released, the UK’s transitional deal with the EU will end, and we will step out, blinking and dazed, into a strange and unfamiliar world. For many of us, first the EEC and then the EU has been a low background thrum in our lives since childhood…


… it’s not about mushy peas

NO. IT’S NOT ABOUT WHAT THESE ARE CALLED EITHER (Source: Christopher Jones/Alamy via BBC)

I picked up Tom Hazeldine’s book on a whim while browsing in Waterstones in Newcastle, a city which crops up a fair amount on the course of his discussions about the fractious and complex relationship between the UK’s regions. Let’s be clear from the outset, it’s not exactly a light…


Taking one for the team. You’re welcome

Just because you can make a film that is basically Buddhist Fast & Furious Highlander it really doesn’t mean you should.

Ok, ok. It’s Saturday afternoon, and I was bored, so it was either this or another cookery show. I decided to jump in, purely for the purposes of science…


Stockton ARC Sept 30 2021

Pre-show

Mark Thomas hasn’t been out much recently, he tells us early in the show. Neither have I, if we’re being honest. I’ve not been to ARC for over a year, but here I am, sitting in the stalls. But you can tell he’s been caged up, because he bounds out…


Keir Starmer has apparently published a pamphlet laying out his vision for a future Britain. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your point of view) he did this on the day the Prime Minster tried to lead an address on climate with a God-awful Muppet reference, and the current and previous…


Every year it comes around quicker …

Each year, around about this time, I write a little article (like for 2020, 2019, 2018, and 2017) that, just for a bit of fun, briefly points out the little disconnects in the generations between those of us working in HE, whether in teaching or in some other capacity, and…


source: Amazon.co.uk

A few nights ago I was watching a documentary about Jo Brand’s career and part of the discussion centred around what makes a comedian. Brand said that somewhere in most comedian’s lives is something tied to a sense of loss; there’s something missing that they are trying to make up…


Dorman Long Tower, photographed from the train. Decmber 2014

One of the most effective ways to destroy a community is to destroy its culture, and any collective memory it has of itself.

This weekend the Dorman Long Tower will probably be demolished, likely as not under skulking cover of night after the newly appointed Secretary of State of Culture…


… as Long As It’s White And It’s English

Desmond’s cast photo. Source: BFI

According to some news reports this morning, the DCMS(1) will issue guidance to Ofcom to ensure the “Britishness” of content, and that programmes made by public service broadcasters not be too “international” or “generic”. This was announced in a speech at the Royal Television Society Convention by the Media Minister…


… and Why Is It Seemingly Such a Mess Right Now?

Dunelm House from the river. (own photo, June 26 2021)

The Durham University newspaper, Palatinate, recently published an opinion piece, that found its way into my twitter feed this morning. I thought I’d write about it, from the perspective of someone who is an alumnus, and is a current member of staff. I will insert the obvious disclaimers here: this…

Darren Stephens

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