cover photo


more Le Guin

 Xerta last edited: Mon, 23 Apr 2018 01:01:56 +0200  
A fine contribution. Robert Graham's Blog being good as usual.

Robert Graham's Anarchism WeblogRobert Graham's Anarchism Weblog wrote the following post Wed, 24 Jan 2018 06:47:08 +0100
Ursula Le Guin (1929 – 2018)
Ursula Le Guin (1929 – 2018)

Robert Graham's Anarchism Blog: a Tribute to Ursula Le Guin (1929-2018)
I love her Earthsea saga very much. Read the books a few times, every few years again.
I just went looking for something new to read and discovered The Dispossessed on my shelf.
heroes dropping like flies

 Xerta last edited: Wed, 21 Mar 2018 00:15:23 +0100  
Yesterday it was Ursula K Le Guin. Today it's Mark E Smith.

So read The Dispossessed or the Earthsea Quartet or The Left Hand of Darkness.

Go listen to anything by The Fall.

Grieve at genius flickering out and rejoice that we can still taste its fruits .

#ursulakleguin #markesmith #themightyfall
 music  books
And Grant Fell, bass player. Though I don't know if the headless chooks got much airplay outside the South Pacific.

Headless Chickens - Do The Headless Chicken
by Scott Anderson on YouTube
  last edited: Mon, 05 Feb 2018 23:59:18 +0100  
So here are a few of the things I've stumbled upon that haven't appeared in the @Anarchism News channel:

From Robert Graham's consistently great Anarchism Weblog: Ursula Le Guin (1929 – 2018).

The Washington Post (meh) obituary: Ursula K. Le Guin, grande dame of science fiction, dies at 88.

The Village Voice appreciation: In Celebration of Ursula Le Guin’s Fantastic Legacy.
And more will be coming on MES, but you knew that I suspect ;-)
bloody awful news

 Xerta last edited: Wed, 21 Mar 2018 01:07:29 +0100  
This is for me as shocking and upsetting as Bowie or Prince or Cohen: Frank Delaney obituary. So re: Joyce will be an uncompleted masterwork. I am deeply saddened,
“The most eloquent man in the world" -- NPR
We had exchanged some thoughts on Twitter a few times.
  last edited: Wed, 21 Mar 2018 01:08:01 +0100  
Charles, if ever there was a more compelling reason to lose your podcast cherry, it's re: Joyce (even more than Mike Duncan's History of Rome).
Ben identifies with...

 Xerta last edited: Wed, 21 Mar 2018 12:39:51 +0100  
Hero time.

Pippi Longstocking: a feminist, an optimist and a free thinker


Author Emma Shevah explains why Astrid Lindgren’s free-spirited hero Pippi Longstocking inspired her as a child and still inspires her today
New Kate Sharpley Library Bulletin

 Xerta last edited: Wed, 21 Mar 2018 13:25:55 +0100  
Always on my read list. History from the bottom, which is of course how it should be, Note to self, put the whole archive in my dav... wrote the following post Wed, 15 Jul 2015 11:09:03 +0200

July 2015 Kate Sharpley Library Bulletin online

KSL: Bulletin of the Kate Sharpley Library No. 82-83, July 2015 [Double issue] has just been posted on our site.
The PDF is up at:
Contents list is at:

An Appeal to the Young: Some thoughts on a best seller by Barry Pateman
Two American anarchist newspapers online
La Nueve – 24 August 1944. The Spanish Republicans who liberated Paris by Evelyn Mesquida [Book review]
Death of Eduardo Escot Bocanegra, Andalusian libertarian shipped to the Nazi Camp in Mauthausen by Ángel del Rio
London Anarchist Bookfair 2015
Marcelino de la Parra, Anarcho-syndicalist Guerrilla from León by Antonio Téllez Solà
Help AK Press & Friends Recover from Fire
Thoughts on local anarchist newspapers in 1980s Britain
Colin Parker 1948-2015 by Nick Heath
International Anarchist Manifesto on the War [1915]
PGW joy

 Xerta last edited: Wed, 21 Mar 2018 18:57:02 +0100  
@Bookclub+  I'm back into the Mike and Psmith series as part of the on-going Wodehouse project. This is just such a great opening to a book:

Considering what a prominent figure Mr John Bickersdyke was to be in Mike Jackson's life, it was only appropriate that he should make a dramatic entry into it. This he did by walking behind the bowler's arm when Mike had scored ninety-eight, causing him thereby to be clean bowled by a long-hop.

Gutenberg: Psmith in the City
Tressell time

 Xerta last edited: Wed, 21 Mar 2018 21:17:24 +0100  
 parl  books
  last edited: Wed, 21 Mar 2018 21:16:55 +0100  
It's great. Superbly read.
what do you do after Widmerpool?

 Xerta last edited: Wed, 21 Mar 2018 21:23:16 +0100  
@Bookclub So my approximately once a decade flirtation with #powelldancing has run its course. I was going to go straight into the Gormenghast Trilogy again, but no. My reading cycle for the last period has been Powell, James Bond (on 13 of 14: The Man With The Golden Gun) and I've embarked on the Complete Works of HP Lovecraft for the first time. It seems going through the double horrors of Cthulu and Titus Groan at the same time might mentally scar me.

So I think I'm going to do some Game of Thrones for a bit and get back to PG Wodehouse when I've done with Fleming.
Typesetting by AA Stewart

 Xerta last edited: Thu, 22 Mar 2018 11:24:35 +0100  
I have a paper copy of this still (ie it survived the emigration cull). I am delighted to get an epub :-)

Typesetting by A. A. Stewart


Free epub digitized and proofread by Project Gutenberg.

schooling the elite

 Xerta last edited: Thu, 22 Mar 2018 11:45:43 +0100  
I can't quite recall, but I think the whole of #powelldancing volume 1 is school related. Powell being Powell this is 1920s English public school and it got me thinking about PG Wodehouse. I've read all of PGW's school books before and a good portion of them in the last couple of years (they are on Project Gutenberg if you've not read them) and the thing is, if you disregard the fact that loads happens in Wodehouse and nothing does in Powell, the speech patterns, attitudes and other worldliness are exactly the same.This tells me that Wodehouse is probably a better writer (as opposed to comic author) than most give him credit for, especially when you consider that the school books are amongst his early work.

It also confirms a pre-existing prejudice that I have: the British ruling class of the first half of the twentieth century produced as much great literature as any other similar small, identifiable group in history. As a revolutionary anarchist I detest the whole bunch, but I can't stop reading them.

#pgw #gutenberg
Especially when writing about themselves.
  last edited: Thu, 22 Mar 2018 11:44:12 +0100  
And onward we head into volume 2: A Buyer's Market.
colons & believable smoking habits

 Xerta last edited: Thu, 22 Mar 2018 11:52:27 +0100  
Things that struck me whilst reading today.

1: Anthony Powell uses an unfeasibly large number of colons. And runs them on in sentences in a way I don't recollect any other writer doing. This is the first of many examples, from page 1:

The image of Time brought thoughts of mortality: of human beings, facing outward like the Seasons, moving hand in hand in intricate measure: stepping slowly, methodically, sometimes a trifle awkwardly, in evolutions that take recognisable shape: or breaking into seemingly meaningless gyrations, while partners disappear only to reappear again, once more giving pattern to the spectacle: unable to control the melody, unable, perhaps, to control the steps of the dance.

2: I don't believe that James Bond who in chapter 1 (p13):

[...]lit his seventieth cigarette of the day[...]

Is the kind of man who in chapter 4 (p39) does this:

After a cold shower, he sat at the writing-table in front of the window. He looked out at the beautiful day and consumed half a pint of iced orange juice, three scrambled eggs and bacon and a double portion of coffee without sugar.


He lit his first cigarette, a Balkan and Turkish mixture made for him by Morlands of Grosvenor Street[...]

Hands up anyone who has ever had a proper smoking habit who waits till after a shower and breakfast before their first fag?
But those colons are bothering me.

In a Image/photo kind of way.
Now I've noticed it does make me do the "how would I punctuate it differently?" exercise. I'm firmly an em-dash believer, but then I'm not the bloke who wrote probably the most neglected cycle of novels in the English language, so what do I know?
The colon thing made me think about idiosyncratic typography and the like and so remembered reading this:

Schulz: The 5 Best Punctuation Marks in Literature


George Eliot’s em-dash — plus, T.S. Eliot’s ellipses ... (not to mention Vladimir Nabokov’s parentheses).
what I'm reading

 Xerta last edited: Thu, 22 Mar 2018 12:00:41 +0100  
Those paying attention will know I've just ploughed the whole of the Dune series. Felt like a slog towards the end. I have also been reading Terry Pratchett's Discworld series as in between light relief -- I've finished Wyrd Sisters (number 6) but I'm going to drop them for a while. Iot good enough to read one after the other after the other. Anyhow, as mentioned elsewhere this frees up spaces on my reading list and gives me the opportunity to start using Red a little more for book list purposes. Here it is then:

A Question of Upbringing, book one of the twelve-volume novel cycle A Dance to the Music of Time by Anthony Powell. I am reading this in conjunction with @Charles Roth MPC. I last read these in my late twenties and am very much looking forward to repeating the experience.

Casino Royale, the first of the James Bond novels by Ian Fleming. I've checked my reading list and realized that I have never got further than Goldfinger in the series which surprises me.
multiple reasons to reshare

 Xerta last edited: Thu, 22 Mar 2018 12:03:43 +0100  
1: Plug for Freedom.

2: Plug for Kate Sharpley Library.

3: Plug for the works of the late Albert Meltzer.

4: Lots of material for @Quotes

#freedom #katesharpleylibrary #albertmeltzer

Freedom Press wrote the following post Sat, 24 May 2014 16:10:19 +0200

A tribute to Albert Meltzer


Albert Meltzer: January 1920 – May 1996

May 2014 is the eighteenth anniversary of the death of Albert Meltzer. To mark it, the Kate Sharpley Library collective have put together this (small) collection of quotes to salute our comrade...
On Anarchism

“The Anarchism I advocated from the start, and never varied from is that born of the class struggle, which was certainly taken into account by philosophers but came out of the working class. It had a proud fighting history in the struggle against Statism and every exploitative system.”
I Couldn’t Paint Golden Angels page 174

“There was by now a major difference as to what Anarchism was all about. Either it was a marble effigy of utopian ideals, to be admired and defined and even lived up to by some chosen individuals within the framework of a repressive society, or it was a fighting creed with a programme for breaking down repression.”
I Couldn’t Paint Golden Angels
page 104
On the newspaper industry

“Fleet Street workers long held the cynical view that theirs is a lie factory and the extra money they get is like the extra for playing the piano in a whorehouse.”
‘Mirror to Maxwell’ Black Flag no.139 page 5

“Such were the restrictive practices denounced as being a restraint of the freedom of the press-lords to decide who should work and who shouldn’t that the management was not consulted as to our political reliability and the only test applied was whether we could do the job or not. This type of abuse of the employer’s natural rights was later held up by Tory propagandists as an example of union power at its worst.”
I Couldn’t Paint Golden Angels
page 170
On unions

“Nobody criticised the trade unions more than I did whilst they were powerful. I plugged syndicalism for over half a century and for what my powers were worth never spared the lash on bureaucracy and reformism. In the Nineties legislation and unemployment have reduced their power no less surely than was done in fascist countries abroad during the Thirties. I can now see the worst union was better than the best political party, and their faults were as nothing compared with the absence of any form of workers’ defence.”
I Couldn’t Paint Golden Angels page 373
On politics

“When the ambitious have power, they preach self-sacrifice by others.”
The Floodgates of Anarchy
(with Stuart Christie), PM press edition page 32

“The theme of politics is always the same – that one must work harder and get less.”
The Floodgates of Anarchy
(with Stuart Christie), PM press edition page 76

“What above all is the curse of leadership is not the leaders themselves, but agreement to being led blindly — not the faults of the shepherd but the meekness of the sheep.”
Anarchism: Arguments for and against (2nd ed.) page 59
On violence

“Most people, whether they admit it or not, are conditioned by the mass media, the neo-Church, and they deplore the type of violence that the state deplores and applaud the type of violence that the state practices.”
The Floodgates of Anarchy
(with Stuart Christie), PM press edition page 111

“It is obviously sometimes necessary to use violence, since laying down a code that says one may not use it in any circumstances leaves one helpless against attack. Everyone except an extreme pacifist would admit this, yet a different standard is laid down up for anarchists. It seems the official line, certainly the judicidal view, is they must either be believers in “mindless violence” or woolly-minded idealists, so-called “non-violent anarchists” or “violent” ones, as if 99.9 per cent recurring of the population were neither ultra-pacifists nor mad axe-wielders.”
I Couldn’t Paint Golden Angels page 256-7
On the Left

“In our day ‘the Left’ has changed from having any association whatever with the working class and even from State socialism to meaning a package-deal of reforms and attitudes generally expected of a ‘progressive’ person with no class connotation.”
Introduction to modern politics – Leftism Black Flag 146 17/12/1985 page 6
On ‘experts’

“Are we calling these intellectuals idiots? Who called these idiots intellectual?”
Liars and Liberals, Black Flag supplement page 3
On the meaning of ‘libertarian’

“The name ‘libertarian’ was still, at any rate in Spain, used only by the anarchists and syndicalists; the hi-jacking of the name by right wing private enterprise people not yet having become widely known outside the USA — it still signified ‘libertarian socialist’ as opposed to ‘State socialist’.”
I Couldn’t Paint Golden Angels
page 233
On the far right

“I moved in the early Seventies to a Greenwich council flat, and was there when a widely-advertised fascist march took place, passing a few streets away in Lewisham which had a high proportion of black residents. As usual, it was more a police demonstration guarding bussed-in fascists marching between their lines.”
I Couldn’t Paint Golden Angels page 290
On the political police

“Many subsequent experiences show that the British secret political police, if not the worst in the world, are the most secret. The writer C. S. Lewis says the greatest success of the Devil is to persuade people he doesn’t exist, which makes it easier to get them to obey him. I never had any experience of this, but it certainly applies to the secret political police. Perhaps Lewis was understandably confusing the two.”
I Couldn’t Paint Golden Angels
page 86
On history

“Our historical judgement was criticised as based only on anecdotal history from veterans but knowing how conventional history is concocted I doubt if it suffered from that.”
I Couldn’t Paint Golden Angels
page 182-3

“‘Research’ often means looking up dated reference books, and passing it off as knowledge.”
I Couldn’t Paint Golden Angels
page 166

“Working-class theoreticians who express and formulate theories are totally ignored as of no consequence: what they say is attributed to the next available ‘intellectual’.”
‘Only a few intellectuals’ Black Flag v3n19 page 7 April 1975

“The histories of whole peoples were wiped out for precisely the same reason that the history of the working class movement in recent times is wiped out: it does not suit the conquerors for it to be known, because traditions keep alive the spirit of revolt.”
Review of British syndicalism by Bob Holton, Cienfuegos Press Anarchist Review no.2 page 16 (1977)

Originally published at:

Gabriel García Márquez

 Xerta last edited: Thu, 22 Mar 2018 13:21:06 +0100  
Charles Roth MPCCharles Roth MPC wrote the following post Fri, 18 Apr 2014 21:03:37 +0200

RIP Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Read 10 Short Stories by Gabriel García Márquez Free Online (Plus More Essays & Interviews) - Open Culture

“Our independence from Spanish domination did not put us beyond the reach of madness,” said Gabriel García Márquez in his 1982 Nobel Prize acceptance speech. García Márquez, who died yesterday at the age of 87, refers of course to all of Spain’s former colonies in Latin America and the Caribbean, from his own Colombia to Cuba, the island nation whose artistic struggle to come to terms with its history contributed so much to that art form generally known as “magical realism,” a syncretism of European modernism and indigenous art and folklore, Catholicism and the remnants of Amerindian and African religions.
AFAQ v15.0

 Xerta last edited: Thu, 22 Mar 2018 16:36:41 +0100  
It will be in Sid shortly I suspect...

afaq's blog wrote the following post Tue, 18 Mar 2014 22:14:46 +0100

An Anarchist FAQ version 15.0 released (18/03/2014)


An Anarchist FAQ is now at version 15.0. This release is a revision of the appendix replying to David McNally's attack on anarchism and defend of Leninism:

read more
Rudolph Rocker book launch

 Xerta last edited: Thu, 22 Mar 2018 16:43:21 +0100  
If I was in London, I'd be going to this event:

Freedom Press wrote the following post Sat, 15 Mar 2014 06:51:06 +0100

BOOKLAUNCH: Anarchism and Anarcho-Syndicalism


Freedom Press is pleased to announce the upcoming launch of a new annotated edition of Rudolph Rocker’s key political essay on March 22nd at our Bookshop in Whitechapel, from 3pm.

Speakers at the event will include:
  • Journalist, NUJ activist and The Circled A radio show presenter Donnacha Delong
  • Anarchist historian Nick Heath, whose biographical series on the libcom website comes highly recommended.

About the author and book

Rocker may not be a household name today, but he should be.

The German-born thinker, writer and trade union agitator was a key figure in beating sweatshop labour in London and one of the most influential figures in the largest anarchist project ever devised — the International Working Men’s Association.

He intended Anarchism and Anarcho-Syndicalism to be a brief but thorough introduction to a complex creed and in 1948 he succeeded in creating a classic work which has been reprinted every decade since.

This new edition includes annotations expanding on the people, places and events mentioned by Rocker throughout his text, both to help place this highly intelligent piece back in its proper context and to aid further reading.

It also contains a short introductory biography of Rocker’s life written by former Freedom Newspaper and Black Flag Magazine editor Rob Ray.


For more retail/distribution information or to pre-order your copy, contact Freedom Press on 020 7247 9249, email, or visit the shop at 84b Whitechapel HIgh Street, London E1 7QX. The book can be ordered on this website.

The Art of Fiction -- Ursula K Le Guin

 Xerta last edited: Thu, 22 Mar 2018 18:08:33 +0100  
Paris Review - The Art of Fiction No. 221, Ursula K. Le Guin interviewed by John Wray

In the early 1960s, when Ursula K. Le Guin began to publish, science fiction was dominated by so-called hard sci-fi: speculative fiction grounded in physics, chemistry, and, to a lesser extent, biology. The understanding of technological progress as an unalloyed good went largely unquestioned; America was enjoying unprecedented prominence in world affairs, and the science fiction of what has come to be known as the “golden age” projected this same sense of exceptionalism onto the cosmos. The space adventures that filled the pages of Amazing Stories and The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction tended to be written by, for, and about white men, with only occasional nods to racial or gender (or, for that matter, species) diversity. Le Guin’s first novel, Rocannon’s World (1966), which featured a classic man of science as its hero, did little to upset the status quo. But a sea change was coming.

#ursulaleguin #redshare

Random open tab shared with Redshare Fireox/Iceweasel add-on :-)
epic fantasy

 Xerta last edited: Thu, 22 Mar 2018 18:10:20 +0100  
@zottel I remember you posting on Friendica about multi-volume epic that you had just finished and enjoyed immensely, but I can't remember what it was or who it was by. Care to refresh my memory?
browse my library

 Xerta last edited: Thu, 22 Mar 2018 18:10:54 +0100  
I thought it might be friendly to share libraries.

#calibre #epub #catalogue

nb: I will make the file more efficient in size and function as I tweak with Calibre.
  last edited: Thu, 22 Mar 2018 18:07:56 +0100  
I have read reset every ten years (though my read books list goes back virtually uninterrupted to 1975). It doesn't get tagged read if I haven't read it since 2006.
not Audible

 Xerta last edited: Thu, 22 Mar 2018 18:40:14 +0100  
Charles Roth MPCCharles Roth MPC wrote the following post Thu, 06 Feb 2014 21:10:03 +0100

LibriVox: free public domain audiobooks