My Year in Consumption

The Bug. Leeds, 2008.

I was spoiled. For fifteen years, there wasn’t a day when a new book or CD didn’t arrive in the mail. Sent for review, at the magazines I edited, it was a very different era. Publishers could far more easily dispense with physical copy, for PR purposes, than they can today. I owe half of my library to this largesse.

Due to a combination of factors – the economic crisis, the transition to digital downloads – there’s a lot less free handouts today. If you want to consume new culture, despite all the bullshit about illegal file sharing, you’ve got to pay for it.

As both an editor who needs to keep up for work, and as a fan, I always find ways to do so, even though I’m a lot more discriminating, for financial reasons, than I used to be. I’d rather pay for my fix than not get it at all.

2013 was a surprisingly engaging year. Independent publishing, online, continued to improve. Mainstream cinema provided some surprising hits. Electronic music (at least the genres I like) remained interesting. I could go on. There was no shortage of creativity or inspiration.

In no specific order, here are the cultural moments that made my year more bearable.








972 Magazine

The New Inquiry

Equal Times



Revolting Subjects, by Imogen Tyler

Explore Everything, by Bradley L. Garrett

Soldier Box, by Joe Glenton

Corporate Europe, by David Cronin

The Immigrant War, by Vittorio Longhi




This Ain’t California, directed by Martin Persiel

The Patience Stone, directed by Atiq Rahimi

The Great Beauty, directed by Paolo Sorrentino

12 Years a Slave, directed by Steve McQueen

Blue is the Warmest Color, directed by Abdellatif Kechiche




Double Cup, DJ Rashad

Filthy EP, The Bug

YPLL, Retox

Control, Ital Tek

In St Cuthbert’s Time, Chris Watson



El Babor, Umm al-Fahm

Pizzeria Kiromina, Turin

Eat Drink Man Woman, Stuttgart

Azzam, Berlin

Marché highway rest stops, Switzerland


Photograph courtesy of Chris Hoyle. Published under a Creative Commons license.

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