Athletics tends to get very poor coverage outside of the OIympics.
All the better then for the existence of a free magazine, Spikes. To get a free subscription, sign up on line by clicking on free magazine here.
I have just received the Autumn 2008 issue, which comes (predictably) with Usain Bolt on the front cover. Other articles covered include the sporting rivalry between Sweden and Finland, an insight into the drugs testing process - sadly not authored by Linford Christie - and interviews with Lance Armstrong and Blanka Vlasic.
Only in Britain could somebody really have the nerve to be touring University campuses giving lectures headed "What's Wrong With British Democracy - A Talk By Baroness Ros Scott".
Perhaps one of the things that is wrong is we still have Barons, Lords, Dukes, Duchesses and Baronesses. Only this month Lord Mandelson has returned to one of the most important positions in British politics, unelected, when there is probably no constituency in the whole of the UK that would democratically elect the sultan of spin. Some democracy!
Issue 95 of the UK's best selling Anarchist publication, Class War, is out now!
Given the current climate, what better time to lobby against bankers and in favour of a 'fair price' for goods from supermarket giants such as Tesco? Other articles include the on-going struggle against an expanding far-right in Italy, the loss of Walthamstow dog track, the usual collection of bent, incompetent and overweight cops, plus news of the fight to hold community spaces in Copenhagen.
Class War can be ordered on-line from the CW website, picked up in many branches of Borders across the UK, and in London from political bookshops such as Freedom and Housmans.
Had I been alive on 22 October 1844, I would have spent much of the day roaring with laughter.
Religions by necessity like to keep their predictions vague. This is after all a field where no one likes to be caught out.
In the United States however, the early 1840s saw a Christian movement build up that believed the second coming was about to occur, and a specific date was even chosen - the 22nd October.
It never happened, unless of course Jesus did come down, had a quick gander, decided he did not really like the look of the place, and shuffled off back where he came from! Read about the Great Disappointment here.
The autumn 2008 issue of Black Flag was launched in London last week. Britain's premier class struggle Anarchist magazine seems to be going from strength to strength.
Issues covered include the attempts to develop a 'green' capitalism, titan jails, radical pamphlets, and a rare but timely Anarchist analysis of wage plans under capitalism. Anarchists talking about economics - whatever next!
A second analysis of contemporary fascism and anti-fascism, that I wrote with Kaf, has also been published. I will stick it on this blog at some stage, but in the meantime there is nothing to stop you going out and buying the magazine!
Black Flag is available in London bookshops such as Freedom and Housmans, and can be ordered worldwide from AK Press.
The Internet has a remarkable ability to fuse together opposing ideologies.
The video below is a classic example. The track 'Land of the Gun' is by Immortal Technique, a Peruvian born Marxist who lives in Harlem (!). Someone has taken one of his best tracks, and added it to a what appears to be a Hezbollah propaganda video, with lots of bearded figures running around Lebanese hillsides and sticking it to the Israelis. After a couple of minutes the track switches from English to Arabic - if anyone knows what is being said, do tell me!
I can't quite imagine too many New York Hispanics prospering in the sort of society Hezbollah would create (or perhaps more accurately are creating in Lebanon) but in the virtual world of the Internet, individuals like Immortal Technique and groups like Hezbollah merge, if only for a few minutes.
I'm now four weeks into my PhD, comparing contemporary Islamist terrorism with historical Anarchist terrorism.
For those not in the know concerning Anarchist history, the period from approximately 1870 to roughly 1930 saw a series of attacks (and at times outrages) that led to Anarchists being seen as an international threat to the established order, in a way that Al Qaeda are arguably seen today.
The Italian Anarchist Luigi Galleani was briefly as feared in the United States as Osama Bin Laden has been in more recent years. In the period from 1892 to 1901 Anarchists managed to account for the heads (literally) of the heads of state in the US, France and Spain, yet within a generation Anarchist terrorism was little more than an historical curiosity.
Those tracing Islamist violence often begin with the Western sponsored campaign in Afghanistan from 1978, as the US allied with the Mujahideen to bring down the Soviet's puppet state. (And yes I did write 1978 deliberately, the US strategist Zbigniew Brzezinski has acknowledged America was interfering in Afghanistan before the Soviet invasion)
I personally consider Islamist terrorism has to be traced back to, at the very least, the worldwide Islamist resurgence that has been running since at least 1970 - on that at least, Samuel Huntingdon is probably correct. Some, travelling through the historical works of the Egyptian Brotherhood, the Deobandis or the Wahhabis, would go back even further.
So its three long years of reading books about men with beards for me. I welcome comments, cuttings and criticism on my research areas from any visitors to this blog. As I begin my studies, the October 2008 issue of Terrorism and Political Violence has run an article by James L Gelvin that "situates Al Qaeda and similar jihadi movements within the category of Anarchism".
I can't quite imagine Luigi Galleani and Osama Bin Laden sharing a glass of Peroni together, but given the sheer volume of books and articles on Al Qaeda that are out there, I guess something along these lines was inevitable..........
This summer saw the closure of yet another second hand bookshop in London - Porcupine Bookcellar, which was in the basement at Housmans on Pentonville Road.
Even before the Internet changed the book trade so dramatically, the second hand book business was dying in the capital. The one plus point about Porcupine switching to Internet based trade is that for once something useful has emerged in its place - the Public Reading Rooms.
Here an archive is being created that can serve as a resource for Londoners, activists, researchers and - hopefully - those who simply want to come in for a warm and read something other than The Guardian. Is Andrew Burgin about to prove that Trots can actually get something right............