Past in the Present

As quick as I can, some Days of Dial-Up posts respond to events, occasions, anniversaries, and things that crop up in the news where there’s a hidden, or misunderstood, history. Not the hottest of takes, by any means, and hopefully they don’t date too quickly either.

2017 in History: The Cockroach and the Bee
31st December 2017
Futuristic cockroach museums meet hope for the year ahead
john redwood two

Recognising Kosovo*
29th October 2017
As Catalonia strives to go it alone, a look at how Europe’s newest country has fared

“What a Time to be Alive”
1st July 2017
Jaded review of Rustler’s advert, in a life of diminishing returns.


“This is the Past That’s Mine:” Manic Street Preachers Play Everything Must Go at the Royal Albert Hall, 17th May 2016 
2nd August 2016
Forever-delayed gig review about keeping a bereavement of the past alive

manics dfl

I Never Died, Says He: Tayo Aluko in “Call Mr. Robeson”
21st April 2015
A night at the one-man theatre, where Paul Robeson came to sing and tell us his story

Tayo and Paul

A Jury for the 96
8th April 2016
As the Goldring Inquiry’s Jury is sent to consider its verdicts, a look at the struggle to overcome historical myths about Hillsborough to achieve legal justice.


The Strange Death of King Coal
18th December 2015
Eulogy for the end of British deep mining, worrying about the future of mining towns.

Big K

1983 and its Misuses: Jeremy Corbyn and the “Lessons of History”
12th August 2015
From the midst of the Labour leadership context, and inspired by the wealth of terrible uses of British history for political gain.

Ed stone

“Houses as Ruins, and Gardens as Weeds” – Manic Street Preachers Reprise The Holy Bible, 1st June 2015
8th June 2015
Gig review turned ’90s cultural history, 20th century political memory.
holy bible

Skeleton Women: The British habit of sliding head-first down icy slopes
13th February 2014
Live from Sochi 2014, celebrating Lizzie Yarnold, Amy Williams, Shelly Rudman, and Alex Coombes.
Skeleton Women