MICHEL Rosell gathers up a mass of papers and divides them into two piles. On the left are bills: a single sheet. On the right is a sheaf of letters from friends and lovers. “If the pile of letters is growing faster than the pile of bills, you’re on the right track,” says Rosell. “If it’s the other way round, you’re on the wrong track. It’s not that hard, the revolution I’m proposing…”
This article first appeared in The Guardian on 11 October 2020. To continue reading, click here.
THE animals have been found missing ears and genitals, with eyes torn out, or deep, clean cuts to their bodies. The recent spate of horse mutilations reported across France has provoked horror and outrage. Satanic cults have been mooted, or individual perpetrators engaged in copycat crimes. But what if the panic reveals more about our collective state of mind in 2020 than any new and twisted form of human behaviour…?
This article first appeared in The Guardian on 23 September 2020. To continue reading, click here.
THE French economist Thomas Piketty is the bestselling author of Capital in the Twenty-First Century (2013) and its follow-up, Capital and Ideology (2019), a sweep through 1,000 years of the history of inequality. Speaking to the Guardian, he said he had been thinking about the opportunities this pandemic may present to build fairer, more equal societies…
This article appeared in The Guardian on 12 May 2020. To continue reading, click here.
DID you notice? There was a moment when something shifted, and all topics of conversation besides Covid-19 started to sound trivial. Things will surely shift again, as people realise that the self-confinement could last and escapism becomes our collective goal, but for now Adam Kucharski’s The Rules of Contagion is the book you might want to reach for. Not least – given that the present pandemic is very much in the ascendant – for its subtitle: Why Things Spread – and Why They Stop…
This article first appeared in The Guardian on 25 March 2020. To continue reading, click here.
PLAGUES – or, to use a more modern term, epidemics of infectious disease – pluck at our most primal fears. We have lived with them for at least 10,000 years, ever since our ancestors took up farming and built the first semi-permanent settlements. And they have always had the upper hand. They know us intimately, preying on our strengths – our sociability, our love of gossip – and turning them into weaknesses. They are always a step ahead, and once they are out, like the genie, we can’t get them back in. All we can do is limit the damage. So here we are again…
This article first appeared in The Guardian on 11 March 2020. To continue reading, click here.