First of all, I hope I am the last to wish you a happy 2010 (and new decade, come to that).
This new edition contains two feature-length articles: a comparison of two West Country artists—William Barnes and Alfred Wallis—by Paul Flux, and Fred Donnelly's look at George Orwell's sceptical attitude to the supernatural, which contrasts with a fascinating new reference work on English magic, reviewed by Alex Betts in our non-fiction section.
The important new study Forced Journeys, about refugee artists in England during World War II, is reviewed by Paul in the Art section. It captures the difficulties of settling in a new country, as does Andrea Levy's masterful Small Island, recently made into a superb BBC dramatisation. English whimsicality and humour are explored in Paul's review of a new monograph on the artist Peter Blake, One Man Show.
In this edition we are very pleased to welcome Neil Jackson, from Tyne and Wear, with two articles on Chris Petit, the master of psychogeography. Robinson portrays a literary bounder who has also made appearances in French literature, while Radio On is a fascinating evocation of a depressed seventies England, available from the BFI. The BFI have also put out a new release of Winstanley, one of the most inspiring films I have seen in a while, and an extraordinary example of dogged independent film-making.
The photography section is quite plump this time. Alex Betts reviews Simon Roberts' hotly anticipated We English, a study of the English at play which has echoes of J B Priestley's famous travelogue English Journey. In non-fiction, Jenny Hodgson looks at the significance of the latter in the context of thirties culture and politics. There are also interviews with two very different photographers. Justin Partyka's lyrical but naturalistic work is rooted in the East Anglian landscape, while Rankin's stylised, glossy images could not be more London.
Music fans will not be disappointed with Em Marshall's bumper crop of reviews of the latest English music releases ranging from well-known to more obscure composers, while James Turner provides reviews of folk and rock releases, including an album from the marvellously-named Thunderclap Newman, responsible for the eerie 1969 hit Something in the Air.
Finally, in Diversions there are some suggestions for those who like museums about people, and links to archive footage from the BFI. Happy reading.--The Editor