Editorial It's a cliché to say that terrible things happen when you least expect them, but the death of Alexander Flux, our art writer, in November of last year came as a massive shock to us. We were all in agreement that this edition should be dedicated to his memory. An obituary of Alex appears in the art section that he founded, along with a list of all his articles and a sample of his poetry. He was an extremely enthusiastic and hard-working staff member, and we wish that he were here to appreciate our big piece of news --a listing in the Arts and Humanities section of Intute, a database of "the best Web resources for education and research, selected and evaluated by a network of subject specialists" —and realise that a substantial part of the credit goes to him.
For obvious reasons, this edition is not as fat as usual. It contains an article by Simon Gooden, making his Albion debut, on the rural ideal and the English countryside in the decades after the Second World War, and a look at how George Orwell's views on Englishness changed during the course of the war itself. In the cinema section, Kamran reflects on English silent film in a review of A Cottage on Dartmoor, and I examine Night Mail and Distant Voices, Still Lives. Em provides a great number of album reviews in the classical section, while in folk and rock, James remembers the last Cropredy festival and evaluates recent traditional and pop releases. In books, Fred ponders a treatise on James Bond, that durable and puzzling symbol of Englishness (or Britishness?) and I review recent offerings from fiction to non-fiction, including David Mitchell's beautiful Black Swan Green and Arthur Aughey's The Politics of Englishness. We also have a number of interesting interviews in this edition: in art, Cathy Lomax of the Transition Gallery, who last year curated an exhibition with an English seaside theme; in books, Bryan Talbot, author of Alice in Sunderland, which investigates the Sunderland roots of the Alice books; and in the society section, Gustav Temple, editor of The Chap and nattily-attired man-about-town, who has much to say about English dandyism and contemporary sartorial timidity, and outlines his unusual vision of a new England.--The Editor