Now And Then is not merely a collection of a songwriter’s lyrics; the song-poems of this undisputed ‘bluesologist’ triumphantly stand on their own, evoking the rhythm and urgency which have distinguished Gil Scott-Heron’s career. This collection of poems carries the reader from the global topics of political hypocrisy and the dangers posed by capitalist culture to painfully personal themes and the realities of everyday life.

His message is black, political, historically accurate, urgent, uncompromising and mature and as relevant now as ever. Available in store … More

Born OTD in 1914, English poet, novelist and screenwriter, Laurie Lee. A moving, never-before-published portrait of the landscape that shaped the life of Laurie Lee, the beloved author of Cider With Rosie’. Before I left the valley I thought everywhere was like this. Then I went away for 40 years and when I came back I realized that nowhere was like this. ‘Laurie Lee walked out of his childhood village one summer morning to travel the world, but he was always drawn back to his beloved Slad Valley, eventually returning to make it his home.

In this portrait of his Cotswold home, Laurie Lee guides us through its landscapes, and shares memories of his village … More

Born OTD in 1961, Rebecca Solnit. She has written on a variety of subjects, including feminism, the environment, social history, politics, place, landscape and art. In this acclaimed exploration of the culture of others, Rebecca Solnit travels through Ireland, the land of her long-forgotten maternal ancestors. “A Book of Migrations” portrays in microcosm a history made of great human tides of invasion, colonization, emigration, nomadism and tourism.

Enriched by cross-cultural comparisons with the history of the American West, “A Book of Migrations” carves a new route through … More

Born OTD in 1912, English mathematician, computer scientist, philosopher, & theoretical biologist, Alan Turing. Turing played a crucial role in cracking intercepted coded messages that enabled the Allies to defeat the Nazis in many crucial engagements, including the Battle of the Atlantic, & in so doing helped win the war. It has been estimated that this work shortened the war in Europe by more than two years & saved over 14 million lives. Turing was prosecuted in 1952 for homosexual acts; the Labouchere Amendment of 1885 had mandated that “gross indecency” was a criminal offence in the UK. He accepted chemical castration treatment, with DES, as an alternative to prison. Turing died in 1954, 16 days before his 42nd birthday, from cyanide poisoning..

Taking its cue from the arrest and legally enforced chemical castration of the mathematician Alan Turing, Murmur is the account … More

Orange Street has a mystical place in Reggae’s history. Set in the heart of downtown Kingston, Jamaica. Even to this day it stands somehow locked in time & space. The beat of the music ever changing & evolving. As politics, religion even the weather effect its course one thing remains a constant, Orange Street is central to the islands musical story. The Ska era of Jamaica’s sound time has told us can be dated from around 1962 to late 1966. The instigators being the big three producers of this period, Clement Coxonne Dodd, Prince Buster & Duke Reid.

The Rocksteady sound which ran a shorter more intense race between 1966 to 1968 would be Duke Reid’s to command.. … More

Coming soon, pre-order here. An exciting adventure set in revolutionary France which tells the true story of a swashbuckling hero Thomas-Alexandre Dumas, whose mother was an enslaved African woman and whose father was a French noble. Alex is happy living with his brothers and sister on his father’s farm on Haiti but his father wants to go back to France and can’t afford to take his mixed-race children with him.

Soon, Alex must fight for his freedom…and that of France. From a slave on the streets of Port au Prince … More

In Britain today, the government, media, judiciary and military are all led by an elite who attended private school. Under their watch, our society has become increasingly divided and the gap between rich and poor is now greater than ever before. Is this the country we want to live in? If we care about inequality, we have to talk about public schools.

Robert Verkaik issues a searing indictment of the system originally intended to educate the most underprivileged Britons, and outlines how, … More

Born OTD in 1944, German essayist, writer & academic, W. G. Sebald. At first The Emigrants appears simply to document the lives of four Jewish emigres in the 20th century. But gradually, as Sebald’s precise, almost dreamlike prose begins to draw their stories, the four narrations merge into one overwhelming evocation of exile & loss. Written with a bone-dry sense of humour & a fascination with the oddness of existence The Emigrants is highly original in its heady mix of fact, memory, fiction & photographs.

A concomitant theme is the impact of World War II and the Holocaust on German nationals, particularly on those of … More

Born OTD in 1945, keyboardist best known for his work with the Small Faces & the Faces, Ian McLagan. The band is remembered as one of the most acclaimed and influential mod groups of the 1960s. With memorable hit songs and one of rock’s first concept albums, they later evolved into one of the UK’s most successful psychedelic acts before disbanding in 1969. Lane, Jones and McLagan would later form The Faces with Rod Stewart and Ron Wood.

From the Beginning was the (unofficial) retrospective album released in June 1967. It’s a mix of A-sides, first album outtakes … More

Solnit became an Irish citizen in 1986 thanks to some “fancy detective work” by an uncle who tracked down her mother’s Irish roots. “I’ve been in hybrid California, world capital of amnesia, nearly all my life,” she says. The new passport gives her an opportunity to explore notions of identity, memory and travel as a stranger in a strange land. Although ostensibly a travelogue, Solnit’s wonderfully discursive text ranges far and wide, through the geography and history of Ireland, tourism, migration and travel. Descriptions of places and people segue into brilliant meditations on metaphor, exile and nomadism.

Her meeting with Ireland’s Travellers (“hated, isolated and sometimes admired”) is a painful reminder of the US civil rights issues … More