In this remarkable, inspiring collection of essays, acclaimed writer and critic Olivia Laing makes a brilliant case for why art matters, especially in the turbulent political weather of the twenty-first century. Funny Weather brings together a career’s worth of Laing’s writing about art and culture, examining its role in our political and emotional lives. She profiles Jean-Michel Basquiat and Georgia O’Keefe, interviews Hilary Mantel and Ali Smith, writes love letters to David Bowie and Freddie Mercury, and explores loneliness and technology, women and alcohol, sex and the body.

With characteristic originality and compassion, she celebrates art as a force of resistance and repair, an antidote to a frightening … More

This book argues that British working-class urban culture was silenced in the period 1900 – 1950 and that the effects of this are still felt. The agencies of this silencing were state education, the BBC Radio and the commercialisation of working class cultural institutions (from 1850). The effects in my own life are picked up from the fifties onwards and some of the fightback against the hegemony of silencing is shown often with graphic pages. The style is a cross between lecture slides and Zine! So a lot of mini posters, and graphic pages.

“What does it feel like for a whole class to collectively loose its voice? Stefan Szczelkun’s Silence! is a careful tracking … More

A personal and global history in objects, Gillian Tindall traces the memories and meanings that accrue to the artefacts of human lives through time. Before ordinary doctors had access to accurate pocket watches, they timed a patient’s pulse with a 30-second sandglass. A ‘pulse glass’ was a functional piece of medical equipment, designed to measure a life, never intended to survive for centuries. But Gillian Tindall inherited her great-great-grandfather’s pulse glass, which holds the heartbeats of many by-gone generations and offers a portal to nineteenth-century Anglo-Irish life, to her grandmother’s marriage and the assorted fates of the next generation.

Most of the objects that surround us, no matter how important in their time, will eventually be lost and forgotten. … More

Working-class artists continue to be hugely underrepresented in the arts industries, though they make up a third of the British population. These professions are already notoriously hard to get into, but working class artists face extra challenges, from unpaid work reinforcing social disparity, to prejudice. How do we break this cycle of inequality in the arts? In Smashing It, leading musicians, playwrights, visual artists, filmmakers and writers share how they overcame obstacles, from the financial to the philosophical, to make it in the arts.

Edited by acclaimed poet and playwright Sabrina Mahfouz, it celebrates the achievements of working class artists in Britain, from the … More

Born OTD in 1903, German philosopher, sociologist, composer and psychologist, Theodor Adorno. The correspondence between Walter Benjamin and Theodor Adorno, must rank among the most significant to have come down to us from that notable age of barbarism, the 20th century. Benjamin and Adorno formed a uniquely powerful pair. Benjamin, riddle-like in his personality and given to tactical evasion, and Adorno, full of his own importance, alternately support and compete with each other throughout the correspondence, until its imminent tragic end becomes apparent to both writers. Each had met his match, and happily, in the other.

No other country and no other period has produced a tradition of major aesthetic debate to compare with that which … More

The Legacy of the Blues : A Glimpse into the Art and the Lives of Twelve Great Bluesmen. Samuel Charters is a musicographer, novelist, poet, and producer of jazz and blues records who for many years has also been seriously interested in every aspect of black music. His book, The Country Blues, was the first to be published on the subject.

He began making field recordings in the South in the early 1950s and has subsequently produced many recordings, both of … More

Book talk next Tuesday (21st May), at PM Bookshop, 6pm, with art historian, Christine Lindey. £3 tickets in advance (redeemable against purchase of book). ‘Art for All’ reveals a forgotten or marginalised area of 20th century British art. Christine Lindey delves into the fascinating treasure trove of British socially-committed art from the 30s through to the Cold War, and of which most people will be unaware. She demonstrates that the work of these artists deserves to be rediscovered and enjoyed.

In her lavishly-illustrated volume, she also examines the circumstances that turned these individuals into socially committed artists, often swimming against … More

The one & only Zadie Smith, prize-winning, bestselling author of Swing Time & White Teeth, is back with a second unmissable collection of essays. No subject is too fringe or too mainstream for the unstoppable Zadie Smith. From social media to the environment, from Jay-Z to Karl Ove Knausgaard, she has boundless curiosity & the boundless wit to match. In Feel Free, pop culture, high culture, social change & political debate all get the Zadie Smith treatment, dissected with razor-sharp intellect, set brilliantly against the context of the utterly contemporary, & considered with a deep humanity & compassion.

Out now in paperback. This electrifying new collection showcases its author as a true literary powerhouse, demonstrating once again her … More

This authorised yet heretical Haggadah from the infamous Jewdas collective propagates a multitude of dangerous ideas such as anarcho-socialism, the dismantling of nation-states and free pickles for all. Moreover it promotes Rabbi Geoffrey Cohen’s ideology of diasporism: that the promised land is not an overpriced piece of real estate in the Middle East but wherever people gather to ferment noisy and joyful revolution. Fully ready for use at your next Passover seder, this Haggadah also contains an authorised guide to Jewish practice in the late capitalist era, riotous songs, diasporic recipes, and assorted tips for surviving establishment Judaism.

Kosher for Jews and infidels alike, the Haggadah has been authorised and approved by Jeremy, Rabbi Krustofsky, Emma Goldman, Buddha, … More