Born OTD in 1943, writer & director of film & theatre, Mike Leigh. A keen observer of manners and mores, Mike Leigh has been hailed as a celebrator of “ordinary” people, yet it wasn’t until relatively recently that audiences have been able to appreciate the full body of his work. In discussing all his films from Bleak Moments & High Hopes through Naked, the Oscar-nominated Secrets and Lies & Topsy Turvy, to All or Nothing, Garry Watson considers this claim, examining the films’ influence & their effect.

At the same time, he takes on the very concepts of “the real” and “the ordinary” in regard to Leigh’s … More

Born OTD in 1942, English director, stage designer, gardener, and author, Derek Jarman. In 1986 the controversial film-maker Derek Jarman discovered he was HIV positive, and decided to make a garden at his cottage on the bleak coast of Dungeness, where he also wrote these journals. Looking back over his childhood, his “coming out” in the 1960s and his cinema career, the book is at once a volume of autobiography, a lament for a lost generation and a celebration of homosexuality.

In 1986 Derek Jarman discovered he was HIV positive and decided to make a garden at his cottage on the … More

Will Ashon tells, in 36 interlinked ‘chambers’, the story of Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) and how it changed the world. As unexpected and complex as the album itself, Chamber Music ranges from provocative essays to semi-comic skits, from deep scholarly analysis to satirical celebration, seeking to contextualise, reveal and honour this singularly composite work of art. From the FBI’s war on drugs to the porn theatres of 42nd street, from the history of jazz to the future of politics, Chamber Music is an explosive and revelatory new way of writing about music and culture.

New edition available in store and online.

A fascinating trip around the side streets and back to backs of working class cinema, exploring the British New Wave kitchen sink dramas of the 50s and 60s, such as Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, A Taste of Honey and This Sporting Life, to Kes, Quadrophenia and This is England. From stuffy post-war stereotypes to more ethnically diverse work and female orientated films, this is an unflinching look at a gritty sub-genre and its constant clashes with controversy, censorship and the establishment. If you’re a fan of challenging, unforgettable British movies, this book is it, all the rest is propaganda.

Andrew Graves is a poet and writer who regularly performs his work throughout the UK. His first full collection Light … More

‘Butterfly’s Tongue’ tells of the friendship between a schoolboy and an anarchist schoolmaster, born of a shared interest in animal and insect life, which is destroyed by the eruption of the Spanish Civil War in the summer of 1936. Other stories are woven around characters who appear in this central story. In ‘A Saxophone in the Mist’, a young musician discovers the meaning of music and of love in the face of a girl he meets one foggy night at a fair.

In ‘Carmina’ a boy listen as a man relates how a dog frustrated him in his attempts to woo his … More

Born OTD in 1936, British director of television & independent film, Ken Loach. Loach’s film Kes was voted the seventh greatest British film of the 20th century in a poll by the British Film Institute. Two of his films, The Wind That Shakes the Barley & I, Daniel Blake, received the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, making him the ninth filmmaker to win the award twice. Loach, a social campaigner for most of his career, believes the current criteria for claiming benefits in the UK are “a Kafka-esque, Catch-22 situation designed to frustrate & humiliate the claimant to such an extent that they drop out of the system & stop pursuing their right to ask for support if necessary”

The Cinema of Ken Loach examines the connection between art and politics that distinguishes the work of this leading British … More

Slavoj Zizek, the maverick philosopher, author of over 30 books, acclaimed as the “Elvis of cultural theory,” and today’s most controversial public intellectual. His work traverses the fields of philosophy, psychoanalysis, theology, history and political theory, taking in film, popular culture, literature and jokes–all to provide acute analyses of the complexities of contemporary ideology as well as a serious and sophisticated philosophy. His recent films The Pervert’s Guide to the Cinema and Zizek! reveal a theorist at the peak of his powers and a skilled communicator.

Now Verso is making his classic titles, each of which stand as a core of his ever-expanding life’s work, available … More

Born OTD in 1949, Slovenian philosopher, Slavoj Žižek. Enjoy Your Symptom! commands the title Slavoj Žižek’s classic work of cultural criticism. And the title is just the first of the many startling asides, observations and insights that fill this guide to Hollywood on the Lacanian psychoanalyst’s couch.

Zizek introduces the ideas of Jacques Lacan through the medium of American film, taking his examples from over 100 years … More

My Song is an inspiring story of performance and protest, from a superstar singer and actor who was on the front lines of practically every progressive political battle in modern memory. Along the way, he befriended some of the most influential figures of the 20th century, from Tony Curtis, Marlon Brando and Sidney Poitier to Martin Luther King, the Kennedys, Eleanor Roosevelt, Fidel Castro, James Baldwin, Bob Dylan and Nelson Mandela.

From his impoverished childhood in Harlem and Jamaica, through his meteoric rise as an international calypso star, provocative crossover into … More