Author Archives: Johnny Mindlin

About Johnny Mindlin

Johnny Mindlin, the producer, spent 10 years in high-end speech radio, producing book programmes, entertainment / review shows and politics/discussion shows. Tim Haigh is a radio presenter and broadcaster and books reviewer. He also writes for national papers on books and literature.

Graeme Garrard – How To Think Politically

Professor James Bernard Murphy and Graeme Garrard – Bloomsbury: £10.49 In an overview of the great political thinkers of the ages, comprising thirty of the most trenchant minds in history, you would imagine that there would be room for the Sage of Hounslow. But for some reason Plato, Aquinas, Hobbes and Kant are all preferred to Tim Haigh, who doesn’t rate a chapter to himself. Go figure. “Politics”, wrote Lord Roseberry, “…is an evil-smelling bog.” It is the thesis of this brisk tour d’horizon that on the contrary, ideas matter in political discourse, and the writers pursue this notion with a kind of Plutarch’s lives of great philosophers. Highly readable, … Continue reading

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Mike Isaac – Super Pumped: The Battle For Uber

Mike Isaac – Norton: £19.99 It is not unusual in Silicon Valley for head office to lay on dinner for the employees. The cost is nugatory in these fabulously money-rich tech companies and it encourages people to work past quitting time, and eat before going home. It is typical of Travis Kalanick, founder of Uber, that he gave this practice a twist – he stipulated that dinner would not be served before 8:15 p.m. And that story is about the most benign thing we learn about him in Mike Isaac’s wonderfully lucid account of Kalanick and the business he built in his own monstrous image. Dazzling growth, commitment to excess, … Continue reading

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Ray Connolly – Sorry, Boys, You Failed The Audition

Ray Connolly – Malignon £7.95 “I’d like to say Thank You on behalf of the group and ourselves and I hope we’ve passed the audition.” John Lennon on the roof of the Apple Building on January 30th 1969 at the end of the last public Beatles performance. It had been the Greatest Show on Earth, but what if it hadn’t happened? What if the Beatles had not passed the vital 1962 audition with George Martin at Parlophone which got them their recording deal? As well as being a friend of the Beatles, Ray Connolly is exactly contemporary with them, and comes from the same part of the world. He has … Continue reading

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Ross Barnett – The Missing Lynx – The Past And Future Of Britain’s Lost Mammals

Ross Barnett – Bloomsbury £16.99 15,000 years ago, Britain was a very different place. The ice age was ending, and the country was lush and untamed. Sea level was then so low that Dogger Bank, in the North Sea, was then Doggerland, and our ancestors lived there, sharing the land with a dazzling variety of megafauna – big animals to you and me. And what a cast list – lions, wolves, woolly mammoths and rhinos, bears and bison and many more. For palaeontologist, Dr Ross Barnett, this was barely yesterday. Unlike the dinosaurs, people exactly like us met these animals and knew them. They have only just disappeared. By turns … Continue reading

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Robert Elliott Smith – Rage Inside The Machine – The Prejudice of Algorithms and How to Stop The Internet Making Bigots of us All

Robert Elliott Smith – Bloomsbury    £20.00   In the privacy of my complacency, I am pleased to count myself moderately bright – not Stephen Fry clever but, you know, able to tie my own shoelaces and read without moving my lips. So it is bracing for me to venture from time to time into areas of learning where I find myself very much the pedestrian, and the reason I do here is because I am very interested in the matter of how algorithms impact upon our lives and in the relation between artificial intelligence and human consciousness. Rob Smith is a bona fide expert in evolutionary algorithms. He has helped create … Continue reading

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Ben Burgis – Give Them An Argument: Logic For The Left

What is the purpose of debate? Is it to convince somebody, somewhere of something, or is it merely to undermine the other side and bolster your own prejudices? You may have noticed that political discourse is not always conducted in a civil and measured manner. Especially when the participants are physically removed from each other, say via journalistic writing or social media. In particular, right-wing polemicists are fond of throwing around terms like ‘libtards’, and claiming to have ‘crushed’ or ‘destroyed’ their opponents. There is an unattractive swagger to the claims of some of these people to have exclusive title to the use of logic. Ben Burgis, a philosophy PhD … Continue reading

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Joel Meadows – Masters Of Comics

We all have our guilty pleasures. Mine include horror films, prog rock and, for the purposes of this interview, comic books. For me it was American super-heroes: Batman and the Fantastic Four and speech balloons screaming, “Mortal, I say thee nay!” and “Not all my power can save me!” But actually, comic books have come a long way since the cheap paper and four-colour separation of my childhood. They are glossier, they are more detailed, much better presented, and much more expensive. Joel Meadows takes a tour of some of the finest and most illustrious practitioners of the art of graphic story-telling, bearding them in their lairs – or ‘studios’ … Continue reading

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Randy Ross – God Bless Cambodia

A man can travel well and he can travel badly*. The hero of Randy Ross’s God Bless Cambodia is on the ‘badly’ end of the scale. At 48 Randy Burns is tired of ‘the miserable game’ (dating). He has been laid off from his job. His friends are getting paired up and unavailable to him. And then in a bookshop he comes across a travel guide that promises marvels and delights if he were to take a four month tour of the world on the cheap. It is lying. A succession of red-eye flights takes Randy through South America, Europe, Africa and the far east, searching for romance, but more … Continue reading

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Julian Baggini – How The World Thinks

When we use the word ‘philosophy’ what we usually mean is “western philosophy’. But as the philosopher and bestselling author Julian Baggini points out in his new book, western philosophy accounts for only around 20% of the world’s population. Other peoples have other philosophical traditions, and as Dr Baggini argues, the underlying philosophical assumptions inform and shape the ways we think and live, even if we never consider them. Tim is perhaps the ideal reader for this book, insofar as he is fairly parochial in his philosophical outlook, and he found it stimulating to be asked to consider the bigger picture and see how other traditions chime with, contrast with, … Continue reading

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Ray Connolly – Being John Lennon

“Many people ask what are Beatles? Why Beatles? We will tell you. It came in a vision – a man appeared on a flaming pie and said unto them ‘From this day on you are Beatles with an ‘A’. Thank you, mister man, they said, thanking him.”  So wrote John Lennon, shortly before he became the most famous man on the planet. And that’s all the background you’re getting. Tim is a self-confessed Beatles anorak. Many people have Chekhov’s Revolver on their mantelpiece, but only Tim has Stanislavski’s Sgt Pepper and Dostoevsky’s Rubber Soul as well. And he is only too delighted to delve into the minutiae of John Lennon’s … Continue reading

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