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The Faber Book of Children\’s Verse
Janet Adam Smith (Faber 1963)
I still have my copy of this book with my childish ten-year-old’s signature written in it. It was the book that introduced me to poetry and I used to devour it in my room. I would recite it over and over again – poems by people like Lord Macauley, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Hilaire Belloc, William Blake, Shakespeare, among so many others. The primary school I went to had a poetry competition every year. You had to learn a poem and I thought if I learnt the longest poem I could find they would have to give me the prize. So I spent hours learning the whole of The Revenge by Tennyson and can still quote most of it to this day. ‘At Flores in the Azores Sir Richard Grenville lay …’ I didn’t win the prize, no doubt on account of me making everyone listen to something for such a long time.
Hergé (Le Petit Vingtieme 1929-1983)
This is probably not a very politically correct book to have listed in a publication like Red Pepper but I wasn’t aware of the implications of Hergé’s politics when I read it. The thing about it was that I read it in French and it was a brilliant way to learn the language because the pictures were such vivid illustrations of the words and it was always a cracking good yarn. When my sons were very young I read the stories to them, in English, and, similarly, it was a great way for them to learn how to read. I read all the stories, many times over, to all three of them. I could probably walk away with the Mastermind prize with Tintin as my subject.
Crime and Punishment
Fyodor Dostoevsky (Penguin Classics 1866)
I was knocked out by this book when I first read it. It revolves around the murder of a hated female moneylender by an impoverished student Raskolnikov, who struggles to justify his act on the grounds that he is a superior being, and by killing the old woman he is doing the world a service. The murder occurs early in the story and the main body of the novel examines the delirious state of Raskolnikov’s mind and the psychological battle with the detective trying to solve the case.
Burnt Norton, one of The Four Quartets
T S Eliot (Faber and Faber 1935)
To me this is the greatest attempt by any English writer to communicate the ideas of eastern, particularly Buddhist, religions of living in the present. He plays about with Time in a beautiful, profound, poetic way, always coming back to the notion that the only real exisitence is in the Now. But he doesn’t merely do it in an intellectual way, he somehow manages to give you a glimpse of the physical feeling of what it is like to truly live in the moment, even while acknowledging that there aren’t really the words to describe an experience that is, essentially, beyond words. ‘What might have been and what has been point to one end, which is always present.’
Harold Pinter (First performed in 1960)
I think I can fairly say that seeing The Caretaker for the first time in 1960 was the most memorable evening I’ve ever had in the theatre. Suddenly, for the first time, someone was creating characters who spoke in a way that I recognised from the street. They were real to me in the sense that they faltered, they hesitated, they weren’t always articulate, they were inconsistent. There was poetry in their everyday speech. And above all they were hilariously funny. I got hold of a text as soon as I could, and in the course of time have played all three of the characters in the play. I’ve performed in several of Pinter’s other plays and its been a rare privilege to have got to know and work with someone who had such a massive impact on me as a student.
The London A-Z
The A-Z Map Company
This might seem a flippant choice but in fact I’m a bit of a map obsessive and I’ve probably spent more time looking at this one than any other, by virtue of the fact I live in London. I love poring over maps and planning routes, almost to the extent that I prefer it to actually going there. Somehow its just as interesting to me to see that contour mark on the Ordnance Survey as to actually experience it. There’s something about a map that promises all kinds of possibilities that aren’t neccessarily always fulfilled when you get there.
The Magical Child
Joseph Chiltern Pearce (Plume 1992)
This is a seminal work that was something of a bible for my wife and myself when we were bringing up our children. Essentially it’s a book that acknowledges the innate intelligence of a baby before and after birth and encourages the parent to let the child develop its abilities at an appropriate pace, to trust in its own instinctive survival mechanisms and to explore the physical nature of the world without fear.
The Collected Works of William Shakespeare
I used to give puppet performances of Shakespeare as a child and he’s been a friend to me ever since. I’ve been wrestling with the infinite complexities and subtleties of the iambic pentameter and I’m always going back to the ones I love, and to the sonnets. I’m still surprised at how many of his phrases and sayings have become a staple of the English language.
Roger Lloyd-Pack is perhaps best known for his roles as Trigger in Only Fools and Horses, Owen Newitt in The Vicar of Dibley, the evil John Lumic in Dr Who and Barty Crouch in Harry Potter. He is currently working on a new comedy.
His selections can be purchased here.
A portion of the sales from purchases made through Red Pepper/Eclector’s book store contribute money to Red Pepper. Not all titles are available.
The Spanish state is seizing ballot papers and raiding meetings, write Ignasi Bernat and David Whyte – but it is being met with united resistance
The crunch executive meeting ahead of Labour conference agreed some welcome changes, writes Michael Calderbank, but there is still much further to go
Dipesh Pandya speaks to documentary film-maker Sanjay Kak, who for 30 years has been working outside the mainstream to tell a story rooted in the struggles of those excluded by India’s militarism and its narrative of neoliberal growth
Jeremy Gilbert on how radical Labour politics can be inspired by the utopianism of the counterculture
Disasters have unequal impacts – it's the poor and marginalised who suffer most. David Harvey writes on Hurricane Harvey
Survivors of the fire are still relying on thousands of community volunteers, writes Dan Renwick - but the failed council is plotting a comeback
What if it's not us who are sick, asks Rod Tweedy, but a system at odds with who we are as social beings?
The people could reach a democratic and non-violent solution if they were freed from US meddling, argues Boaventura de Sousa Santos
A decade after the start of the crash, economic power is in our hands – we must take it, writes Ann Pettifor
Acid Corbynism’s next steps: building a socialist dance culture
Matt Phull and Will Stronge share more thoughts about the postcapitalist potential of the Acid Corbynist project
Flooding the cradle of civilisation: A 12,000 year old town in Kurdistan battles for survival
It’s one of the oldest continually inhabited places on earth, but a new dam has put Hasankeyf under threat, write Eliza Egret and Tom Anderson
New model activism: Putting Labour in office and the people in power
Hilary Wainwright examines how the ‘new politics’ needs to be about both winning electoral power and building transformative power
What is ‘free movement plus’?
A new report proposes an approach that can push back against the tide of anti-immigrant sentiment. Luke Cooper explains
The World Transformed: Red Pepper’s pick of the festival
Red Pepper is proud to be part of organising The World Transformed, in Brighton from 23-26 September. Here are our highlights from the programme
Working class theatre: Save Our Steel takes the stage
A new play inspired by Port Talbot’s ‘Save Our Steel’ campaign asks questions about the working class leaders of today. Adam Johannes talks to co-director Rhiannon White about the project, the people and the politics behind it
The dawn of commons politics
As supporters of the new 'commons politics' win office in a variety of European cities, Stacco Troncoso and Ann Marie Utratel chart where this movement came from – and where it may be going
A very social economist
Hilary Wainwright says the ideas of Robin Murray, who died in June, offer a practical alternative to neoliberalism
Art the Arms Fair: making art not war
Amy Corcoran on organising artistic resistance to the weapons dealers’ London showcase
Beware the automated landlord
Tenants of the automated landlord are effectively paying two rents: one in money, the other in information for data harvesting, writes Desiree Fields
Black Journalism Fund – Open Editorial Meeting
3-5pm Saturday 23rd September at The World Transformed in Brighton
Immigration detention: How the government is breaking its own rules
Detention is being used to punish ex-prisoners all over again, writes Annahita Moradi
A better way to regenerate a community
Gilbert Jassey describes a pioneering project that is bringing migrants and local people together to repopulate a village in rural Spain
Fast food workers stand up for themselves and #McStrike – we’re loving it!
McDonald's workers are striking for the first time ever in Britain, reports Michael Calderbank
Two years of broken promises: how the UK has failed refugees
Stefan Schmid investigates the ways Syrian refugees have been treated since the media spotlight faded
West Papua’s silent genocide
The brutal occupation of West Papua is under-reported - but UK and US corporations are profiting from the violence, write Eliza Egret and Tom Anderson
Activate, the new ‘Tory Momentum’, is 100% astroturf
The Conservatives’ effort at a grassroots youth movement is embarrassingly inept, writes Samantha Stevens
Peer-to-peer production and the partner state
Michel Bauwens and Vasilis Kostakis argue that we need to move to a commons-centric society – with a state fit for the digital age
Imagining a future free of oppression
Writer, artist and organiser Ama Josephine Budge says holding on to our imagination of tomorrow helps create a different understanding today
The ‘alt-right’ is an unstable coalition – with one thing holding it together
Mike Isaacson argues that efforts to define the alt-right are in danger of missing its central component: eugenics
Fighting for Peace: the battles that inspired generations of anti-war campaigners
Now the threat of nuclear war looms nearer again, we share the experience of eighty-year-old activist Ernest Rodker, whose work is displayed at The Imperial War Museum. With Jane Shallice and Jenny Nelson he discussed a recent history of the anti-war movement.
Put public purpose at the heart of government
Victoria Chick stresses the need to restore the public good to economic decision-making
Don’t let the world’s biggest arms fair turn 20
Eliza Egret talks to activists involved in almost two decades of protest against London’s DSEI arms show
The new municipalism is part of a proud radical history
Molly Conisbee reflects on the history of citizens taking collective control of local services
With the rise of Corbyn, is there still a place for the Green Party?
Former Green principal speaker Derek Wall says the party may struggle in the battle for votes, but can still be important in the battle of ideas
Fearless Cities: the new urban movements
A wave of new municipalist movements has been experimenting with how to take – and transform – power in cities large and small. Bertie Russell and Oscar Reyes report on the growing success of radical urban politics around the world
A musical fightback against school arts cuts
Elliot Clay on why his new musical turns the spotlight on the damage austerity has done to arts education, through the story of one school band's battle
Neoliberalism: the break-up tour
Sarah Woods and Andrew Simms ask why, given the trail of destruction it has left, we are still dancing to the neoliberal tune
Cat Smith MP: ‘Jeremy Corbyn has authenticity. You can’t fake that’
Cat Smith, shadow minister for voter engagement and youth affairs and one of the original parliamentary backers of Corbyn’s leadership, speaks to Ashish Ghadiali
To stop the BBC interviewing climate deniers, we need to make climate change less boring
To stop cranks like Lord Lawson getting airtime, we need to provoke more interesting debates around climate change than whether it's real or not, writes Leo Barasi