A State of Denmark
by Derek Raymond
£7.99 Serpent’s Tail
published 18 January
Cult crime novelist Derek Raymond wrote this dystopian novel in the mid 1960s. It concerns a future England where an openly fascist regime has taken power, led by Jobling, a former Labour politician.
He breaks the trade unions and expels all non-whites. Scotland and Wales declare independence.
As Tony Blair’s Iraq debacle continues and the scapegoating of Muslims accelerates, it’s not hard to see why publishers felt it was time to revive the book. It is well written, gripping and worth reading.
But, like George Orwell’s 1984, it is relentlessly gruelling and downbeat, if lacking the imaginative range of the more famous book.
director Nikolai Lebedev
DVD released 5 February
£19.99, Nouveaux Pictures
The Star is a conventional war film but one with a crucial difference – it is a Russian film focusing on the Red Army’s war with Nazi Germany, the crucial major front in the Second World War.
It is adapted from a 1947 short story by Emmanuil G Kazakavich based on his own war time experiences. He went against the Stalinist trend by showing the war as it was rather than glorifying it.
The film centres on a group of scouts who have to go behind enemy lines to discover a possible German attack.
The Star was released in 2002 and achieved box office success in Russia. It comes from the same stable as Come and See (1985), a more interesting film. Out here on DVD, it is worth renting or buying.
Level 2 Gallery
Tate Modern, London
until 18 February
This free exhibition at the Tate Modern draws together works by eight artists with a common interest in politics, protest, the mass media and consumerism.
Highlights include classic political photomontages from the 1970s and 1980s by Peter Kennard.
These are showing alongside US artist Martha Rosler’s recent series of collages criticising the Iraq war, Bringing The War Home: House Beautiful (2004).