Brief history of Britain's brilliant LARP television shows

To celebrate the return of The Crystal Maze, Richard Cobbett recaps Britain's odd history of LARP shows, which pioneered chroma-key and VR-based special effects when such things were strange and expensive—and not as strange and expensive as the sets they were superimposed upon.

All were brilliant but many were dreadful, and classics such as Knightmare seem to hover perpetually on the edge of being rebooted for a new generation. First up, though, is Richard Ayoade as the third host of Crystal Maze, previously helmed by Richard O'Brien (of Rocky Horror fame) and punk rocker and actor Edward Tudor-Pole.

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Watch: Jeremy Corbyn addresses Glastonbury

The eminently electable Jeremy Corbyn, whose exemplary, inclusive election manifesto rescued the Labour Party (including its traitorous establishment Blairite wing) from history's dustbin and delivered a brutal blow to the nasty Tory party, the man who is arguably the UK's Prime Minister in waiting, addressed a roaring crowd at the Glastonbury Festival, damning war, Trump, austerity and the pitting of one generation against another. It's a hell of a speech. Read the rest

2012: Tory Prime Minister David Cameron declares war on "Safety Culture"

The Conservative Party -- and free market ideologues -- have waged a long war on "safety culture," insisting it was a nonsensical, incoherent regulation that acted as a drag on every business except no-win/no-fee lawyers, who exploited these rules to victimise poor corporations with punishing lawsuits. Read the rest

London fire: just last year, Tory landlord-MPs rejected Labour's tenant safety law

The death-toll on London's Grenfell Tower fire continues to mount, it's worth remembering that there are no "natural disasters," only human disasters, created by people who weigh different interests in the balance and create policies based on the way the scales come up. Read the rest

The Tories' failed £1.2m social smear ads reveal callouses on our attention’s tender spots

The UK election didn't deliver the increased majority that PM Theresa May was seeking, but it wasn't for lack of trying: the UK Conservative party spent £1.2m on social media smear ads that painted Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as a terrorist sympathiser, a useful idiot for Scottish separatism, and an incompetent.

Newspeak House: East London's den of civic hackers

Newspeak House (AKA NWSPK) is a co-working space (with a few bedrooms!) in East London that houses an eclectic mix of civic hackers: people working to make British (and global) democracy more responsive, more representative, and more transparent. Read the rest

Britain's preferred car-loans are incomprehensible financialized garbage: what could go wrong?

Thinking of buying a car in the UK? Good news! You can get a personal contract purchase (PCP) and it will cost you less to buy a new Merc than it would to buy a used Ford Focus. Read the rest

What does Jeremy Corbyn stand for?

The 2017 UK Labour Manifesto has been hugely popular since it was leaked early last month, and young Britons registered to vote in droves after it got out. But what does it actually say? Read the rest

The electable Mr Corbyn

UK Theresa May called snap UK elections (after promising not to) in order to consolidate power in her own party, shutting up the MPs who didn't fall into line with her policies -- this was the same logic behind her predecessor David Cameron's decision to call a referendum on Brexit, and both banked on the idea that the UK electorate wasn't willing to vote for an "unthinkable" alternative in order to tell the establishment to go fuck itself. Read the rest

Birmingham, I'll see you today on the Walkaway tour! (then Hay, SF, NYC...) (!)

I could not have asked for a nicer crowd than the ones who turned up for last night's event at Liverpool One's Waterstones; now I'm looking forward to today's lunchtime signing at Birmingham Waterstones, on my way to tomorrow's Hay Festival event with Adam Rutherford. Read the rest

90,000 young Britons register to vote in one day

...and they're likely to vote for the "unelectable" Jeremy Corbyn, a guy significantly to the left of, say, Bernie Sanders, who has survived multiple attempts by the finance-capital wing of his own party to unseat him, and who is riding on a national wave of disillusionment with Thatherism, Neo-Thatcherism, and May-Thatcherism. Read the rest

Liverpool, I'll see you tonight on the Walkaway tour! (then Birmingham, Hay-on-Wye, San Francisco...) (!)

Thanks to everyone who came out for last night's final London event on the UK Walkaway tour, at Pages of Hackney with Olivia Sudjic; today I'm heading to Waterstones Liverpool One for an event with Dr Chris Pak, followed by a stop tomorrow at Waterstones in Birmingham and then wrapping up in the UK with an event with Adam Rutherford at the Hay Festival. Read the rest

London! I'll be at Pages of Hackney tonight with Olivia Sudjic! (then Liverpool, Birmingham, Hay...) (!)

Last night's sold-out Walkaway tour event with Laurie Penny at Waterstones Tottenham Court Road was spectacular (and not just because they had some really good whisky behind the bar), and the action continues today with a conversation with Olivia Sudjic tonight at Pages of Hackney, where we'll be discussing her novel Sympathy as well as Walkaway. Read the rest

Theresa May will send up to 5,000 soldiers to police UK public spaces

In the wake of the Manchester bombing, UK Prime Minister Theresa May has become the first Prime Minister to activate "Operation Temperer," a previously leaked, secret plan to put up to 5,000 armed soldiers into the streets of Britain, taking over daily security roles from police "such as concerts and sports matches." Read the rest

Theresa May wants the UK to die within its means

Theresa May won't use the term "austerity" to describe her government's policies, preferring the misleading phrase, "living within our means" -- a term used to describe cuts to survival basics for millions of Britons, from housing to health to food to social care. Read the rest

London! I'll see you tonight on the Walkaway tour! (then Liverpool, Birmingham, and Hay...) (!)

Last night's kick-off event for the UK Walkaway tour was brilliant, thanks to the magic combination of the excellent Tim Harford, the excellent people of Oxford, and the excellent booksellers at Blackwells. Read the rest

Oxford, I'll see you tonight on the Walkaway tour (then London, Liverpool, Birmingham...) (!)

I'm in the UK for the British Walkaway tour, which kicks off tonight at 7PM in Oxford where I'll be in conversation with Tim Harford at Blackwells. Read the rest

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