Saturday, December 20, 2008


"For there is, in our own time, an absolute taboo among the corporate news media and the political class against mentioning anything to do with the strategic and economic reasons for war."
-- Robert Newman

Newman largely disappeared from public life, reappearing with solo work marked by a clear social conscience and anti-establishment views.[4] He covered the anti-globalisation Seattle protests of 1999 for the UK's Channel 4 News.[5] He has been politically active with Reclaim the Streets, the Liverpool Dockers, Indymedia and Peoples' Global Action.[6], [7], [8]

His later work is characterised by a very strong political element, and parallels the work of contemporaries such as Mark Thomas.[9] In 2003 Newman toured with From Caliban to the Taliban, which was released on CD and DVD. In 2005 the show Apocalypso Now or, from P45 to AK47, how to Grow the Economy with the Use of War debuted at the Bongo Club during the 2005 Edinburgh Festival Fringe.[10] Apocalypso Now toured nationally, sometimes as part of a double-bill where Newman was joined by Mark Thomas. The show was filmed at the Hoxton Hall in Hoxton, east London and shown on More4 under the title A History of Oil, with a later release on CD and DVD. A mixture of stand-up comedy and introductory lecture on geopolitics and peak oil in Apocalypso Now Newman argues that twentieth-century Western foreign policy, including World War I, should be seen as a continuous struggle by the West to control Middle Eastern oil.[11], [12] Newman draws from Richard Heinberg's book The Party's Over: Oil, War, and the Fate of Industrial Societies as source material for portions of the show dealing with peak oil.[13]

Dwight Garner, an editor of The New York Times Book Review, reviewed The Fountain at the Centre of the World favorably, saying it was "the talismanic Catch-22 of the anti-globalisation protest movement, the fictional complement to Naomi Klein's influential exposé No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies.[18]

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