Listen: Headspace #15—The state of the nation

In our monthly podcast, Tom Clark and guests discuss Palestine, Brexit and satire
October 6, 2017

Dutchman Joris Luyendijk imagined he was moving in with European cousins when he arrived in London; six years later he was cheering on Brexit. He tells Tom Clark how he learned to loathe England. At least Britain can laugh at itself—Sameer Rahim has been talking to our greatest living satirist, Armando Iannucci. All nations are defined by the stories they tell about themselves, and Daniella Peled reviews the work of the new Palestinian Museum in putting twists in the tale of a people without a land.

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Joris Luyendijk: How I learned to loathe England

We loved our time in London and have all met people who we hope will become our friends for life. But by the time the referendum came, I had become very much in favour of the UK leaving the EU. The worrying conditions that gave rise to the result—the class divide and the class fixation, as well as an unhinged press, combine to produce a national psychology that makes Britain a country you simply don’t want in your club...

Sameer Rahim: Armando Iannucci on how satirists should tackle strongmen—and what makes a line funny

Even though he was academically gifted, he says, he “was absolutely obsessed with the fact that I was an idiot.” Like the politicians in his shows, he has never quite believed his own success. Still, he tells me, looking both amused and rueful, “there comes a point, usually when you’re older, when you go, I wish I hadn’t angsted all along. I would’ve enjoyed the ride all along.” But it’s exactly that angst—along with his super-sensitive ear for what makes something funny—which gives his work its disconcerting brilliance...

Daniella Peled: How a new museum tells Palestine’s story

It’s hard for art and culture to be forward-looking with this burden of history, or to flourish when defined by pain or loss. The central task for the Palestinian museum is to give concrete expression to a more positive conception of identity, one that can examine all aspects of Palestinian life and tell fresh stories about nationhood. But however lofty the ambitions, the immediate backdrop to the museum’s creation is the opposite of propitious...