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Author Archive

Taking the Top Off His Skull: The Genesis of J.G. Ballard’s Crash

By • Mar 28th, 2017 •

Category: archival, biography, comics, death of affect, fascism, features, Futurists, inner space, Lead Story, New Worlds, psychopathology, Salvador Dali, speed & violence, suicide, technology, theatre, visual art, William Burroughs

To celebrate the imminent release of Crash: the Collector’s Edition, Mike Holliday takes a look at the development of the ideas behind this, Ballard’s most notorious book. As he discovers, Crash was years in the making, many of its ideas first appearing the previous decade.



Towards Year Zero: Ben Wheatley’s High-Rise

By • Oct 19th, 2015 •

Category: alternate worlds, architecture, film, gated communities, inner space, Lead Story, medical procedure, micronations, reviews, Shanghai, the middle classes

In September 2015, Ben Wheatley’s High-Rise, an adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s novel, had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. Reactions covered the entire spectrum: people loved it, people loathed it, people were bored by it. The UK premiere was in London recently, and Mike Holliday attended; he loved it. His verdict? A very worthy addition to the growing catalogue of Ballard feature films.



The J.G. Ballard Book: An Interview with Rick McGrath

By • Dec 2nd, 2013 •

Category: advertising, Barcelona, biography, Chris Petit, Iain Sinclair, interviews, Lead Story, pastiche

Mike Holliday’s interview with Ballard fan Rick McGrath, who self-published The JG Ballard Book, an anthology of archival Ballard interviews, articles about JGB and other Ballardiana, including unpublished Ballard letters.



Fulfillment in a time of nihilism: John Gray and J.G. Ballard

By • Feb 27th, 2011 •

Category: consumerism, features, Lead Story, philosophy, religion, Shanghai, time travel, war, William Burroughs

The political theorist John Gray has long been an enthusiastic admirer of J.G. Ballard, and Ballard often expressed appreciation for Gray’s work. Mike Holliday examines the essental nature of this ‘two-man mutual admiration society’.



A Fascist State? Another Look at Kingdom Come and Consumerism

By • Jul 7th, 2010 •

Category: advertising, architecture, Bentall Centre, celebrity culture, consumerism, dystopia, fascism, features, Lead Story, media landscape, Salvador Dali, Shanghai, speed & violence, sport, surrealism

Ballard’s final novel, Kingdom Come, a dystopian account of consumerism as a type of ’soft fascism’, received lukewarm reviews and suggestions that the author was, perhaps, finally losing his touch. Others were eager to point to parallels between it and events around us: aggressive car commercials, racist behaviour by sports fanatics. In this article, Mike Holliday re-examines Kingdom Come and asks: can we really equate consumerism with fascism?



“Driven by Anger”: An Interview with Michael Butterworth (the Savoy interviews, part 1)

By • Nov 5th, 2009 •

Category: alternate worlds, Ambit magazine, body horror, censorship, horror, humour, Iain Sinclair, interviews, Lead Story, New Worlds, punk, Savoy Books, surrealism, William Burroughs

The story of Savoy Books is one of the strangest in publishing history: a tale of lost opportunities, missed opportunities, repression, censorship, imprisonment … and, most importantly, an incredible legacy of work that continues to disturb, challenge and confront. Mike Holliday talks to Savoy co-founder Michael Butterworth about all this and more, including the guidance Butterworth received as a young writer from J.G. Ballard.



‘A dirty and diseased mind’: The Unicorn bookshop trial

By • Jun 20th, 2009 •

Category: crime, death of affect, fascism, features, horror, Lead Story

Mike Holliday gets to the bottom of the 1968 obscenity trial brought against Bill Butler and the Unicorn Bookshop, for stocking Ballard’s ‘Why I Want to Fuck Ronald Reagan’. As prosecuting counsel Michael Worsley asked of Ballard’s work, “Is this not the meanderings of a dirty and diseased mind?”