Research Taxonomies; or, Things that from a long way off look like flies.

  [Borges] quotes a ‘certain Chinese encyclopaedia’ in which it is written that ‘animals are divided into: (a) belonging to the Emperor, (b) embalmed, (c) tame, (d) sucking pigs, (e) sirens, (f) fabulous, (g) stray dogs, (h) included in the present classification, (i) frenzied, (j) inumerable, (k) drawn with a very fine camelhair brush, (l) et cetera, (m) having just broken the water pitcher, (n) that from […]

Curiouser and Curiouser: Crimes for which the Adjective ‘Nefarious’ is Probably Inappropriate

When I first immigrated to Scotland, I began to watch a Scottish comedy programme entitled Chewin’ the Fat. Among the manifold characters was a entrepreneur who was attempting to sell dubiously procured sports socks, two for a pound. He appeared only once or twice, but his uncanny resemblance to the real-life entrepreneurs I passed on my journeys through […]

Curiouser and Curiouser: Glaswegian Crime Wave

Although Georgian papers are not known for their crime stories, certainly not in comparison with Victorian titles, I do occasionally come across something humorous or bizarre. The first week of February 1790, however, appears to have been some sort of a crime way. First, we have the good: Improvement in the art of sharping [swindling]–One night last week, while a Lady […]

Immigration, Employment and the Public Sphere

For anyone who passes by a newsstand on their way to work, the fear of wave after wave of migrant workers submerging Britain’s job market is a familiar sight. The strain on unemployment benefits and the expectation of increase crime rates are also common themes. Today, the press associates this fear with migrants from Eastern Europe.  […]