Stories categorized “Commercialism”:

The Australian Thatcher

Published March 1996.

Imagine for a moment that a newly-elected right-wing government announced that in order to attract lucrative business to London, they had decided to stage an international Grand Prix motor race in the capital and that without consultation they had chosen as its site the previously peaceful, almost rural surroundings of Hampstead Heath.

The selling of Postman Pat

Published February 1994.

When John Cunliffe sat down in the back bedroom of his home in the Lake District 15 years ago and started to write a story about a postman called Pat, something very strange began to happen. Cunliffe was not aware of it at the time. He was writing, as he always did, for the fun of it, for the change it gave him from teaching at the local primary school, and it was only years later that he could look back and begin to see the outline of what was really going on.

The death of trust

Published September 1993.

Until a few years ago, there used to be a gigantic old elm tree in the middle of Ramsbury. It was so big that it held an umbrella of branches over the whole village square and, according to Wiltshire legend, the hollow cleft in its centre had once been the home of a witch called Maud Toogood who warned that if the old elm ever fell, the village would fall with it. It was a natural monument to Ramsbury’s wealth and beauty.

The death of a material boy

Published July 1993.

Several months before he disappeared, Andrew Elphick sat down with his friend, Sasha Westcourt, in the house they shared on the edge of a neat little village in Surrey, and the two of them wrote out their ambitions in life. Westcourt jotted down a few lines about health and happiness and a steady income, but Elphick filled a whole page with his plans, which he spelled out step by step in capital letters.

Disney, Dickens and Drivel Burgers

Published November 1988.

The Scotsman and the New Zealand Dominion
November 28 1988
This may not matter, but last week Walt Disney’s empire splashed its latest cartoon film across American cinema screens. It is the apparently innocuous story of an orphaned cat who takes up with a pack of dogs in New York City and is eventually rescued by a [...]

Capitalism crosses the final frontier

Published September 1988.

The Scotsman and the New Zealand Dominion
September 19 1988
It was extraordinarily prescient of the producers of Star Trek to send Captain Kirk off to the final frontier in a star ship called Enterprise, for it now transpires that when the first man on the moon, Neil Armstrong, took his small step for mankind in July [...]

Greed v Greed in Hollywood

Published July 1988.

The Scotsman and the New Zealand Dominion
July 11 1988
According to the Hollywood rumour mill, the nine thousand film and television script writers who have been on strike for the last 18 weeks, are about to return to work. They may. They may not. Who cares?
The Writers Guild of America, which called the strike, look like [...]

Worship in the cathedral of wealth

Published April 1988.

The Scotsman and the New Zealand Dominion
April 18 1988
From a distance, it is just another traffic jam, walled in by the usual grimy tower blocks. Only when you get closer and you see yourself reflected in the smoked glass windows with the gilt trimmings, and find yourself bumping into pedestrians who are coated in fur [...]

Shooting fat cats

Published March 1988.

The Scotsman and the New Zealand Dominion
March 28 1988
At first sight, John A Mulheren Jnr is ripe for the Rogue’s
Gallery. He is a big, brash Manhattan millionaire, aged only 38,
who has made a fortune out of the stock market, cashing in on the
orgy of greed and speculation which climaxed in last October’s
crash, indulging his every [...]

Smoke and mirrors in the tobacco industry

Published February 1988.

The Scotsman and the New Zealand Dominion
February 22 1988
Anyone who knows anything about conspiracies, knows that for the best results the conspirators should meet in a smoke-filled room. This is particularly apt if you consider the case of the tobacco kings.
In a court case in Newark, New Jersey, three of the biggest tobacco companies in [...]

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