Media archives

Innocence and Experience: The influence of William Blake on Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials

Image: William Blake, God Judging Adam. ca. 1795. Metropolitan Museum of Art. Public domain This article is an extract from my book, Dark Matter: A Thinking Fan's Guide to Philip Pullman. I have edited it lightly to remove the worst plot spoilers, but inevitably I must mention some events towards the end of the trilogy. As far as possible, I have edited these so that the details of what happens...

Philip Pullman and the Devil’s Party

Image: John Martin, 'Satan Presiding at the Infernal Council' (c. 1823–1827) – The Bridgeman Art Library (images.bridgeman.co.uk) This article is an extract from my book, Dark Matter: A Thinking Fan's Guide to Philip Pullman. See more articles relating to Pullman and His Dark Materials. Philip Pullman was sixteen, studying for A-Levels, when he first read John Milton's Paradise Lost, first published in 1667.[1]He immediately fell in love with it: ‘I found...

What to watch out for on TV this Christmas

Some of you will know that on alternate Monday mornings, Paul Hammond interviews me for his Talking Points radio programme on UCB 1. We talk about all kinds of aspects of media, culture, and the arts. One of our long-standing traditions is to do a round-up of some television programmes, and films on television, over the Christmas period. A listener asked if I could produce a list so, here’s my...

Mortal Combat: The clash of values in Mortal Engines

A thousand years in the future, the high-tech world of the 21st-century is ancient history. It is of interest only to archaeologists who look for old tech – fragments left after from the 60-minute war which wiped away civilisation around the globe. Facing dwindling resources, the towns and cities have become mobile, travelling around the plains on vast caterpillar tracks in pursuit of smaller, slower towns which are sources of valuable resources as well as potential competition. This is “Municipal Darwinism” – survival of the fastest. The largest of the predator cities is London – a vast multi-deck machine with enormous metal jaws into which can be drawn prey such as the small mining town which attempts to escape at the start of this story.

Running film discussions for outreach

Why and how should we use film discussions in evangelism? Using films within our communication is very helpful because film is an extremely popular medium. Long-form television is arguably more popular, but film remains immensely important. Second, film is powerful because it is ‘multimodal’ – it doesn’t communicate in a single mode (images, spoken words, music, etc.) but in several at once. This means it connects with us in a...

The CAST model of digital communication – Part 1: Concept

As I wrote in the previous article, the very simple model of communication is inadequate. It assumes that the conversation partners hear everything clearly and understood each other perfectly. This is far from the truth, as is clear within a social semiotic theory of communication. This article introduces my CAST model of communication, and considers the first aspect of it: Concept.

What is communication?

An important question is, what is communication? It is more complex than we imagine, only happening in response to a prompt and when a recipient's attention is sufficiently engaged to interpret the prompt.