Profile cover photo
Profile photo
Matt Potter
104 followers -
Journalist, broadcaster, author. 'Outlaws Inc'. Find me at mattpotterbooks.com or tweet @mattpotter
Journalist, broadcaster, author. 'Outlaws Inc'. Find me at mattpotterbooks.com or tweet @mattpotter

104 followers
About
Matt's posts

Post has attachment
Lovely write-up of my latest book today in the Washington Post! #books



Post has attachment
My latest book is out today in paperback, published by Little, Brown/Hachette. "A fascinating and profound look at how quitters shape history" - CBC. "Just magnificent - an alternate history of our time" - Monocle

Post has attachment
As it's nearly the end of 2015, I thought I'd say thanks to a few of the books that I've enjoyed most this year, or that I've rediscovered, or found valuable in my own research and writing. Some came out in 2015 ('Land of Giants', a journey through British Dark Ages and early medieval culture, 'Nothing Is True And Everything Is Possible', Peter Pomerantsev's brilliant account of working inside the Russian media's dream machines, and 'Zero Zero Zero', Roberto Saviano's deep dive into the global cocaine trade - my take on that for the Literary Review is pictured further down my feed somewhere/on my Instagram). Others, like Ackroyd's Blake biography, Caetano Veloso's memoir and Chris McManus's study of left- and right-handedness (as a southpaw, this one was especially worth reading), keep resurfacing for me over the years. Meanwhile, 'Inside The Neolithic Mind', a brilliant, brave attempt to reconstruct Neolithic consciousness absent - of course - any documentary evidence) is a great new discovery of a book from a couple of years ago that I'd missed. The fiction titles on the pile keep coming back to me, too: Russell Hoban's 'Riddley Walker' from 1980 defies description, changed the way I thought about a lot of things (language as a carrier and what it carries and how leaky the bucket it uses is; human history, past, present and future, as a story, and why we need to keep telling it, and what we owe it). It's unlike any other book I know. And Ted Chiang is there for just one short story among the speculative tales in his collection. It's called 'The Story of Your Life', and it sort of breaks and simultaneously repairs everything - your heart, language, time, storytelling convention, its characters. I've loved these books this year, so here's to them. And I'd love to hear about any books you've loved in 2015, and any recommendations (old or new).
Photo

Post has attachment
Beyond excited to share this. 'Act Of Valor' director Scott Waugh to direct the Hollywood movie of my book 'Outlaws Inc.' 

Post has attachment
It's hard to explain the appeal of gas towers and pylons to people who don't see it. For those who grow up in their shadows, they are weird, sentinel-like things. Even as a small child, I was aware they meant things - big things - even if I wasn't sure what. But as life swam into focus, so did what these strange iron aliens among our houses and fields wanted to communicate to us. Undreamed-of prosperity powered by our own North Sea gas was '70s Britain's equivalent of the Soviets' bright agitprop sunshine of universal brotherhood - always just ahead, and glorious. Those gas towers, their skeletons when they telescoped down, were sturdy guarantors of that future. Ad agencies now spend millions on campaigns to help us visualise energy in our midst, but none manage it like these did. Then there were the pylons. People spoke of the National Grid in the same tones they now speak about the necessity of universal cloud wifi coverage over Britain. They look old now, but pylons were beacons of power - for TV, sound, light everywhere. They looked like creatures from 'The War Of The Worlds'. They were cool and shining and dangerous - I lost count of the public information films we had to watch at school about what happened to yet another boy who climbed up one to retrieve a kite -and that was OK by us. It was, to quote a band of the time, the business of the future to be dangerous. Now there are moves to cleanse them from the landscape - starting in beauty spots, then totally. I'm not sad about it - they're wrecks now, old and gone in the teeth. But as they vanish from the space above our rooftops that you barely notice any more, spare a thought for when they were the future. #landscape #cityscape #countryside #suburbia #skyline #cityskyline #pylon #pylons #gastower #gastowers #1970s #1970sstyle #retro #technology #futuristic #spaceage #waroftheworlds #electric #electricity #northsea #london #park #acton #nottinghill #shepherdsbush #history #unfashionable #propaganda #coldwar #britain
Photo

Post has attachment
I sometimes think these are three of the best lines of poetry I know. They're certainly three of the strangest, and they've stayed with me since I saw them a decade ago. In fact, they aren't by a poet, but from a strange, spoken/instrumental track called 'I Trawl The Megahertz', by a singer called Paddy McAloon. He composed it while blind as he waited for, underwent and recovered from an eye operation, trawling the bands of his bedside radio. Every time I read the lines, they appear different. Most obviously, I think anyone who's been under any form of drugged out sleep (in a hospital or elsewhere) will recognise the weird, melancholy, disconnecting feeling of slipping-under and surfacing. Or are the 'sad white canoes' stretcher-beds being carried past the ward. And why sad? As every doctor and nurse knows, the early morning hours are the spike for dying - are they slipping away? Or is the image something else entirely, or all of these things? As I write this, I remember an interview with Neil Young after he had a near-fatal brain aneurysm, where he said he always used to feel huge and anchored, but now he felt much smaller and unimaginably light, "like a leaf in a river". The leaf image echoes Saul Bellow's character Hertzog, or Samuel Beckett: any sense that we control the flow is an illusion. Forever floating downstream. From Native Australians to Victorian Protestantism, the metaphor of witnessing ourselves as part of a flow we don't direct and cannot influence has been a pervasive part of the way we feel ourselves, our mortality and our place in some universal continuum. We can't direct it, but as Tennessee Williams said, we can call out to each other. If you know someone who feels themselves slipping downstream particularly keenly, maybe show up next to them today. Just so they don't feel like they're forever slipping away, downriver and out of sight. #poetry #poem #poems #music #lyrics #psychedelic #anaesthetic #hospital #drugs #prefabsprout #paddymcaloon #literature #books #melancholy #beautiful #operation #surgery #alone #blind #medication #itrawlthemegahertz #brilliant #dawn #death #neilyoung #tennesseewilliams #aboriginal #australia #mortality #time
Photo

Post has attachment
I reviewed the rather wonderful Oscar-nominated Estonian-Georgian movie 'Tangerines' for BBC Radio 4's culture programme Front Row last night. It's a beautiful, deep film - best I've seen in years. MP3 or stream Front row from BBC iPayer below. #Estonia #Georgia #Abkazia #Oscars #Tangerines #Mandariind #Movie  

Post has attachment
If you've ever passed this street in London, the secret life of the tumbledown church on the corner is mind-blowing. #London #secret #history  

Post has attachment
My piece in the Literary Review this month on Roberto Saviano's deep-dive into the global cocaine trade, 'Zero Zero Zero'. 
Photo

Post has attachment
I wrote this about our fad for zombies on TV, the politics of immigration, JG Ballard, Katie Hopkins, urban renewal and gentrification... And how they are related. #history #zombies #HighRiseMovie
Wait while more posts are being loaded