Tony McKibbin writes for various magazines and journals in the UK and elsewhere. The website is a work in progress.

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Recent articles

Philippe Garrel

A Sorrow Beyond Self

It has become a truism that we recover from a break-up as we might recover from drugs, and science proves it: that the level of oxytocin flooding the brain resembles the pleasure principle of a good fix. The removal of the loved one, or the drug, leaves us bodily distraught. Is there any filmmaker who has coincided with this idle scientific fact and turned it into an aesthetic ongoing first princi…

Additional Pieces

Suspense for Real

Inverting Tensions

Usually when thinking about the suspense sequence, we are likely to think of American film, or at least films in the Hollywood idiom. We just as easily find evidence of tension however in European cinema made on a low budget yet with more obviously human coordinates at stake. Looking at six films from Europe we can explore how the suspense sequence rests not necessarily on the quantitative immensi…


Contemporary Scottish Short Stories

Knowing One's Own Mind

Scottish literature may appear minor next to English, French, Russian or Italian fiction. However, it still happens to be vast enough for any attempt at a summary in essay form to be foolish without winnowing the work down to a narrow corpus, a chiefly contemporary concern and a handful of stories. Many have surveyed a broader terrain — but even Alan Bold looked at only Modern Sottish Litera…




1 Perhaps in a very different way from my brother, it was always a question of power. How to enjoy the game without getting caught in the competition? I wouldn’t say I was impervious to the desire to win but it always seemed to me that the victory had to be one’s own no matter if I was playing with teammates, for the club, even for the town. My footballing career never went further tha…




Trainspotting is a bit of a mishmash, a book written in a mix of Scots, Scottish English and standard English. It might not even be a novel. Ian Bell reckoned “the book's structure, as much that of a collection of short stories as of a novel, means that the narrative itself feels like an exercise in futility.” (Guardian) Here we have a book full of Edinburgh heroin-takers, drunks, …

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