Geoff Dyer’s many books include But Beautiful (about jazz) and The Ongoing Moment (about photography).


World Cup 2018: The Yob-Swagger of Inger-Land

Fans clashing at an England vs. Russia match when France hosted the UEFA Euro 2016 championship

Good old England, good old Yob-land. Even if the Russians are better-prepared, fitter, and, not for the first time in their history, fighting on home soil, I still have faith in our hooligans to show their mettle and do us proud. We want England to be non-racist, non-homophobic, non-misogynistic and all that, but, God knows, however much we hate yobs, we don’t ever want England to be yob-free. No one will ever put it better than D.H. Lawrence of Nottingham Forest FC who considered himself “English in the teeth of all the world, even in the teeth of England.”

Torrential, Gut-Bucket Jazz

Ornette Coleman with Don Cherry at the 5 Spot Cafe, New York City, November 17, 1959

It hardly needs emphasizing that the desire for freedom in jazz is bound up with the larger dreams of freedom itself. Ornette Coleman tended to play down the connection between his musical project and the larger social turbulence of which it might have seemed a product and expression. When did it begin, this longing for freedom of which Ornette’s music is the undying expression?

Catastrophic Coltrane

A television showing John Coltrane, Equatorial Guinea, 1990

The interest of recordings from John Coltrane’s final phase—in which his playing became increasingly frenzied and the accompaniment more abstracted—lies partly in what they preserve and partly in any hints they contain as to where Trane might have headed next.