May 1st, May Day, Beltane, International Workers’ Day–the swifts arrived in the sky above our garden today. And this week my new book is published. There have already been some very nice advance reviews in the US media (see Radical Gardening/Reviews page). And in the UK there is a splurge of media interest too:
- Monday 2 May (May Day holiday): a major article in the Independent–the Monday Essay–written by me about the book: ‘Radical plots: the politics of gardening’.
- Wednesday 4 May: a live discussion about the book with Prof Laurie Taylor on the leading radio show for academics to talk about their work, BBC Radio 4’s Thinking Allowed. This is my fourth appearance on the show over the years I think. From Broadcasting House, London. More information and listen again here. Or click here for Thinking Allowed’s OU site with more links to radical gardening projects.
- Thursday 5 May: book published!
- Saturday 7 May: article and interview about the book in the Scotsman newspaper: ‘George McKay examines the many political dramas hosted by gardens in his latest book.’
- May/June: interviews about the book on community radio stations such as Diversity FM (Lancaster), Future Radio (Norwich).
- June 17, 1-hour interview with author about the book, Against the Grain politics and culture show, KPFA Radio, California.
- June: review in the Guardian by leading environmental and campaigning journalist John Vidal.
- June: review in Times Higher Education.
- July: article written by me about the book for the new open access political online magazine Stir.
- July 31: Big Issue in the North, feature ‘Can you dig it?’, about Radical Gardening and community garden projects in the north of England, by Arwa Aburawa.
From the Independent essay:
There’s a good reason why the book is published at this time. I wanted Radical Gardening published on May Day: the seasonal celebration of new growth and fertility around the rural maypole, it is the neo-pagans’ Beltane, and it is International Workers’ Day for trade unionists and industrial workers. May Day is the one day of the year when there is a coincidence of horticulture—including gardening—and radical politics, when the bucolic intermingles seasonally with the ideological. This isn’t just a historic view. On May Day 2000 (yes, the same day as the notorious ‘turfing’ of a statue of Winston Churchill with a strip of grass to temporarily give him a green punk Mohican hairdo) the lawns of Westminster Fields were taken over and planted with vegetables and cannabis seedlings by activists. London autonomists Reclaim The Streets explained the May Day 2000 political instant garden: ‘Under the shadow of an irrelevant parliament we were planting the seeds of a society where ordinary people are in control of their land, their resources, their food and their decision making. The garden … celebrated the possibility of a world that encourages cooperation and sharing rather than one which rewards greed, individualism and competition’.
By the way here is a great image I came across a couple of weeks ago while looking around the recommended People’s Story Museum in Edinburgh: