Alphabet Soup

Welcome to the letter A, an ambitious letter that makes new links

I think of ‘Apeman’ by the incorrigible Kinks

And ‘Abbey Road’, a Beatles classic that rarely shrinks


Or ‘Alien 3’, Sigorney dodging every Xenomorphic bite

And ‘Angel Heart’ to give all souls a devilish fright

Or Steven Spielberg’s ‘Amistad’ for a heroic anti-slavery fight

Then ‘Annie Hall’, for something frothy, something light.


Or ‘Apocalypse Now’ could be darkly next

Followed by the chilling ‘American History X’

Then Ayan Rand’s, ‘Atlas Shrugged’, an idealistic and highly controversial text.


Of course, I loved ‘The Americans’, TV at its Cold War best

And ‘Armchair Theatre’ from the ITV, always seems to pass the test

Or ‘Apache’ from 1954, with Burt Lancaster on an indigenous quest

Not forgetting ‘Americanah’ for some real Adichie Nigerian zest.


‘All Quiet on the Western Front’, Enrich Remarque’s wartime thriller

And ‘All My Sons’, from Arthur Miller


And ‘All About My Mother’, from Almodovar

Or Mike Leigh’s, ‘Abigail’s Party’, to bowl you over.

Then ‘All Things Must Pass’ has George Harrison swimming in musical clover


Then there’s ‘Amnesia’ from Australia’s Peter Carey

And Kormakur’s ‘Adrift’ is pretty scary

And ‘Amadeus’ paints Mozart as quite contrary

Whilst Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’ should make us very wary.


Jack Palance in ‘Attack’ makes a great wartime adversary

And of course, McEwan’s ‘Atonement’ should be in every library

‘Amour’ from France shows true love is never temporary

And A is for ‘Akala’ is a top rate rapper with a radical commentary

Greetings to the letter B, a blockbuster letter for sure

With Walter White in ‘Breaking Bad’ about to knock on your front door

Then ‘Band of Brothers’ on TV, a tale of comrades in a bloody war

Followed by ‘Birdman from Alcatraz’

Serenaded by Dylan’s, ‘Blonde on Blonde’ and all that jazz


For something more cerebral try Pinter’s ‘Birthday Party’

Then ‘Black Adder Goes Forth’ which, which by contrast, is light and hearty

Or Jim Crace’s ‘Being Dead’, which I must admit, is biologically arty.

And ‘Bounce’ by Matt Syed, which is revolutionary but also sporty


But Bleasdale’s ‘Boys From The Blackstuff’ is rather grim

Whilst Dylan’s ‘Basement Tapes’ makes for quite a folksy din

Then ‘Black Mirror’ gets you twisted in a techno spin

And the Danish ‘Borgan’ is a political game that’s hard to win

But Potter’s ‘Brimstone and Treacle’ is a morality play that draws you in

And really sneaks up under your skin.


‘The Bridge On The River Kwai’ is set deep in the Thai interior

Whilst ‘The Battle of Algiers’ shines a spotlight on the fight for Algeria

Of course, the BBC’s ‘Blake Seven’, though Sci-Fi, is hardly inferior

And ‘The Bootleg Series’ brings Dylan’s work that much nearer.

And the immortal ‘Blood on the Tracks’ makes Dylan’s pain that much clearer.


‘The Baader Meinhof Complex’ brings out some uncomfortable Germanic facts.

Whilst Monica Ali’s ‘Brick Lane’ explores London’s multi-ethnic cracks.

And Brad Pitt in ‘Babel’ offers an intriguing intercontinental tract

Don’t forget ‘The Bridge’, a Nordic thriller with Saga bravely dodging the killer’s axe.

Or ‘The Bureau’from France, where Malotru’s antics are invariably lax.


‘Bloody Foreigner’ by Robert Winder is an historical study in British immigration

‘Bloody Sunday’ is a film spotlighting British colonial brutality and exploitation

‘The Blood Never Dried’ continues that theme concerning ‘the butcher’s bloody apron’

Whilst George Monbiot’s, ‘Bring on the Apocalypse’, makes salient points about our capitalist Satan

‘The Boy in the Stripped Pyjamas’ explores the fascist concept of racial segregation

And ‘The Boys from Brazil’ is a fanciful story about a new fascist agitation


Steven Pinker’s, ‘The Better Angels of Our Nature’ offers us some cause for future optimism

But ‘The Big Lebowski’, is a fun filled romp with some dude-like hedonism.

‘The Battleship Potemkin’ marks the start of some serious Russian revolutionism

And 1945’s ‘Brief Encounter’ is an endearing tale of middle-class moralism.

Whilst Huxley’s, ‘Brave New World’, explores a dystopian world of engineered utopianism


And ‘The Band Played Waltzing Matilda’, wrote Scottish Eric Bogle

Whilst Scorsese film, ‘The Band Played Their Last Waltz’, went global.

And Rossini’s ‘Barber of Seville’ is a comic opera both funny and noble

But the Best of Billie Holliday gives you songs tragically anecdotal


The Brits made ‘Brighton Rock’ and ‘Billy Liar’

Whilst Tom Wolfe’s ‘Bonfire of the Vanities’ was something of a literary flyer

‘Bonnie and Clyde’ is a rather romanticised view of criminal life on perpetual fire

But ‘Butch Cassidy’ is a watchable tale of friendship, crime and deep desire.


‘Bamako’ from Mali puts on trial international skulduggery

Whilst ‘Breaker Morant’ from Oz exposes typical colonial hypocrisy

‘Bagdad Café’ set in the Mojave Desert is a defiant post-marriage odyssey

And Sarah Kane with ‘Blasted’ takes theatre to a whole new level of intensity

Whilst ‘Bunch of Lonesome Heroes’ puts Leonard Cohen in the song-writing aristocracy.

And the Wolfe Tones singing ‘The Broad Black Brimmer’ tells of fierce Irish republican tenacity


And now for the Letter C and a whole new can of worms

‘Come and See’ from the Soviets still has the power to make one squirm

As does Loach’s, ‘Cathy Come Home’, though we never, ever seem to learn

And Alice Walker’s ‘The Colour Purple’ is guaranteed to make your stomach churn.

Whilst ‘Chernobyl’ saw brave Soviet fire-fighters incinerated up in a radioactive urn

Then ‘The Crying Game’ with Stephen Rea, takes a most unexpected emotional turn


Now Mozart’s, ‘Cosi Fan Tuti’ is a wonderful bag of operatic fun

And Ireland’s ‘Calvary’ is a timely film that will certainly stun

‘Casablanca’ is a classic film where the French Resistance has just begun

Whilst ‘The Crucible’ from Arthur Miller is a McCarthyist tale of lives undone

Then ‘The Chain’ with Warren Mitchell, is a moving story that gets the job philosophically done


‘Close to the Edge’ by Jon Anderson’s Yes is a prog-rock gem

Whilst Netflix’s ‘The Crown’ unravels the royal relationship between us and them.

Kubrick’s ‘Clockwork Orange’ explores gratuitous violence but does not condemn

And ‘Crash’ from the US details LA racial tensions and the ensuing mayhem.


‘Cry Baby’ from Joplin’s Pearl takes Janis to an emotional high

Whilst Franzen’s ‘Corrections’ gets his characters to reach for the Christmas pie

‘A Cry In The Dark’ from Oz makes the whole world ask – why did baby Azaria have to die?

And Pinter’s ‘Caretaker’ makes it hard to discern truth and lie

And remember ‘Callan’ ITV’s reluctant British spy


But ‘Captain Phillips’ asks; who are the real pirates at sea?

And Heller’s ‘Catch 22’ where only madness can set you free

Then ‘Citizen Kane’, a timeless parable for you and me

And don’t forget ‘The Clash of Fundamentalisms’ from the ever vigilant Tariq Ali

Of course we all love ‘Catcher in The Rye’, an exploration of youthful rebellion and identity


Marx’s ‘Capital’ remains an undiminished giant

Whilst Thomas Piketty’s ‘Capital’ is also academically defiant

And John Lancaster’s novel, ‘Capital’ is hardly compliant

And for good old-fashioned fun, ‘The Commitments’ is a simple triumph


Musically, Marley’s ‘Catch a Fire’ is a reggae jewel

Whilst Beethoven’s ‘Choral Symphony’ adds classical fuel

Redgum’s, ‘Carrington Cabaret’ takes White Australia back to school

Of course, the musical, ‘Cabaret’ is certainly no musical gruel

And Brazil’s ‘City of God’ shows life if the favelas as brutal and cruel.


Roman Polanski’s atmospheric ‘Chinatown’ puts Jack Nicholson to the test

And ‘Cat On A Hot Tin Roof’ is Tennessee Williams at his scintillating best

Humphrey Bogart in ‘The Caine Mutiny’ is forced to take a much needed rest

‘Crimes and Misdemeanours’ from Woody Allen, sees Martin Landau unbearably stressed

And ‘Cool Hand Luke’ sees Paul Newman scoffing eggs in a tight contest


Peter Greenway’s, ‘The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and the Lover’ lays all to waste

And ‘Caligula’ shows Roman emperors at their most debased

‘The Class’ from France shows the dangers of too much pedagogic haste

But Tom Hanks in ‘Cast Away’ is forced to look for a friendly face

Whilst Jimmy McGovern’s ‘Cracker’ sets a pulsating psychological pace.

And ‘The Chieftains’ with their haunting Celtic tunes occupy a special place


‘Captive State’ by Monbiot takes aim at Britain’s corporate power

And ‘Citizen’ By Claudia Rankin explains how it is to be Black hour by hour

Then ‘Chronicles’ by Bob Dylan unveils some reflections of a brilliant musical flower


Here comes the letter D, a demonic letter I hear you say                             

With Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller’s greatest play

And ‘The Dubliners’ and ‘Desmond Dekker’, I could listen to those guys every single day

And what about the regenerated Time Lord ‘Doctor’ from Gallifrey.


Then ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’, the day we humans would have to pay

And ‘The Day After Tomorrow’, a chilly warning to keep climate change at bay

Then Poland’s ‘Dekalog’ reworking the Ten Commandments; so bleak, so grey.


Ma Jian’s ‘The Dark Road’ paints China in a dark and destructive light

Whilst ‘Dude, Where’s My Country?’ from Michael Moore, shows America suffering from corporate blight

Germany’s ‘Downfall’ portrays the last days in the Fuhrer’s bunker – the game is up and it’s a sorry sight

And John Wyndham writes the ‘The Day of the Triffids’ with humanity in an existential fight.


‘Diamonds and Rust’ by Joan Baez talks of Dylan and her admirations

‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ is a timeless warning to future generations

Whilst Frank Herbert gives us ‘Dune’, a saga of inter-galactic annexations

Lars von Triers offers us ‘Dogville’ as a parable full of human style aggravations

And from South Africa, ‘District 9’ offers us a glimpse of human mutant combinations


‘The Dubliners’ gives us fifteen stories from Mr Joyce, his literary skills to employ

Whilst ‘Django Unchained’ by Tarantino is a revisionist western to enjoy

And ‘A Delicate Truth’ from John Le Carre is a clever autobiographical ploy.

But ‘The Doors’ has Jim Morrison leading the charge to self-destroy


‘Do You Remember the Days of Slavery’ from Burning Spear – it’s a political statement – not just a song

And Al Pacino in ‘Dog Day Afternoon’ it’s a bank robbery where it’s all gone wrong

And Luchino Visconti presents ‘The Damned’ where the fascist decadence is menacingly strong

Then ‘The Diving Bell and the Butterfly’ – trapped in your body and the days are long.


Chicago sings, ‘Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?’

Meanwhile Dylan’s ‘Dignity’ snarls along with purpose and fizz

And ‘The Dialectics of Nature’ shows Engels to be a first class whizz

Whilst ‘The Dam Busters’ are busy with a very demanding military quiz

And ‘Dirty Old Town’ showed Mr McColl really knew his musical biz.


Up pops the letter E and it offers an extreme construction

With Cate Blanchett’s ‘Elizabeth’ as a glitzy historical production

Whilst John Hurt’s ‘Elephant Man’ responds to kindly human instruction

And Burt Lancaster’s, ‘Elma Gantry’ creates quite a fiery evangelical eruption

Then ‘Ethos’ from Turkey is a wonderful portrayal of communal combustion


Beethoven’s ‘Emperor’ and ‘Eroica’ sets the 19th century world on fire

Whilst Richard Burton’s ‘Equus’ pushes human psychology to the wire

The brilliant German film ‘Edukators’ sees a clever plot backfire

And the ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ leads the main protagonists into a mind cleansing mire.


Owen Jones takes on ‘The Establishment’ which should win him a prize

Whilst John McDonnell’s ‘Economics For The Many’ exposes many capitalist lies

Whilst ‘Enter The Dragon’ sees Bruce Lee bravely slaying all the bad guys

Then Peter Tosh from Jamaica has ‘Equal Rights’ in his Rastafarian eyes.

And ‘Eight and a Half’ from Fellini has more than a few autobiographical ties

There is the BBC’s ‘Eyes On the Prize’: Civil Rights Now or the people will rise!

And Jon McGregor’s ‘Even The Dogs’: a tale of addiction where hope slowly dies


The letter F comes along and blows away the fluff

‘The Flight of the Phoenix’, both original and remake, is inspiring stuff

‘Fauda’, though entertaining, is really just propaganda and bluff

And ‘Fists of Fury’ sees Bruce Lee once again undeniably tough

Whilst our CIA busting hero in ‘The Falcon and the Snowman’ ends up in an FBI ‘cuff

And Hemmingway’s ‘A Farewell to Arms’ has Frederic Henry declaring he has had quite enough


Isaac Asimov’s ‘Foundation’ saga as science fiction is unsurpassed

And ‘Fifty Facts That Should Change the World’ shines a light on our fellow citizens that remain outcast

Kubrick’s ‘Full Metal Jacket’ leaves its audience battle scarred and quite aghast

Whilst Wilfred Owen’s ‘Futility’ leaves you drained and so downcast

But Basil and Sybil in ‘Fawlty Towers’ offers hilarious humour as a clear contrast


‘Four Months, Three Weeks, Two Days’, is a Romanian master-class in realist film-making

Whilst ‘Force Majeure’, is a European masterpiece which is really breathtaking

And the ‘Five Star Billionaire’ from Shanghai is a Tash Aw story, which is a great undertaking

Then the ‘Fish Tank’ film by Andrea Arnold shows a dysfunctional family shaking and breaking

And don’t forget ‘The Florida Project’- in the shadow of Disneyland, it’s very heartbreaking


‘Fire Over New Cross’ from Linton Kwesi Johnson exposes institutional racism

‘Fahrenheit 451’ from Bradbury is a book burning look at a futuristic despotism

And Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’ is a study in scientific egotism

Whilst Robert Harris’ ‘Fatherland’ is an alternative history of fascist fanaticism

But Phoebe’s ‘Fleabag’ is a glorious exploration of post-modernist  feminism

Then Cat Steven with his ‘Father and Son’, an age old story of family antagonism


Vivaldi’s ‘Four Seasons’ is a perennial delight

Whilst ‘Five To One’ from The Doors has the establishment in its sight

Tommy Makem’s ‘Four Green Fields’ highlights Ireland’s ongoing plight

Dylan’s ‘Forever Young’ is sung to his son as a great goodnight

And ‘Freewheeling Bob Dylan’ from the 1960’s is very hip and outta sight

But Clint’s ‘Fist Full of Dollars’ is a spaghetti western that is just dynamite


When the great and glorious G comes along you want to commit

To get a grip on religion, Dawkins’ ‘God Delusion’ is a really good fit

And Christopher Hitchens’, ‘God is not Great’ just might make you quit

Whilst Dylan’s ‘God On Their Side’ shows him displaying his most poignant wit

And Canned Heat’s ‘Going Up The Country’ is undeniably their greatest hit

Then ‘The Grey’ with Liam Neeson is a spine chilling example of pure human grit


‘The Greatest Show On Earth’ by Richard Dawkins is still worth a visit

But Arunduti Roy’s ‘God of Small Things’ is just simply exquisite

Whilst ‘Guernica’ by Picasso is an enduring anti-fascist artistic exhibit

And ‘Get Up, Stand Up’ by Marley and Tosh is a revolutionary anthem so fully explicit


‘Goodbye Lenin’ is a light-hearted German satire on life in the East

Whilst ‘The Godfather’ trilogy portrays gangster America as an insatiable beast

And Emile Zola’s ‘Germinal’ shows how the 19th century French miners were continually fleeced

Then John Steinbeck’s ‘Grapes of Wrath’ on how the workers in the Depression were brutally policed


F Scott Fitzgerald’s ‘The Great Gatsby’ exposes the roaring Twenties as a decadent obscenity

Whilst Dickens’ ‘Great Expectations’ explores poverty and wealth in its beastly extremity

And ‘Good Night and Good Luck’ exposes some more McCarthyite treachery

And Dorris Lessing’s ‘Golden Notebook’ shows a divine literary and philosophical complexity


‘The Good Wife’ is a slick US legalistic drama

‘Ghandi’ with Ben Kingsley, hones in on Indian Independence with an added touch of political karma

‘Glengarry Glen Ross’ is a real-estate meltdown within a capitalist trauma

Whilst ‘The Green Mile’ is a supernatural yarn best not viewed while in your pajama


Hooray for the letter H, a humungous success

‘The House of Cards’, shows our politicians in total excess

And ‘Hancock’s Half Hour’ is ideal viewing for cutting the stress

But ‘Harder They Come’ leaves Jimmy Cliff in one hell of a mess

Then ‘The Handmaids Tale’ – the rights of women to fully repress

Or Chomsky’s ‘How The World Works’ shows how the corporates own all of the press


Ayaan Ali’s ‘Heretic’ shows how Islamic women might one day progress

And ‘Homo Deus’ – the future is AI – I would hazard a guess

Then ‘Hunger’ by Steve McQueen shows the Irish people will never acquiesce


And Carre in ‘Homeland’, ducking and diving and still avoiding her death

Whilst ‘HMS Pinafore’ leaves its satisfied audience gasping for breath


As does David Bowie’s ‘Hunky Dory’- in my opinion his magnificent best

And ‘How To Get Ahead In Advertising’ keeps Richard E Grant totally messed

Whilst ‘Husbands and Wives’ sees Woody Alan’s neuroses fully addressed

And Bob Dylan’s ‘Hurricane’ gets Ruban Carter a brand new inquest

But the ‘Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy’ sees Arthur Dent cosmically stressed


Mike Leigh’s on fire with his ‘Happy Go Lucky’ and then his ‘High Hopes’

Whilst ‘The History Boys’ has the teacher giving his charges some unwanted gropes

And in ‘Hitch 22’, Hitchens offers us more of his glorious philosophical tropes

And Jim Crace’s ‘Harvest’ has the local village caught up on the Enclosing capitalist ropes

But Saul Bellow’s ‘Herzog’ writes his letters as his mid-life unravels on the slippery slopes


‘Heimat’ from Germany is a sprawling but engaging twentieth century soap

Whilst Philip Seymour ‘Happiness’ puts despairing humans under the cinematic scope

And the BBC ‘Humans’ shows that with intelligent Synths, we human beings will struggle to cope

Then there’s Stanton’s ‘Humans of New York’: photographs of diversity, photographs of hope


Here Comes the letter I and it doesn’t get much more personal

With ‘I Claudius’ looking ever so nervous and ever so vulnerable

And with ‘I Daniel Blake’ it gets so bad it’s very nearly terminal

Whilst ‘I Am Not Your Negro’ states that racialism is most impermissible

Whilst ‘I’m Not Here’ portrays an absent Dylan which is quite cinematically sensational

But ‘In The Year 2525’ (if man is still alive) is a song that is futuristically explorational

And ‘An Inspector Calls’ warns the bourgeoisie that life should be far more equitable


‘Imagine’ and ‘Instant Karma’ Has John and Yoko bathed in international adulation

‘Inglan Is A Bitch’ is a dub poem by LKJ which won him world-wide acclamation

‘In The Heat Of The Night’ is a study in Deep South US racial segregation

Whilst HBO’s ‘In Treatment’ with Gabriel Byrne won universal commendation

And ‘In The Name of the Father’ sought Irish justice including a stern colonial condemnation


Vladimir Ulyanov updated Marxism with ‘Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism’

Marx wrote about ‘Ireland and The Irish Question’ to rebut a vicious British colonial chauvinism

Shlomo Sands wrote ‘The Invention of the Jewish People’ to combat an ahistorical Jewish exceptionalism

And ‘The Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ is a wonderfully scary example of extra-terrestrial totalitarianism


‘If They Come In The Morning’ from Angela Davis shows her as a courageous young Afro-American fighter

‘Infidels’ by Ayaan Ali is a shining example of a brave young Somalian female writer

‘Ill Fares The Land’ by Tony Judt unravels the bleak post war years and how to make things a little brighter

‘If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things’ by McGregor is a literary genius at work with his new typewriter

And ‘The Incredible String Band’ made our dark modern world just a little bit lighter


When it comes to the letter J you just want to jump for joy in the air

And Oliver Stone’s JFK will certainly give the ruling class a political scare

Whilst ‘The Best of Joan Armatrading’ shows some undeniably fine musical flair

And Bob Dylan’s ‘Jokerman’ has clever lyrics which he is only too happy to share

But I just love to listen to Joan Baez sing ‘Joe Hill’ with such passion and care


‘Jarhead’ is the best account of US Marine experience in Iraq by a clear country mile

Whilst ‘Jerry Springer: The Opera’ puts both US Talk Shows and Christianity on cinematic trial

‘Joseph Anton’ is a gripping memoir that has Salman Rushdi battling his fatwa for a desperately long while

And ‘Jindabyne’ from Australia shows manhood as something that can turn unpleasantly vile

Of course, ‘Judgement at Nuremburg’ with Burt Lancaster, has a whole load of Nazi atrocities to compile

But ‘The Joy of Living’ sees Ewan MacColl bow out from this world in glorious folk singing style


The letter K pops along and gives us a kettle full of excitement

With the Italian/French film ‘Kapo’ a concentration camp indictment

And the Polish film ‘Kanal’ has the Polish resistance in a perilous confinement

Whilst ‘The Killing Fields’ of the Khmer Rouge presents a hazardous assignment

But Kevin Spacey in ‘K-Pax’ is an alien visitor on an Earthly alignment


‘The Killing’ in Copenhagen has Sarah Lund unravelling a Scandinavian mystery

‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ from Harper Lee is a key literary moment in the Civil Rights history

‘The Kite Runner’ is a family drama set to the backdrop of some Taleban thuggery

Whilst ‘The Best of the Kinks’ sets you on the road to a scintillating musical discovery

And ‘Keep the Customer Satisfied’ is Paul Simon’s song writing so very exemplary


The letter L is lean and mean yet still the loveliest letter of them all

With the Clash’s ‘London Calling’, the punk rock crowd are having a ball

And my three volumes of ‘Leadbelly’ is a collectors item and a wonderful haul

Whilst ‘The Lives of Others’ from over the wall, has the Stasi spying on every call

And Pete Seeger singing ‘Little Boxes’ gives the suburbs a satirical maul

But Burt Lancaster’s ‘Lawman’ is still in town and still standing tall.


The Indian ‘Lagan’ is about a British colonial tax, whose resistance became an absolute must

And ‘Love and Theft’ from Mr Dylan is a recent album you can most definitely trust

Whilst ‘Life is Sweet’ from Mike Leigh is a British classic that is dramatically robust

Stevie Wonder’s ‘Living Just Enough for the City’ tells of a true-life story so blatantly unjust

Whilst ‘Life’s A Game of Give And Take’ by Carlos Santana is pure and simply golden dust

And ‘Love and Capital’ from Mary Gabriel is the story of Marx with an unexpected touch of lust


But ‘Lola’ from the Kinks leaves Ray Davis sexually confused and a little nonplussed

And ‘Lemon Tree’ from Palestine tells of the Israeli occupation with much defiance and disgust

Whilst the irreverent ‘Life Of Brian’ has the Christian Church screaming and hollering and set to combust


‘Londongrad’ tells how Russian oligarchs use London to launder their ill-gotten money

‘The Longest Day’ is a star studded movie which the German Nazis would not find very funny

Andrea Levy’s ‘The Long Song’ shows plantation life to be no bowl of honey

But ‘Layla’ from Eric Clapton is a blues double album so smooth and sunny


‘London Fields’ from Martin Amis is considered his literary masterpiece for sure

Whilst ‘Life of Pi’ is a captivating story of how one must always defiantly endure

And ‘Letter to Brezhnev’ is a love story that takes an unexpected Soviet detour

Then ‘Local Hero’ is a Burt Lancaster film oddity which is delightfully obscure.

But ‘The Lowland’ by Jhumper Lahiri is both compelling and internationally mature

And ‘The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner’ has cross country running as the recommended cure


‘Let Him Have It’ tells the true story of legal justice cruelly gone wrong

‘Labour: A Party Fit for Imperialism’ by Robert Clough is brilliant, but won’t win him a gong

‘Lord of The Flies’ shows the unravelling of civilised behaviour doesn’t take very long

And ‘Look Back In Anger’ has Richard Burton in the sixties, angry, bitter and very headstrong

But ‘Like A Cannonball’ by Van Morrison is a memorably addictive rock and roll song


The letter M is one of the most magnificent letters of all

With ‘The Ministry of Upmost Happiness’ from Arundhati putting the Indian authorities up against the wall

And Peter Tosh with his ‘Mama Africa’ leaves Africans defiant and standing tall

And ‘The Matrix’ with its simulated human reality forcing Keanu Reeves to make a rather difficult call

Whilst ‘The Marriage of Figaro’ and ‘The Magic Flute’ has the maestro Mozart right on the operatic ball

And The Who’s ‘My Generation’ ends up with the band in an on-the-stage mighty brawl.


‘Making History’ from Stephen Fry seeks to rewrite the history of the twentieth century

‘Making History’ from LKJ highlights Black British history and is an unbeatable musical entry

‘Malcolm X’ stands up to American racism with a political message for the ruling gentry


‘The Meaning of Life’ from the Monty Python gang has a superbly irreverent, satirical pedigree

Then ‘Manchester United’ by Jim White is a historically detailed sporting biography

Whilst Howard Jacobson’s ‘Mighty Walza’ gives us some 1950’s ping pong choreography


‘Me and Bobby McGee’ from Janis Joplin set the music festivals rocking and rolling

And the haunting ‘Mr Brown’ from early Bob Marley will keep you skanking and strolling

Bob Dylan’s ‘Masters of War’ shows the arms manufacturers as manipulative and controlling

And in all the thousand versions of Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’ there is, in the end, to be no consoling


‘The Magdalene Sisters’ from Ireland is a true story so cruel and appalling

‘The Million Dollar Baby’ with Clint Eastwood shows the downside of professional brawling

Whilst ‘The Monocled Mutineer’ gives the British ruling class a first class bloody mauling

And the magnificent ‘Midnights Children’ shows Salman Rushdi with a magical realist calling


‘The Muswell Hillbillies’ from the Kinks shows a realistic vision of working class London life

The film, ‘Mona Lisa’ has the likeable Bob Hoskins out of prison and in a whole heap of strife

‘Moolaade’ is a Senegalese film that highlights the dangers for young girls of the mutilating knife

And ‘Madmen’ explores the advertising world of the 1960’s where workplace misogyny is totally rife

Of course there is cerebral Mr ‘Morse’ who could solve every mystery except how to get himself a wife!


From Christopher Hitchens is a posthumously published memoir aptly titled ‘Mortality’

‘Maria Full of Grace’ is a Columbian offering where desperation leads to a break with legality

‘The Man With The Golden Arm’ with Frank Sinatra ends up just another heroin fatality

Sam Sevlon’s ‘Moses Ascending’ takes a harsh look at race and sex in its full British banality

Whilst ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’ take a satirical bite at King Arthur and a spot of medieval barbarity

Then ‘Modern Family’ is a US middle class sitcom with bucket loads of family orientated hilarity.


Brecht’s ‘Mother Courage and her Children’ are stuck in a thirty year long commercial transaction

Whilst in Peter Weiss’ Marat/Sade the protagonists are deeply involved in a complex theoretical abstraction

And ‘Mohammed Ali – King of The World’, by David Remnick, is a wonderfully written sporting attraction


 The Letter N arrives so noisily so you can hardly ignore   

When Bob Marley’s ‘Natty Dread’ gets you dancing on the hot reggae floor

And ‘Naked’ by Mike Leigh might just leave you feeling somewhat battered and sore

Though George Orwell’s finest piece of writing is undoubtedly ‘Nineteen Eighty Four’

Whilst Scorsese’ Film ‘No Direction Home’ from Dylan’s fans, gets a big encore

And ‘Natives’ by the amazing Akala shows British society is really racist to its core

Then the ‘Novacene’ by James Lovelock suggests that we humans could shortly be walking out the door


Sydney Nolan’s ‘Ned Kelly’ paintings are abstractly strong with much visual weight

Whilst ‘No Logo’ from Naomi Klien broke new political ground with a whole new debate

And Zadie Smith’s ‘NW’ is a complex London novel that is very difficult to berate

Then ‘No Man’s Land’ by Eric Bogle shows how young men sent to war will very quickly meet their fate

And ‘Nemesis’ from Philip Roth is about a polio epidemic that he is keen to now narrate.

And ‘Never Let me Go’ by Kazuo Ishiguro – a most unnerving sci-fi future he doth postulate


The Letter O can be over the top and very opinionated

And ‘Our Friends From The North’ has its audience captivated

Whilst ‘Occupy’ by Noam Chomsky gets the youngsters motivated

Then ‘On The Beach’ by Neville Shute gets his whole cast radiated

But ‘The Omen’ sees young Damien getting his father rather agitated

And Kerouac’s, ‘On The Road’ gets the beat generation a little alienated


‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ by Marquez is a Latin American magical realist wonder

‘One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest’ sees cocky Jack Nicholson make one final fatal blunder

And ‘Our Revolution’ By Bernie Sanders is a manifesto to burst corporate capitalism asunder

But ‘Once in a Lifetime’ by Talking Heads is a clever pop song wrapped in satirical thunder

Whilst ‘Origins of the Family, Private Profit and the State’ has Engels outlining the history of human plunder


‘On The Waterfront’ by Marlon Brando outlines corruption and racketeering

‘Of Mice and Men’ by Steinbeck is about close friendship most endearing

‘On Beauty’ by Zadie Smith explores ethnicity, class and cultural engineering

And ‘The Ozarks’ from Netflix has the murdering Mexican cartels continually interfering

Whilst ‘Oh Well’ from Fleetwood Mac has Peter Green’s guitar really rocking, really reeling


When the letter P steps up you can sense the high seas parting

And When ‘The Pogues’ step up you know that the party is starting

Whilst in ‘The Planet of The Apes’, we humans are left smarting

But in ‘A Pawn in Their Game’ Dylan lyrics are well worth imparting


In ‘The Plot Against America’ Philip Roth puts the United States on trial

Whilst ‘The Plague’ by Albert Camus has a clear existentialist style

‘A Prophet’ has its lead character showing some criminalistic guile

And ‘Pulp Fiction’ by Tarantino offers violence so graphic and so vile

Then ‘Persona’ by Ingmar Bergman is rather complicated and very versatile

But ‘Privates on Parade’ is a song and dance caper that will really make you smile


‘A Place of Greater Safety’ has Hilary Mantel recreating the French Revolution

‘Portrait of An Artist As A Young Man’ has Joyce breaking away from a staid institution

‘Power Without Glory’ by Frank Hardy attacks political corruption and then faces prosecution

And ‘Prick Up Your Ears’ tells the tale of Joe Orton in the days of homosexual persecution

Then ‘Parasite’ from South Korea is an award winning tale of greed and violent retribution


‘Pearl’, the second and final album by Janis Joplin is perhaps her finest contribution

‘The Pianist’ portrays Polish composer Wladyslaw Szpilman as he faces Nazi execution

Beethoven’s ‘Pastoral Symphony’ is his tribute to nature of which there can be no substitution

And ‘Post Capitalism’ by Paul Mason discusses the possibility of a near future capitalist dissolution

Whilst the ‘Peaky Blinders’ dole out some gruesome gangster style violent retribution


The letter Q arrives and cannot help but offer a quirky quick question              

With The Who’s Quadrophenia giving us a majestic rock opera intervention

And Jim Crace’s ‘Quarantine’ has Jesus fasting in the desert and resisting all temptation

Then ‘A Question of Attribution’ has Anthony Blunt on a spying probation

And the superb ‘Queens Gambit’ shows one woman’s never ending chess board fixation


The letter R rolls into town and it deserves some really close scrutiny

‘Revolution’ by the Beatles calls for some revolutionary loving unity

But ‘Revolution’ by Russell Brand attacks the system with total unabashed impunity

Whilst ‘Red Dwarf’ and the gang is a magical inter-galactic fun loving stupidity

And ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised’ is Scott Gill’s very own political mutiny

Then ‘The Royal Family’ with Ricky Tomlinson is an example of sheer comic ingenuity


‘Room Full Of Mirrors’ by Jimmy Hendrix is a piece of inspired guitar wizardry

‘Rita, Sue and Bob Too’ shows us life in the suburbs with some dodgy sexual trickery

Whilst ‘Rabbit Run’ from John Updike turned into a stunningly powerful quadrilogy

And ‘Rude Boy’ from The Clash shows us some working class angst with a real punk rock delivery


‘Rabbit Proof Fence’ from Down Under shows indigenous children searching for their liberty

And ‘The Rising’ from India has Mangal Pandey in the sights of the British colonial artillery

And we should never forget ‘Roots’ that told the harrowing story of slave owning captivity


‘Roma’ is a moving film about a housekeeper in the middle class suburbs of Mexico

Whilst ‘Rum, Sodomy and the Lash’ from The Pogues is an ideal record to blast out from your patio

‘Remains of the Day’ is a tragic little story of Anthony Hopkins as an unfulfilled Romeo

And ‘The Reprieve’ by Jean Paul Sartre is set just prior to the French Government’s overthrow

Then ‘The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists’ shows the struggle around English socialism in embryo

Of course, ‘The Rebel Without a Cause’ has James Dean caught up in a rebellious youthful undertow


The Letter S makes its entrance and it is a stupendous arrival

‘There is the ‘Singing Detective’ from Dennis Potter who has no clear rival

And the menacing ‘The Sopranos’ who know a thing or two about survival

Or Burt Lancaster as ‘The Swimmer’ who is attempting a mid-life revival

Then ‘Saving Private Ryan’ whose heroic exploits are very near suicidal


There’s ‘A Street Car Named Desire’ with Marlon Brando as a cruel, ugly beast

And ‘Sandinista’ from The Clash with Joe Strummer as the perfect punk priest

And ‘The Singles’ from The Clash with all their top songs collated and re-released

Then ‘Soylent Green’ sees the human protein supplies miraculously increased

Whilst the ITV’s ‘Spitting Image’ is an enduringly savage and satirical feast


‘Spin’ and ‘Spiral’ from the French has created some very high quality TV

And the Israeli ‘Shtisel’ offers a glimpse of Jewish life under the orthodox marquee

And ‘Secrets and Lies’ – another wonderful offering from the ever so talented Mike Leigh

Then ‘Solaris’ both Russian original and US remake, has an eerie alien quality

Whilst ‘Salaam Bombay’ shows India’s forgotten children with their grim street reality

Then Ian McEwen’s ‘Saturday’ tells of dire tribulations for a quiet bourgeois family


‘Satyricon’ is surreal film making with Federico Fellini at the very top of his game

‘Salvador’ By Oliver Stone exposes US imperialist meddling and duly puts them to shame

‘Slaughterhouse Five’ made a time travelling impression and gave Kurt Vonnegut a big literary name

And ‘Street Fighting Man’ by the Rolling Stones helped kindle the heat of the anti-war flame

Whilst ‘Sky Pilot’ and ‘San Francisco Nights’ cemented The Animals in their rise to great musical fame


‘Sin Nombre’ portrays ‘illegal’ immigration from Mexico, to the greatest acclaim

Then ‘The Slap’ from Australia shows how a single moment of anger can so quickly inflame

‘Signs’ by Canada’s ‘Five Man Electrical Band, had a message about freedom that they wished to proclaim

And ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ has Tim Robbins locked up for murder, but was he to blame?

But ‘Scum’ has young Ray Winston banged up in borstal with the whole sordid system aflame

Whilst ‘Starred Up’ with the violent Jack O’Connell has the adult prison top spot to fully reclaim


‘Satanic Verses’ by Salman Rushdi is a very clever novel but gets him a fatwa so wholly undeserved

‘Samson And Delilah’ from Oz explores a marginalised Aboriginal community, so objectively observed

‘Sons Of Anarchy’ shows endless gang warfare that leaves its audience so shocked and unnerved

And ‘System Crasher’ from Germany tells of a troubled young girl with behaviour so utterly disturbed

And ‘Succession’ is a compelling drama that might leave Rupert Murdoch just a little perturbed.


Slumdog Millionaire is a thought provoking satire from the slums of Mumbai

‘The Separation’ from Iran explores a fractured and fragmented family goodbye

‘Sophie’s Choice’ is a harrowing account from Auschwitz that would make any mother cry

And ‘Spooks’ by the BBC paints an unvarnished version of a modern British spy

Then ‘Stalingrad’ on a battle in which so many soldiers and civilians were destined to die


The BBC’s ‘Shakespeare Retold’ adds a whole new dimension to the talented Bard of Avon

And ‘Saturday Night, Sunday Morning’ has young Albert Finney with his own secret liaison


In the ‘Sweet Smell Of Success’, it’s a power hungry story and a sleazy game-on

‘The State We’re In’ by Will Hutton exposes the neo-liberal economy as an iniquitous carry-on.

Whilst ‘Space Oddity’ from David Bowie is an integral part of the psychedelic sixties sing-along


‘Stoner’ By John Williams explores the themes of work, love and passion

Whilst ‘School Wars’ by Melissa Benn tells when the comprehensive schools were very much in fashion

And ‘The Same Sea’ by Amos Oz explores Israelis and Palestinians with care and compassion

Then ‘Small Island’ by Andrea Levy tells of Black experiences in a time of war, hardship and ration.


‘Shoplifters’ is a remarkable film that tells a story of marginalised street life in downtown Japan

‘Shantaram’, by David Roberts, is sublime story telling from the teeming cities and slums of Hindustan

‘Sapiens’ is the best selling book by Yuval Harari outlining our accent to modern technological man

Whilst ‘The Selfish Giant’ by Clio Barnard, tells the tale of two young lads on the scrap metal scam

And then the hilarious ‘Schitts Creek’ shows a once wealthy family having to devise an entirely new plan


‘The Secret Country’ by John Pilger catalogues the Aboriginal resistance to British colonial rule

‘The State In Capitalist Society’, by Ralph Miliband shows how the democratic state is just a capitalist tool

And ‘Sailing Close to The Wind’, by Dennis Skinner shows him to be an articulate working class jewel

Whilst ‘The Stranger’ by Albert Camus is a fine example of the French existentialist school

Then ‘Saved’ by Edward Bond made the Lord Chamberlain of the day look like a silly old fool


The letter T is terrific and really quite transformational

‘Talking Heads’ by Alan Bennett is intense, compulsive viewing and subtly observational

And ‘This Life’ by the BBC is legally top notch and addictively innovational

But ‘Talking To A Stranger’ with Judy Dench has the whole family fully confrontational


‘Talking ‘bout a Revolution’ by Tracey Chapman is a song for everyone’s collection

‘Thick As A Brick’ by Jethro Tull can still be listened to with great love and affection

‘This Changes Everything’ by Naomi Klein urges us to make the obvious climate change connection

‘This Land is Your Land’ by Woody Guthrie is the people’s anthem and is a powerful declaration

Whilst ‘The Town That I Loved So Well’ is the story of Derry City under a nasty British occupation.


‘Two Thousand and One’, by Stanley Kubrick broke whole new ground in modern science fiction

Whilst the ‘Terminator’ had Arnie fighting against the killer machines and defying human extinction

The ‘Third Man’ by Graham Green exposes greedy corruption in Vienna’s  post-war joint jurisdiction

And ‘The Truman Show’ is the ultimate indictment of America’s reality show addiction

Then ‘Twelve Monkeys’ from Terry Gillam has a time traveller with a deadly viral prediction


‘The Travelling Wilburys’ proved the super-groups of the 1980’s were still kicking and nowhere near dead

‘They Shoot Horses Don’t They’ shows the lengths that hungry people go to get themselves fed

‘Twelve Years A Slave’ tells of a free and prosperous African-American man who is sold into slavery instead

And ‘The Taking Of Pelham 123’ sees a train get hijacked whilst the hostages live in fear and mortal dread

Whilst ‘This Is England’ is a gritty portrayal of 1980’s England with its own psychopathic, racist bone-head.


‘Talk To Her’ by Almadovar includes his psychological, voyeuristic and sexually charged obsessions

‘Tsotsi’ from South Africa has a young slum thug unexpectedly finding a baby in his possession

‘Two Days, One Night’, sees a French female worker fighting for a working class concession

‘The Thing’, is a psychological horror film that creates a nightmarish alien impression

And ‘This Bleeding City’ by Alex Preston, warns of the dangers of a hedonistic digression

Whilst ‘The Twelve’ from Belgium sees a jury asked to explore a woman’s supposed  transgression


‘The Trial’ by Franz Kafka gives rise to the expression ‘a Kafkaesque bureaucratic nightmare’

‘23 Things They Don’t Tell you About Capitalism’ leaves modern capitalism looking rather threadbare

And ‘The Three Trillion Dollar War’ by Joseph Stiglitz lays out the true costs of modern imperial warfare

Whilst ‘Treasure Islands’ by Nicholas Shaxson is a tale of global plunder that affects everyone’s welfare

Then ‘A Town Like Alice’ is an enduring tale of wartime hardship and love to enjoy in your armchair


‘Ten Days That Shook The World’ by John Reed tells of the Great Russian Revolution

But ‘A Tale Of Two Cities’ by Charles Dickens a strange story of death and resurrection

‘Three Colours Red’, by Krzysztof Kieslowskia explores the theme of a random new connection

Whilst the film, ‘Timbukto’ from Mauritania takes a sharply critical look at a jihadi occupation

And then BBC’s ‘Tenko’ explores the cruel circumstances of a Japanese annexation


And now it is time for the letter U – I think you understand just what I mean

We have ‘The Untold History of the United States’ by Oliver Stone – a secret history quite obscene

Or ‘Unorthodox’ sees a New York Jewess escape to Germany for a new life, totally unforeseen

And of course Clint Eastwood in ‘Unforgiven’ goes back to gun-slinging against his old mate Mr Gene


Letter V is very impressive and takes off for a well earned victorious stroll

With ‘Vera Drake’ from Mr Leigh presenting a daring woman with a heart warming soul

Or ‘A Very British Coup’ from Chris Mullin has the Prime Minister taking off on his socialist goal

And ‘A View From The Bridge’ from Arthur Miller shows obsessive behaviour can take a very heavy toll

Then ‘The Vegetarian’ from South Korea tells of a non meat-eating woman who is hard to console

And the magnificent Vincent van Gogh, who once painted pictures of fruit in a bowl


Hello to the letter W, a watershed letter that will clearly never fade

Like ‘The Wire’ from HBO, perhaps the greatest TV drama that has ever been made

And Rossini’s ‘William Tell Overture’ might be one of the loveliest pieces of music that’s ever been played

Whilst Mantel’s magnificent ‘Wolf Hall’ trilogy puts her at the very top of the novel writing trade

But ‘When the Boat Comes In’, James Bolam is found crawling his way to the filthy rich brigade


‘Way Up Stream’ by Alan Ayckbourne sails on up the river where it’s Armageddon time

Whilst ‘White Teeth’ has Zadie Smith  writing her first novel and it came out really fine

And ‘The Wicker Man’ has a straight laced copper investigating a nasty pagan crime

Then, ‘Where do The Children Play’ by Cat Stevens, is a most poignant little rhyme

But Eric Bogle’s, ‘Willie McBride’ is an anti war message that is simple and sublime.


‘The Wind That Shakes The Barley’ by Ken Loach is likely the best film of his career

‘The White Ribbon’ is set in pre-war Germany where it transpires that civilisation has a very thin veneer

‘Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Wolf’ shows the line between illusion and reality is really not very clear

And ‘The Wave’ is a powerful experiment that explores identity, belonging and existential fear

Then ‘Withnail and I’ is a celebrated British drama which is endearingly queer.


‘Waltz With Bashir’ is about a soldier whose war memories become distorted and blind

‘The Woodsman’ is a difficult film with a convicted child molester confined and maligned

Whilst ‘The White Tiger’ is a novel where poverty, caste and religion are cleverly entwined

And ‘Walk The Line’ by Johnny Cash is a hypnotic song that stays forever in mind

But ‘Woodstock’ was a festival with a musical message for the whole of mankind.


‘What Was Promised’ by Tobias Hill looks at London as a series of collisions

‘We Need New Names’ by No Violet Bulawaya tells of her many difficult decisions

‘Wild Swans’ by Jung Chang tells of Chinese women’s struggles over three inter-connected generations

And ‘When China Rules The World’ by Mr Jacques tells of the new modern China and its globalized visions

But ‘When They See Us’ shines a harsh spotlight on America’s unresolved racial divisions


‘Who Are We?’ by Gary Young explores the concept of politics and identity

‘Why Marx Was Right’ by Terry Eagleton shows that Karl is still a top notch political entity

‘The War On Women’ by Sue Lloyd Roberts gives us feminists some much needed artillery

Whilst ‘When The Music’s Over’ by The Doors is just sheer musical ecstasy

But ‘We’re Only In It For The Money’ by Frank Zappa rebukes the entire music industry


‘Wadja’ is a film from Saudi Arabia that sees a young girl finally get onto her bike

Whilst ‘We Don’t Need No Education’ by Pink Floyd inspired school children to go out on strike

Joe Cocker singing ‘With a Little Help From My Friends’ shows just how good he is at the mike

And Samuel Beckett’s ‘Waiting For Godot’ is open to interpretation but its hard to dislike

And ‘Wikileaks’ with courageous Julian helped expose the new American Reich


The letters X Y and Z comes along and they’re really super tough

With ‘The Xian Incident’ film forcing Chiang Kai-shek to stop being such a military duff

And ‘The Man With The X Ray Eyes’ should really stop taking all that chemical stuff


And then the letter Y follows closely with no huffing and puff

There’s ‘Yellow Birds’ from Ken Powers, who was in the army but he’s really had enough.

‘You Don’t Have to Be In The Army’ from Mungo Jerry, shows that civilian life can also be tough

Then Ken Livingstone’s memoir, ‘You Can’t Say That’, is certainly no bluff

And Bob and Marcia’s ‘Young Gifted and Black’ is really inspiring stuff


And last but not least is ‘Z Cars’ where things can cut up pretty rough.

And Bowie’s ‘Ziggy Stardust’ really blows away the rock and roll fluff

Whilst the dub poet ‘Zephaniah’ gets the imperialist oppressor by the metaphorical scruff


So here is my alphabet, on this bright, sunny day

Though I may want to add to it as I go on my way

And I salute all the entrants to whom I just want to say:

Thanks for making this grubby little world just a little less grey


I found it all very therapeutic, in an odd sort of way

The amazing books, films and songs, and all the wonderful plays

And I highly recommend them whether you’re straight, trans or gay

Or an atheist like me, or perhaps you still like to pray.


And though the rhyming and metre too oft go astray

And it’s all rather eclectic, I can hear people say.

But I gave it my best shot, so I hope it’s okay

This is my very own alphabet, and now I’ll bid you good day.


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Comments and criticisms are welcome

First published by WRITERSWORLD September 2020

First published online by  March 2021


Full copyright reserved by Jon Kaufman

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