Harry Mason

Harry Mason likes to call himself a freelance writer, even if his tax forms say he's technically a waiter. He graduated last year from the University of East Anglia, and writes predominantly about social politics and film. He looks forward to the day when he's able to grow a beard; until then, you'll just have to blame his so-called 'bleeding heart lefty views' on youthful naivety.

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Articles by Harry

Bold and Free, The Shape of Water is Del Toro’s Most Emotionally Mature Film Yet

It’s easy to fetishise directors like Guillermo del Toro and to overlook the hundreds of people involved in making a film and heap all the praise at the doorstep of one visionary. But while it no doubt took several villages to bring del Toro’s latest, The Shape of Water, into being, it’s still hard not to see the end result as a director at the height of his powers – bold, free and completely himself.

Bleak, Harrowing and Raw But Witty and Humane - McDonagh's One -Off

Three Billboards is written and directed by Martin McDonagh. Through films like In Bruges and plays like The Cripple of Inishmaan, McDonagh has become renowned for his singular tone and blistering dark humour. Three Billboards is perhaps the most fully-realised demonstration of those qualities.

#Oprah2020 Isn’t the Way for Democrats to Succeed

At Sunday’s Golden Globes, Oprah Winfrey received the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award and she gave an impassioned speech, promising girls that a “new day is on the horizon” and warning abusive men that their “time is up”. Sure enough, #OprahForPresident and #Oprah2020 were soon trending. A bid for the White House would be a mistake though.

What Will Leo Varadkar Do Next?

With problems at home and a general election looming Leo Varadkar needs to look tough as he negotiates Brexit. However, he is just asking questions that Britain should have asked. Now the Irish border could derail Brexit as Britain's fate lies with Leo Varadkar.

An Affectionate Salute to One of Hollywood's Stranger Stories

The Room is one of those terrible movies that has assumed cult status for being so bad. Now, 14 years after its release, The Disaster Artist - directed by James Franco - aims to peel back the lid on how such a wonderfully terrible movie came into existence.

Why Aren’t Labour Further Ahead in the Polls?

Theresa May is a weak leader. The government she leads is a shambles. Yet Labour remains neck-and-neck in the polls. Those arguing Labour needs to be further ahead might be wrong: our politics is divided and the old electoral cycle where oppositions commanded big polling leads might be gone. If Labour plays to its strengths, it can win big.

Brutal, Bloody and Black Comedy - The Death of Stalin

Setting a comedy in the Soviet Union is a tough ask. However, Amando Iannucci and his co-writers tread the line perfectly. His acid wit and eye for the ridiculous are present, but they’re blended with a striking depiction of the fear that comes with life under totalitarian rule.

Is a Referendum the Best Way of Legalising Abortion in Ireland?

Referendums are democratic, they are also divisive. In Australia, the gay marriage referendum has already descended into abuse. A woman's right to chose is perhaps a more contentious issue. Ireland had better fasten its seat belt.

Clinton Looks for the Truth Amid the Debris and Reclaims Her Humanity

The 2016 U.S. Presidential Election might have been reported minute-by-minute but a year later it’s still easy wonder: what on earth happened there? It’s a ripe time, then, for Hillary Clinton’s new book, What Happened, a candid examination of her devastating loss to Donald Trump.

Jacob Rees-Mogg is Entitled to His Views, but Not the Keys to Downing Street

Just when you thought politics might calm down for a moment, Jacob Rees-Mogg starts being discussed as a potential Conservative leader. His chances are slim, but that hasn’t stopped a fervent ‘Moggmentum’ campaign from building. Did he dash his chances when he spoke about his views on abortion and gay marriage. Who knows? It is a strange world we live in.

Notting Hill Carnival: How Celebration Turns Into Stigmatisation

The Notting Hill Carnival went off without a hitch and there was a moving tribute to those killed at Grenfell Tower. However, police statements leading up to the event demonstrate how we still associate a "black event" with crime and disorder. An event about diversity has become an opportunity to stigmatise.

A New Centrist Party? It’s More Than Reckless – It’s Pointless

Another week, another murmur about splinters in Westminster. This time, though, it’s a splinter that would affect both parties. But trying to resurrect an out-of-date centrism is dangerous and pointless.

Ireland’s Gay Taoiseach– A Cause for Celebration?

Leo Varadkar takes over from Enda Kenny as the new Taoiseach. This will make him Ireland’s youngest Prime Minister, the first from an ethnic minority background, and the first who is openly gay.

Labour, Not the Tories, Must Become the Post-Thatcher Party

Labour’s manifesto incorporates many of the post-war values trashed by Margaret Thatcher. While undoing everything wrought by Thatcherism is unlikely, it would mark a shift towards socialist values. That does not mean returning to the 1970s, it means moving on from Thatcher's legacy.

Have Labour really deserted the working class?

As Theresa May dominates this election, daring to go where few Tory leaders have gone before, Jeremy Corbyn is failing to make an impact with voters. The Tories lead Labour in every demographic. Their policies may favour them but its relationship with its traditional voters is fraying.

Has Macron Quelled the Far Right, or Just Held Them at Bay?

Liberals shouldn’t be too quick to embrace Emmanuel Macron's victory as a straightforward triumph. Many were invigorated by Macron’s dynamic ascent, but others weren’t. Already there is speculation surrounding a Le Pen presidential bid in 2022. A mediocre Macron tenure would only fuel this.

The Fanatical, Inept George Osborne Can’t Write Himself into History as a Centrist

George Osborne is standing down from his Tatton seat as he becomes the next editor of the Evening Standard. Despite his disastrous economic policies as Chancellor, he is trying to rewrite history. He is not a centrist. We should not allow him a final con.

Too Many Will Be Tempted to Vote Tory on June 8th – But Corbyn Can’t See Them

In 2015, it seemed inconceivable that the Conservatives would win a majority. Elections are about image, leadership and message discipline, rather than policy. Corbyn needs to learn this fast but has his fingers in his ears.

Pence and Trump Are Two Sides of the Same Sexist Coin

Trump’s issues with women. But when it comes to women’s rights, Mike Pence is no friend to the cause either. Their White House views women as temptresses and Jezebels, not equals to be trusted with power.

J'accuse...! Theresa May and the Tory Right

As Theresa May triggers Article 50 she will formally start the process that will lead to Britain’s exit from the European Union. How did we get to this point? Harry Mason accuses Theresa May and the Tory right.

Reaction: Sinn Fein Bite Hardest in Northern Ireland’s Snap Election

There are tremors across Northern Ireland following the snap election which saw Sinn Fein make big gains and the Democratic Unionist lose seats. The election makes life harder for Theresa May. But the question is, can Ulster politics meet the demand for a move beyond sectarian politics?.

Trump’s LGBT War Begins: The Bigotry of America’s Trans Bathroom Bills

In his first 100 days Donald Trump had found time to revoke Barack Obama's executive order allowing students to use the bathroom corresponding to their gender identity. It defies logic and facts. Donald Trump is trying to erase trans identity.

Moonlight Review: When Poetry Speaks More Truthfully Than Realism

Some films stick in your mind because of their emotional heft. Others linger thanks to their potent tone or brilliant performances. Barry Jenkins' Moonlight has all of these things, but the element that really makes it stay with you is its sheer human empathy.

Arrogance, Borders and Crocodiles: the ‘ABC’ of Northern Ireland’s Snap Election

Northern Ireland is going to the polls for the second time in less than a year. The DUP, brought down by the Renewable Heat Incentive scandal, will struggle to retain their dominance after so long in power. Parties are confronting the received wisdom of power-sparing after two decades.

Watch The Dead Cat President But Oppose Him and His Shambolic Circus Cabinet

It is hard to imagine any President being as widely scrutinised as Donald Trump. But the confirmation of Betsy DeVos and Jeff Sessions demonstrates his extreme agenda. Opponents must not let his twitter rants distract from the threats his team poses.

With Trump and Brexit, we’re through the post-truth looking glass

Trump has, at best, a complicated relationship with the truth. At worst, he’s a pathological liar. The truth is whatever his ego says it is. In the face of this the media has a duty of impartiality, but also a duty of truth. Entertaining unsubstantiated delusions turns politics into a playground.

Pop Music Reunions: Yay or Nay?

The golden rule of the entertainment industry is that if something works, you do it over and over again until everybody hates it. So if artists and fans alike can relive their heydays, and record companies get to flog some resuscitated horses, surely everybody’s happy? Maybe, but that doesn’t mean that all comebacks are called for.

“You have to pick a team!” - the damaging effects of biphobia

Biphobia takes several forms. There are the stereotypes: bisexual people are greedy, indecisive, promiscuous, etc. Why any gay person would bolster another group’s stereotypes after decades. But then again, it’s not uncommon for the oppressed to mimic the behaviour of their oppressors.

Why Do So Many Writers Only Become Famous After They Die?

It’s a cliché but, like most clichés, it has its roots in truth. Time and time again writers have toiled away in obscurity, never seeing in life the recognition they achieve in death.

EU Vox Pops: Through the Eyes of Generation Zero Hours

In the arduous run-up to the EU referendum, we’ve been given pros and cons for every perspective. Right or left-wing, baby-boomer or millennial, working class or business class, every socioeconomic subgroup has been offered tailored arguments as to why they’d be better off in or out of the EU. So Harry Mason decided to ask his colleagues.

No Tea, No Shade: The Rocky Relationship Between Drag and Mainstream Culture

For much of the twentieth century, drag was about as niche as you could get. Unlike Shakespearean times, when men routinely played women, cross-dressing in entertainment became associated with the lowest, broadest comedy. The phrase ‘drag queen’ was first recorded in 1941, but for decades it thrived solely underground, too provocative for mainstream audiences.

Has cinema’s obsession with blockbusters reached crisis point?

For devoted movie-goers, it’s tempting to roll our eyes at another needless sequel or big budget franchise being pumped through our multiplexes. technological advances and the opening up of global markets mean big films feel bigger than ever. a few more years of superhero-stuffed cinemas isn’t necessarily a terrible thing.

Adventures in Streaming – How the Landscape of Popular Music Changed Beyond Recognition

Gone are the old days of music consumption. In decades past, you’d hear a song on the radio or in a nightclub and, if you liked it, you’d buy the record and listen at home. In 2016 from cassettes to streaming, from radio requests to Tidal, to what extent have these advances had a positive impact?

From Gnomes to Rent Boys – Cinematic Re-Imaginings of Shakespeare

One of the reasons for Shakespeare’s enduring popularity, however, is that his plays aren’t fixed, unchangeable works. Over the years, they’ve been templates for artists of all shades to explore a multitude of themes and styles. Nowhere is Shakespeare’s ripeness for re-interpretation more evident than on film.

Sex lives of the rich and famous - why do we care so much?

A more mature, sex-positive approach would benefit everybody then. Nine times out of ten, the sex lives of the rich and famous simply aren’t our business. But No matter how high-brow we like to think ourselves, we all love a bit of gossip from time to time. Why do we care so much about celebrity sex scandals?

How Christian cinema became a new frontier in the battle for America's soul

Christian art has, consequently, become much more niche. In particular, this has given rise to a peculiar sub-genre of devout, defiant Christian cinema. Unlike classic epics of the Ten Commandments and Samson & Delilah ilk, which innocuously traded off the inherent drama and bombast of the Bible, these films are more evangelical, even dogmatic, in nature.

Post-IDS and pre-referendum, are the wheels falling off the Conservative government?

It’s easy to feel disheartened, sitting by helplessly as Cameron & co. implement whatever shambolic and morally questionable policies they wish. Opposition is now anywhere but on the fringes, though, whether that’s grassroots campaigners starting protests and petitions, the media turning its back on austerity.

Review: Kaufman’s Anomalisa, Where Human Connections Are Rare and Fleeting

Anomalisa began life as a one-act ‘sound play’, and this shows. It’s a more minor work than Kaufman’s previous output; gone are the screwy plot devices of Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, swapped for a low-key ‘day-or-so in the life of’ narrative structure that, even with its leisurely pace, only just stretches to 90 minutes.

The Sublime and the Ridiculous of Film on Film

The fact that artists examine film via the medium of film demonstrates that some little kernel of passion is still alive within them. It’s persistent and contagious, and is what keeps them – and us – coming back to the movies time and time again.

The ‘Free Kesha’ movement could be a landmark for abuse survivors everywhere

As Kesha continues her fight for freedom and against physical abuse, this justice system has a choice to make. Will it carry on telling survivors that they are powerless, and better off not reporting the crimes committed against them? Or will it finally step up and offer them the support they deserve?

White domination of culture is being challenged, and it couldn’t come soon enough

Culture has a strange relationship with the wider world. We often think of it springing ahead, more equal and progressive, propelled by artists able to envision worlds better than our own. This month, however, has shown clear signs that it’s lagging behind.

Do we need a pro or an anti-Thatcher museum? What about both?

Museums carry the great truths of our world. Which makes it a little tricky if your plan is to build a museum about one of Britain’s most opinion-splitting leaders. It returns us to that thorny question: how should history handle the legacy of Margaret Thatcher?

5 lessons We Can Learn From Financial Comedy ‘The Big Short’

with millions still feeling the crash’s crushing after-effects, The Big Short never loses grip on its tragic roots. It will leave you entertained, but also maddened, saddened and enlightened. Here are five of the most salient points worth taking away from it/

Are the Bowies and Rickmans of Today Daring To Dream?

The deaths this month of David Bowie and Alan Rickman were saddening for a number of reasons. Both were cherished British icons and immensely talented men. But another worry is that these two men could well prove the last of their kind.

Film Review: two directors and the worst, but also the very best, of humankind

2016 is still young but The Revenant and Room are sure to be among the year's finest cinematic achievements. Both are overwhelming experiences, and offer a singularity of vision that is little short of breath-taking.

Hollywood’s sexist appetite for rise-and-fall narratives of its ‘starlets’ is unlikely to vanish

Female actors may struggle to find as many complex roles as their male counterparts (particularly if they’re over 40 or of colour), but since the earliest days of Hollywood they’ve faced a much higher level of scrutiny.

Caitlyn, Carol and Kim: 2015 in LGBT rights

2015 was also a notable year for positive, widespread integration of LGBT people and issues in culture. But it’s also important to remember, though, that countries like Britain are still a relative minority.

Why Censor Backwards Bigots Like Tyson Fury When You Can Make Their Views Obsolete?

Sports Personality has always been a funny title. If it's taken to mean 'most successful sportsperson' then it makes sense to include Fury, since it's so difficult to deny the scope of his achievements (even if I'd sometimes like to - the man has an ego of Kanye West proportions, and I'd rather not inflate the vanity of someone who already frequently refers to himself in the third person).

Question Time Tears And the Frailty of Tory Rule

working mother Michelle Dorrell confronted Energy Secretary Amber Rudd. This was a grown woman being reduced to tears for fear of what the government she elected will inflict upon her family.

Poverty Is Not A Problem, Says Man With Millions of Pounds

In 21st century Britain – a country which, for all the headlines about debt and deficits, still boasts the sixth biggest economy in the world – does poverty really exist? No. Not according to Sir Alan Sugar, at any rate.

Kim Davis – The Wannabe Martyr of Lost America

Kim Davis, a clerk in Rowan County, Kentucky, Davis was jailed for six days after refusing to issue marriage licences to same-sex couples.

My Brush With an Arse Groper and Why We Shouldn't Dismiss Women Only Train Carriages

Labour leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn floated the idea of women-only train carriages.

Film Review: The Devastatingly Sad Story of "Amy"

"Amy," by contrast, never tries to fetishize Winehouse, or paint her as some preternaturally-gifted superhuman. Director Asif Kapadia (known for the BAFTA-winning Senna)

The BBC provides unfettered public service – No wonder George Osborne wants to cut it

It looks as though the BBC is set to be another casualty of George Osborne’s crusade to force all public institutions to ‘make savings’ and ‘find efficiencies’

Film Review: "The Look of Silence" Explores the Still Raw Tragedy of Indonesia's Civil War

With The Look of Silence, director Joshua Oppenheimer redresses that balance, following one mild-mannered optometrist as he confronts the men who brutally killed his brother

Cutting Tax Credits Will Throw People Off the ‘Welfare Merry-Go-Round’ Without Providing a Crash Mat

Cameron pledged to put a stop to the ‘welfare merry-go-round’ that sees low earners paying taxes only to receive the money back in tax credits.

Review: Kajaki, A Fresh And Affecting Look at War in Afghanistan

Kajaki avoids both extremes, taking an approach that is commendably direct and unmistakably British. It tells the true story of a group of soldiers stationed by the Kajaki dam in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province

Slaboshpitsky's "The Tribe" Is a One of A Kind Movie That Is Just Short of Compelling

The Tribe, from writer/director Miroslav Slaboshpitsky, is one of those rare films that can truly claim to be one of a kind.

The Dark Recesses of Female Adolescence Explored in Two Unsettling Movies: 'The Falling' and ‘Girlhood'

Two new films join that small but notable canon this month: Carol Morley’s The Falling, which depicts a breakout of mass fainting at a 1960s girls’ school, and Céline Sciamma’s Girlhood, the tale of a girl whose trajectory is thrown off-course when she joins a formidable all-female gang.

Britain's Political Values Will Change, One Tweet at a Time

It can swing any number of ways based on history and public opinion, but it can also be carefully shifted by those in power. Government clearly isn’t just about making policies. It also gives the opportunity to set society’s ideas.