New Statesman bloggers nominated for Games Media Awards

Helen Lewis and Phil Hartup shortlisted.

New Statesman videogame writers Helen Lewis and Phil Hartup have been nominated in the Games Media Awards.

Lewis is shortlisted for mainstream magazine writer of the year, and Hartup in the blogs category for Killing Time, where he has written about being embedded in Eve Online, the secret of scary games, and asked: what if you feel sorry for the people you're shooting?

New Statesman contributors Simon Parkin and Cara Ellison have also been nominated. You can read Parkin's essay on game violence and Ellison's satirical "There's No Sexism in Gaming" on the New Statesman site by following the links.

Lewis said: "People thought it was weird when they first started noticing articles about videogames in the New Statesman. But we treat television, film and theatre as serious cultural subjects, so why not games? It's been a pleasure to publish so many talented writers over the last year, in a range of styles. The best videogame writing is up there with anything else other genres produce. Phil's blog has been a huge success for us and his articles are regularly among our most-read. It shows there's an appetite for funny, incisive, intelligent commentary on games, even if the games themselves are sometimes quite silly."

The winners will be announced on 10 October. Here are the nominations in full:



Michael Gapper, Edge

Rich McCormick, PC Gamer

Gillen McAlllister, Gamereactor

Matthew Castle, ONM

Jason Killingsworth, Edge

Joel Gregory, OPM



Christian Donlan, Eurogamer

Jon Blyth, OXM

Keza MacDonald, IGN

Simon Parkin, Eurogamer

Andy Kelly, CVG

Steve Hogarty, PCGamesN

Rob Crossley, CVG

Oli Welsh, Eurogamer



Matt Kamen, The Observer

Keith Stuart, The Guardian

David Jenkins, Metro

Lee Price, The Sun

Dan Silver, Sunday Mirror

Talal Musa, Daily Mail



PC Gamer



Xbox 360: The Official Xbox Magazine


Retro Gamer



Rory Buckeridge, Nuts

Julia Hardy, Front

Matt Hill, T3

Daniel Nye Griffiths, Wired

Simon Ward, Zoo

Helen Lewis, New Statesman

Jonathan Pile, Shortlist






Rock Paper Shotgun







Midnight Resistance

Killing Time

Ready Up

Average Gamer

The Game Jar



OXM Breakdown

Videogamer TV

The Blurb

Feedbackula, Gamespot

PlayStation Access





Adam Rosser, Radio Five Live

Guy Cocker’s Podcast

This is my Joystick

IGN UK Podcast

Gamespot UK Podcast





Digital Spy

BT Games


Sabotage Times

Huffington Post



Daniel Krupa, IGN

Bex May, AskMen

Sam White, Future

Vaughn Highfield, Pocket Gamer

Ben Griffin, CVG

Cara Ellison, Freelance



Steve Hogarty @misterbrilliant

Andrew Kelly @ultrabrilliant

Gav Murphy @cymrogav

Glans Gruber @gamewank_jim

Rob Crossley @Rob_Crossley_

Sean Bell @CaptainToss

Lee Bradley @Lee_Bradley

Martin Gaston @squidmani


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Beware of tea: the cuppa has started wars and ruined lives

. . . and it once led F Scott Fitzgerald to humiliate himself.

A drink sustains me – one that steams companionably as I write. It is hot, amber and fragranced differently from any wine; nor does it have wine’s capacity to soften and blur. I’ve never understood how the great drunks of literature, Ernest Hemingway, F Scott Fitzgerald and their like, ever put anything on the page more worthwhile than a self-involved howl, though even Hemingway apparently finished the day’s writing before beginning the day’s drinking.

Tea is more kindly, or so I’d always thought. Those aromatic leaves, black or green, rolled and dried and oxidised, have some of wine’s artistry but none of its danger. Even their exoticism has waned, from a Chinese rarity (“froth of the liquid jade”), for which 17th-century English traders were made to pay in solid silver, to a product that can be found dirt cheap on supermarket shelves.

There are even home-grown teas now. The Tregothnan estate in Cornwall has supplemented its ornamental rhododendrons and camellias with their relative camellia sinensis, the tea plant, while Dalreoch in the Scottish Highlands grows a white (that is, lightly oxidised) tea, which is smoked using wood from the surrounding birch plantations. Tellingly, this local version is priced as steeply as the imported rarity once was.

I enjoy a simple, solitary mug, but I also appreciate communal tea-drinking – the delicate tea warmed with water at 85°C (a little higher for sturdier black blends), the teapot and china, the pourer volunteering to be “mother”, as if this were a liquid that could nurture. But in reality, tea is not so gentle.

Those long-ago English traders disliked haemorrhaging silver, so they started exporting opium to China from India and paying with that. This was a fabulous success, unless you happened to be Chinese. In 1839, a commissioner attempted to clamp down on the illegal and harmful trade, and the result was the Opium Wars, which the Chinese lost. “Gunboat diplomacy” – a phrase that surely constitutes froth of a different kind – won England a great deal of silver, a 150-year lease on Hong Kong and an open tea market. China received a potful of humiliation that may eventually have helped spark the Communist Revolution. As many of us have recently realised, there is nothing like economic mortification to galvanise a nation to kick its leaders.

Later, the tea bush was planted in India, Ceylon and elsewhere, and the fragrant but bitter brew for the upper classes became a ubiquitous fuel. But not an entirely sweet one: just as the opium trade ensured our tea’s arrival in the pot, the slave trade sweetened it in the cup. Even today, conditions for tea workers in places such as Assam in north-east India are often appalling.

Scott Fitzgerald also had tea trouble. When invited round by Edith Wharton, he frothed the liquid jade so assiduously with booze beforehand and risqué conversation during (a story about an American tourist couple staying unawares in a Paris bordello) that he was nearly as badly humiliated as those 19th-century Chinese. Wharton, unshocked, merely wondered aloud what the couple had done in the bordello and afterwards pronounced the entire occasion “awful”.

Some would blame his alcoholic preliminaries, but I’m not so sure. Tea has started wars and ruined lives; we should be wary of its consolations. On that sober note, I reach for the corkscrew and allow the subject to drive me softly, beguilingly, to drink.

Nina Caplan is the 2014 Fortnum & Mason Drink Writer of the Year and 2014 Louis Roederer International Wine Columnist of the Year for her columns on drink in the New Statesman. She tweets as @NinaCaplan.

This article first appeared in the 27 April 2017 issue of the New Statesman, Cool Britannia 20 Years On

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