Category: politics


THE MAN IN THE WHITE SUIT directed by Alexander Mackendrick (UK, 1951)

Joining forces for the common good - Alec Guinness and Joan Greenwood.

Joining forces for the common good – Alec Guinness and Joan Greenwood.

Built-in obsolescence has become so much the norm these days that most us take it for granted.

Part of this is due to the rapidity of technological advances but as devices get increasingly smaller, lighter and thinner, it often gets to the point when  these ‘improvements’ become simply ways to induce the public to buy the same product over and over again.

It also seems self-evident that it is not in the manufacturer’s interest to produce a perfect product that will last a lifetime.

This is the premise for ‘The Man In The White Suit’ in which Sidney Stratton (Alec Guinness) is a brilliant research chemist in a textiles factory who invents a material that never gets dirty and never wears out. Continue reading

homegrownNot surprisingly, the creators of the National Youth Theatre’s cancelled production of Homegrown smell a rat.

The official explanation given by the London-based company is that the play was not ready and would have failed the meet the theatre group’s high standards. The fact that neither director Nadia Latif nor playwright Omar El-Khairy were given prior notice of this decision means that this seems more a case of censorship than quality control. Continue reading

BOB DYLAN AT LUCCA SUMMER FESTIVAL, ITALY – 1st JULY 2015

Same man - different mask. Bob Dylan - then and now.

Same man – different mask. Bob Dylan – then and now.

Why does Bob Dylan still play live and why do people still pay good money to see him?

The second question is easier to answer than the first. It is something of a cliché to refer to an artist as a living legend but Dylan surely merits this label. It’s therefore only natural that many will flock to pay homage (and cash!) to a man whose vast body of work is second to none.

When he exploded onto the folk music scene in the 1960s, an adoring public would sit in rapt silence to hear the words of this poet come visionary. On his Song For Bob Dylan, David Bowie got it about right when he sang: “you sat behind a million pair of eyes and told them how they saw”.

Robert Zimmerman’s ‘protest’ songs articulated the mood of a nation and helped fuel movements opposed to the Vietnam War, institutionalised racism and the dearth of moral /political values that causes like these symbolized. Yet, Dylan has always diligently avoided aligning himself to political or religious movements, stubbornly following his own path. “Don’t follow leaders” he advised in Subterranean Homesick Blues and he has never set himself up as a spokesman for any generation. Think for yourself has always been his message. Continue reading

A CUP OF SAKE BENEATH THE CHERRY TREES by Kenkō (Translated by Meredith McKinney)
kenko1

Yoshida Kenkō at work – just to prove that he didn’t just sit around all day doing nothing!

Kenkō was a Japanese Buddhist monk who was probably born in 1283 and probably died in 1352 (nobody knows for sure).

This pocket-sized book is one of eighty 80p  ‘Little Black Classics’ and is a much reduced version of his Essays In Idleness.

Despite its 14th century provenance it has a remarkably contemporary application. It illustrates that the vanity of human wishes change little from century to century or from country to country. Continue reading

THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING by Naomi Klein (Allen Lane, 2013)

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding” – Upton Sinclair.

Alternative titles to this brave and important book could have been ‘Everything Must Change’, ‘Everything is Fucked’ or even more despairingly, The End Is Nigh.

Whatever way you look at the situation that Naomi Klein presents, it is clear that humanity is well and truly up shit creek climate-wise.

It would nice to report that this book also provides us with some metaphorical paddles but, sadly, this is not the case.

Klein presents the scale of the problem but in terms of solutions ultimately offers only a faith in the essential resilience of the human spirit. Continue reading

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 655 other followers

%d bloggers like this: