Tag Archive: Berlusconi


The power games of Denial

DENIAL directed by Mick Jackson (UK/USA, 2016)

denial1It is something of a paradox that in our fact check dominated world, liars and cheats continue to flourish.

A quick Google search will expose the most blatant of falsehoods but, as the campaigns of Brexit and Trump have proven, you can win votes simply by repeating lies ad infinitum.

Holocaust denier and credited British historian David Irving was and is a pants on fire specialist but he has never wavered from his position as a Hitler apologist. This film gives a clue as to what motivates him and how he is a potent (and pungent) example of someone who redefines the ‘truth’ to justify his own ends.

The movie is adapted from David Hare’s stage play which was in turn based on Deborah E. Lipstadt’s book ‘History On Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier’.

At its centre is the Irving vs Penguin Books Ltd trial which took place in 2000 at the High Court of Justice in London and gave judgement on Irving’s claim that Lipstadt had made libellous statements against him in her 1993 book ‘Denying The Holocaust’. Continue reading

Part of an irregular series of bite-sized posts about 7″ singles I own – shameless nostalgia from the days of vinyl. (Search ‘Backtracking’ to collect the set!)

THE CORTINAS – Fascist Dictator / Television Families” (Step Forward, 1977)

Cover image by Jill Furmanovsky.

On the day Berlusconi won a vote of confidence for this toe-rag government, this seems like the right choice for today’s backtrack since it targets Il Cavaliere’s twin stock-in-trades of fascism and lame TV ‘entertainment’.

The Bristol-based band were a short-lived phenomenon who with the benefit of hindsight, frankly, not very good. The single is very much of its time and hasn’t dated well.

It was their debut single and I bought at a time when I was grabbing any half way decent punk tune I heard on John Peel.

They got to record a session for Peelie and almost made a front cover of Sniffin’ Glue, so they had their fifteen minutes of fame. However, their one and only album bombed and then they were no more.

On the cover shot the five guys are adopting appropriately sullen poses and look more like Mods than Punks.

SEX AND THE TV WATERSHED

Just good fun or morally offensive?

The current controversy about the TV watershed  in Britain looks destined to be a footnote in television history.

As Guardian critic Mark Lawson has argued,  even if such a watershed were to be strictly imposed, the principle is ultimately meaningless now that viewers young and old are able to watch shows on their computers whenever they want.

In the UK, since the days of Lord Reith, the BBC has always taken the moral high ground and stood for their notion of decency and good taste. If they slipped up crusaders like Mary Whitehouse were on their backs.

Nowadays, what Lawson calls the on-screen  “slaying, swearing or shagging”  may still occur after 10pm but anyone from the age of 9 to 90 with an internet connection and an ounce of curiosity can be ‘corrupted’ the following morning. Continue reading

Berliusconi is on the racks again. This time he’s biting the hand that feeds him and his cohorts by proposing a “solidarity” tax for high-earners- anyone with an income over  €90,000 a year will be assessed an additional 5%  tax in each of the next two years. The rate will be 10% for incomes over €150,000.

I thought that the solidarity tax was so called as an indication that the rich had got away with paying less taxes for so long and they would at long last be on a par with those on lower incomes. In fact the tax is defined as a levy in an attempt to provide funding towards theoretically unifying (or solidifying) projects.

Having promised not to raise taxes for anyone (yeah, right!) Berlusconi is being forced into this corner by the economic crisis. He issued a statement of regret but insisted the emergency measures were fair.

The highest profile protesters to date are Serie A soccer players who have called a strike in protest (this is linked to another unrelated issue about the treatment players near the end of their club contracts).

The whole situation is a mess that shows that the rich will always go to great lengths to preserve their wealth and the only silver lining is that it is a further nail in Berlusconi’s coffin.

NINE! NEIN! NEIN!

You know of course - zees eez madness Daniel!!!

There is a rumour (started here and now by me) that when the star-studded cast were shown the rushes to Rob Marshall’s ‘Nine’ they campaigned vigorously for the title to be changed to NEIN!

For, make no mistake, this movie is a prize turkey of the first order!

Daniel Day Lewis was presumably lured by the chance to swagger about like Marcello  Mastroianni and to romp with Penelope Cruz but the cost is that his reputation for choosing his roles astutely now lies in tatters.

Nine is a musical remake of 8½ , a Fellini classic from  1963, and  is a movie treatment of a unfathomably successful Broadway show. Lewis was the main reason I wanted to see it , I certainly wasn’t drawn by the prospect of another musical from Marshall, whose ‘Chicago’ I loathed.

It’s hard to know where to start with this catalogue of woeful and offensively bad movie-making. Continue reading

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