selma & gandhi


a film i hadn’t seen when it came out, but was prompted to by some ministry at quakers; this also led to gandhi the following night – a film i’d meant to see but hadn’t

what struck me most was the shocking violence, and the shocking attitudes, which took place (and persist) in the richest country on earth in my lifetime; but also a surprise was the number of liberals, pre-vietnam, who were prepared to travel, demonstrate and risk violence

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the age of anxiety and the lobster

the age of anxiety

(‘Liam Scarlett sets Leonard Bernstein’s Symphony no.2, ‘The Age of Anxiety’, inspired by W.H. Auden’s epic poem’ more)

on a bill between two other pieces; we watched the first and bunked the third: dance without a story, unlike music, does very little for me beyond an appreciation of the dancers’ athleticism and training – this evening’s first piece confirmed my philistinism

but the auden is amazing: four people meet in a bar, get drunk, go back to one of the group’s flat, and, after some failed half-hearted sexual attempts on each other, depart in the morning with hangovers; the choreography makes crystal clear (though in ways i can’t verbalise) such subtleties of character, of action, and of changes in the group’s emotional temperature; the final scene, where one of the group dances away into the new york sunrise, is profoundly memorable (though i’d forgotten it from the first time i saw it a few years ago: ask me in a few years’ time)

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così fan tutte and a portrait of the artist as a young man

così fan tutte

(live from the met at the odeon south woodford)

as with tosca, i was surprised, and pleased, at the level of dark, serious stuff, but this time more so, as superficially it’s a comedy

spying on their women to settle a wager on whose is the most faithful opens all sorts of unpalatable doors – plugging in to a tradition which goes back to livy: lucretia, sextus’ rape, brutus’ expulsion of the tarquins and the birth of the roman republic

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lauren scott and the seahorse, by chris jones, and trip to windsor and eton

lauren scott and the seahorse

(a teenager novel self-published by a friend)

a fantastic first chapter – a gripping opening, strongly establishing the futuristic london, and pulling my eyes along the lines of the page as the chase became intense; you knew roughly the violent way in which it would end, but that wasn’t a problem; you didn’t know why he was so desperate to reach someone with something before ‘they’ got him

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london’s hidden rivers and hamlet

london’s hidden rivers, by david fathers

north of the thames (west to east)

  • Stamford Brook
  • Counter’s Creek
  • River Westbourne
  • River Tyburn
  • River Fleet
  • Hackney Brook
  • River Walbrook

south of the thames (west to east)

  • Falcon Brook
  • River Effra
  • River Neckinger
  • Earl’s Sluice & River Peck

we forget that the land cities are built on was once the same as the land cities are not built on: fields, woods, streams and rivers

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being adam golightly and the ferryman

being adam golightly

an account of how a middle-aged widower with kids has begun to rebuild not his life but a new one – ‘not the same life as before but just a bit crappier’, but something different

the account becomes a meta-account of how the act of writing about being a middle-aged widower with kids building a new life itself builds the new life; his persona ‘adam’ develops a depth, a mini-history – the writing becomes a way of processing the pain, both his own and that of his wife’s friends and family, who followed the course of adam’s grief every saturday morning in a national newspaper: turning himself inside out to the public, like a starfish, made darkness visible, scared the spooks; in short, helped

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the day of the triffids and a visit to bamford quaker community

the day of the triffids

far better than i expected (i’d grabbed it from a friend’s shelves in a oh-i-haven’t-read-that-and-really-should-have mood) (though i had enjoyed the midwich cuckoos) – a dark, sober, and believable evocation of london as it might be if 98% of people awoke one morning blind; it’s a mix of on the one hand despairing, isolated, suicides and, on the other, more positive people forming groups to work out their survival – some of which are hidebound, by their social conditioning, to fail

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