Posted in June 2015

The Claim

I watched this as part of my research for wife selling, as this is based on Thomas Hardy’s The Mayor of Casterbridge, in which a man sells his wife and child for a gold claim, becomes fantastically wealthy before his women reappear and he has to deal with his past actions. The scenery is spectacular, … Continue reading

Do You Own the Dancefloor?

This is a documentary that will be released soon, about the end of the Hacienda nightclub in Manchester which gave rise to the Madchester music scene of the 1990s. It went bankrupt and was demolished for yet another block of inner city flats, but everything was auctioned to raise fund for charity. I heard an … Continue reading

Telegraphs of Love

One of the plates in Lawrence Stone’s Road to Divorce features a publication of 1796, part of a whole industry cashing in on a readership keen to discover how the rich and famous were misbehaving, with detailed transcripts of divorce trials reaching a wide and fascinated audience, so no different to now. The title page … Continue reading

Slow West

This film comes highly lauded from Sundance, and with Michael Fassbender promises to be rather special – a modern take on the endlessly being reinvented Western. It is the story of Scot without much of an accent Jay Cavendish who is in search of his lost love, falls in with Fassbinder’s Silas Sellick who he … Continue reading

Fracking: nil. People Power: 1

The first attempt to frack for oil in Britain has just been rejected by Lancashire county council. May we see many more such results for common sense and the views of ordinary Britons. Fracking is too risky, too fraught with danger to the environment to be allowed – as USA and Australia have learnt to … Continue reading

A Law unto Himself

This comes from Laurence Stone’s brilliant, huge book The Road to Divorce: One of he dominant figures in English divorce law of the late 18th century was Lord Erskine as council for plantiffs who did brilliant work standing up for the misbehaving wives. His wife died in 1805 and had been having a long term … Continue reading

Reverend on the Run

This comes from Laurence Stone’s Road to Divorce: In the late 18th century, response to a woman committing adultery was increasingly for the husband to bring a case of ‘criminal conversation” against her lover by means of obtaining compensation for the loss of her company, but lawyers increasingly encouraged judgement by juries to find damages … Continue reading

GM Crop Failure

A controversial field test of GM wheat has failed to repel the aphids as intended. It was hoped that the modified wheat would repel greenfly and blackfly without pesticides, but failed. The government funded field trial at Rothampstead Research cost nearly £3m of which more than £2 was on security to protect from vandalism by … Continue reading

Women’s Work: Like the Holes in My Lace

Originally posted on Sarah Ditum:
I learned to make lace when I was small, solemnly winding my bobbins with white thread then working over the pillow with deepest concentration – twisting and crossing the splints of wood, carefully weighted with scavenged beads, never learning so well that my hands could work without stumbling, but working…

Gran Torino

I  missed this film when it came out, with the great Clint Eastwood on both sides of the camera, so seems to have been a story close to his heart. What put me off in the past was that the plot seemed a bit cheesy, a grumpy old guy who comes to like his Asian … Continue reading