Filed under American history

Citizen Jane: Battle for the City BBC4

Citizen Jane: Battle for the City BBC4

This documentary featured the pioneering journalism and activism of Jane Jacobs who led the battle to stop the wholesale replacement of cities and their vibrant communities with freeways and tower blocksin New York City. Her main opponent was Robert Moses who became a local hero for promoting open spaces and building public parks, but after … Continue reading

Nourishment for our Brains

Nourishment for our Brains

This is from the i paper, an obituary for Marian Diamond Neuroscientist 11/11/1926 – 25/7/2017. Her work has huge implications for how our society is changing: Marian Diamond, a neuroscientist who studied Albert Einstein’s brain and was the first to show that the brain’s anatomy can change with experience, has died aged 90. … Her … Continue reading

Origin of Vampires

Origin of Vampires

Here’s a story that justifies reading outside a person’s normal area of interest. Tschiffley’s Ride is one of the great travel adventures, the sort of journey only Werner Herzog would contemplate filming. Please. Aime Tsciffley, a Swiss former teacher, footballer and boxer moved to Buenos Aires in 1920. In 1925 he set of in the … Continue reading

The Last Days of Solitary

The Last Days of Solitary

This is a really disturbing documentary by the BBC on the US prison system, in which solitary confinement has become widespread as a last resort for dealing with violent uncontrollable prisoners. But for centuries they’ve known it doesn’t work, and in many cases makes prisoners worse. It also costs a hell of a lot of … Continue reading

Beyond Love

I’ve become a huge fan of Ira Glass’s ‘This American Life’ podcast, especially since it provides a welcome antidote to all the bad news coming out of the states recently. Last week i stumbled upon one of the strangest stories ever, in the episode ‘Grand Gestures’ which challenges so many aspects of what we are … Continue reading

Censorship in Charleston 1787

Censorship in Charleston 1787

In Shakespeare’s time, travelling players were considered akin to rogues and vagabonds so needed the protection and patronage of a noble to survive. In 1727 England passed the Chamberlain’s Act requiring theatres to be licensed to perform plays, to prevent the vicious satires against prime minister Robert Walpole. Life for travelling players was also hard … Continue reading

A Lecture on Heads

A Lecture on Heads

There were a lot of theatrical companies in London and the provinces, but when I heard of The Lecture on Heads I was intrigued and confused. What heads? And why? Gerald Kahan in his book George Alexander Stevens & The Lecture on Heads has done a great job researching the show in its many forms … Continue reading