Filed under opinion

How to Create a Perfect Wife

How to Create a Perfect Wife

This is an intriguing book by Wendy Moore, a journalist and author who I’d never heard of. The story fills in a lot of gaps in my historical knowledge, especially featuring the poet Thomas Day who I knew from his famous abolitionist poem The Dying Negro and his book on child centred education. He was … Continue reading

Stockholm My Love

This is a film by critic Mark Cousins described as a love story about Neneh Cherry’s home city. I am not a fan of Cousins: his ponderous narration of his film on his film on children’s cinema was painful. This film comes free with subscriptions to BFI player, but most people have better uses of … Continue reading

Manchester By The Sea

Manchester By The Sea

This is a hard film to review and it’s taken me some time to figure out how to write this. It was nominated for loads of awards and Casey Affleck received best actor at the Oscars, Golden Globes and Baftas. The screenplay was also highly praised, yet it was not an obvious prize winner;  yet … Continue reading

Child Prodigies

Child Prodigies

James Ferguson grew up in rural Scotland in the early 18th century. Like most families, the Fergusons could not support their children so sent them to work at an early age. James became a shepherd but spent his days making models of mills, spinning wheels and any other mechanisms he saw. At night he lay … Continue reading

Imprisoning the Mentally ill

This is from Patrick Cockburn, award winning war correspondent with the i paper. It seems a far cry from his usual topic, but not really. The criminalisation of the mentally iill is one of the cruellest and most easily avoidable tragedies of our era. He discusses a number of cases of impending executions for the … Continue reading

Edward Colston and Bristol

Edward Colston and Bristol

The story  of Bristol’s Edward Colston (1636-21) has been dividing the city for decades and has now reached new levels with the decision to remove his name which has existed for well over a century from the city’s main music venue. The Guardian paper notes the similarities between this dispute and that of Cecil Rhodes … Continue reading

The So-Called Disease of Aging

The So-Called Disease of Aging

Last night I watched a BBC documentary largely focused on the work of eminent biologist Paul Nurse, on current work on gene technology in relation to the process of ageing. He spoke of how cells develop cancer and dementia due to the simple process of age, the cells just accumulate damage which impairs the usual … Continue reading

Walking and Talking

Walking and Talking

This is a subject that is of increasing concern to me as communities across Britain battle to preserve open spaces. In Cardiff the Central square is now a huge building site. It feels threatening, the metal monsters rising where once was windswept bus shelters and skateboarders and people able to catch sight of the sky. … 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