Filed under opinion

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

Relics,Witches & Ships in Bottles

Relics,Witches & Ships in Bottles

What happened to objects when Henry VIII closed the monasteries? This is an area of history that is often ignored or the subject of guesswork, especially in England where there was so much destruction of religious artefacts at the long drawn-out Reformation. But here’s some thoughts. Every church that conducted masses had to have a … Continue reading

Containing What?

Containing What?

Here’s an ad for a range of diet noodles etc that seem to be on sale everywhere. Obesity is a huge problem, and anything that helps should be a good thing, but I don’t understand what this food product is. It claims to have no sugar, fat, gluten or carbohydrate, so what does it contain? … Continue reading

May on Mental Health

May on Mental Health

Our Prime Minister has announced help for sufferers of Mental Health, possibly in response to the revelation that the late MP Jo Cox was seriously concerned about loneliness in her constituency, which is often a factor in this. Bravo Theresa, but no cigar, because the commonest form of mental illness is depression, and a major … Continue reading

Health Advice for Young Gents – 1836

Health Advice for Young Gents – 1836

This is from the i paper of 30 December As the season of overindulgence takes its toll, it is perhaps heartening to know that pre-Victorians faced a similar dilemma over gym regimes and fad diets. Researchers at Cambridge University have unearthed an 1834 manual called British Manly Exercises, which aimed to help the middle and … 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

Words and Image of a Nobody

Words and Image of a Nobody

There are a lot of images from our history that suggest there was some heavy drug taking happening – disproportioned people, strange animals etc. These are often accepted as elements of folklore but there may have been a more straightforward explanation, as a mans of insulting the rich and powerful without getting arrested. This was … Continue reading

Ill Manors

This gritty urban film came out in 2012 by rapper Plan B aka Ben Drew. It was highly praised at the time as being far from a predictable pop star vanity project. It’s a grim, fast paced but at times touching and even humorous view of the lives of young people on east London’s housing … Continue reading

On Translation 

When the news broke on Wednesday & twitter fell silent I turned to John Berger’s ‘Confabulations ‘ on translating into other languages: “We read and reread the words of the original text in order to penetrate through them, to reach, to touch the vision or experience which prompted them. We then gather up what we … Continue reading