Posts Tagged ‘ The Arts ’

Forget Musical Chairs, It’s Musical Paedos!

November 30, 2012 10 Comments
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Martin Kettle on Benjamin Brittan: Is it important, and if so in what sense and to what degree, that one of this country’s most significant composers of the past century – in many people’s view, the most significant modern British composer of them all – was intensely attracted to underage young boys, invited them to stay at his home, sometimes took them into his bed, or kissed them? I’d have…

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If It’s Not Nailed Down…

October 12, 2012 1 Comment
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For decades, it was the centrepiece of an east London housing estate and was known affectionately as Old Flo. But the towering Henry Moore sculpture, Draped Seated Woman, created for public display, is now likely to end up in an auction room with a £20m price tag to raise much-needed funds for Tower Hamlets, which is the site of some of the worst deprivation in Britain. It’s not actually doing…

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Well, Just Call Me A Philistine…

October 2, 2012 7 Comments
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Charlotte Higgins in CiF on the ‘attack’ on the arts: The Central Library in Sheffield opened in 1934, when my father was four. As a teenager and medical student in the 1940s and 50s, he would work there, an escape from the confined, cramped home he grew up in. It was, he remembers, “state of the art”: a grand public building with elegant, deco curves to the custom-made furniture, handsome…

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Oh, Play Me Another Song, Love!

February 20, 2012 13 Comments
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Kerry Andrew asks the question that (she clearly thinks) should be on the lips of everyone, everywhere: … is there a gender gap in the music industry? Well, frankly, that probably what you’d expect from a ‘freelance composer, performer and music educator based in London, specialising in experimental vocal music, choral music, folk, jazz and electronica‘ who also happens to have breasts, I suppose… Any chance the answer’s ‘No’? Well…

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More Free Lunches Demanded…

January 26, 2012 9 Comments
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All children under five in care in London should be sent a free book a month to boost their reading and prospects later in life, the Commons was being told today. Well, that’ll get rid of a few more unsold Olympics tie-ins, I suppose… Senior Labour MP John Healey urged Mayor Boris Johnson and his Labour challenger Ken Livingstone to back the Imagination Library scheme,already running in some parts of…

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Childhood Freedom…

January 19, 2012 9 Comments
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Sarah Hall on the changing trends in children’s literature: My six-year-old daughter is reading Dorothy Edwards’ My Naughty Little Sister and Bad Harry and something is puzzling her. Her brow furrows as she points to the text: “Bad Harry lived quite near to us. There were no roads to cross to get to his house, and he and my sister often went round to visit each other without any grown-up…

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”There is no denying the cultural legitimacy of hip-hop.”

December 20, 2011 8 Comments
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So says Mychal Denzel Smith, a freelance writer and social commentator, in CiF. Presumably, only because ‘Private Eye’ no longer does ‘Pseuds Corner’: Judging by the amount of fuss he caused, one would think Georgetown University Professor Michael Eric Dyson had floated the idea of abolishing child labor laws. In reality, all he had done was announce that this semester he would be teaching a course entitled “Sociology of Hip-Hop…

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Seriously, Who Ever Even Looks?

December 14, 2011 12 Comments
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Catherine Johnson writes stories for screen and books for children. And she’s complaining about something. What, you ask? Well, I’d better let her tell you that… It seems like a boom time for black literature and drama. Tiny Sunbirds Far Away, which focuses on the life of a young girl in Nigeria, is shortlisted for the Costa first novel award next month. Pigeon English, the story of a Ghanaian boy…

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Spooks: How to kill off a series

October 26, 2011 14 Comments
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Just a little over six weeks ago, my better half and I were looking forward to the final series of Spooks. Before we watched the first episode we lamented the end of an excellent series.  Okay, so it was telly-land, not real life, but it had action, suspense and intrigue.  It was a high-quality production. We imagined Spooks fans writing in over the next several weeks to Radio Times campaigning…

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The Fall of Rome

September 19, 2011 1 Comment
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Be not misled by the byline. This was written in 1947 by W H Auden. __________________ The piers are pummelled by the waves; In a lonely field the rain Lashes an abandoned train; Outlaws fill the mountain caves. Fantastic grow the evening gowns; Agents of the Fisc pursue Absconding tax-defaulters through The sewers of provincial towns. Private rites of magic send The temple prostitutes to sleep; All the literati keep…

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Daily Worship in Schools

September 7, 2011 11 Comments
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I’d almost forgotten that the daily worship in school assembly was a legal requirement until reminded by Aunty. Apparently, many schools aren’t bothering with it anymore in direct contravention of the law. Frankly, this doesn’t concern me one bit. It is not the place of the school –  or, more specifically, the state –  to enforce worship. Religious belief and the practice thereof should be a private matter. If parents…

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Cultural dictatorship, then and now

August 23, 2011 3 Comments
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Cultural dictatorship, then and now

I wonder. Did Evan Davies blush? On the Today programme (starts at 2.22’38″) this morning (22 August 2011), Davies interviewed a leading member of Britain’s cultural ruling class, a film-maker who, in 1977, scorned the Labour government’s offer of the OBE on grounds of high principle (‘… despicable: patronage, deferring to the monarchy and the name of the British Empire, which is a monument of exploitation and conquest’). His refined sensibility did…

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Have Books Had Their Day?

August 19, 2011 21 Comments
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A fascinating article from Sam Leith on the changes to the books industry post-Internet age: You won’t find any shortage of people willing to pronounce the printed book doomed, arguing that the convenience and searchability of digital text and the emergence of a Kindle-first generation will render them obsolete. Frankly (perhaps because I just read fiction on my iPhone and iPad), I’ve never used the searchability options, but I can’t…

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Harrods and Dress Codes

July 10, 2011 14 Comments
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I’ve discussed dress codes before but the latest case to hit the headlines is, without doubt, one of the oddest I’ve come across. A sales assistant at Harrods claims she has been “driven out” of her job over her refusal to wear makeup. There are a number of interesting factors to this case, and on balance, I believe the employee has a case for constructive dismissal and I expect her…

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The Contempt of the Fourth Estate

June 26, 2011 12 Comments
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If there is a profession I despise more than politicians, it is journalists. More even than ambulance chasing lawyers. Indeed, ambulance chasing lawyers are paragons of virtue when compared with the other two –  they, at least, are trying to create some benefit for their clients even if their behaviour is ultimately destructive. I stopped buying newspapers long before the Internet was even a pipe dream. I realised even at…

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