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Showing posts from March, 2017


WE'D ALL BE BETTER OFF IF SHE WAS IN CHARGE A few days ago a person who was very angry at the state of the world, and who had determined to do something violent in the name of extreme views, went on a rampage outside of the British houses of parliament. A terror incident, and awfully, innocent people were injured, and killed, including an officer guarding the home of democracy in these isles. Images of an heroic MP bloodied and unbowed, and talk of the Blitz spirit, boomed across the globe.... Britain is strong, and unbeaten. Family members of the killer have apologised. Debates rage about his religious identity, and how someone "home grown" could end up so hate-filled - as if this was not also the country that gave us Cromwell and Jack The Ripper . Hate is often grown at home. The new PM, Mrs May , spoke eloquently, and in rather rhetorical fashion, about the greatness of democracy and Westminster. True, but painfully ironic. For, while the terrorist in Londo


CULTURE IS NOT ALL ABOUT WHAT WHITE PEOPLE SAY OR DO Last week saw the deaths of TS Eliot and John Lennon ... now imagine that media fuss. Well, what did happen? In fact, Derek Walcott and Chuck Berry died. Now consider what actually happened... There was a lot of fuss; obituaries... AND THEN... sort of not all that much. Certainly not the wailing lamentation when Bowie died... or even Ted Hughes ... I am not saying the media and Western cultural machines are organisationally racist, but there is something wrong with the omelettes in Denmark, when arguably the greatest poet of color of the 20th century dies followed by ONLY THE GOLDARN INVENTOR OF ROCK AND ROLL - and there is no world-shaking sorrow and recognition that SOME OF THE GREATEST ART AND CULTURE is made by non-white folks. Just saying... Because Walcott and Berry, for all their human weaknesses, were universal geniuses in their fields. Their deaths were not just sad or notable - they were SEISMIC. Now ima


MUSIC SAVES I turn now to our quarterly report into some of the key popular songs that have made their way as ear-worms into the hearts and minds of the writer of this post, since January 1, 2017 - in short, for the first 25% of the year, what are the top songs so far? Note, only songs that one can find on Spotify count. It has been a good year so far, for pop and indie music... new Shins, and Depeche Mode albums in the same month as the first album from The Jesus and Mary Chain in 19 years can hardly be said to be a bad time.... so, counting down from Number one, in anti-climactic order.... here goes.... the 11 best songs so far, for 2017.... (and be careful, what with the allusions to a decade now as long ago as the 50s was to the Reagan era, this might be the best of 1987 ). 1. 'Love' - Lana Del Rey Arguably her best song - and, like all her songs - a microcosm of her entire canon - like Dylan Thomas' , her work is always imploding inwards to achieve a sort of


DANGER - SPOILERS AHEAD!!! Logan , the new film by James Mangold , and the tenth outing for the Wolverine character from the Marvel Universe, as played by Hugh Jackman , is receiving a lot of critical praise. Released March 1, the film has been called "the Citizen Kane " of comic book films, and compared favourably to the previous benchmark for quality in this sub-genre, The Dark Knight trilogy, by Christopher Nolan . It shares with that trilogy a gritty realism, a downbeat tone, and serious actors at the top of their game. It is however not an urban picture, but, as every critic has noted, a road movie/Western in its DNA. The cliché is to cite Shane , which the picture does itself, as the blueprint, but this is a red herring, since the actual Western it most resembles is The Searchers - let alone In Cold Blood or T2 . Mangold has co-written the film, at a time of Western darkness (Brexit, the rise of Trump ) and the film opens on a landscape torn from Beckett by