Even going as far back as the Book of Genesis, it is still pretty obvious that you can choose your friends but you can`t choose your relatives. Being born into what can only be described as an “unusual” family, the story of Cain and Abel is not a story that ends well. A certain degree of sibling rivalry is inevitable in any family group regardless of incestuous necessity but Cain managing to invent murder, treachery and a curse on the entire human race across three major religions is impressive to say the least. According to the established patriarchy, this should not come as a surprise given the sort of woman his mother was. (more…)
February 29, 2016
February 22, 2016
With just four short months to go, preparations for the summer solstice have hit fever pitch with the announcement of a self-selected all-England Morris Dancing team to challenge the world. The six most honest, intelligent, hard-working and photogenic synchronised handkerchief wavers have finally stepped out from the shadow of collective ministerial responsibility and can now campaign for patriotism unfettered, un-gagged and, if the first 24 hour hours is anything to go by, more than a little unhinged. With Boris Johnson sewing flowers into his hat and strapping bells to his knees and elbows, English Morris Dancing is certain to enjoy a tumultuous resurgence. (more…)
February 1, 2016
After a busy January, show business editors, arts correspondents and the poor souls buried in film archives will be looking through their fingers at an approaching February and the next tranche of celebrity demise. Even the most imaginative authors of obituaries must be struggling to construct an original sentence containing mandatory terms of deferential respect such as icon, legend, national treasure, hugely influential and never to be forgotten. There are times when “person of advancing years with a health condition dies after an illness” simply will not do.
In this information technology age, smart eulogists could simply set up a template, load in a bunch of algorithms and the piece will compose itself well before the print deadline or broadcast. Age (veteran, popular, up and coming), occupation (actor, musician, entertainer, politician,); cause of death (drugs, drink, terminal medical condition, the discharging of a firearm) and a few vintage photographic images guarantees immortality for the sadly deceased and a job well done by the busy hack. (more…)
January 18, 2016
Before we all get too carried by the lifting of western sanctions against Iran, it might be worth taking a moment to consider quite how we define friend and foe, ally and rival and, perhaps more importantly, bosom buddy and hated enemy.
A cultural package tour of the historic glories of Tehran, Qom and Isfahan or a relaxing beach holiday at Bandar Abbas on the delightful Strait of Hormuz seems rather tempting even though the Axis of Evil continues to flourish and what with the war on terror going ever so well. (more…)
January 12, 2016
A variety of worthy academics engaged in a futile analysis of popular culture claim with some certainty that Rock and Roll was born on January 10th 1956 when Elvis Aaron Presley recorded Heartbreak Hotel in Nashville – Happy 60th birthday Rock and Roll.
The heartfelt outpouring of genuine grief at the passing of David Bowie is a basic human reaction but says more about the audience than the performer. It seems that we cannot accept that our heroes are mortals just like us and even if they provided “the soundtrack of our lives”, it does not exempt them from running out of time. (more…)