Archive Page 2 of 69



London life

Blackshaw Theatre’s New Writing Nights (HT: MB):

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London life

Speakers’ Corner, Hyde Park, London.

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Rising by sin

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On Friday, I was privileged to see a final dress rehearsal of King’s Shakespeare Company’s production of Measure for Measure.  Performed as a cabaret, the production is set in Weimar Germany, and the songs make this a production to remember.  They are fast, witty, tuneful and memorable expressions of the interior lives of the main characters, and they add a depth of meaning to a play which is otherwise confusing.  It is impressive how much intellectual heft and coherence the cabaret setting gives to the play.

The production is directed by Lauren O’Hara, with music by Henry Keynes Carpenter, and the cast includes:  Rhia Abbott, Henry Keynes Carpenter, Hannah Elsy, Freddie Fullerton, Serena Grasso, William Holyhead, and Rupert Sadler.   The production is only on for five nights, tomorrow Monday 21 July to Friday 25 July 2014, at the Bierkeller in Bristol. Go see it if you are anywhere nearby.

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Lucy Corley has a review  here.




Rigour and speculation in pure math

On the categories email list on 5 March 2006, Ronald Brown quoted the following paragraph on mathematical speculation from a 14 June 1983 letter he had received from Alexander Grothendieck:

Continue reading ‘Rigour and speculation in pure math’




The Lamberts

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From sometime before 1933 right down to the present day, members of my family have had on their walls reproductions of George Lambert’s 1899 Wynne-Prize-winning painting Across the Black Soil Plains, and so this image is part of my cultural heritage. (Image due to AGNSW.)

George Washington Thomas Lambert (1873-1930) was an Australian artist born, after his father had died, in St Petersburg of an American father and English mother.  The family emigrated to New South Wales in 1887.  In Australia, he is most famous for his painting, Across the Black Soil Plains, now in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, which was based on his time living at Warren, NSW.  During WWI, he was an official Australian war artist.

George’s son, Leonard Constant Lambert (1905-1951) was a jazz-age British composer and conductor, and co-founder of Sadler’s Wells dance company.

Constant’s son, Christopher (“Kit”) Sebastian Lambert (1935-1981) was a record producer and manager, and part-creator of rock band, The Who.




Recent Reading 11

The latest in a sequence of lists of recently-read books.

Francis King [1970]:  A Domestic Animal. Faber Finds, 2014.  A well-written account of unrequited love that becomes an obsession.  Both the plot and the dialogue are, at times, unbelievable, although the obsession and the emotions it provokes in holder and object are very credible.

Continue reading ‘Recent Reading 11′




The Beats: Australian responses

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An excerpt from a 1959 Australian Broadcasting Commission TV programme on the Beats, featuring interviews with Sydney University students, Clive James and Robert Hughes (pictured, image from ABC).




Remembering Tiananmen

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Last week was the 25th anniversary of the violent suppression by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army of the non-violent protest in Tiananmen Square, Beijing, on 4 June 1989.  How distant now is that spirit of hope and confidence that existed in the Spring of that year, a spirit slaughtered on the Square?

In the years since, we have learnt that not all the senior leadership of the Chinese Communist Party were among the butchers of Tiananmen.   In particular, the brave Zhao Zhiyang (1919-2005), at the time the General-Secretary of the Central Committee of the CCP, opposed the action and suffered  politically and personally  for his views.  It seems that Zhao was not alone.  A New York Times investigation reports that Major-General Xu Qinxian, leader of the 38th Group Army, refused to execute an order to participate  in the action, a refusal for which he was court-martialed, imprisoned, and expelled from the CCP.   Other military officers, possibly including the Defence Minister himself, Qin Jiwei (1914-1997), also opposed the action and/or refused to shoot civilians.

By this post, I wish to remember all those who struggled for freedom and democracy across China that spring, and especially all those who died in that struggle. Those, like Zhao and Xu, who bravely refused to join the action are also remembered.

A Luta Continua!




The end of Catholicism in Ireland

It is hard to see how Catholicism can survive in Ireland, given that the Church seems to have been involved in maltreatment, starvation, and mass burial of innocent children in septic tanks, and within living memory. Who could belong to such an organization?  The church apologists have already started arguing that we should not judge the past with the criteria of the present, but when was it ever morally acceptable to murder children?  Like the Communist Party of the USSR, the Roman Catholic church in Ireland was a criminal conspiracy that captured the State, and as with the CPSU, it needs to be outlawed.  Only by closing down the whole shebang and starting afresh can any moral worth be retrieved from this evil, shameful, despicable organization.




Kriegsspiel 1914

Kriegsspiel 1914:   A war game re-enactment of the battles between German and Allied (French, Belgian, BEF) forces on the Western Front between late August and late September 1914, organized by Philip Sabin of the War Studies Department at King’s College London.   Our team comprised Evan Sterling, Nicholas Reynolds and myself, and played as Germany.  We beat the Allies, capturing more territory than Germany had captured in actuality in 1914.  In other words, we not only beat the Allies, we beat History.

The photo shows the final placement of German forces (black boxes) after 6 rounds of fighting, with the yellow boxes showing territory held by Germany.     Cells without yellow boxes are held by the Allies.  This was immense fun.   (Photo credit:  Nicholas Reynolds.)

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