One reason to be cheerful during this endlessly unnerving Brexit+Trump interregnum is a little seasonal gift from BBC Genome and its blog. BBC Genome is the invaluable and all-round essential website featuring all of the BBC’s radio and television listings between 1923 and 2009. And its blog is a treasure trove of trivia and broadcasting history. As one entry in this year’s advent calendar it has made available a .pdf of the 1941 Christmas Radio Times, complete with editorial matter, programme details and advertisements. And what a rich, resonant document this is, conjuring up the traces of Christmas past from 75 years ago. Download it now and dive in with me – I’m going to pick out bits and pieces through the rest of this afternoon and into the evening. read more »
I failed to post the past two Sunday links, and nor have I contributed general entries across the past three weeks. Although it’s no excuse it has been an exceptionally busy time for the company, mostly because we have been preparing a new performance recording which will be announced shortly. We got the first part of that in the digital “can” yesterday, and can now start to breathe again. I also spent a few days in Paris and I go to Munich tomorrow.
But it’s back to the blog today, with notes on my travels to come next week, together with exciting news of our latest DVD release, Richard II. For now, here is an extended edition of Sunday links (to be created through today), accompanied by the usual apology for not crediting those who brought many of these great articles and videos to my attention. And I don’t see how I can avoid starting with a handful of Trump-related pieces; if nothing else the crisis in the States is prompting some exceptional writing (and I make no excuses for including several pieces from New York Review of Books).
• Trump – the choice we face: a fascinatingly personal NYRB piece by Masha Gessen about compromise and resistance and the way forward.
Civil rights are now on trial, though before we can fight to reassert the march toward equality, we must regain control of the truth. If that seems melodramatic, I would encourage you to dump a bucket of ice over your head while listening to ‘Duel of the Fates’. Donald Trump is our President now; it’s time to wake up.
Last night, for the London opening of the Chichester Festival Theatre production of Half a Sixpence, the production’s publicists employed an up-to-the-minute medium in a manner that mimicked the early years of television. Working with Facebook Live, Half a Sixpence first of all streamed a half-hour or so of red carpet intro before curtain up. And then from late on in the performance itself, the closing minutes were shown live online, from ‘Flash, Bang, Wallop’ to the curtain calls.
Rights restrictions, I assume, account for why there’s no available recording of the second part of the stream, but you can see here Michael Underwood valiantly trying to whip up some excitement in front of the Noel Coward Theatre. All of which is pretty much exactly what the BBC television service did from the Palace Theatre nearly 80 years ago. read more »
I was going start by committing to a boycott this week of Trump and Brexit. After all, and especially after this week, what is there to say? But I have included a couple of exceptional pieces, before I get to links to other things that I’ve found interesting and stimulating over the past truly hideous few days.
Posted slightly late, here’s my latest list of links to interesting articles and videos. As usual, many of these have been highlighted on Twitter and a few have been kindly sent to me as recommendations. The list appears three days before the US Presidential election and in the midst of a peculiarly febrile time in British politics, as the first couple of links indicate.
Britain stands on the verge of a great unravelling with untold consequences for its economy, society, place in the world, and its people’s souls. The standard must be raised: fire must be returned. We need to make the case for a reimagined Britain and its membership of the EU. We say not what we are against, but what we stand for. We want our country back. And we want it now.
• Disciples of distrust: in a powerful piece for New York Review of Books Garry Wills asks what has caused the crisis of ‘the shuddering distrust of every kind of authority—a contempt for the whole political system’; his answer, encompassing both Brexit and the Donald:
What has caused this bitter disillusion? It is the burrowing and undermining infection of the Iraq war—the longest in our history, one that keeps upsetting order abroad and at home. The war’s many costs—not just in lives and money but in psychic and political damage—remain only half-visible in America, as hidden as the returning coffins that could not be photographed for years.