2012 top ten, 6: John Wyver

2012 top ten, 6: John Wyver

Following is my contribution to the week of top tens, and the last of this half-dozen offerings. Again – apart from the first – this in no particular order. Many thanks to Keith, Linda, Todd, Simon and Louise for the earlier posts – and to you for reading; these blogs have proved pleasingly popular through the week. Happy New Year – and very best wishes for a stimulating and productive 2013.

1. Olympics opening ceremony

So much has been written about this spectacular – and I have no doubt that there is much more analysis to come. We linked to thirty of the best articles that appeared in the immediate aftermath (here, here and here), and each conveyed an aspect of its unique combination of poetry and politics, of history and the present, of spectacle and awe, of thought and emotion, all on the grandest scale and the biggest stage. Bravo, Dabby Boyle and all your colleagues, bravo, bravo.
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2012 top ten, 5: Louise Machin

2012 top ten, 5: Louise Machin

Our top tens of the year continue with the selection of our head of business development, Louise Machin. The final choice follows tomorrow.

Louise: In no particular order, this is my top ten list of things I enjoyed especially in 2012. Several of them are highlights drawn from a month-long road trip to California taken in August with my husband and three small boys, which was a fabulous experience for all of us.

1. Lotte Mullan, Green Note in Camden, London

My friend, Lotte sings so beautifully and it was a real pleasure to hear her play Green Note in April. The song I have selected speaks movingly about self-esteem and is from her first self-released album, Plain Jane.


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‘As good as going to the Games’: London 1948

‘As good as going to the Games’: London 1948

Earlier this week Eric Pfanner for The New York Times celebrated the BBC’s coverage of the Olympics, suggesting- albeit only cautiously – that it was significantly superior to NBC’s offering. This might be the year of Super Hi-Vision and every-minute-of-every-event coverage (and haven’t we loved it!) but Pfanner also noted that

London Olympics have provided a variety of television firsts. The last such Games, in 1948, were the first to be televised to people’s homes, for example.

There was television at the notorious 1936 Berlin Games but the pictures were only shown in collective viewing rooms. So London 1948 was the start of the small-screen Olympics, and as this year’s extravaganza comes to an end I thought it might be interesting to look back to television at the Games sixty-four years ago. (The official Olympics web sit has some vivid colour newsreel from 1948.)
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‘War and lechery’

‘War and lechery’

I snuck away from London over the past two days on a kind of avant-garde Shakespeare mini-break. Last night I was in Stratford to see Troilus and Cressida, a co-pro between the Royal Shakespeare Company and The Wooster Group. Today I drove to Cardiff to see the first performance of Coriolan/us, a National Theatre Wales adaptation after Shakespeare and Brecht staged in a very big aircraft hanger at RAF St Athan in the Vale of Glamorgan. Neither production is on for long – Troilus is in Stratford until 18 August, then 23 August to 8 September in London, and there are only six more dates for Coriolan/us  before 18 August – but both are essential for anyone interested in contemporary theatre, and in the ever more intimate connections of live performance and media. I’m not sure I’ve yet made sense of either production for myself, but undaunted I thought I’d offer some first notes.
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… and a third ten on Danny’s Britain

… and a third ten on Danny’s Britain

Seven days later. A week on from Danny Boyle’s Olympics opening ceremony, and the great writing about that extraordinary vision keeps on coming. So I cannot resist offering links to a third group of ten views. Across the jump you will find political analysis, textual exploration and some fun – what more can you ask of a blog (or indeed an Olympics opening ceremony)? (Warning: contains link to toxic Richard Littlejohn.)

Previously on this:
• Ten thoughts about Danny’s Britain
• Ten more on Danny’s Britain
• Jennings and Powell, thou should’st be living at this hour: Paul Tickell’s dazzling analysis
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Jennings and Powell, thou should’st be living at this hour #openingceremony

Jennings and Powell, thou should’st be living at this hour #openingceremony

The terrific filmmaker, our friend and occasional collaborator Paul Tickell contributed this wonderful response to Danny Boyle’s Olympics opening ceremony as a ‘Comment’ to one of our posts over the weekend. But it deserves a far wider readership than that, and so as a first step towards that I am posting it here. Do please read…

Paul Tickell writes: Successful as he is I’ve never been entirely convinced by Danny Boyle as a film-maker. But what a show this was! So much to talk about, but first of all I’d like to home in on Blake and ‘Jerusalem’: thankfully it was a de-militarised zone. Often the poem ends up being used as a lugubrious marching song, a battle hymn vocalised by imperial triumphalists (enter stage right cheerleaders like the Michael Goves, the Niall Fergusons et al using the Churchillian tone to turn Blake the great Republican and political ‘terrorist’ into a sub-Kipling apologist of Empire, of the Dunkirk spirit and of just about anything else ‘British’ amenable to a reactionary agenda).
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Ten more on Danny’s Britain

Ten more on Danny’s Britain

My post yesterday picking out ten great online pieces about the Olympics opening ceremony was this blog’s most popular post for months and months. In part as a consequence of the remarkable interest that prompted, and also because I remain totally fascinated by the event and the reactions it has provoked (can someone organise a conference about it, and quickly, please?), here is another bunch of pieces with further analysis. (Incidentally, did you see that the BBC are going to re-run the whole thing on the afternoon of 18 August?) First off, however, something that is totally great, courtesy of Reuters Photography Blog – a time-lapse of shots by photographer Pawel Kopcyznski that encapsulates the whole ceremony in just over a minute – it’s astonishing how all-embracing and evocative it already feels.


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Ten thoughts about… Danny’s Britain

Ten thoughts about… Danny’s Britain

If nothing else, we will be thinking and talking about the Olympics opening ceremony for many a moon. The detailed cultural analyses will follow in the weeks and months to come, but it’s worth stressing that it was a lot of fun and totally fascinating, and that it was truly spectacular at times, and silly, bonkers and extraordinarily bold. Bravo, Danny Boyle, bravo. Here are the ten best things about it that I’ve found online so far – including (at no. 10) the final paragraph of the director’s programme note last night – if you have tears, prepare to shed them now.
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