Links for the week

24th October 2012

Andrew O’Hagan’s essay about the Savile scandal in the London Review of Books, Light entertainment, is (and I know this is much over-used adjective) indispensable. Amongst much else it is a truly remarkable portrait of the post-war BBC, but it is also a dazzling dissection of the problems of trying to understand the past through the distorting lens of the present – and it quotes great sense from Joan Bakewell:

‘You just can’t get into the culture of what it was like, transfer our sensibilities backwards from today. It would be like asking Victorian factory owners to explain why they sent children up chimneys. It’s the same with the BBC that I first entered. It had habits and values that we just can’t understand from the point of view of where we are now.’

Read this if you care even a jot about the BBC, about sexuality and sexual anxiety in the 1960s and since, and about what we all too often take for granted from ‘entertainment’.

Across the jump, some other excellent links, with thanks to – among others – @annehelen, @AdamRutherford and @filmdrblog for tips.

He’s behind you: I imagine you will already have seen this, but here in any case is the link to what is to date probably Adam Curtis’ finest adventure in the archives; the subtitle is ‘how Colonel Gadaffi and the Western establishment conspired together to create a pantomime world’ but this gives only a smidgen of a sense of the glories of this post.

Artwork by Peter Campbell: I have hymned the illustrations of the late Peter Campbell before – he it was who for years created the covers for the London Review of Books; now the LRB have put some of those images between hard covers (yours for £20) and compiled a lovely slide show as well.

Following the Sol Le Witt trail: looking for a art pilgrimage for next year – Sebastian Smee, art critic of The Boston Globe, has a video and short piece about tracking the wall drawings of the late artist across New England.

The master’s servants – on Henry James: you’ll likely know about my interest in the greatest novelist who wrote in English, and this piece for The Nation by Leo Robson reflects on the shifting reputation of James over the past century or so, and on what the author might mean now.

Out of the ashes of dead trees: Andrew Sullivan at The Daily Beast is very good on why it makes perfect sense for Newsweek to terminate its print edition and go digital-only.

The economics of sharing: a .pdf of an important speech by the BBC’s Tony Ageh about The Digital Public Space – ‘what it is, why it matters and how we can all help develop it.’

Why Polygon takes video games journalism seriously: interesting Poynter piece by Andrew Beaujon about the new web site Polygon which already has an impressive array of games-related news and reviews.

The world is not enough – Google and the future of augmented reality: Alexis C Madrigal for The Atlantic about overlays of info on the real world – with some great videos too.

Trick or truth?: on the New York Review of Books blog J. Hoberman reviews (very well) the Metropolitan Museum’s exhibition Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop (until 27 January).

The Good Wife showrunners explain their sex drive: I’m hugely enjoying my series 3 DVDs of the show that, as Denise Martin of Vulture writes, ‘has carved a niche for itself as network TV’s most sophisticated adult drama, unafraid and unapologetic about the sex lives of its characters.’

The taming of Wuthering Heights: a truly terrific take-down of Andrea Arnold’s recent movie adaptation by Francine Prose for the New York Review of Books blog – hymning the strange beauties of original, she writes of ‘Arnold’s failure to capture a fraction of Brontë’s genius’.

Got those death of film/cinema/movies blues?: David Bordwell celebrates pastiche archive and long takes in contemporary films at the Vancouver International Film Festival.

All you need to know about forthcoming Shakespeare movies: seven of ’em, apparently – has the dope.

5 reasons why now is the greatest time for filmmaking: Alan Denman at Raindance offers independent filmmakers a neat upsum of the reasons to be cheerful.

The Guardian, the cat and me – adventures in open journalism: head of press at West Yorkshire Playhouse Paula Rabitt is positive about their open journalism experiment associated with the current Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

Space shuttle Endeavour’s crosstown journey through LA: you’ll *love* this time-lapse from the Los Angeles Times (and I’m only sorry I can’t embed the video)

La roca fria del calvario – Joel Prieto: … but here is one I can embed – recorded in 2008, this is the dazzling tenor who we filmed on Monday for Sky Arts at Wigmore Hall where he is gave a Rosenblatt Recital.

Image: Church of All Souls and BBC Broadcasting House, Langham Place showing bomb damage during the war, taken during 1949; © Copyright Ben Brooksbank and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.


  1. Ian says:

    John, your link for the Wuthering Heights article takes us to the LA Times and a piece about Robert Mapplethorpe

  2. John Wyver says:

    Thanks Ian – sorry about that. It’s fixed now.

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