Along with occasional grumpiness about the BBC’s treatment of its archive, let’s also celebrate how more and more of the Corporation’s history is being made available in all kinds of ways. Newly released online, for example, and intended to be there in perpetuity, is the 1946 radio broadcast written and produced by Louis MacNeice, The Dark Tower. This is a legendary Quest drama which was, as the BBC web site says, ‘suggested by Robert Browning’s poem Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came‘. (The painting above is Thomas Moran’s 1859 visualisation of the Browning.) With music by Benjamin Britten The Dark Tower is an innovative, complex, disturbing and astonishing work which 67 years after its first broadcast more than deserves 73 minutes of your time. It has been made available as part of the Modern Classical Music archive collection which features other wonders as well. And for additional links (with thanks this week to @rachelcoldicutt, @annehelen, @AdrianMartin25 and @ProfShakespeare), click across the jump.
There has been an interesting and important discussion developing over the week about the sustainability (or not) of making innovative digital (and other) cultural work, prompted by Bryony Kimmings’ post below and framed by the news that Hide & Seek is to close (see Alex Fleetwood’s statement here).
• You show me yours: artist Bryony Kimmings details exactly what and how she gets paid as an ‘award winning’ self-employed artist…
• Two ideas towards transparency: … and Andy Field from Forest Fringe responds with two thoughts about how to make things better…
• Cash money: … and Matt Adams at Blast Theory makes an excellent (and immensely positive) contribution:
For us the route forward towards sustainability included partnerships with universities…, research funding and working online. That’s clearly not for everyone but the answer has been to create as mixed an economy as we can with as diverse a set of income streams. We do teaching, workshops, talks, mentoring, writing articles: anything that pays properly.
Also we say no to a lot and we don’t fuck around when it comes to negotiating. This is the biggest step that we can all take together. Artists get asked to do stuff for free because lots of artists say yes or accept it. When we collectively refuse poverty conditions we will all make a difference.
• Richard III (Silents Now) @ York Theatre Royal: a richly interesting review by Peter Kirwan at The Bardathon of an event at which actors spoke the text to accompany Frank Benson’s 1911 silent film version of Shakespeare’s play, of which this is an extract…
• Names and naming in John Ford: a short but wonderful contribution by Charles Barr to 16:9 in which he discusses a brief exchange twoards the end of Stagecoach (1939): ‘Names, and acts of naming, are a central thread in [Ford’s] work. He is the master not just of the Western, but of the vocative case.’
• Hitchcock, Lessing and the bomb under the table: another effortlessly scholarly and surprising post by David Bordwell – about the ideas of Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729-1781), George Pierce Baker (1866-1935), William Archer (1826-1924) and one or two films.
• Jump Cut no. 55, fall 2013: a terrific new issue of the freely accessible online journal, with a cornucopia of significant articles (including ones by Kevin P. McDonald and Bruce Bennett and ) and reviews (by, among others, Brian Winston and Roxanne Samer), plus a major dossier of pieces prompted by the 30 year anniversary of the Cahiers du Cinema article on John Ford’s Young Mr Lincoln (1939); Chuck Kleinhans’ introduction to this is entirely essential.
• Inside the promising, hellish, doomed business romance of Nikki Finke and Jay Penske: the best piece you’ll read this week (maybe this year) on Hollywood today – Benjamin Wallace reports for Vulture.
• Homeland is the smartest and dumbest cable drama I’ve ever seen: a mid-season review by Matt Zoller Seitz for Vulture.
• Why everyone in tech needs to be watching The Good Wife: John Herrman at BuzzFeed on why the legal drama (soon to be back on More4) is ‘a show for people who fear technology not because they don’t understand it, but because they respect it’.
• Dealer’s hand: Nick Paumgarten in The New Yorker profiles (in a compelling piece) contemporary art dealer David Zwirner – ‘“One of the reasons there’s so much talk about money is that it’s so much easier to talk about than the art,” Zwirner told me one day.’
• Here be monsters: Marina Warner on sea monsters for The New York Review of Books.
• Pride and paragon – listening to George Eliot’s Middlemarch: Laurie Winer for the Los Angeles Review of Books is very good on the pleasures of a good audio adaptation (and on Eliot too).
• What international air travel was like in the 1930s: a gorgeous post from Matt Novak at Paleofuture with a slew of great images.
• Revealed – the bonfire of papers at the end of Empire: I’m not sure quite why I should have been but I was shocked by this Ian Cobain Guardian report about the destruction of Britain’s colonial government records as we drew back from our Imperial domination.
• The idea of the library in a connected age: video of a lecture at Warwick University by Roly Keating, Chief Executive of The British Library.
• Launching Defining Digital Humanities: useful tie-in site for the new Ashgate collection of articles edited by Melissa Terras, Julianne Nyhan and Edward Vanhoutte, and including a free download of Vanhoutte’s chapter ‘The Gates of Hell. History and Definition of Digital | Humanities | Computing’.
• Bruce Springsteen – ‘High Hopes’ (lyric): … and, um, the Boss has a new album out 14 January, and this is the terrific title track: