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Showing posts from February, 2016

THE BATTLE OF THE ELECTRIC CINEMA

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This was written in May last year to mark 150yrs of Portobello and Goldborne Markets.
THE BATTLE OF THE ELECTRIC CINEMA I The situation became critical after the capture of The Electric Cinema. This had been taken by a crack fast food squad. The roof of which was now being used as a burger gun nest. This was now spraying heavy fire on the junction of Talbot Road and Portobello, pinning the defenders down around the blue toilets. A hasty makeshift barricade was assembled, but the fire was withering. So whilst Goldborne was holding well, even managing to send reinforcements south, it would be to no avail if this key junction remained tied down. Soon the Homogens would be able to connect with the chain store army holding the ground to the west of Blenheim Crescent. Somehow that burger gun nest had to be taken out. I looked around me at the Hetrogens, the stall holders, the artists, actors, freelance photographers, dancers, potters, artisan bakers and small shopkeepers. All determined t…

A POOR MAN'S NAZI SOVIET PACT

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The grotesque picture of George Galloway and Nigel Farage standing amiably together and grinning like love smitten toddlers, instead of seeming incongruous, a sort of poor mans Nazi Soviet pact, seems only natural and inevitable.  One wonders why it took so long.
We live in the age of the political buffoon. The mind boggling asininity of Donald Trump has shielded the other Republican wannabes from what would otherwise have been excoriating critiques of their own stunning stupidity.  And so it is across Europe scores of little Trumps, Farages and Galloways March upon the stage of history, little Mussolinis with the script of destiny gripped firmly in their chubby fingers.
Here the rabid right finally connects with the vitriolic and vicious left. United in common hatred of western liberalism and their admiration for the likes of Assad and Vladimir Putin. Anyone following the ascent of the Corbynites and the growth of UKIP on Twitter could see this coming. Though hardly ‘The Midnight of …

"THE JEWS ARE BEING COMPLETELY EXTERMINATED"*

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'THE GERMAN WAR' Nicholas Stargardt Bodley Head 2015

I In 1943, as allied bombing of German cities reached ever greater levels of intensity, including the near complete destruction of Hamburg, Nicholas Stargardt in The German War describes how there was the widespread conclusion that this was revenge ‘for what we have done to the Jews!’ As he points out, with the prevalence of this belief, ‘people inadvertently disclosed something which till then had been half concealed – their own knowledge that all the abstract Nazi rhetoric about the exterminating the Jews had been literally accomplished.’ [1]

Ever since the invasion of Poland in 1939 a steady stream of information had been flowing back into Germany about atrocities being committed in the East. German soldiers, ‘atrocity tourists’-to adopt Stargardt’s term – were positively snap happy and sent back pictures back to Germany of hangings, mass shootings, and reprisal killings.[2] Whilst in letters home they frequently comment…

DE GAULLE'S GREAT FICTION

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FIGHTERS IN THE SHADOWS
A New History of The French Resistance Robert Gildea History, at least as it is commonly consumed, is often a compound of disparate facts, half-truths, often in the form of ‘myths,’ and sometimes outright fictions. These fictions are often created to soothe national pride or assuage guilt, as in the latter case the fiction of Austria as ‘Hitler’s first victim.’ Indeed, the Second World War alone has generated a whole plethora of stories that distort reality and obscure painful truths. The greatest, or perhaps more accurately most successful, of these rose coloured narratives is surely that of the ‘French resistance’ and a very strong case can be made for General De Gaulle, the creator and primary peddler of this myth, as the greatest confidence trickster in modern history. France’s defeat in 1940 was the result of a complex interplay of factors that I do not intend to explore here, except to state baldly that the France of 1940 was not the France of the Belle…

THE PROPER NIGHT TIME,MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT TIME

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REVIEW IN THE NIGHT TIME (BEFORE THE SUN RISES)  By Nina Segal 
The Gate Theatre Notting Hill Feb 4th -27th
Following in the footsteps of the extraordinarily powerful Medea, The Gate have again produced an exceptionally intense and powerful drama centred upon the intimacy and claustrophobia of the nuclear family in Nina Segal’s In the Night Time, ‘proper night time, proper middle of the night, night time…’ For when we have ceased all activity darkness falls and a space is created for the fears to flood in.
 Segal presents a world of agonised sleeplessness, of a man and woman driven to the edge by the cries of their new born baby. Outside it is dark, but the couple are only too aware of both all the banal, and terrible, things that are going on in the vast outer world surrounding their tortured intimacy. The crying child is central to the room, to the relationship, to the action that threatens to destroy their relationship. For the child’s cries deprive the couple not only of sleep but thei…