2019 Film Reviews – 10: Être Et Avoir [dir. Nicolas Philibert; 2002]

Coming back to Être Et Avoir – Nicolas Philibert’s deceptively gentle documentary about a year at a small school in an isolated corner of the Auvergne, complete with inspirational, Atticus-Finch-like teacher – what struck me most was the subjects’ awareness of the camera. Particularly in the film’s early segments, there are several moments when some of the children look directly at the viewer, either with … Continue reading 2019 Film Reviews – 10: Être Et Avoir [dir. Nicolas Philibert; 2002]

Spouting Utter Nonsense

Last week, a fair amount of publicity surrounded a speech made by Baroness Warsi at Leicester University. If you’ve got a few minutes to spare, it’s an interesting read and it highlights what I’ve long considered to be a growing problem in UK society. Sadly, I’m not sure how we’re going to solve it. When reasonably well-educated, middle class people feel comfortable spouting utter nonsense … Continue reading Spouting Utter Nonsense


A few weeks ago the Chief Rabbi, Jonathan Sacks, made a speech which generated a fair bit of controversy. Here’s why: “Parenthood,” he said, “involves massive sacrifice: of money, attention, time and emotional energy. Where today, in European culture with its consumerism and its instant gratification – ‘because you’re worth it’ – in that culture, where will you find space for the concept of sacrifice for … Continue reading Orange


The scent of failure seems to be hanging in the air this week. Take the global economy. I’m no expert on such things, but the words “turmoil” and “recession” seem to be at the top of every news bulletin right now. Apparently sales of personal CCTV systems are going through the roof in the UK, because increasing numbers of people feel under threat in their … Continue reading Crumple


Would it be true to say that in most parts of the world education isn’t a right but a privilege? If so, then may I please be plucked out from my current geographical position and hurled firmly into a country that subscribes to the majority view. Yes indeed, those of you who know me have guessed correctly: the government’s been up to its old tricks. … Continue reading Employable