Ever since I first came across them, I’ve been haunted by these words from Michael Ondaatje’s In The Skin Of A Lion: “the extreme looseness of the structure of things”. I can’t remember what context they were in – I can’t even remember very much about the book – but they emblazoned themselves on my soul with what has turned out to be pretty solid permanence.
To me, the phrase has always been about embracing uncertainty, about giving oneself up to not knowing, to an absence of control, to smallness, to transience, to greyness. And I suppose that’s why I’ve been dwelling on it a great deal in recent months. Because if there’s one thing the current pandemic has flagged up – and goodness knows, it’s flagged up more than a few – it’s that some people really can’t cope with uncertainty.
Continue reading “In The Skin Of Uncertainty”
It’s the sort of idea that almost certainly would have been written off as film-making suicide by a market research focus group: make a documentary about a working class playwright who died when she was 29, but instead of showing the actual footage of the interviews you’ve conducted with her relatives, get a group of actors to lip-sync their words in a variety of settings. … Continue reading Film Review: The Arbor [dir: Clio Barnard; 2010]
Almost 100 RAF trainee pilots have been told that they will have to leave the service. Apparently, the funding’s dried up and the number of new recruits has had to be cut. Add them to the list of youngsters with nothing to do. Watch as UK society continues to sink. The cynical side of me thinks this increasing gloom may well lead to a resurgence … Continue reading Leave The Service
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
Here are a few moments from a recent conversation with an educated, middle-class, thirty-five-year-old English male. It all started with the Middle East, then moved on to the subject of revolutions and then somehow got on to this: He: The problem is that Muslims are being allowed to take over European countries. They want everything their own way. They want to impose their religion on us. It’s like … Continue reading A Few Fundamentalists
21st century cinema goers aren’t especially shocked by films which depict serial killers venturing into the seedier realms of society to look for their victims. We tend not to be put off by excessive violence. We don’t mind the odd bit of gore or exploitation. That’s why Michael Powell’s Peeping Tom now makes such fascinating viewing. Today’s audiences would probably see it as an intelligent, sharply … Continue reading Film Review: Peeping Tom [dir. Michael Powell; 1960]
As far as documentaries go, John Humphrys’ recent BBC2 film wasn’t half bad. It reflected a genuine desire to grapple with a complex issue. It was relatively honest about the realities of the UK’s class system. And it made the all-too-rare acknowledgement that sometimes, what we want for our own children isn’t what we claim to want for society as a whole. The one aspect … Continue reading A Frightening Number
Here’s another Indian video for you. This one was taken at a relatively quiet crossroads in Pune where I was struck by the magic of the traffic. Watch the clip to see what I mean. Continue reading Crossroads In Pune
If I had more time, I’d write a longer a post to express the outrage – the complete and utter red-faced spitting outrage – that overcomes me when I read articles like the ones below, but thankfully, I’m fortunate enough to be able to spend the next few days doing something much more pleasant. However, I feel duty-bound to bring these two items of ‘news’ to … Continue reading Grant More Power
I watched Question Time last night and was not surprised to have all my views on the BNP and Nick Griffin totally confirmed. I think everything the party stands for is dangerous and egocentric and I consider Griffin himself to be particularly moronic and reptilian. I was pleased to see that most members of the studio audience seemed to be opposed to him too, and that they … Continue reading White