Archive for January, 2014

Good Folk

January 26, 2014

May I recommend The Mike Harding Folk Show, which is a weekly free podcast which you can subscribe to and download at wherever you usually get your podcasts from.  Freed from the shackles of Radio 2, Mike plays a more interesting selection and, old lefty that he is, doesn’t hold back on excoriating the follies of our leaders, bankers and warmongers.  He always exhorts his listeners to keep the faith – he surely does.

12 Years a Slave

January 16, 2014

This isn’t a review, or a précis, but just a note that the dilemmas posed to the main character in the film, and to others, primarily between survival and principle, but also the degree to which one goes along with “the system” are applicable to thinking about the plight of ordinary people in Germany during the Third Reich, also to Jews in the Nazi controlled ghettos, and indeed to anyone in a situation of dictatorship, whether in the workplace or the state.  In the UK, we do at least still have the luxury, on the whole, of being able to protest against injustice and evil, even if the political class ignore us (e.g., the 1.5 million march against war in Iraq – the anger won’t go away, Blair).  So as far as we can, we shouldn’t be silent – but the film does understand why, in extremis, one has to bend the knee.


January 12, 2014

HEAR JOHN: usually -1st Tuesday of each month at open mic at The Exhibition pub, Bootham,York, from 7.30,  and at The Golden Ball, Bishophill, York, on the 2nd Wednesday of each month from 8pm.

THE QUIET COMPERE TOUR OF THE NORTH.  John is one of a number of local poets appearing at the City Screen Basement, Coney Street, York on February 28th, 2014.

YORK LITERATURE FESTIVAL  John will be one of the poets appearing in the York Spoken Word event at Friargate Theatre, on Sunday 23rd March,  1.30 to 3.30pm.    He then joins york authors Helen Cadbury and Julian Cole on Saturday 29th March in IN THE HEART OF THE CITY, poems and prose about how the urban environment impacts on their work.. Friends Meeting House, Friargate, 11.30am to 1.00pm.

Oliver ! at the Crucible

January 11, 2014

Going to see the  musicals at The Crucible in Sheffield is in danger of becoming a tradition.  Last year it was “My Fair Lady” and this year we have just seen  Lionel Bart’s “Oliver !”  Right from the beginning it pulled no punches, with Oliver’s birth, which killed his mother, on stage,  followed in the course of the play by Oliver’s sadistic whipping by Mr Bumble and the Trustees after the boy asked for more, Sykes’ assault on Nancy which realistically bloodies her face, and then the final brutal killing of Nancy just a few feet from the cowering Oliver.  It’s a wonder that he seems to recover in a trice and isn’t totally traumatised.  Kids’ chorus was a delight but the real stars were Hayley Gallivan as an exuberant, tender and powerfully voiced Nancy and Tom Eddon as Fagin.  Fagin gambols and dances to amuse his young charges, fawns upon Bill Sykes, and indulges Nancy’s high spirits, but doesn’t conceal the greed and violence underneath.  It’s a wonderfully enjoyable production, but I wouldn’t take any young children to see it – the violence is too real – it’s no pantomime.