Cultural Zeitgeist

The Unthanks with Chamber Orchestra Army of Generals at the Festival Hall.

First things I never thought I would write – I’m not entirely sure that the Orchestra worked with the clog dancing.

The only other folk group I have ever seen live, The Young’uns, have a self-penned song abut Syrian refugees, as it now transpires have the Unthanks. I suppose this is all part of the folk tradition of telling stories from the world around you, but they still need to be good songs and they are ok but….

So what about the rest, several simply stunning moments. Two particular favourites – they closed with a cover of Starless by King Crimson, because well why not.

Best of all Mount the Air which builds to a crescendo (including the previously mentioned clog dancing) which may just be the most musically thrilling thing to be seen on a stage anywhere. A bit pseuds corner, but it is too folk music and music in general what Michel Barnier is to David Davis, so many levels better as to be laughable.

 

 

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Still Crisis at Christmas

Below is something I have posted pretty much every year for the past 4-5 years. Unfortunately it is an even bigger problem now than when I first posted it.

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https://www.crisis.org.uk/get-involved/reserve-a-place-at-crisis-at-christmas/

Last time I walked through Covent Garden and Charing Cross there were more people sleeping rough than I have seen for a long time.

I don’t blame the government for this, the trend was already (to my eyes) on the up in the last days of New Labour.

What I do blame them for is for doing nothing about it now it has happened.

I believe the government should be providing certain services, and when people give to charities we are absolving them of their responsibilities.

That said if I were homeless or someone I loved was, I wouldn’t care where the help came from as long as it was there.

The people you pass on the streets, sleeping rough are somebody’s daughters and sons, somebody’s mothers and fathers, somebody’s brothers and sisters.

Give to the Crisis at Christmas appeal. It will cost you a little more than a pound or two a day between now and Christmas.

Sometime it isn’t easy to be cynical.

https://www.crisis.org.uk/get-involved/reserve-a-place-at-crisis-at-christmas/


Back to today – it will cost you £26.08. If you think that is too much then you can always donate to the Salvation Army or one of the many other charites supporting the homeless this Christmas.

I know that in the whole scheme of thing I’m not doing much, and maybe it’s about me assuaging my “liberal guilt”. But in the end you know what I don’t care what you think about me. I do care what you do.

Give some money, make someone’s life a little better over Christmas.

Final thought being homeless isn’t just a problem at Christmas, you can donate regularly or volunteer or do any number of things to help throughout the year.

Thanks and Share the Love

Baking

Made for the Coffee and Cocktails Jokes Standup and Christmas Fayre tomorrow

Mince Pie Muffins with Brandy Butter Cream Frosting

and

Christmas Florentines

All we be available at reasonable prices with all money going to McMillan

Cultural Zeitgeist

First up – Bridget Christie Work in Progress at thr Museum of Comedy. Some new material, preview of part of episode 2 of her upcoming radio show. Both very funny and very good.

Then David Simon – Homicide – A Year on the Killing Streets – A year in the life of the Baltimore Homicide department, the book that the TV series Homicide was based on. Bought in the Oxfam book shop in Greenwich. Excellent book

Cultural Zeitgeist

Billy Bragg at The Clapham Grand

First things first – it’s in Battersea not Clapham

As always he was good value, old songs, new songs, covers, reworked versions of his own stuff to make it more topical and good polemic thrown in.

Didn’t agree with his take on Brexit and how we should empathise and try to understand people who voted no. If someone burns your house down would you do that, no you wouldn’t. And I don’t see anyone trying to understand or empathise with me. It tends to be “you lost, suck it up”

Cultural Zeitgeist

A legacy of Spies – John Le Carre

The best Le Carre in years. Do you need to have read his earlier books to get the most out of this, maybe but not absolutely necessary.

Is John Le Carre the best living English novelist – I’d say yes, I think you could even argue the case he is the best English novelist of the last 60 years.

He chronicles the venalities, corruptions and compromises power makes with itself to sustain itself better than anyone else

Cultural Zeitgeist

Insidous Intent – Val McDermid

Latest Tony Hill (who I can never read about without picturing Robson Greene, there’s the power of TV for you) and Carol Jordan.

OK and the story rattles along but not one of her best. The usual now compulsory twist at the end, which I think most people will see coming.

Cultural Zeitgeist

The Young’uns at the Union Chapel

Sean Cooney is possibly the most earnest man in music and I doubt he has ever meet anyone who wasn’t “amazing”. That said how were they. Lots of new self penned songs, which are good but see comments above. Plus some older, traditional songs, so how were they. As usual very, very good and great fun.

Cultural Zeitgeist

The Swimming Pool Library by Alan Hollinghurst

His latest book, The Sparsholt Affair was described as being about sexuality, art and family secrets. That seems like a pretty good description of this one, his debut, too.

Very good by the way

 

Cultural Zeitgeist

The Feast of Saint Dionysus – Robert Silverberg

Collection of 5 (minor) Silverberg short stories

Very good, bought in the second-hand shop