Shakespeare and the Globe, a match made in heaven

Dear Will Shakespeare

I’m not sure when your birthday is but whether it’s the 21 or 23 April, this is a good day  to wish you a very happy 449th birthday.

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Your work has given me some of the best times of my life, especially when Mark Rylance infuses the text with his unique touch and more especially when your plays are created on the Globe stage. Measure For Measure and the all-male version of The Tempest (all parts played by only three actors) starring the amazing Mr R were two of the most moving, challenging, and enlightening plays I’ve ever experienced, along with last year’s memorable, beautiful Twelfth Night. I love the Globe; it’s my favourite outdoor space, although I’m not sure I like the high profile commercialism that’s beginning to emerge. You would no doubt love it.

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Film Review: Ken Loach The Spirit of ’45

It’s not easy to be objective about a Ken Loach film; the audience tends to be either with him or against him, to paraphrase a certain US politician. Like all directors he puts our emotions through the wringer, makes us cry and rage, argue and debate, even smile and chuckle. The Spirit of ’45 is much more than a collection of archive film clips and interviews. The footage has been skillfully crafted into a clarion call for the nation to remember and rekindle the pioneering post-World War II spirit that forged the UK’s modern welfare state, including (and in this case especially) the NHS.

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What I’ve been watching: March movies

I was awestruck by a couple of films this month (thanks Kore-Eda and the Taviani Brothers):

Double Indemnity (USA, 1944, directed by Billy Wilder);

I Wish (Jaoan, 2011, directed by Hirokazu Koreeda);

Spirit of ’45 (UK, 2013, directed by Ken Loach);

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Thoughts on: Reclaiming Heroes

David Bowie’s work has been much on my mind of late. Nudged by the recent release of The Next Day (both the cover and the gems within) I’ve been revisiting his music that I once loved to bits but haven’t heard for some time. Let me explain – I hadn’t deliberately consigned Heroes and Low et al to the box under the stairs through boredom or any negative feelings. Instead, the contents of said box reflect changing priorities and interests that naturally grew out of different phases of my life. I wondered if Heroes would still mean anything to me, not as an excuse to wallow in nostalgia, but as a way of more fully engaging with new art/music and probing my own cultural memory.

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