Tuesday, February 28, 2023

My Dog Sighs

I didn't make it to the Ukraine mural in Cardiff (Icons passim) but my brother sent me photographs of other images the same artist (My Dog Sighs) has painted there.

According to WalesOnline they are in Northcote Lane off City Road and you will find a wealth of different street art and graffiti there.

On the to-do list next time I am due back on April the first.

Monday, February 27, 2023

Next time

This is a happy coincidence. I walked past the Albany Gallery with Phil on Sunday evening. Now I know where it is, I can make sure I go and see Malcolm Murphy's exhibition when I am back next month. I am a big fan of his Cardiff paintings (Icons passim).

Sunday, February 26, 2023

Who knows where the time goes?

Back in Wales this weekend, I met up with Sean, Phil, Dave and Kevin.

Kevin I have known from my first day in infant school, Sean from my first day in primary school, then Phil and Dave since all five of us's joint first day in Secondary school. All in 1A in St Illtyd's as near as makes no difference to half a century ago.

More sombre news, Dave's nephew turned up with him at the Royal Oak. "Billy" Budd, a family friend, has taken his own life, some time ago I think, hanging himself - depressed - in his garage.

I spent more time than I care to remember standing next to Billy (not his real name) as a boy in orchestras (school>county>national) as we both played double bass.

Even more bittersweet, he once asked one of Auntie Mo's daughters out on a date, but didn't phone her again afterwards. I got grief from mum about this, as if it was in some way my fault or there was anything I could do about it. Simpler better days, though I didn't understand it at the time.

Saturday, February 25, 2023

Not with a bang but with a whimper

I am back in Wales today. I may try and find this bittersweet image later.

Friday, February 24, 2023

The boulevard of broken dreams

Quite an in-depth interview with Callum from Sky Sports, and his first appearance on these pages for three months. (You can read the associated article here.)

I'm invested because I've known him and his family since his first day in primary school, but from outside, for all that it is well compensated, it doesn't look like the easiest of lives. I can't help thinking Chelsea could have done better by him.

Thursday, February 23, 2023

And it was called Yellow

This is becoming uncanny.

Myself: What did Wittgenstein say about yellow?

ChatGPT: Wittgenstein's philosophical works do not contain a significant discussion of the color yellow as a subject in itself. However, he did touch upon color concepts and perception more broadly in his later works.

In his famous work "Philosophical Investigations," Wittgenstein explored the concept of language games and how they shape our understanding of language and the world around us. He argued that the meaning of words is determined by their use within a particular language game or social practice, rather than by any underlying referent in reality.

Regarding color concepts, Wittgenstein used the example of the color "yellow" to illustrate this point. He suggested that there is no single, objective property that all things we call "yellow" share in common. Instead, we use the word "yellow" in various language games to refer to a range of sensory experiences and objects that we have learned to associate with that word.

Furthermore, Wittgenstein argued that our perception of color is shaped by our language and cultural background. He noted that different languages may classify colors differently and that our ability to distinguish between different shades of color is influenced by our cultural practices and language use.

Overall, Wittgenstein's insights on language and perception suggest that our understanding of the color yellow, like all other concepts, is shaped by the language games and cultural practices that we participate in.

Myself: Thanks I am just trying to keep up with my niece.

ChatGPT: You're welcome! It's great to see that you're interested in learning about philosophy and keeping up with your niece's interests. If you have any further questions or topics you'd like to explore, feel free to ask!

Back in the real world: Vanderbilt apologizes for using ChatGPT in email on Michigan shooting; Consoling email sent to students after a mass shooting at Michigan State University was written using an AI chatbot says the Guardian.   

If, that is, the real world (or underlying referent in reality) still exists.
Wittgenstein: Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.
Frank Ramsey: What we can’t say, we can’t say, and we can’t whistle it either.

 Myself (sultrily): If you want me, just whistle. You know how to whistle, don't you, Fellas? You just put your lips together and blow.

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

If you're looking for trouble...

I had a wonderful time at "Trouble in Butetown" last night for all that the reviews are a trifle condescending. Grauniard, Times, Standard etc. You know who you are sniveling wretches.

I went last night, with the drama school nieces ™ ® ©. Curtain up was delayed for half an hour. An understudy had to be dusted off because an actor was ill. As we milled around waiting (my credit at the bar was good) in the foyer, my home-girls kept bumping into people they knew from their first encounters with theatre in their hometown. I, with hours of chatting with Peter in my back pocket, was never short of tuppence to throw into the conversations. Whisper it, but I started to feel that, thinking of the play we were about to see and the Sherman co-production currently playing at the National, we were at the very epicentre of the Cardiff renaissance. 

The play itself? I loved it. Also, turned into my dad. Didn't want to know what part the understudy was playing, then happy when I couldn't work it out. Yet another life lesson from the old fella.

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Generative pre-trained transformer

Myself: I bought Abyss: The Cuban Missile Crisis 1962 by max Hastings as an audiobook today with my monthly Audible voucher. Before that, I bought Wittgenstein's "Philosophical Investigations" with last month's.

ChatGPT: That's an interesting pair of purchases! "Abyss: The Cuban Missile Crisis 1962" by Max Hastings is a historical account of the events leading up to and during the Cuban Missile Crisis, a pivotal moment in the Cold War that brought the world to the brink of nuclear war. Max Hastings is a well-respected author and journalist who has written extensively on military history and international affairs.

On the other hand, "Philosophical Investigations" by Ludwig Wittgenstein is a classic work of 20th-century philosophy that explores the nature of language, meaning, and understanding. Wittgenstein is widely considered to be one of the most important and influential philosophers of the modern era, and his work continues to be studied and debated by philosophers and scholars today.

Both of these works offer unique and valuable insights into different areas of human experience and thought. "Abyss" provides a detailed and engrossing account of a major historical event, while "Philosophical Investigations" challenges readers to question their assumptions about language and meaning. I hope you enjoy both of these books and find them thought-provoking!

Prodnose: I'll get my coat.

I wonder how tools like this will change the legal profession? First draft opinions in the twinkle of an eye must be a threat to charging by the hour.

Monday, February 20, 2023

Wittgenstein in Swansea

Wittgenstein in Mumbles. Wittgenstein in Uplands. Wittgenstein walking in the Gower. Each notion fills me with contemplative pleasure.

I wish I'd known about the conference and exhibition last June.

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Bae Teigr


This is actually pretty good. Have I been too hard on Romeo and Julie (Icons passim)? On point dialogue and authentic Cardiff accents.  I can get tickets here if I change my mind. Perhaps I will wait until after Tuesday when we are going to see "Trouble in Butetown" at the Donmar Warehouse before deciding. I wouldn't want to get all Cardffed out.

Saturday, February 18, 2023


Myself: I was looking at 'Wittgenstein on ethics: Working through Lebensformen' by Juliet Floyd of Boston University the other day. (Professor Floyd had been kind enough to email me a copy.)

When I read:

Consequently, neither the idealistic ‘I’ nor the realist world are concepts suitable for the elucidation of the nature of thought, of the possibility of representation, and of the essence of the logical space, these being the most basic Tractarian locales of form.

I initially took Tractarian as a reference to a group of 19th-century Anglican theologians who were associated with the Oxford Movement. Only later did I realise that, in context, it must be an adjective derived from the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, in which Wittgenstein, as she says, conveyed the idea that ethics cannot be located in an object or self-standing subject matter of propositional discourse, true or false.

I felt like such a fool.

ChatGPT: Don't worry, it's perfectly understandable to have mistaken the term "Tractarian" for a reference to the Oxford Movement, especially given the historical associations of the term. However, in the context of Juliet Floyd's work, it does indeed refer to the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, which is one of Wittgenstein's most famous and influential works in the field of philosophy.

Wittgenstein used the term "logical space" to describe the framework within which language and thought operate, and argued that ethical statements do not fit within this framework. In his view, ethical statements are not propositions that can be either true or false, but rather express an attitude or feeling.

The Tractatus has had a significant impact on 20th-century philosophy, and continues to be studied and debated by philosophers to this day. It is considered to be one of the most important works of analytic philosophy, and has influenced a wide range of fields, including logic, language, and metaphysics.

Prodnose: I suppose this makes me redundant.

ChatGPT:  It seems that the comment "I suppose this makes me redundant" is meant to be humorous, and is likely a self-deprecating reference to the idea that the use of overly technical or obscure philosophical language can be seen as unnecessary or even counterproductive. The comment may be interpreted as a playful acknowledgement that the ideas being discussed can be understood without resorting to overly complex language or terminology, and that an appreciation for the basics of philosophy is more important than a display of technical expertise.

Myself: I think Prodnose was being deadly serious and he is, in fact, redundant.

Friday, February 17, 2023

The Bing and AI

I was talking to ChatGPT this morning about hospitality in Derrida, Levinas and Islam. Previously I have only asked it one-off questions. Today with a few follow-ups I was genuinely astounded by its ability to retain context. Herewith:

Me: What is hospitality according to Derrida?

ChatGPT: For Jacques Derrida, hospitality is a complex concept that involves both the ethics of welcoming the stranger and the political implications of opening up one's home and community to others.

In Derrida's work, "Of Hospitality," he argues that true hospitality involves welcoming the stranger without expecting anything in return, without expecting the stranger to become like the host or to assimilate into the host's culture. Derrida emphasizes that hospitality should be based on an unconditional, open-ended, and sincere welcoming of the other.

At the same time, Derrida recognizes that hospitality is always a complex and potentially dangerous endeavor, as it involves the risk of encountering the unknown, the foreign, and the potentially threatening. He argues that hospitality must be balanced with a necessary caution, a vigilance against the potential risks of welcoming the other.

Derrida also points out that the concept of hospitality has important political implications. He argues that the nation-state system is based on exclusion, on defining who is a citizen and who is not, and on restricting movement across borders. Derrida suggests that true hospitality involves a radical opening up of borders and a rethinking of the political and legal frameworks that regulate movement and citizenship.

Overall, for Derrida, hospitality involves a complex set of ethical, political, and social practices that involve both welcoming the other and maintaining a necessary vigilance against potential risks.

Me: How about unconditional hospitality in particular?

ChatGPT: For Derrida, unconditional hospitality is the idea of welcoming the other without imposing any conditions or limitations on that welcome. Unconditional hospitality means that the host does not require the guest to meet any criteria or expectations, and does not expect any kind of reciprocity or return for their welcome.

Derrida argues that unconditional hospitality is a difficult ideal to achieve because it involves a radical openness to the other, a willingness to accept and embrace the stranger as they are. He suggests that we often impose conditions on our hospitality, requiring the other to conform to our expectations, values, or beliefs, and expecting some kind of benefit or reward in return for our welcome.

Derrida believes that unconditional hospitality is a moral imperative, one that demands that we put aside our own interests and biases in order to welcome the other in a spirit of generosity and openness. He argues that this kind of hospitality is not only ethically necessary, but also has important political and social implications, challenging the boundaries and exclusions that shape our communities and societies.

Overall, unconditional hospitality for Derrida is the idea of welcoming the other without any conditions or expectations, and represents a radical ethical and political ideal that demands a fundamental rethinking of the ways in which we relate to each other.

Me: Is it related to Muslim's obligation to provide three days hospitality?

ChatGPT: In Islam, there is a tradition of offering hospitality to guests, which is considered an important ethical and religious obligation. The idea of offering hospitality to guests in Islam is based on the Prophet Muhammad's teaching that "whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him honor his guest" (Sahih Al-Bukhari). According to this tradition, Muslims are expected to provide food, shelter, and protection to guests for up to three days.

While there are similarities between the Islamic tradition of hospitality and Derrida's concept of unconditional hospitality, there are also some differences. For Derrida, unconditional hospitality involves welcoming the stranger without imposing any conditions or limitations on that welcome, and without expecting any kind of return or reciprocity. In contrast, the Islamic tradition of hospitality is based on the principle of reciprocity and mutual respect, and guests are expected to show gratitude and respect for their hosts.

Additionally, the Islamic tradition of hospitality has a specific religious and cultural context, and is linked to the practice of pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina, where hospitality is an integral part of the pilgrimage experience. While Derrida's concept of unconditional hospitality is more universal in scope and not tied to any particular religious or cultural tradition, it nevertheless shares with the Islamic tradition a strong emphasis on the ethical and social dimensions of hospitality, and the importance of welcoming the stranger as an expression of human solidarity and compassion.

Me: Was Levinas also concerned with it?

ChatGPT: Yes, Emmanuel Levinas was also deeply concerned with the ethical and philosophical implications of hospitality. For Levinas, hospitality was not just a matter of welcoming the stranger, but also of recognizing the other person's absolute alterity or otherness.

Levinas argued that the ethical relationship between the self and the other was based on the fundamental recognition of the other's absolute difference and uniqueness. This recognition of the other as radically different and irreducible was the basis for a profound ethical responsibility towards the other, which he called "the face-to-face encounter."

Levinas saw hospitality as a key expression of this ethical responsibility, and argued that true hospitality involved an openness to the other that went beyond mere tolerance or acceptance. According to Levinas, the act of hospitality involved a willingness to welcome the other as they are, without imposing any preconceived notions or expectations on them.

Levinas believed that hospitality was not just a matter of personal or individual ethics, but also had important political and social implications. He argued that the idea of hospitality challenged the logic of exclusion and domination that underlies many political and social systems, and called for a radical rethinking of our relationships with others.

Overall, Levinas saw hospitality as an important ethical and political concept, one that reflected the fundamental ethical responsibility of the self towards the other, and which had the potential to challenge and transform our social and political institutions.

Prodnose, my customary sparring partner, must be quaking in his boots.

Thursday, February 16, 2023

The King and I


We went to see the touring version of The King and I at the New Wimbledon Theatre earlier this week. It was fantastic. The girl who played Anna in place of  Helen George was called Maria Coyne. I thought she was top notch and I had never previously heard of Helen George so you won't get any complaints from me. 

Why don't I go to the venue more as an alternative to tubing it into the West End?  A beautiful Grade II listed building over a century old with an immense seating capacity, It is surely one of the premiere venues in London.

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

I wrote a Valentine's Day limerick yesterday.

There was a young lady from Bewdley

Who some people said behaved lewdly.

She walked around nudely

But not at all crudely

I'd say it was almost subduedly.

I have never had a limerick lesson. I am entirely self taught.

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Musical intelligence

Only a classical music expert can tell the difference between genuine Bach, Rachmaninov, or Mahler from original compositions by Experiments in Musical Intelligence (EMI).

Perhaps Experiments in Musical Intelligence might be a good way for me to start getting my head around AI?

Monday, February 13, 2023


I have discovered since the funeral, with help from muso chum Andy M, that the scale I was using to try and get a sub-continent vibe is called the Phrygian dominant.

It occurs in Indian, Middle Eastern, Eastern European, Central Asian, and flamenco music. It is common in Arabic and Egyptian music, in which it is called Hijaz-Nahawand, and used in Hebrew prayers and Klezmer music, where it is known as Ahava Rabbah, Freygish or just the "Jewish scale", and is called Dastgāh-e Homāyoun in Iran. It is the most common scale in North Indian classical raga Hijaz Bhairav (Basant Mukhari) and South Indian raga Vakulabharanam. 

Isn't it amazing how your fingers, ears and central nervous system can know and implement something without your conscious mind being involved until you try and explain it to yourself afterwards?

Sunday, February 12, 2023


The Middle East? No, Cardiff 1943 when dad was ten. Muslim men and children listen to the Call to Prayer in the sunshine outside entrance of the newly opened Mosque. I have never been prouder of where I am from.

Saturday, February 11, 2023

This guy's in love with you

Burt Bacharach and Hal David were in my humble opinion (actually not humble at all) one of the greatest song writing partnerships of all time, but today must be about Burt. If you have ever sat down in front of a piano to play one of his things you will know that for all he made it all sound so natural you couldn't get it out of your head or stop whistling it, it was maddeningly complex. Advanced harmonies and chord changes with unexpected turnarounds and modulations. Unusual time signatures and rhythmic twists, often in uneven numbers of bars, that were still as comfy as your mummy humming an improvised lullaby.

I have got a crazy Bacharach story of my own. In 2008 BBC's The One Show filmed a report on the online auction system we ran for the police. I well remember going down to Brighton and watching them make it. 

When it was broadcast, about a month later, the segment finished and they cut back to the studio, Dom Littlewood was sitting next to Burt Bacharach on the sofa talking about it. Genuinely one of the most surreal experiences of my life.

Friday, February 10, 2023

Four Star Akbar!

One Who Wants to Cross review – nail-biting dread in a story of desperate migrants 

Well, that's handy. Four stars from the usually parsimonious Arifa Akbar in the Grauniard yesterday morning praising Alice Hamilton's first new production since co-directing with Peter last year. You can read the review by clicking the headline above. This is rather handy as I went to see it last night and agree in general with the piece so it saves me from having to write it up myself.

When I sent the review to Mia yesterday she said she already knew the two actors who perform the play as Ola Teniola and Wisdom Iheoma are recent Central graduates. Thus she already knows the cast and the director. Probably went to school with the stage manager (Royal Welsh doncha know) as well at this rate.

Thursday, February 09, 2023

Just as God is our Father, so God is also our Mother.

Daily Mail 

Our non-gendered parent who art in heaven: Priests could stop using male pronouns 'He' and 'Him' when referring to God in prayers and drop phrase 'our Father' from the Lord's Prayer

  • God could be referred to in 'non-gendered' terms in Church of England services
  • Bishops announced they are launching major 'project on gendered language
  • Both Daily Mail reporters (people who can't write) and Woke activists (people who won't read) are ill informed twerps who don't know any theology. 

    Here, for example is the Vatican website quoting - with approval - the 14th century anchoress Julian of Norwich, also known, indecently* as Juliana of Norwich.

    It is a characteristic of God to overcome evil with good.

    Jesus Christ therefore, who himself overcame evil with good, is our true Mother. We received our ‘Being’ from Him ­ and this is where His Maternity starts ­ And with it comes the gentle Protection and Guard of Love which will never ceases to surround us. 

    Just as God is our Father, so God is also our Mother.

    I am chalking this one up for the Catholics, even though the CoE also has a claim on Julian of Norwich as she lived before Henry VIII.


    *Oops "indecently" above should read "incidentally." I am leaving it in to prove that the devil must have jarred my elbow while I was typing.

    Wednesday, February 08, 2023

    Red letter day

     Every so often the 'son and heir' and I go for a pizza at Corleone in the early evening after work. We meet in the Standard in case one of us is late and then wander round.

    Yesterday, we did it at his suggestion rather than mine and he insisted on picking up the tab. Both firsts.

    I was overwhelmed.

    Tuesday, February 07, 2023

    May you live in interesting times

    Yesterday I went to Marks & Spencer in my lunch break and bought a pack of five black cotton boxer shorts and a pack of seven pairs of black cotton socks. It wasn't very stimulating.

    For excitement you couldn't do better than the Turkey-Syria Earthquake. Thirteen years after I worked with them on the Haiti Appeal (Icons passim) the Disasters Emergency Committee are still my go-to-guys when things like this happen.

    If you happen to have any change jingling in your pocket.


    A devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck south-eastern Turkey near the border with Syria in the early hours of Monday 6 February 2023. Hundreds of people are dead and several hundred are injured, with the death toll expected to rise. Rescue workers are desperately searching for survivors in cities and towns across the area.

    We are deeply concerned for all those affected and are closely monitoring the situation against the DEC’s criteria for launching an appeal. Several DEC charities have launched an appeal and are supporting the local response. If you would like to help, we encourage you to donate to one of the DEC charities’ appeals below:

    Monday, February 06, 2023

    Greetings from Chichen Itza!

    Rod M has sent me a postcard from Mexico. It dropped through the letter box on Saturday and features Chichen Itza of which I have not previously heard.


    Itza was a large pre-Columbian city built by the Maya people of the Terminal Classic period. The archeological site is located in Tinúm Municipality, Yucatán State, Mexico.

    Chichen Itza was a major focal point in the Northern Maya Lowlands from the Late Classic (c. AD 600–900) through the Terminal Classic (c. AD 800–900) and into the early portion of the Postclassic period (c. AD 900–1200). The site exhibits a multitude of architectural styles, reminiscent of styles seen in central Mexico and of the Puuc and Chenes styles of the Northern Maya lowlands. The presence of central Mexican styles was once thought to have been representative of direct migration or even conquest from central Mexico, but most contemporary interpretations view the presence of these non-Maya styles more as the result of cultural diffusion.

    So now you know. It's Rod's world, we just live in it. I think he may be losing his touch though. He managed to visit Mexico for the whole of January without a civil war breaking out.

    Update - Correction.

    Grauniard Fri 6 Jan 2023

    Twenty-four hours of terror as cartel violence engulfs Mexican city

    At least 29 people killed in Culiacán as drug cartel gunmen fight bloody battle to stop transport of El Chapo’s son after arrest.

    I was a fool ever to doubt him.

    Sunday, February 05, 2023

    A strange attractor

    I went to Paul and Rachel's Wedding Celebration last night. I know Paul, and many of the other guests from when I lived in Whitton which - if Ben is 22, is more than 22 years ago. It was great to catch up

    Paul's Eloise (who I remember as little poppet) is now a married man called Lewis. Everyone has changed but this was the biggest transformation.

    Maureen was there. These pages tell me that her husband Harry's funeral (Icons passim) was five years ago.

    2008 Zell am See
    Woodsy was there. He kept telling me stories of when he lived with me. I had no recollection of this whatsoever, perhaps I just put him up for a couple of weeks in the spare room some time.

    I remembered that Paul had come to my brother John's stag do. That must have been a quarter of a century ago.

    I remembered that Dicky had come to the airport with John, Ruth and I when they flew off on their honeymoon.

    Claudia, who took such a shine to Ben when I first took him skiing in 2008 (Icons passim) asked asked after him and was astonished to be informed he is now six feet three tall.

    Loads more old friends and loads more stories. I must get in the habit of getting back over there regularly again. I used to. Covid seems to have cut a lot of old comfy, "breathing out and breathing in" habits off at the knees.

    As an example, when the band finished for the night the singer whimsically announced "we were actually first booked for this gig in 2019!" God knows how many times the wedding was booked and cancelled.

    Saturday, February 04, 2023

    Not half tidy

     This came up when I was talking to my brother, John, yesterday.


    Cardiff English



    Very good

    Half tidy

    Very very good

    Not half tidy

    Cardiff English makes no sense at all. How anyone who didn't take it in with their mother's milk ever learns it is a mystery to me but we wouldn't have it any other way.

    Friday, February 03, 2023

    "hir hipes large"

    I went to a lecture in Southwark Cathedral's library last night. Marion Turner on her new book, "The Wife of Bath: A Biography." Marion Turner is the J.R.R. Tolkien Professor of English Literature and Language at the University of Oxford, and a Fellow of Lady Margaret Hall. I am now old enough to see the J.R.R. Tolkien Professor of English Literature and Language is an attractive young woman. There is only upside to this, Years do your worst.

    It was good enough for me to buy a copy of the book and have a chat with the author afterwards as she signed it. I told her I didn't previously know that the Wife of Bath's pilgrimages included Jerusalem, Rome and Santiago de Compostela just like Margery Kempe, and that when I first read of Kempe I thought her great journeys through Europe and the Middle East made her unique. Marion and I could have spoken of women's agency and a specifically female nurturing ethical tradition for hours but the queue was getting restless.

    What was less good, were the questions that came from the audience after the formal talk. They were, almost without exception, quite staggeringly pompous and ill informed; about Chaucer's "misogyny" and devoid of even a hint of self awareness.

    Here is an example of the type of tomfoolery we had to endure; a woman in the audience asked if the reference in the Prologue to "hir hipes large" was "body shaming" the wife of B? I could hear Professor Turner grinding her molars together in frustration at this idiocy, but all she did was mouth some platitudinous bromide in reply rather than get in a cat fight with this harridan. Here is where the image gets good though. The young lady who was running the event was the person walking round the room handing the microphone to the 'hands-in-the-airs' who wanted to ask questions. After delivering the mike to the next idiot, she would kneel down when the question was being asked so as not to obstruct anybody's view. I mean really kneel down, buttock to the back of the ankle. In a black shift dress, black tights and black flats she looked like a medieval supplicant. I wondered how an image of her prostrating herself before, say, a row of men, as she was now prostrating herself before the woman who was asking the dumb-ass question would go down with the woman herself. Patriarchy anyone?

    I did take one mark from our lecturer for a reference to Julian of Norwich as a nun - which she wasn't - rather than an anchoress. On reflection, I am tempted to reinstate it. Imagine LGBTQ+ trans-confusion crisis involved in having to explain to the half wits in the audience that Julian of Norwich was a woman. Was this progressive or regressive in the 15th century? I give up.

    Thursday, February 02, 2023

    I don't want realism. I want magic!

    Luckily there is someone on the team with more moral fortitude than I have. Someone who can be told they are 4,044th in the queue and just buckle down rather than having an NJB screaming hissy fit followed by a nervous breakdown.

    And so it has come to pass that we have skin-of-the-teeth tickets to the Almeida's smash hit "A Streetcar Named Desire" transfer to the Phoenix in the West End with the Oscar nominated Paul Mescal, of whom I had never previously heard, all present and correct.

    I've seen the 1951 film obviously, who hasn't? Let's see what other productions the WBI time machine can furnish forth.

    First out of the blocks; April Fool's day 2015 (Icons passim). The Scottish Ballet at Sadlers Wells. Who'd a thunk it?

    September 2014, Vanessa Kirby, Gillian Anderson and Ben Foster at the Young Vic, though we caught it in the cinema courtesy of NT Live. Very good it was too.

    1997 though is where we hit pay dirt. Me, John and Ruth (parents of my nieces Mia and Jasmine). The Peter Hall Company production at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket. Jessica Lange as Blanche Dubois, Imogen Stubbs as Stella and Toby Stephens as Stanley. (As ever, apologies to whoever was Mitch. I have forgotten you.)

    Mia is in her final year at Central now, and actually played Blanche the term before last.
    Will the circle be unbroken
    By and by, Lord, by and by?

    Wednesday, February 01, 2023

    Mattan: Injustice of a Hanged Man

    Helen is reading the Booker nominated "The Fortune Men" at the moment. In fact Five-Twentyfive Design, whose office is opposite mine did the cover. Perhaps because she remembers I have got it on Audible (Icons passim; though between ourselves haven't got round to listening to it yet) she sent me a link to a BBC podcast Mattan: Injustice of a Hanged Man which is about the real-life Cardiff murder scandal upon which it is based.

    I must listen to both before we go and see "Trouble in Butetown" at the Donmar.

    Googling the title of the podcast I also came across this BBC article:
    Safia Mohamed was amazed to discover that one of the last men hanged in Wales was a Somali like her. Most British Somalis arrived after 1990 and Safia never imagined they had been around for more than 100 years. The story of Mahmood Mattan, as she dug in to it, also told a bigger story about Somali sailors in the UK and the racial prejudice they faced.
    It is a good and well illustrated and, while based around the Mattan case, also provides a general history of the Somalis in Cardiff.