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Fortnightly Culture Thread 7/8/2022 August 7, 2022

Posted by guestposter in Uncategorized.
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gregtimo proposed in comments recently the idea of a Culture Thread.

It’s a great idea. Currently culture is a bit strange, but people read, listen to music, watch television and film and so on – spread the net wide, sports, activities, interests, all relevant – and any pointers are always welcome. And it’s not just those areas but many more. Suggestions as to new or old things, events that might have been missed, literally anything.

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1. polly - August 7, 2022

Am still working through KSR The Ministry for the Future. He is the best communicator I have come across yet about climate change, and solutions.

He paints a very simple picture. We already know all the science we need to fix it. We have all the capacity, on the planet, of humans and materials that we need to fix it. Literally the only thing keeping on stopping it being fixed is getting political will to coordinate to do it.

I’ve got to say, it is making other political objectives seem beyond trivial.

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WorldbyStorm - August 7, 2022

+1

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mal - August 10, 2022

It’s the most important issue, but it also has to be solved in the context of other issues. A society where the billionaire class don’t exist and the wealthy have less power is probably a society better equipped to tackle climate change and a society with fewer emissions. A society where, perhaps the very wealthy xannot just fly around on private planes because their baggage handlers, their flight attendants and their air traffic control can go on strike rather than let them fly. A society where agribusiness and big oil can’t just bribe their way into immunity from taxation & climate targets. Of course that society is extremely far away and climate change is rapidly accelerating towards being unsurvivable… something’s got to give.

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2. Tomboktu - August 7, 2022

Started Adam McQueen’s The Enemy Within. The prologue rang bells: set on a specific date the 1980s, reference to lots of police guarding a hotel in Brighton, and a reference to needing to be lucky lucky once. Hmm, I said to myself, is that such and such, and I searched for such and such, and yep, it happened on that date.

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WorldbyStorm - August 7, 2022

Thanks for the lead. I didn’t realise that was a series. Going to get that for the holiday.

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Tomboktu - August 8, 2022

I think there’s just the two in it so far.

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WorldbyStorm - August 8, 2022

I’ve only two weeks holiday. Perfect. 🙂

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3. 6to5against - August 7, 2022

A bit late to recommend it but, I had as great day at the Fleadh in Mullingar during the week. A lovely buzz on the streets with big, friendly crowds. And wonderful music in every pub and on nearly every street corner.
Bought a low whistle on the back of it. Very satisfying to play.

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WorldbyStorm - August 7, 2022

That sounds great. Nice way to speak a week. And the weather for it really.

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4. Wes Ferry - August 7, 2022

We can’t all get to the Edinburgh Festival but look out elsewhere for Scottish comedian and political activist Susie McCabe. 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

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5. WorldbyStorm - August 7, 2022

Finishing up on Superstore which as a comedy has been great, but the last season or so set during the pandemic was something else bringing home how some workers have no choices at all in that sort of context and yet also remaining funny and on point.

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6. alanmyler - August 8, 2022

We watched Howard’s End on Netflix last night, one of those excellent Merchant Ivory films from the 80s/90s, Emma Thompson and Anthony Hopkins in their element, really good film. Makes me want to watch Room With A View next. I was reading the wiki page for Merchant Ivory earlier and hadn’t realised that Ivory directed Call Me By Your Name much more recently. Not surprising in retrospect.

Bit of a slow period with the reading at present. I started into The German Genius which is a “cultural history of German ideas and influence, from 1750 to the present day” and looks fascinating but I’ve been a bit distracted the past few weeks and haven’t made much headway with it. It’s not really bedtime reading, which is when I tend to get time to read, but I will stick with it to give it a chance. On a whim I ordered Eric Hobsbawm’s The Jazz Scene online at the weekend, as I’d been listening to a bit of Miles Davis on Spotify, and I do like Hobsbawm’s writing style, so I’m looking forward to getting stuck into that.

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WorldbyStorm - August 8, 2022

I’ve heard the hobsbawm is a good book. He was quite a character, person of broad interests.

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crocodileshoes - August 8, 2022

Read his autobiography ‘Interesting Times’ a few years ago. Knew everyone on the left in the twentieth century and could write.

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WorldbyStorm - August 8, 2022

A brilliant book and in its own way v honest

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polly - August 8, 2022

Ah coincidence. Howard’s End. Sabina Higgins’ letter has been making me think of Mrs Wilcox. ‘I am sure that if the mothers of various nations could meet, there would be no more wars’ .

The EU and US position that the Ukrainians have to be kept fighting until they get the Russians back behind the politically important lines – that is not necessarily the homogenous position of every Ukrainian. Andrey Kurkov’s ‘Grey Bees’ describes the people living in the Grey Zone, who do not have that ideological feeling about it.

In the book, Mrs Wilcox idea is dismissed by the other characters as naive: in the film it is delivered by Vanessa Redgrave who is an awful old ham: but nonetheless it got me.

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7. NFB - August 8, 2022

I splurged on a lot of audiobooks recently and have been rattling through them during a period of large-scale data entry in work (welcome back to college in September everyone!)

The Actual One (Isy Suttie) – Decent scatterdash comedian biography in the style that everyone who has had a set in Edinburgh seems to come out with eventually.

The Leviathan (Rosie Andrews) – Gothic horror set in Civil War England that touches on themes of demonic possession and societal ostracization. Starts slow, gets really good in the middle but then has an absolute damp squib for an ending.

Titanic On Trial (Nic Compten) – An oral history of the Titanic sinking. No great new insights to be found, but some interesting accounts.

First To Kill (Andrew Peterson) – Garbage special-ops thriller featuring a loathsome antagonist who gets annoyed at pesky constitutional rights interfering with his ability to assault people. Got about a third of the way through before giving up.

Hamlet (A.J. Hartley/David Hewson) – A novelisation of the play, ably performed by Richard Armitage. Surprisingly good actually, even if it’s all very Game of Thrones in the amount of newly inserted skullduggery.

Hold Up The Sky (Cixin Liu) – Collection of sci-fi short stories from China’s premier sci-fi author. A mixed bag, but I have a feeling the translation might have been a factor. Some bizarre stories, like one about an heroic Russian efforts to defeat a NATO invasion that features some uncomfortable glorification of the Russian military.

The Christie Affair (Nina de Gramont) – Surprisingly affecting take on Agatha Christie’s missing days in 1928, told from the perspective of her husband’s mistress. A lot of material set in a Mother and Baby home in Dublin, and it was actually through this book I realised it was not only a real place, but it was built just down the road from my current home (sold and knocked for houses in the mid-eighties).

Letters of Note (Shaun Usher) – Compilation from the famous website, with lots of celebrity renditions. Probably too long – there’s 126 letters, some of them only a line long – but good bite-sized content all the same.

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WorldbyStorm - August 9, 2022

That Christie Affair book looks very interesting. The Titanic one too. Special-ops and technothrillers leave me with a low threshold of tolerance. I’m reading Chris Hadfield, the astronaut’s, novel in the latter genre at the moment about a further Apollo mission in a different timeline where there’s all manner of military stuff happening between the US and the Soviets. I am fascinated by the space race but my attention keeps wandering. Don’t know why because it’s actually written reasonably well.

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8. crocodileshoes - August 8, 2022

Been reading Simon Schama’s ‘The Story of the Jews’.

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oliverbohs - August 9, 2022

Is it a decent read? Have it but only gave it one half assed effort

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crocodileshoes - August 9, 2022

I’m about 1/3 of the way through. Some hard going – not much historical evidence about the second millennium bc – but Schama’s style keeps me reading. One book he describes as ‘too apocryphal even to make into the apocrypha’.

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9. Michael Carley - August 16, 2022

Don’t know if it counts as culture, but I put up with about half of this and found it managed to be equally ignorant about religion and left politics. It does give some idea of what passes for analysis on the liberal left though.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m001b420

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WorldbyStorm - August 16, 2022

That looks grim.

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