Welcome to the written world of RDN. I am a complicated conservative, and a bit hippy and arty round the edges. I am currently working on poems, a memoir and a one-man show. Over all that is an increasing interest in the idea of spirituality. More »

Latest posts

Poem: In a space

Posted by RDN under RDN's poems on 26 February 2015. No comments.

I am not clubbable, though I used to be rather more sociable. I have never been a loner. I dislike any sort of trap, seeking aisle seats and the back row. But I have always fantasised about the satisfactions of small spaces. The problem is: how to avoid self-pity or self-aggrandisement when one is fantasising about voluntary – chosen – isolation or confinement?

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Christians can vote for the right

Posted by RDN under Mind & body / Politics & campaigns on 23 February 2015. No comments.

I have only read part of the Bishops’ letter to their parishioners and what follows is not a critique of the document. Rather, I simply want to show how the right-wing might be loving, compassionate and Christian as it argues (and votes) against state provision of welfare. More »

Following Sachs’ advice to let go a bit

Posted by RDN under Mind & body on 20 February 2015. No comments.

Oliver Sachs writes beautifully about growing old and, in particular, about his imminent death. The essence of his message in the New York Times is that he remains interested in life and quite cheerful about it, but…. More »

Prof Cox, fusion and the wonder of risk

Posted by RDN under Climate change / Mind & body / On TV & Radio on 20 February 2015. 2 comments.

Brian Cox has already suggested that mankind is alone, and should celebrate the wonder of it.  But, as he is foremost in reminding us, we are also the shards of star-dust that have become conscious and clever. Indeed, in creating industrial scale fusion reactors, if we ever do, we will have succeeded in not merely imitating our sun, but have found how to deploy its forces. More »

Mr Turner’s inaccuracies

Posted by RDN under On art / On movies on 17 January 2015. No comments.

Mike Leigh’s film of Turner’s later years is almost always lovely, occasionally very touching,  and often instructive. But some of its assumptions and presumptions are amazingly and even ruinously impertinent…… More »

The Anthropocene, Prof Cox, and more

Posted by RDN under Mind & body on 19 December 2014. No comments.

The idea of the Anthropocene has been gaining traction, not least in a spate of books (as exemplified in an FT books review roundup, “Masters of the Earth”, 13/14 December 2014). Unfortunately, most takes on the Anthropocene seem misanthropic. Luckily, Professor Brian Cox makes a sort-of exception.  We are alone, and it is exciting. More »

Interstellar (vs Gravity)

Posted by RDN under Mind & body / On movies on 11 November 2014. One comment.

There’s a lot to like in Interstellar, and much of it has been caught by professional reviewers. I think there are several dimensions (oops) one needs to reckon with. One: is the story a convincing human – personal – drama? Two: is it a good morality tale? Three: is it a good cinematic theme park ride? Four: is its science robust? If you’ve the patience here’s my unpick of some of those, below the fold.

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Stanley North’s 1924 London & World maps

Posted by RDN under On art on 7 November 2014. No comments.

In 1924, Stanley Kennedy North drew two maps, one for the Thomas Cook tourist business and the other a London transport map for the 1924 British Empire Exhibition (the one featured in The King’s Speech). Below the fold, I have posted links to the maps, in a form which allows you to zoom, pan and scroll within the images.

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War and art on BBC R4’s BH

Posted by RDN under Uncategorized on 2 November 2014. No comments.

I had an outing on this Sunday morning show as a paper reviewer (and squibbist on Strictly Come Dancing) and said one thing which may have seemed distasteful. Can I try to put things right here, below the fold?

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Stanley North’s glass portrait of Vera Bax

Posted by RDN under On art on 20 October 2014. No comments.

Before he married his second wife HelenKennedy, and adopted her name, my grandfather Stanley married Vera Rawnsley, and they produced my father, Paul. She later married, first, Filson Young, and, second, Clifford Bax.

Here is Staney’s stained glass portrait of a young woman, by family tradition, his wife Vera.

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