Welcome to the written world of RDN, aka "the stand-up philosopher". 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

Jessica Chastain’s “Salomé”

Posted by RDN under On movies / On theatre on 22 September 2014. No comments.

Al Pacino’s Salomé efforts are really wonderful and  I want to rattle on abut all three: the film of the play; the documentary about the filming of the play; and the Stephen Fry Q&A on Sunday 21 September at the BFI. My main point is that Jessica Chastain was the star of all of them. More »

Medea: Revenge and The Avengers at the NT

Posted by RDN under On theatre on 5 September 2014. No comments.

Helen McRory’s Medea was unmatchable, I’d guess. She is superb as the woman close to a complete breakdown but never more magnificent and even sometimes in an eerie sort of control, and not without wit and guile. Not at all without those latter, though at her wits’ end. But let’s get down to business – the bits she’s not accountable for.   More »

David Hare’s Skylight revived

Posted by RDN under On theatre on 1 September 2014. No comments.

I like the idea of liking David Hare as a pretty good playwright of the human heart who is hopeless when he lets his NW1 soft-left liberalism close his mind like a clam. But his Skylight, recently reprised in the West End, and by the NT live in cinemas, makes this quite difficult. More »

Hobo’s 79th Armoured Division insignia

Posted by RDN under Military Covenant / On art / On books on 28 August 2014. No comments.

This is the famous insignia of the 79th Armoured Division. It seems very likely that, like the 79th itself, it was designed by General Percy Hobart (Sir Percy, as he became). If so, he was as creative with a pencil as with his military planning. He was certainly close friends with writers and artists, including Eric Kennington, one of the best war artists of WW1 and WW2.

The Bull's Head insignia of the 79th Armoured Division

The Bull’s Head insignia of the 79th Armoured Division

For more on this story, see below…

More »

Stanley Kennedy North: Medieval homages, c1920s

Posted by RDN under On art on 27 August 2014. No comments.

skn illumination colour adj 2

Stanley North, or Stanley Kennedy North (and sometimes, as below in the carol work, Kennedy North) as he became on his marriage to Helen Kennedy (his second wife), was a strikingly modern illustrator but almost as much a passionate medievalist – as we see in various images in the rest of this page.

The image below is a detail from SKN’s triptych for the Royal Academy of Music, which best described at the RAM’s online museum and best seen at the BBC/PCF site.

SKN's Royal Academy of Music tribute to Tobias Matthay, detail

SKN’s Royal Academy of Music tribute to Tobias Matthay, detail

Moving on to other rather similar Stanley North medievalist offerings, see below… More »

Stanley Kennedy North folk dance book, 1921

Posted by RDN under On art / On books on 27 August 2014. No comments.

Stanley North, by then calling himself Stanley Kennedy North, in recognition of his marriage to Helen Kennedy, illustrated and (presumably) produced this marvellous little book, Mr North’s Maggot (so called after a folk dance formulation).

SKN Folk facing Parson's Farewell_resize and crop

 

For the whole book, see below….

More »

Stanley North WW1 “Child’s ABC”, 1914

Posted by RDN under Military Covenant / On art / On books on 25 August 2014. No comments.

Sometime during the autumn of 1914 (I am presuming), my grandfather, Stanley North produced these marvellous images to illustrate Geoffrey Whitworth’s “Child’s ABC of the War”. It was in the spirit of much of the artistic and literary response to the declaration of war.

SKN's ABC "T" for torpedo detail

SKN’s ABC “T” for torpedo detail

For the complete Child’s Alphabet, see below….

More »

79th Armoured Div souvenir, 1945

Posted by RDN under Military Covenant / On art on 25 August 2014. No comments.

Gillian Parnell came across this remarkable cigarette box, presumably made in Hamburg in 1945 by or for the 79th Armoured Division. As of 25 August 2014, she has it on sale at eBay. Pix below…. More »

Poem: The Kingfisher day

Posted by RDN under RDN's poems on 9 August 2014. No comments.

My wife has been actively hoping to see a Kingfisher for even longer than the 18 years we have loved each other. Various trips on or by various likely rivers – especially the Stour at Wimborne and the Severn at Symonds Yat – didn’t deliver. The much less purely rural Thames at Marlow did, though. More »

Poem: House-sitting

Posted by RDN under RDN's poems on 9 August 2014. No comments.

My wife and I have been house-sitting near Henley: the large, arty house and its absent household made a big impression. More »

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