Welcome to the written world of RDN.

RDN is a complicated conservative and a Civilised Right-winger. I am a bit hippy and arty. I am currently working on poems, a memoir, and cultural essays. I nurture hopes of doing a one man show. And I am interested in the spiritual.

Latest posts

Cribsheet: Relativism vs Expertise

This is a longish (1,700 word) cribsheet on how one can judge gardens – and fashion, art and much else - almost objectively. It aims to counter the relativism and populism of the argument which suggests that all opinions are subjective and thus purely a matter of personal taste. Read more...

Published

26 May 2019

Filed in

Mind & body, On art

“Liberty” (2018)

This is a remarkable TV meditation on whether the African can be like, or even understand, the European, or vice versa. It makes a rather good and very sad case that they can't, or anyway that the aid system wasn't doing so in the 1980s. Both sides were too busy exploiting each other's many weaknesses. I write the following not least in case it tempts others to pitch in with their reading of the show. Read more...

Published

19 May 2019

Filed in

On TV & Radio, Politics & campaigns

500 years of businesswomen

Royal and aristocratic women often wielded considerable power as mothers and widows. It is curious how other women, formally unable to own or control assets in their own right, did often inherit their late husband’s stake in the wider world, and run it. They had other routes to control as well. Read more...

Published

19 May 2019

Filed in

Mind & body, On books, Politics & campaigns

Anne Lister & “Shirley” in business

There is a long tradition of women being successfull in farming, landowning and business. Here I look at Anne Lister (Gentleman Jack) and Charlotte Brontë's Shirley in that light. Read more...

Published

19 May 2019

Filed in

Mind & body, On books, On TV & Radio

Poem: For Ken, 7 April 2019

I wrote this a few days after the death of Ken Uprichard (and have changed it slightly since). His family and mine have been friends for decades. He was latterly Head of Conservation at the British Museum but never seemed remotely grand to me - rather he was a countryman loving London. Read more...

Published

19 May 2019

Filed in

RDN's poems

“Palais de Justice” (2017)

I very much enjoyed Carey Young's video installation at the Towner Gallery, Eastbourne. (It closes 2 June 2019 but I imagine it will be screened elsewhere.) I know that I wanted to see the thing as soon as I saw the publicity still of a fair-haired, I would say careworn, woman, a judge I presume, returning the camera's stare. I am a little foxed and therefore intrigued as to what, in the event, it achieved for me. Read more...

Published

19 May 2019

Filed in

Mind & body, On art, On movies, Politics & campaigns

“Styx” (2019)

I was lucky to have forgotten everything I knew about this film before I went to see it. Its 94 minutes of study of the moral, technical and emotional problems which suddenly confront Rike, a lone yachtswoman, as she cruises southwards down the Atlantic from Gibraltar toward Ascension Island, were a startling blend of the meditative and the thrilling. I was engrossed by the film throughout and only bothered to be properly sceptical about it when I got home. Read more...

Published

19 May 2019

Filed in

Mind & body, On movies, Politics & campaigns

Cribsheet: tipping points and margins, etc

This note is intended as a handy guide or cribsheet or starting point for people unfamiliar with tipping points, margins, critical mass, paradigm shifts. (It is a little in the manner of my Right-wing Guide To Nearly Everything - RWG2NE - which I fear never did really reach a critical mass, or a…. etc, etc) Read more...

Published

11 May 2019

Filed in

Mind & body

Collaborative theatre, self-writing and showing-off

What kind of public performance should I try to deliver? I used to do quite big presentations for industry, schools, universities and NGOs. I appeared once at the Hay Literary Festival and once at Glastonbury (until I was run out of the latter by grunge eco-freaks). These events were highly argumentative, and entertaining for at least some in the audience, which I very seldom appeased. Now, I want to face different challenges in a quite different spirit. Read more...

Published

10 March 2019

Filed in

Uncategorized

“The Wife” is almost misogynist

"The Wife", enjoyable and in places subtle and supple as it is, remains open to the charge that its basic premise and plot does no favours to feminism. Read more...

Published

11 February 2019

Filed in

On movies, Politics & campaigns
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