Mind & body.

I am interested in the idea and practice of spirituality: but it may all be nonsense, and I may be venially corporeal. This category is a bit of a catch-all for posts on subjects ranging from the intellectual (I should be so lucky), to the spiritual (likewise) via the psychological and the creative.

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“The Railway Man”: Oddly unconvincing

Most middle-aged people with any sense of history have had plenty of opportunities to try to get to grips with the horrors of the Japanese exploitation of their prisoners of war. On the face of it, the extraordinary real-life story of Eric Lomax's journey from victim to forgiveness would have made a wonderful film. But it hasn't, I think.... Read more...

Published

17 January 2014

“Fill The Void” (2012): 4*+ movie, but questions….

As many reviewers have said, and I think Frank Kermode in the Guardian is about right, this is a richly-involving movie with a decent narrative in which paint-dryer and something close to a domestic thriller are combined. Comparisons with Jane Austen are justified. But there is a question as to political correctness, too... Read more...

Published

15 January 2014

“Saving Mr Banks”: Disney cubed

As Victoria Coren noted in her TV documentary, Saving Mr Banks is a moving film, and is so even if one supposes that it Disneyfies the creation of Mary Poppins the film, and probably its real creator Walt Disney and possibly the books on which it is based, and maybe even the books' author. Layer upon layer indeed. Read more...

Published

03 January 2014

London: the new Levant?

I have been reading Robert Byron's lovely, weird, The Byzantine Achievement (1929). I am drawn to the way the English mind admires the Hellenic as part of its being drawn to the Levantine. This Hellenophilia is a question of seeing Greece as something more, and more continuous, than merely having in its heyday been the birthplace of the Western mind. Besides, I like the way creative people like John Craxton (and the Durrell's of course) and others were so keen on Greece. Read more...

Published

03 January 2014

John Craxton, Stanley Spencer and the Levant

The John Craxton show at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge is very lovely, and much more so than I dared expect. This is Ne0-romanticism, or the English Romantic, at its giddy, evocative best. (It is very decently reviewed by Robin Blake in the FT.) It jived surprisingly with the London visit of Stanley Spencer paintings from the Sandham Memorial Chapel. (These are well-reviewed by Adrian Hamilton in the Independent.) Read more...

Published

03 January 2014

Chinese and Japanese art: masters for the West

It was off to the V&A Masterpieces of Chinese Painting 700 - 1900 (ends 19 January 2014)  and to the Fitzwilliam, Cambridge for The night of longing: Love and desire in Japanese prints (12 January, 2014). Yes, I was stupid enough to miss the Japanese Shunga show in the British Museum's Rooms 90/91, the very place which set me off on this quest... Read more...

Published

03 January 2014

RDN on sceptics & AGW at the RAC

I have been asked to debate the proposition that sceptics are winning the climate change argument (at the RAC in Pall Mall, 28 November 2013). The answer, I think, is a nice sceptical, "yes", and "no". Read more...

Published

27 November 2013

If I were an illustrators’ patron ….

I have been thinking about why I have found most comics, graphic novels and animated films kind of not what I was after, and what I would love to see - but could only summon-forth from the mind and hand of someone else... Read more...

Published

24 November 2013

Selsey: The jewel of Manhood

[This updates in June 2017 a piece which first appeared in late 2013.] All my life, like my father and grandmother before me I have known and loved Selsey, in West Sussex. It is the town at the tip of the Manhood peninsula south of Chichester, and famous for the Bill (its beak pointed at the sea). It has for years had Bunn's, Europe's biggest caravan park and now - abutting that - there is a brand new instant wetland, also Europe's largest of the kind. It is, in fact, a-buzz with change and far livelier than previously. Recently, I have taken to day-dreaming about Selsey's future. Read more...

Published

24 November 2013
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