Thoughts and opinions including the odd review of places.
My views are expressed here. They are nothing to do with Opera Holland Park.
Inappropriate comments will be removed, including my own.
"Noisy at the wrong times" new edition published in September 2015 on Two Roads
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Journalists: keep it simple!
An open letter to Eva Wiseman
I read your recent piece on the Guardian website ("Is there anything worse than a man who cries") with mounting horror. I also noted the nearly 3,000 outraged comments below it and, I have to say, you brought it all upon yourself. I have no sympathy, but I am happy to help you by explaining where you went wrong.
The most important thing to note - and Eva, this will stand you in good stead hitherto should you hold it in mind - this is 2015. Why is that relevant? Well, this isn't 1928, for example, when a book like "A Handbook on Hanging" by Charles Duff could be published and people "get it". And you're no Henry Root, love, let me tell you. And can you imagine what the world would say now if Clive James's line about that Chinese president "whose name sounds like a ricochet in a canyon" was published on Twitter? There would be bedlam.
You can't possibly hope to get away with writing a piece that removes the reader, by even one degree, from the absolutely explicit articulation of what you mean. Frankly, you're a fool if you believe that people, Twittered to the bollocks, can grasp the concept of your satirical attacks on the behaviours and consequences of men showing their emotions. What were you thinking? I am not interested in your protestations. Shut up.
Now I am not ready to label you a "misandrist", "misanthropist", "feminist bitch who should make me some toast", but I suggest you write more like Piers Morgan. We know where we stand with Piers. Or his mate Jeremy. Keep it simple, chuck some hate around. Indeed, it would've been so much better if you simply wrote "it is terrible that men feel they can't cry" on Twitter: time and a whole lot of pain saved (note to anybody from The Guardian management who might be reading this: cheaper, too. Just saying). Sure, there are some boring liberal types who will bleat about not having anything interesting to read, but I will say again, this is Britain 2015, love, and those people need to realise times have changed.
To be honest, I am surprised that you didn't learn from your newspaper stable-mate Marina O'Loughlin who recently wrote an absurd piece about her "favourite" restaurants. I don't wish to be ungallant, but what a silly cow she is. How could she possibly expect a First World educated population to understand the difference between the words "favourite" and "best"? Is she serious? The torrent of abuse and opprobrium that poured down upon her was also, like your experience, fully deserved. It was a Rookie error to say that many of her "favourite" restaurants were in London - she might as well have said "all restaurants in Wales are rubbish". Honestly, no difference at all, and if she thought there was, she is a fool, too. This is, after all, a world in which Germaine Greer is compared to Nazis, for Heaven's sake.
You seem to me to be a decent person. You also look clever in your photo (word to the wise, you are a woman with red hair, know your place) so please, keep it simple, say what you mean and if possible, never use words of more than two syllables. People have feelings and when people have feelings, they don't usually have a brain as well. Nonsensical to think otherwise. So, by all means wear your sympathies and concerns with pride, but keep the vocab simple and never, ever, use irony, that is so 1928.
In the past couple of weeks the issue of privilege and the Oxbridge divide has been prominent on social media. The argument has essentially been that Oxbridge caters most to the privileged and monied, and further, excludes black students in particular. David Lammy extracted some data from Oxford which he believes shows Oxford is not doing well enough with respect to offering access to bright black and underprivileged students. I am not sure if he is suggesting Oxford is institutionally racist but the inference that Oxford actively excludes black and disadvantaged students is easy to draw from his comments on the matter. The statistics are quite complex and to me don't actually suggest Oxford is doing too badly, but this thread of tweets addresses the specifics very well;
The long awaited - and even longer overdue - documentary about the British band XTC felt to many of us who have considered them the best ever group to emerge from these shores, like a simultaneous roar of approval and a shocking great slap in the face, a sharp reminder of what we have lost now that they no longer record together. Apple Venus Vol.1 and Wasp Star (Apple Venus Vol. 2) were released in 1999 and 2000 respectively and together represented the almost perfect distillation of British popular music. I hesitate to just call it "pop" although there are almost unequalled examples of it on both these albums and right through the XTC canon. Andy Partridge's lavishly inventive songwriting, lyrical brilliance and at times almost extra-terrestrial knack for a breathtaking melody or crushingly beautiful harmony seemed to improve and grow throughout the band's 14 album career. It came to a mighty zenith on those final two records. Followers of XTC were often torn betwee…
1.My name is Miriam Lamprell. I am 79 years of age and I lost my only child, Debbie, in the fire at Grenfell Tower. I have asked Mike Volpe to read this because it is impossibly hard for me to stand up and read this out, but I am here. And I will be coming to the Inquiry, as difficult as it will be to find out what happened to Debbie.2.I had Debbie in the maternity hospital in Walthamstow in 1971 and brought her home to the flat in Hinds Park where I still live. Debbie and her father, my husband, Reg, lived there together right through her childhood and she stayed with us all through her early adulthood when she took her first jobs, until Debbie moved out when she was 31. We were an incredibly close and happy family. We loved Debbie and Debbie was devoted to us. We were blessed with Debbie in a way that is very special.3.Because Debbie was an only child we encouraged her to have her friends round to play as much as possible. She wasn't a pushy person even then but …