Culture

Cultural analysis

Review: Recommended Reads from a Century of Children’s Literature Pt II


Originally from Alan Garner, The Owl Service book coverSpeaking Well In Public’s Page on Facebook.

Continuing my recommended reads from a century of children’s literature.

CS Lewis
From The Magician’s Nephew to The Last Battle, the Chronicles of Narnia tells the story of another world from its dawn to its end. In the first written and best known, The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe, four brothers and sisters find themselves drawn into Narnia and help in its heroic struggle to free itself. …

Review: Recommended Reads from a Century of Children’s Literature Pt I


Originally from Arthur Ransome, Swallows and Amazons, Vintage Classics book coverSpeaking Well In Public’s Page on Facebook.

My recommended reads from a century of children’s literature, featuring tales of mystery, adventure and the great outdoors, of magic, fantasy and other worlds, of theatre, ballet and life on the stage… Most will be enjoyed by girls and boys, and a great start to a bookshelf to keep for life. …

Review: Danny Boyle – Man of Wonder (BBC Culture Show Special)


Review: Danny Boyle - Man of Wonder (BBC Culture Show Special)“In a Culture Show special, Oscar winning director Danny Boyle talks to Mark Kermode about his new film Trance, London 2012’s afterglow and the highs and lows of an extraordinary film-making career.”

Danny Boyle began his career in subversive agit-prop theatre at the Royal Court and went on to be equally subversive in TV.

Breaking into feature films, his back catalogue includes the violent, kinetic, anarchic as well as touching, satirical, philosophical and romantic. From iconic counter-culture Trainspotting, frenetic horror 28 Days Later, to eight-Oscar triumph, the brutal romance Slumdog Millionaire, Boyle is at his best when he refuses to compromise. It was something he acknowledged in less successful projects – Hollywood excesses A Life Less Ordinary and The Beach.

The Golden Record – Voyager’s Message in a Bottle


Voyager's Golden RecordThe Voyager spacecraft has recently left the orbital limits of our solar system. It is now the furthest any made-made object has travelled from Earth.

If you’re not old enough to remember the launch, Voyager left carrying a golden record containing a sample of sounds and images from Earth. So should any extraterrestrial life encounter Voyager in deep space, those beings should be able to listen and view the sounds of our civilisation.

If you go to the Golden Record web-site http://goldenrecord.org/, you can see exactly what NASA placed on the golden record, “a kind of time capsule, intended to communicate a story of our world to extraterrestrials.” …

Public Speaking – Attitude


A Prophet - Hyde Park Corner 1930'sWe’ve all seen the two extremes of speakers able to wreck the most compelling material. Recall the aptly-named Father Stone from the sit-com Father Ted; utterly deadpan, lifeless and immobile with the most boring voice in Christendom. At the other end of the scale, caricature Gio Compare from the car insurance ads, for whom everything is an opera delivered larger than life at full bellow and gesture to match.

Clearly no one would aim to imitate either for a serious public address. You can check out Pippa Hammond’s many articles on public speaking which cover the speaking part; and an earlier part here on the art of gesture to accompany your speech.

But what about posture, body, language, attitude and general demeanour? …

Review: The History of the Future BBC Radio4


Illustration from "Illustrerad verldshistoria utgifven av E. Wallis. volume I": Phytia giving an answerJuliet Gardiner looks at how cultures of the past viewed the possibilities of the future, and what these visions say about the pre-occupations of the time.

Or as I like to call it – Where’s My Jetpack?

Here’s a curious thing; a BBC Radio 4 documentary series that doesn’t appear to exist on iPlayer, Listen Again or as a podcast. I caught the tail end of this series which finished in September, just the last couple of episodes. I’d like to hear the rest, but I can’t find them. Even though the show’s homepage is still up on the BBC website.

Review: Shakespeare Uncovered – David Tennant on Hamlet


Shakespeare Uncovered - David Tennant on Hamlet“In Hamlet, David Tennant whose own RSC performance was a huge hit, meets other actors who have played the role – from the legendary David Warner in the 1960s to the recent Jude Law. He also tries, alongside Simon Russell Beale and Ben Whishaw, to unravel the meaning of the play and the reason why it is considered the greatest play Shakespeare ever wrote.”

With this being some anniversary or other of the great Will Shakey, there’s an awful lot of actoreyness on the BBC at the moment. In this final episode of Shakespeare Uncovered, David Tennant’s take on Hamlet was one of the better dissections of a classic in under an hour. Hats off to BBC2 for attempting to explain and impress just how great it is. You know there’s a ‘but’ coming, though, don’t you… …

Review: The Man Who Saves Life Stories BBC Radio4


The Great Diaries Project - image (C) BBC 2012“Irving Finkel collects ordinary people’s lives. He hoards their life stories in diary form and has amassed a collection of hundreds of handwritten volumes. But Irving has a problem. What should he do with them? The diaries are crammed onto shelves and piled up in corners of his small office. Irving’s day job is Assistant Keeper in the Department of the Middle East at the British Museum.”

The Man Who Saves Life Stories was one of those little gems that Radio 4 produces; the story of a museum curator and British eccentric who fell into collecting diaries and is now trying to house that collection as a ‘people’s history’ thing. …

Review: Horizon – Out of Control? BBC2


Review: Horizon - Out of Control? BBC2“We all like to think we are in control of our lives – of what we feel and what we think. But scientists are now discovering this is often simply an illusion.

Surprising experiments are revealing that what you think you do and what you actually do can be very different. Your unconscious mind is often calling the shots, influencing the decisions you make, from what you eat to who you fall in love with. If you think you are really in control of your life, you may have to think again.”

“At every moment of our lives an unseen presence is guiding us,” announced narrator Hugo Speer. No, not God, the unseen presence is our own unconscious mind, which decades of psycho analysis since Freud has us believing is the Edward Hyde or Caliban in all of us, out to destroy civilisation. It turns out our unconscious is the foreman, brakeman, steersman and navigator of almost everything we do. …