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Showing posts from April, 2013

One week on...

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I'm in London today. I was actually supposed to be here this time last week, but put it off due to a friend's wedding that sadly turned into a funeral... As a result I missed being in London for another funeral... that of Margaret Thatcher. 
I largely avoided facebook and news/current affairs shows between her death and funeral mostly because I was surprised at how much her demise raised old emotions in me, and I really did not want to get sucked into the "ding-dong" response to the death of  a confused old lady. I've actually spent a fair part of the past fortnight trying to process the effect that she had on my political awareness and orientation, never mind the wider question of what she, her -ism and acolytes did for/to the country, indeed are still doing... It is complex. And part of that is that she herself was not solely responsible for anything... either in terms of me or the nation... but she was a lightning rod for it all... 
Others have offered analyses …

St. George the Palestinian

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This is a post that should have gone up last year in the wake of a report (inevitably in the Daily Mail) advocating greater pride in the Cross of St. George and attributing antipathy towards it to the English Defence League. However, due to a technical glitch (I didn't press the publish button) it didn't appear. So, one year on, in the wake of further violence involving the English Defence League here are my thoughts, such as they are.

Happy St. George's Day to all my English friends (and a happy Will Shakespeare Day to all my English literature loving friends).
Poor old St. George has been an easy target for mockery over the years. Over the years he has been progressively relegated from the Vatican's Premier League of Saints, down to the hagiographic equivalent of the Isthmian League, and the most famous story about him is the patently fictional one about him killing a dragon (although many of the more famous stories about St. Patrick are patently fictional too)... In…

Ecce Homo

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We tried a number of times earlier in the run to get to see "The Man Jesus" with Simon Callow at the Lyric Theatre, but in fine Campton fashion, only managed to see it on the last night. Given the show is now over I won't offer any sort of comprehensive review, except to say that I enjoyed it, but was not bowled over by it. The sparse staging and lighting allowed the audience to focus on Callow's performance which offered differing perspectives on the life and death of Jesus from various men and women around him. The mission-hall-type wooden seats which Callow constantly shuffled throughout the performance were sufficient to suggest the temple clearance or the Last Supper. Callow's range of accents and characterisations were superb... his Billy Connolly-esque John the Baptist and his Ballymena Bible-belt disciple were particularly appropriate (even more so given this was Northern Ireland and the Big Yin was actually performing in the Waterfront Hall last night),…

The Economics of Calvary

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I wonder if this cartoon is based, at least in part on a saying of Laurence J. Peter, who said that
"an economist is an expert who will know tomorrow why the things he predicted yesterday didn't happen today." I've said before that I am a financial incompetent, barely capable of balancing my own chequebook, but there seem to be people with little more competence than I have running the economies of countries and multi-national companies. Perhaps this is a function of another of Peter's assertions, (in the principle named after him) that
"In a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence... in time every post tends to be occupied by an employee who is incompetent to carry out its duties... Work is accomplished by those employees who have not yet reached their level of incompetence," People often think that Peter was joking when he framed his eponymous principle, but it is totally serious, deadly so when you consider that the lack of …

Happy New Year

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This is the pre-recorded Thought for the Day that should have gone out this morning on Radio Ulster. Not sure what time it was broadcast at as the schedules are all over the place with the holidays, but I'm sure you can find it on iplayer under Good Morning Ulster.  For those who have been around this blog for a while you might recognise part of it as I shamelessly cannibalised an earlier post for it... Happy New Year! No I haven’t lost the plot. Over 400 years ago, when they changed over from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar, they moved the New Year from the beginning of April and spring, to the beginning of January. And those who refused to change were treated as fools. They were invited to non-existent parties and other pranks were played on them, and it’s thought that this may be one of the origins of April Fools’ Day. But actually all around the world, in many different cultures there are light-hearted festivals at this time of year celebrating the change from winter to spri…