Daily Archives: August 10, 2011


A Triumph For Nadira!

The first review of Medea:

But this show is Janikova’s triumph. Constantly on stage, and with vast swathes of classical text to pick her way though, she navigates the highs and lows, the drama and the lightness, the moral complexity, with charisma and aplomb.

– Craig Singer

I was, incidentally, quite wrong in my view that the show would be better simplified. Now it is working properly (within the technical limitations of the Edinburgh fringe) Matt Eaton’s soundscape adds tremendously to the atmosphere and experience of the play. I was bigoted in commenting adversely on something of which I was not qualified to judge the potential.

I am proud of Nadira – I am hoping that eventually, rather than allude to her as my wife, people will think of me as just her husband. Of course, not only is she working with an extremely complex classical text, she is working in her fourth language. The mind boggles. Nadira is marvellous, but so is the whole cast.

If I have one quibble with Craig Singer’s revue, it is that I don’t think either Euripides or Stella Duffy had me in mind at any stage! Nor have I ever claimed to be a statesman. So I don’t quite like the little dig at me over an allusion that is entirely in his own head.

Happily, the show is starting to find its audience. Attendances have crept up to around eighty a night, and still growing, largely by word of mouth and it looks like Edinburgh people rather than Festival visitors.

View with comments

The Good Delusion

Comments on my last post revealed many of the regular commenters here to be victims of what I might call “The Good Delusion” – a belief that anyone at odds with the political and economic establishment must be good, as the establishment is unjust and corrupt. But the sad truth is that vicious materialism and sociopathic behaviour is neither confined solely to the upper classes nor in all cases instigated by them.

I should for example be grateful for an explanation by some of the commenters on my last post as to why the following is an act of revolutionary vanguardism, constitutes a protest against government spending cuts or is a product of police stop and search powers:

The answer is that such claims are ludicrous. The idea that all thuggery is the fault of the bad example of the Bullingdon Club or of higher university tuition fees is an absolute nonsense. And I speak as somebody who is utterly opposed to any tuition fees paid by students, absolutely deplores the privilege that the Bullingdon Club represents, and is completely against stop and search.

The idea that no personal blame can be attached to the looters because of their background or of government policies, is one with which I have no sympathy. Strangely those who hold that the looters are blameless victims of oppression tend to be the same people who have no sympathy for the policemen who get injured, whatever their motives or circumstances that led them to join the police. Apparently all looters are innocent and all police are villains. What nonsense!

In direct answer to another critical commenter, you are quite wrong in stating that all my information came from the media. It did not. As far as I know, the store security guards badly beaten up in Newham have not been reported yet in the MSM, for example. How were the attacks on those people justified, who were just trying to earn a living? What about those leaping for their lives to escape fires, or who had their flats attacked with firebombs? What of the bus driver pulled from his bus and beaten up so the bus could be wrecked? The cabbie who had his arm broken trying to defend his takings?

There is a key fact here. The vast majority of those arrested have existing criminal records – many of them very long indeed. This is not a spontaneous uprising of a repressed class. This is a large number of existing criminals seeing an apparent opportunity to rob and mug with little chance of being caught as they temporarily overwhelmed the police. Anyone who believes these were frustrated would-be university students is so warped by ideology as to have descended into gibbering idiocy.

Frankly the idea that these were oppressed representatives of a suffering class is an insult to the very many decent people in low paid work and without work who struggle to get by and never burn down anyone’s home, mug anyone or loot electronic bling from shops.

Some commenters also have chosen to allude to my own middle class background. There are a very few people who frequent this site who have known me since childhood. I can guarantee you that I grew up in much greater material deprivation than almost any of the criminals out looting. It is a simple matter of fact that I owned no clothes which were not secondhand, other than underwear, until after I went to university. I never had a watch. But did that entitle me to go and loot a shop and burn out the people living above it?

I was brought up, with my siblings, by my mother and grandfather. He was a coalman from the genuine British working class tradition, a lifelong socialist, entirely-self taught. He used to read to me from Burns, Hazlitt and Tressell. When in doubt on any moral question, I always consider what old Henry would have done. If anywhere near, he would have been out there with his coal shovel defending people against the vicious looters trying to attack them, ruin their livelihoods and burn them out. Any of you who cannot see that that is the authentic tradition of the British people, are suffering a case of the good delusion which is beyond repair.

View with comments