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Issue 2 Jan 14

Why We Still Need Feminism

Dr Suzannah Lipscomb

South Sudan
Alfred Perry

The Arrogance of Solipsism

Francois Lagrange

Beyond Bedford Square

Al Murray

The Bald Prima Donna

Nov 2013


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Editors James Allcock Josh Dell Rory Keddie Designer Paul Lichtenstern Assistant Editor George Linfield Sub-editors Jess Dunn Mariella Hudson Contributors James Allcock Soila Apparicio Dr Catherine Brown Millie Chipperfield Josh Dell Jess Dunn Olivia Gillman Mariella Hudson Lizzie Hughes Rory Keddie Jonathan Lacey Francois Lagrange Theo Lavender Paul Lichtenstern Dr Suzannah Lipscomb Tosca Lloyd Al Murray Alfred Perry Bobby Sebolao Hugo Stevensen James Thompson Claudia White Photography Olivia Gillman Flavia Munteanu Printing Stroma

Its happened again

Quite how we arent sure, but the second edition of Anchor is here. Sillier and more serious than before, weve grown with all that Christmas food to 28 pages. Whats more, you can look forward to more Anchor goodness after Reading Week on February 24th. And look out for news about the first Anchor event, being hosted soon at a Bedford Square address near you. Were very excited to have an interview by Alfred Perry with Charlie Goldsmith, head of a public administration consultancy based in the heart of South Sudan and working in the midst of the current conflict. Youll also find in these pages Theo Lavender writing on the work of graphic novelist Alan Moore, a special feature on London theatre, Bobby Sebolao on global warming, and the return of Mystic Mill with her guide to getting the most out of your New Years resolutions. Were also proud to present the first half of Hugo Stevensens The Clermont Club, a gripping true story of power play in the heart of Mayfair that will conclude in the next edition of Anchor. Finally and most importantly, a very special thanks to Matthew Batstone for his support, advice, and willingness to hear out all of our questionable ideas over the past few months.

Rory, Josh & Jamie

Photography Licenses
The views expressed by individuals writing in Anchor are entirely their own and do not represent the views of either the editorial team, the New College of the Humanities, or the New College of the Humanities Student Union.
Page 5. AP Photo. By Shannon Jensen. Page 6, top. Salva Kiir Mayardit, President of South Sudan. By Jenny Rockett. Jenny.rockett@journalist .com. License: CC-BY 3.0. Page 8-9. St Jamess Park Lake: Looking East from the Blue Bridge. By Colin. Own work. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0. Page 11. Sam Harris Speaking in 2010. By Steve Jurveston. License: CC-BY 2.0 Page 17. Alan Moore at the ICA, June 2nd 2009. By Matt Biddulph. License: CC-BY 2.0. Page 21. Title of Page of First Quarto of Henry V (1600). Page 24. A man with a Western-style haircut makes love to a woman in traditional Japanese dress in the Meiji period Shunga print. By Kilma Kilbane. Photographic reproduction of a work of art. Page 25. Alex Turner. By Bernadette MyNulty. Telegraph Magazine, 07/09/2013. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0.


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James Thompson responds to Lizzie Hughes article

Actually, Mr Thicke, I dont want it.

Lizzie said:

Jonathan Lacey responds to Soila Apparicios United Republic (Issue 1).

The United Kingdoms system of rule is defined as a constitutional monarchy The ruler of our country cannot truly be the people until we remove this system of inherited authority which obstructs the true meaning of democracy.

Soila said:

Thousands of students and clubbers alike will be singing along with Thicke as he tells of how he can rip a new orifice into us This is rape culture.

Monarchy and Democracy

Jonathan Lacey
The ruler of our country cannot truly be the people until we remove the system of inherited authority which obstructs the true meaning of democracy, wrote an esteemed colleague in the rst edition of this paper. In order to address my colleagues chief objection to monarchy, I would simply ask: does the monarch really inherit political authority with which the true meaning of democracy is obstructed? Yes, the monarch inherits a title that has historically held supreme authority in Britain, but it is only the title that remains unchanged. Todays Queen has very little executive power, and even this powers impact on government is strictly limited by constitutional rules. How, then, could this instance of inherited authority be said actually to obstruct the true meaning of democracy? The course of democracy in Britain seems decidedly unobstructed by the monarchy: the monarch has not intervened in the legislative process since Queen Annes creation of royal peers in 1711. Indeed in recent history we can see compromise and consistent modernisation from the monarchy, as it looks to accommodate itself successfully within the modern state; amendments to succession rules in recent years are just one example. A further objection to monarchy is that it prevents the country being ruled by the people. Given what has been established about the power held by the monarchy, it would seem that the ruler of Great Britain would more accurately be identified as the Prime Minister. It is to the position that claims to represent the people in government that we must direct such problematic questions as what exactly it means for the ruler to truly be the people. Having established that the monarchys authority is overwhelmingly symbolic, the value of removing such a powerful and beloved symbol must now be evaluated. Many Britons feel a strong attachment to monarchy: in 2012 royal approval hit a 15-year high with almost 70% (ICM Poll) of those polled agreeing that the monarchy benets the nation. Indeed it could even be said that it has popular mandate at present; it holds far

more support than any political party. Would removing a clearly popular institution be an effective implementation of the true meaning of democracy? And does not the popular approval of the monarchy indicate that it still may play a role in our society? In Britain, the monarchy has provided the continuity and stability that allows great change and modernisation to occur: the rise of the welfare state, a new position in the world order, franchise reform and new economic doctrines. These important changes alienated large segments of society, yet the national identity was maintained through mutual identification under an ever-present monarch. It is monarchy that has been a source of stability during political and economic upheaval. The stability provided by the monarchy has enabled social change rather than entrenchment of out-dated values, even to its own loss of power. In UN rankings, seven out of the top ten countries with best quality of life are constitutional monarchies. In addition, many of the 40 constitutional monarchies in the world are ranked near top for democratic accountability. Philip Blond, from the think tank ResPublica, has wrestled with the paradox of democracy: that democracy itself is not enough to ensure the continuation of democracy. He points to economic and social instability as accountable for the rise of extremist parties in Europe in the twentieth century, and argues that the presence of democratic and nondemocratic elements, as in a constitutional monarchy, create the necessary stability for democracy to continue. This suggests that monarchy is anything but an obstruction of the true course of democracy. Let us not forget the more concrete benefits that monarchy provides. Abolition of the monarchy would doubtless have an impact on tourism in Britain, which conservative estimates value at 126 billion. The royal family is essential to foreign perceptions of Britishness: of the annually-compiled top ten landmarks in the UK at least four, year-on-year, are related to or owned by the Crown. VisitBritain, an organisation developed to analyse tourism in Britain, puts Britain's heritage and culture as its main pull factor. Tax receipts from this industry more than compensate for the 7.9 million paid to the monarch by the treasury under the civil list system. The British monarchy has aided and continues to aid our nation, as a source of political stability, a unifying symbol and an economic benefit. The monarchy is a crucial and beneficial part of our democracy and we owe it our respect.

Blurred Lines
James Thompson
I was happy to see that in the last issue of Anchor, Lizzie proffered her own puddle to the sea of ink that has already been spilt over Robin Thickes smash toon Blurred Lines. The song which in relation to modern R&B or hip-hop can realistically be deemed lewd at worst has been met with an outcry from tabloids, student unions and other professional offence-takers up and down the country since its release last March. And this is from one perspective anyway excellent. A pop song has managed to provoke serious cultural reflection and unite the voice of a generation in outrage. Theres hope. Dylans back but hes dapper, with designer stubble, salon hair and sunglasses indoors (although I think the latter was true of the original). Well, not exactly. Generation Y might be united for a common cause, but this cause as Lizzies article demonstrates is confused; muddied and distracted by some sort of bourgeois dislike of the brash, the lewd, or the refusal to conform. The playing of Blurred Lines has now been banned in over 20 universities in the UK by their own student unions. Meanwhile, Kingston has become the 29th university to ban the selling of The Sun newspaper on campus until the boobs are gone and replaced by, Im not sure, more football probably. These brave activists certainly sound very pleased with themselves: Go and perpetuate rape culture elsewhere, because if student unions have any sense, it is not going to be welcome there, writes a Birmingham University student in The Huffington Post. Meanwhile an Essex student union

representative stated: Were part of a society that is trying to empower the next generation of women. How can we show them that they are amazing individuals capable of anything when they are judged by their appearance rather than their skills and personality? Quite apart from the idiotic use of individuals, it is the patronising tone of this statement that captures perfectly the problem with our new radicals. How can we show them? asks our selfproclaimed feminist, managing to reduce women, in just a few words, to far less than Thicke and co. could do, despite their best efforts, in four and a half minutes. The honest truth Lizzie suggests is that we exist within a rape culture. We are inundated, it seems, with messages from the media and popular culture that propagate a mind set within society that fails to treat rape with sufficient gravity. This is the belief that the student unions across the UK would have you subscribe to when they take it upon themselves to shelter us from nasty Mr Thicke or the objectification on page three. I assume they feel theyre being awfully progressive; female empowerment, tackling rape culture it rings of something heroic and revolutionary. But its not. It is regressive: banning the playing of a pop song or the sale of a newspaper is an infringement on freedom of expression. Neither Blurred Lines nor the girls on page three caused the woman in Delhi to be raped, nor the girl at Steubenville. Nor did either cause, aid to, or create a culture in which the 1.3 million rapes that Lizzie references become even slightly accepted. That implication alone relieves full culpability from rapists and trivialises the issue. Banning music as a response to the shaking realities of the number and nature of rapes across the planet is laughable. Those who do so think not of a cause but themselves, and are worthy of little more than our ridicule.

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South Sudan is currently gripped in violent political turmoil: the past few weeks have seen at least a thousand people killed; the internal displacement of a further 185,000 people, with 63,000 sheltering in UN compounds; the initiation of mediation talks between South Sudan and its East African neighbours; and statements issued from Barack Obama and Ban Ki-moon, amongst others, decrying the situation. It all began on Sunday, the 14th of December. There is disagreement over the exact details, but fighting within military barracks was identified as a coup attempt by current President Salva Kiir, a Dinka tribesman. The government then arrested 11 senior politicians on the basis that they were orchestrating a coup. Fearing detention, his vice-President Riek Machar, a Nuer tribesman, fled the capital; forces loyal to Kiir later raided his house. Machar has now, along with other notable individuals, called for Kiir to step down, labelling his government authoritarian and not representative of the South Sudanese peoples. Some of Kiirs opponents have taken up arms, and the past week has seen clashes between rebels and the SPLA, the Sudan Peoples Liberation Army, the official army of South Sudan. The root of the violence predates the alleged coup attempt. South Sudan is the youngest, and one of the poorest, countries in the world. In 2011 it became independent from Sudan following a referendum and after fighting that had lasted for decades between the south and the north. It had ruled itself since a 2005 peace agreement, but without formal independence. The government of South Sudan, reflective of a country 239,000 square miles in size (three times the size of the United Kingdom) with a population of ten million, is formed of a diverse group of people, with tribes being the major delineating factor. The two largest tribes in both the government and populace are the Dinka (15%) and Nuer (10%), and it is from these two groups that much of the recent violence has stemmed. Working amidst this is Charlie Goldsmith, an Oxford and Harvard classicist who used to work with the Strategic Rail Authority and subsequently Booz & Company, out of whose African operations he founded Charlie Goldsmith Associates. A consultancy, it operates from Juba, the capital of South Sudan, and advises the government on their payroll system, school attendance monitoring systems and human resource management. The payroll system constructed for the government ensures 150,000 civil servants are paid. Last year Charlie was the recipient of the Young Consultant of the Year award from British Expertise for his work in post-conflict, fragile, and emerging African countries. I interviewed him for an insight into the politics and working environment of countries such as South Sudan.


AP Photo/Shannon Jensen

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How would you describe Charlie Goldsmith Associates? Our line is pretty straightforward; we provide the nuts and bolts of, mostly, public administration. Lets say you want to give to money to all four thousand schools in the country, or one hundred and fifty thousand civil servants, then we can say that these are the systems and the website that you will need to: not get robbed blind; have some notion of how your money was spent; and give you that assurance. Anybody can provide a payroll system that looks good; SAP produce a great payroll system but its not very relevant in South Sudan because SAP dont do a payroll system that can cope, or that can cope very well, with cash payments, which the majority of these are, or with illiterate recipients, which many of these are. So its about providing basic nuts and bolts but also producing something that is the best system for the context and for the client, not the best system in some abstract form. You are paying not for a pack on a shelf but a system working within your organisation. Whats the political background to the current situation? What ended up happening in 2011 was not what had been the original policy of the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement (SPLM). The movements policy had been a united non-racial Sudan, what it landed up with was a separate independent South Sudan. My personal view is that the movement got what it could at the time; the north had not made unity attractive and so people voted for independence in the referendum. It has to be remembered theres this narrative of were all together; were all agreed, except we were all agreed and then we all did something completely different to what wed agreed that wed agreed. Which is fine, but it does give a lot of scope, at every step, for anybody who wants to disagree with somebody about anything to point to that person having changed their mind about something; because everybody changed their mind about something. Some of those people changed their minds about very bad things, or very important things. Riek committed a great massacre in 1991 the Bor massacre but put his hands up and said, I committed an ethnic massacre, I am guilty. Thats very important; he said it to Bor Dinka people in public.
Alfred with a friend and Bishop Justin Badi Arama

Salva Kiir Mayardit, the president of South Sudan since its independence in 2011.

Charlie Goldsmith working alongside the NGO, Confident Children out of Conflict, in Juba, South Sudan.

How does this affect Rieks political standing? It does make it a bit difficult if you want to be the president of a nation in which you have publicly admitted that you committed an ethnic massacre of massive gravity. That may be one reason why Riek has not yet become President of South Sudan.

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Whats your ideal solution? Is there a solution? I think an ethnic supremacist solution is no solution. Its not a nice solution and its not a solution that would work. Anyone who wants to try that will lose in the long term. But it may take everybody a long time to work that out, and it may be a long and bloody time. Salva ran a big tent for a long period and then, at a certain point in the last couple of years, seemed to move away from the original concept of the big tent, which brought in all the old commanders into positions of power. Some of the old commanders were, you know, old commanders; they were not suitable to be modern ministers. Youve got to move to a situation in which talent is rewarded, but also one in which the people are kept together; the incentives for misbehaviour are minimised; and the incentives for good performance are maximised. How do you think the international scene, such as the African Union and the West, can assist South Sudan? Giving a damn would be a starting point. The African Union has been pretty minimally useful, and the West has in general rotated its staff too quickly. You cant, in relational diplomacy, rock up on an 18-month rotation and expect to have a strong and steady understanding and relationship in a context that is profoundly complex and relational. Thus they have commensurately less knowledge and effect. One honourable exception is the American ambassador, whom many people trust because shes been there some time and is extremely frank with everyone. The East African partners have all got skin in the game because theyre the neighbours. If your neighbour has got an ASBO, as a neighbour youve got a problem, and in a sense currently South Sudan is the neighbour with at least the potential for a big ASBO. The regional mechanism called IGAD, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, has worked. It brings together mostly East African partners in a development initiative, and has redeployed General Lazaro Sumbeiywo, who is a Kenyan General who was the mediator in the 2000s between north and south Sudan; supporting the process at Machakos and Naivasha in Kenya. The great thing is that Sumbeiywo is trusted by everybody, and he is approaching twenty years of track record. If there is a solution he will probably have something to do with it. How could the West improve? If you use your development aid and your political might in combination you may achieve things that you could not achieve using those tools in isolation. Its an unfortunate thing to spend a lot of money and get no traction for it. Were not talking Pergau dam here, were talking using development aid to save peoples lives. Mixing that up with diplomacy I personally dont think is a very bad thing. Who are the main respective agents involved in the peace process? At the point at which you are dealing with peace, the

business of negotiation within geopolitical leaders, it is predominantly a job for inter-governmental relations. Its a job for inter-governmental relations and the Church, who are pretty crucial in this environment. The astonishingly brave things that Archbishop Paulino and Archbishop Daniel have said are remarkable. Archbishop Paulino went on live TV to make an analogy between the political leadership of South Sudan and a story in Kings, about two women who bring a baby they both claim is theirs in front of Solomon. He says, Cut the baby in half. The woman whose baby it isnt says Thats fine by me, youre a very wise man, whilst the woman whose baby it really is says Let her take it, better that than he gets choppered. Its an amazing thing to go on live TV and say that about the political leadership of your country. These two archbishops are wise and pretty fearless. They were aggressing the political leadership before this happened and theyve carried on aggressing them afterwards, saying they need to perform better. Its a shame that fewer people have listened to them than should have.

helping broker peace in the Congo in the early 2000s, and has been working for the South Sudan foreign ministry for the past few years. How do companies, like yours, cope when the country of operation experiences violent conflict? It is good to plan for wobbles because there will be wobbles. For example, work; we planned the work weve done on girls education in South Sudan this year on the basis that there might be wobbles. Thus weve got a system of schools SMS-ing to say whos at school, schools receiving money through the banking system, and, in due course, parents and children who are over 18 and still in school receiving money through mobile money, M-Pesa style. Mobile networks are the one thing that do stay; Somalias been at war for 25 years but theyve always had mobile phones. You also build systems with an eye to an upside as well as a downside. If the country can push further and faster towards getting banking infrastructure rolled out towards getting mobile money, youll be ready. We want to make sure that the stuff we can do is robust, because we dont know what will happen tomorrow, but we should be prepared for something we dont know. Thats part of it, the other part is about the resilience of the organisation. If youve got good local staff who are knowledgeable in context then they will be able to operate at a point at which international organisations, some ignorant in context, would not be able to do. Whats the relationship between risk and the private sector in post- and during- conflict countries? Looking at it quite coldly, you can have quite a direct discussion with the private sector about risk. This will become very relevant in South Sudan over the next period, when there is, at least in some areas, a higher degree of risk than there was. In a sense, the private sector is paid to take risk, and there are people in the private sector who are incredibly aggressive about where they will go in order to earn a buck. My company is, I would say, not exceptionally aggressive about where we will go to turn a buck. But we are, I hope, sensible about investing in our local staff, our local networks, our local community relations, and our local understanding in a perfectly proper way. You read the anthropology, the politics, and the very very bad books [on the region] not morally bad just indigestible. This enables us to operate in places and at times where other people could not. Essentially we can trade knowledge against risk. We cant trade knowledge against all risk, but to the extent we can, we will. Thank you for talking to me, I look forward to seeing how Charlie Goldsmith Associates and South Sudan develop over future years.

If your neighbour has got an ASBO, as a neighbour youve got a problem, and in a sense currently South Sudan is the neighbour with at least the potential for a big ASBO.
Whats the role of the private sector in the peace process? There are a few people in that arena from the private sector who provide really valuable services. Theres a striking non-profit outfit called Independent Diplomat. They provide exactly what it says on the tin: diplomats for hire. If youre a struggling postconflict African country you can rent a diplomat. Its like hiring a barrister. You actually want both the prosecution and the defence barrister to be competent otherwise youve got a problem that you dont get justice when one barrister is a muppet. In the same way, you want the diplomats on all sides to be competent because that helps you get to a sensible outcome. They cant replace your foreign minister, but they can enable you. Hail Caesar! Hail Caesar! Whats your view on taxes Caesar? A distracted Charlie talks to his one year old son draped in a towel, Theophilus Tisa Goldsmith. South Sudan has one of these Independent Diplomats, Philip Winter hes bloody clever, has been all over the region and helps them do a professional job. He first came to South Sudan in the 1970s when he was the manager of Juba boatyard, he won an honour for

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A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in
The ancient Greek proverb of unknown origin expresses the merits of unselfish and foresighted action. Its meaning has never been more relevant than in the 21st century, which poses humankind with the problem of climate change and how best to combat it. The scientific evidence linking human actions to global warming is unequivocal according to the website of The World Bank, which provides data ranking the period between 2001-2012 as among the warmest since record keeping began. These figures have been in line with a trend of rising global temperatures, which scientists have been observing since 1850. Scientific estimates regarding the exact extent and effects of global warming vary. The recently published findings of the Inter-Sectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project (ISI-MIP), a series of international scientific research papers on the extent and effects of climate change, have drawn attention to the significant potential for global warming to disrupt life on Earth. One paper on chronic water scarcity authored by Jacob Schewe of The Potsdam Institute suggests that a global warming of 2 C above present [temperatures] will confront an additional approximate 15% of the global population with a severe decrease in water resources. Dr Cristel Prudhomme, an expert in drought research, led another study exploring drought frequency and severity: [w]e show a likely increase in the global severity of drought by the end of 21st century, with regional hotspots including South America and Central and Western Europe in which the frequency of drought increases by more than 20% The prevailing scientific consensus, then, is that continued warming in future decades will cause irreversible climate change to which much life on Earth will struggle to adapt. To some, this realisation might be a statement of the obvious; after all, the plight of the Arctic polar bear is a frequently cited reminder of the damage being done to the planet. Perhaps then, the more pressing question to ask, heading in to 2014 and ever closer to a series of supposed environmental 'tipping points,' is just how such disastrous climate change can be averted. Opinion is trenchantly divided on this topic.


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Countless times I have been asked, with genuine affection, what's wrong. I say "nothing. Why?" The reply: "you don't look very happy". It could be considered unfortunate that I was not blessed with a face pre-disposed to smile, but what's wrong with looking grumpy? The reaction to my down-turned mouth is that of mild accusatory horror: how could you not look happy? The assumption, it seems, with not looking happy is that I am not, then, happy. In reality I am perfectly content most of the time - appearances deceive. So what I don't understand is why I must look happy to prove I am. Slavoj Zizek, as always, best said it when he spoke of the "weird, perverted duty" of enjoyment, the obligation to look as if one is absolutely enjoying absolutely everything in our post-modern world. Perhaps this is pure selfish-ness: we want to see everyone having a good time because it makes us feel better, and makes us enjoy ourselves. But what if we are not happy, must we still 'enjoy'? An old phrase tells us to 'fake it until we make it'. Designed to be optimistic, perhaps, but unsteadies the 'happiness' we see all around us. What if we never make it? I am perplexed further when I find myself accosted by less affectionate comments, like "give us a smile lav". A phrase not necessarily obviously sexist, it actually reveals a deep-rooted problem in the gender dynamics of our modern world. Much like the need in society for everyone to look like they are enjoying themselves all of the time, those who shout out that we must smile as we walk past them is a consequence of a very long, very upsetting, history of the female appeasing the male. It is not just a comment, as I am often told, but instead highlights this "perverted duty" on a micro-scale: the female must smile for the male. A builder shouting "give us a smile" is the modern equivalent of Manet's 'L'Olympia': a purpose-designed depiction of enjoyment... the purpose being the satisfaction of the male. By no means is the phrase a modern one, I am sure even in the early centuries of European portraiture men were probably shouting 'give us a smile luv' (or words to that affect). My point, however, is that in this single phrase there is a culmination of the duty to look as if one is happy, for the benefit of an other, most likely the dominant other. In demanding a smile, a dangerously unfair hierarchy is re-enforced, unintentionally perhaps, but, as we know, intention does not dictate the gravity of a statement. So, next time someone - male or female - tells you to 'cheer up' or 'give them a smile' I recommend you do quite the opposite: embrace your grumpy face, and dismantle the hierarchy. Lizzie Hughes

Reforestation initiatives around the world have attempted to apply the proverbial wisdom of this article's title quite literally. The Million Tree Initiative, a public-private partnership in Los Angeles to plant one million trees, began in 2006 and has since been replicated in other cities around the world. Since the initiative reached London in 2011, 156,611* new trees have been planted, each of which is said to deliver average environmental benefits worth 118,311 over the course of a 50 year lifespan. Encouragement should be drawn from this effort, but it will ultimately be insufficient if nothing is done to address the startling rate of deforestation occurring in places such as the Amazon rainforest, where the rate of deforestation increased by a staggering 28% last year. A pine sapling takes decades to become an effective carbon sink before it dies. Our ice caps and oil reserves may disappear far sooner. One has to wonder if planting trees has become something of a crutch leaned upon by the private sector to help excuse obscene greenhouse emissions. Major American airline Delta operates one of the largest

corporate tree planting schemes in the industry, despite ranking relatively poorly in a fuel-efficiency study conducted in 2010. Fuel efficiency is largely attributable to aircraft technology, which can only be improved through a greater commitment to innovation and investment. Yet the practice of carbon offsetting does little to encourage such industry-wide commitment. The danger is that too much reliance upon carbon offsetting schemes gives the most prolific polluters a 'get out of jail tree' card to continue environmentally unfriendly practices. Make no mistake; inventive approaches to emissions reduction still abound. Take, for example, the Formula 3 racing car that runs on chocolate biofuel and has a top speed of 135mph, or the amazing Phonebloks concept for a modular mobile phone that is upgradeable rather than disposable. It is these types of novel, independent ideas that could make a real dent in future greenhouse emissions, if serious investment is pumped in to them to make them commercially viable. Development of lowcarbon technologies will be crucial in the fight against climate change. The real challenge, it seems, is to get

the seeds of these ideas to take root at the industrial level. Continuing the tree motif, it is ironic that some of the most promising recent advances in emissions reduction technology have come from an industry whose business involves cutting down vast numbers of trees. The pulp and paper industry, according to The Economist, is the world's fifth-largest industrial user of energy. A new proposal by scientists from the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) would replace current energy-intensive papermaking processes with an innovative new process, slashing energy use by 40%. Tree planting nowadays is more of a token gesture than was meant by the old Greek proverb. If the interests and wellbeing of future generations are to be protected, then technological solutions to the problem of global warming seem to be our best bet. And if the creative resources of the likes of Pret a Manger and Honda are pooled towards developing low-carbon technologies, then it won't be long before cars made of croissants and powered by dreams become a reality.

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The general aim of any charity is to help those in need, whether it is with a health, financial, or social issue. In order to aid more people or fund better research charities work to collect as much money as they can. Charities have to have a business ethic running alongside their charitable ethic, such as paying employees and funding television or poster campaigns. Around twenty million people in the United Kingdom volunteer their time and donate their possessions and money to particular causes to help in any way they can each year. Recently, however, there have been questions and discussions as to where and how a charity spends or should spend its money, particularly on their highest ranked employees. The image of charity is not one of profiteering, particularly in times of austerity and crisis. Should charity be a for-profit business or a moral responsibility? The average UK salary is million people, a fifth population, live below household income below 26,000 per year. Fourteen of the United Kingdoms the poverty threshold, a sixty per cent of median


charities aim to reduce such ardent social inequality, yet their highest earning employees are often in the top one per cent of earners; in some cases they earn more than the Prime Minister. It is very difficult to appreciate the message that we all need to work together to solve poverty and decrease the inequality gap that the managers of these charities are putting across when they are some of the top earners in the country, and have been for a long time now. It diminishes the meaning and ethos of charity which, particularly in current hard economic times for some, can be damaging to both the charity and those who are in need of its help. Whilst Chief Executives of charities need to ensure that they can stay on their feet economically they must also consider the possibly damaging effect that such high salaries could have on their image and their greater impact on aiding those in crisis. In order for poverty charities to help towards solving these social problems they have to begin to decrease inequality from within. Charity is a business; their ethos, however, is not for profit, but for people.

income. Over a quarter of children in the UK live in poverty. Last year, foodbanks provided food for almost 350,000 people, a third of whom were children. Homeless charity Crisis work to find housing, education, and employment to those without them. Shelter, another homeless and housing charity, also offers help and advice to those in need. The Chief Executives of Crisis and Shelter earn around 64,000 and 73,000 per year respectively. As of 2013 one Shelter employee earned up to 120,000, with six more earning up to 90,000. Child poverty charity Save the Children, which aims to eradicate child poverty in some of the worlds poorest countries, and in the United Kingdom, paid two employees up to 170,000, and a further five up to 120,000. Of those charities that work to help the poorest members in society, by providing them with food, temporary housing, or basic healthcare, it could be argued that salaries should be considerably less than they currently are. Is it justifiable that, considering there are so many people in desperate need of basic care, charities should be paying their Chief Executives over five times the national average income? These and other poverty


-Pussy Riot Lyrics
Its been a busy Christmas period for Russian prison officials. On December 23rd, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, members of Pussy Riot, the feminist punk rock protest band, were released from prison. Shortly after the Russian businessman Mikhail Khordokovsky who in 2004 was the richest man in Russia, controlling much of the oil industry was granted a pardon by Putin after nine years of imprisonment. He was ostensibly imprisoned on charges of embezzlement during the privatisation process in the 90s, but Amnesty International insisted that he was a prisoner of conscience, after he criticised Putin while on television in 2003. Rumors abound surrounding his release, thought to have been brokered by German diplomats in an exchange for two Russian sleeper agents. Rumours that Khordokovsky (who through his imprisonment has become an enormously trusted antiPutin voice in the country) was bought off or threatened against returning to Russia to lead a campaign against Putin are also rife. There are also widespread claims in the press that the release was timed to remove a political time-bomb from Putins in-tray in time for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. The third group of significance for the West to be released was that of five Greenpeace activists, who had been charged originally with piracy and later hooliganism after they attempted to board a Russian oil rig in the Arctic Sea. What the inhabitants of Arctic Sunrise have committed is a gross act of cultural insensitivity. Regardless of whether they personally think the laws they were charged under are fair or not, I am convinced that the activists surprise at the way in which they were treated by the Russians must be for the camera how could they possibly have been so shortsighted and arrogant as to assume that in Russia, of all places, sailing into their national waters and clambering onto an oil rig would earn a clip round the ear and a policeman taking their names and addresses? If they want to have a debate about the Arctic, so be it lobby politicians, advertise, research, distribute literature. Participate in the national and international conversation. Dont endanger the lives of Russians trying to earn a daily wage. Meanwhile, any genuine political debate has stalled amidst outrage at a country enforcing its own laws. Greenpeace look more like irresponsible children trying to provoke a sleeping bear than a mature lobbying organisation. Pussy Riot simultaneously frustrates me and gives me hope. I cant help but be pleased to see millennials, in a society popularly considered oppressive, forcefully demonstrating their progressive (if sometimes incoherent) socio-political opinions which we take for granted in the West. On the other hand, Im sadly convinced that Pussy Riots goal will certainly not be fulfilled in their lifetime, any more than anti-feminist notions will be eradicated from Britain in a few years time. The more hopeful the manifesto, the further from change we seem. No matter how many balaclava-clad girls dance in gorgeous Orthodox churches, the system of government in Russia will change through evolution Russians have had enough of revolutions. Homophobia, antifeminism, and corruption wont be eradicated overnight either. Regardless of what you think of their opinions (I myself know too little about Russia to really say whether their demands and complaints are justified, too optimistic, or too incoherent) it must be said, by way of a cultural note, that standing in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow and taking in the rich gold leaf of the hundreds of icons is the only way to appreciate how extreme an act of desecration their concert was, and to what extend it shocked the majority of Russians. Another act performed to make a similar political demonstration was a man nailing his testicles to Red Square, and that gives more of a sense of how shocking these acts are to ordinary Russian people. Its meaningless to make comparisons, but the burning of poppies on Remembrance Day may convey something of what a shocking event occurred in such a significant place. It was an attack on an established part of Russian society its the point at which freedom of expression runs up against decorum and societal norms. On the other hand, in a society where fascist thugs pose as young gay men on dating websites to find the next victims of a savage beating, and the propagandisation of homosexuality in the young has been criminalised, perhaps such extreme methods are the only way to kickstart change. Maybe, unlike Greenpeace, their motives will be remembered, not just their actions

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The terms New Atheism, New Age Atheism or Neoatheism are seriously misleading. They are used to refer to a certain group of intellectuals Dawkins, Dennett, Grayling, Harris, Hirsi Ali, Hitchens and others - who not only share a disbelief in God or gods, but criticise religion and advocate basing our view of the world on logic and evidence. There is nothing new about this. It is worth clarifying terms often confused and conflated. Atheism is merely lack of belief in a deity. Antitheism is opposition to theism - that is, to the holding of theistic beliefs, and the practices based on them. One can be an atheist and support religion; one can be an atheist and think science is tosh. Atheism is not a separate belief system, but an absence of a theistic belief system. So while these intellectuals do share a set of beliefs in common, namely a naturalistic worldview based on reason and scientific enquiry, it is not centered on atheism, but on rationality. If anything, their atheism is a consequence of these views, as is their rejection of superstitious and traditional beliefs surviving from earlier times. Often attached to this Neo-atheism is the term aggressive. Richard Dawkins is so aggressive; Whats the difference between these militant atheists and their fundamentalist religious counterparts anyway?; or one that I heard recently: These atheists offend people and so the term aggression applies because there are degrees of aggression. Of course there are degrees of aggression swatting a malaria infested mosquito is aggressive but if aggression meant offending someone then I would be aggressive for merely having no belief in God. If I walked up to your grandmother and said, Hey granny, fuck off or I will hit you with this crowbar, that would be aggressive. If I flew two planes into two towers, killing thousands of people, that would be aggressive. If I were an evolutionary biologist who studied the ever so gradual change in living things, and was told that I was wrong by someone who thought both that the world was created in seven days and that homosexuals are an abomination, then if I called them ignorant that might be rude yet true; but not aggressive. schools in America; they are aware of the divisiveness of faith-based schooling as in Northern Ireland; they are aware of religion's retrogressive attitudes to medical research, women's rights, freedom of expression, and much more. In such dire circumstances a little eloquent vigour and wit and occasional anger is justified. Where religion is in power, as in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, and medieval Europe, contrary views are suppressed even by murder. Atheists and antitheists do not injure or imprison theists; they criticise, challenge and occasionally ridicule them. Theists respond by calling atheists aggressive and offensive, thus trying to hide behind unjustified automatic respect. What is new is that this respect has gone, and atheists speak out freely. That is all for the good.



Atheists and antitheists do not injure or imprison theists; they criticise, challenge and occasionally ridicule them. Theists respond by calling atheists aggressive and offensive
Oh, but three of the worst dictators in the last century were atheists: Hitler, Stalin and Mao, say some. This implies that they were dictators because of their purported atheism. This is nonsense. They may have all liked the colour lilac but it does not mean that they deduced from their love of this gentle shade of purple that world domination would be a great idea. These men were bad people, probably insane, and definitely aggressive. However none of this was as a result of them not believing in a higher being than themselves. When such individuals as Dawkins, Grayling, Hirsi Ali, Hitchens and Harris take to the stage and talk about religion, belief and science, they do so assertively and with zeal, and tell the odd joke at the expense of priests. If one sees such humour as aggression, then perhaps one should think of what is at stake. Religion might comfort some and inspire art in others, but there is no denying the negative influence that it has exerted across the globe. When these Neo-atheists challenge religion, they are more than aware of the fear felt by secularists, women and homosexuals in Afghanistan, at the hand of Islamists; they are aware of creationism being taught in

Sam Harris

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Women can reach the top: girls outperform boys at A level; female applicants to university far outnumber males. We have had a female prime minister, a female foreign secretary, female home secretaries, and a female Supreme Court judge. We have legislation to enforce equal pay, and increasingly humane provision for women and men taking time off work to raise a family. So, do we still need feminism? And if we do, why are young women and men today so hesitant to be identified as feminists? The ambivalence about the term comes, I think, from a sense that feminism conjures up a monolithic patriarchy imposed by men on women, which seems palpably implausible; that it posits an antagonism between the sexes, setting women against men (and we all love men); and that the work of the feminists has been done: all has been achieved and feminism is therefore neither urgent nor relevant. And, yet, I would venture, despite all our advances, that it remains resolutely both. There seem to me to be three areas, each progressively more serious, which demonstrate this ongoing urgency. The first is the steadily increasing emphasis on female appearance in such a way that women feel compelled to conform to an unachievable ideal of beauty. This is in part the result of the pornification of mainstream culture, which has not only made the ideal of childish hairlessness and disproportionately-sized breast-waist-hip ratios the goal, but has led to a dramatic soar in the number of repeated, unnecessary cosmetic surgical procedures (thats tautologous, of course; by definition all cosmetic surgery, except that after an accident, is unnecessary), including vaginoplasty (the reshaping of female genitalia to produce a more toned and tight vagina). It is also, though, a commercially driven and oppressive veneration of the artificial: hair, nails, skin colour, signs of age the culturallyspecific beauty has straightened and dyed one, painted or tinted another, and sought to eradicate the latter. Hear me: there is nothing wrong with physical self-esteem, with taking pride in ones body, with making the most of ones appearance, with wearing beautiful clothes and doing that alongside other achievements of mind and body. But the constant promotion of perfect, young female bodies (and disgust at ageing, imperfect, unaltered bodies) is pernicious, as is the media adulation of women who have achieved nothing beyond looking good, be they Jordan or Kate Middleton. Like most forms of patriarchy in history, however, this isnt something simply imposed on women by men or The Man: women have inculcated this species of narcissism and collude in it too. At least the corset could be removed. disproportionately affected women. In 19 councils across England and Wales, women accounted for 100% of those losing their jobs. Finally, there is the matter of harassment and sexual violence. If you dont believe that such things are part of many womens daily experience in this country, spend ten minutes at In the UK, one woman in four will be the victim of domestic violence. Two women a week are killed by a male partner or former partner. In the light of the governments austerity drive, cuts to funding for local authorities and independent organizations providing help to women seeking refuge from a violent partner have been dramatic: a third of local authority funding for domestic violence organizations was cut between 2010/11 and 2011/12. The latest figures suggest that approximately 85,000 women are raped in England and Wales every year. Female genital mutilation (FGM or genital cutting) and honour killings appear to be on the rise, although it is hard to access reliable information on how widely both are practiced in the UK. Worldwide, the World Health Organization estimates that 140 million girls and women across the globe are living with the consequences of FGM. Domestic violence, rape, FGM and honour killings are all about male control, though often women are complicit in their implementation. In the latter cases, we are easily accused of western feminist imperialism and, yet, lets not be talked out of our liberal humanity by misplaced rhetoric about cultural sensitivity, female choice and empowerment. There are some practices that override the right to assert cultural specificity; there are some values that we should champion above all others. The right to live without mutilation or fear of murder seems to me among them. We live in an age experiencing what Joan Smith has called a backlash against sexual equality of staggering viciousness. To be a feminist is, quite simply, to subscribe to the idea that women and men should be equal in economic, social, political and cultural terms, and that gender inequality and sexism should be eliminated in all its forms. Now is the time for anyone of intellectual conviction to be proud to bear the name.



To be a feminist is, quite simply, to subscribe to the idea that women and men should be equal in economic, social, political and cultural terms, and that gender inequality and sexism should be eliminated in all its forms
The second area relates to employment and public power. There may have been an Equal Pay Act since 1970 but, the Office of National Statistics records that, in 2011, figures for UK average median earnings indicated a 9.6% gender pay gap for full-time workers (the figure is much higher 14.9% - if one uses the average mean earnings, which are disproportionately affected by a small number of very highearning men). In 2011-12, there were 28,800 equal pay claims made at Employment Tribunal, with a success rate of a mere 1%. Women are, simply, not being paid equally to men for equal work. Until legislation forces employers to introduce transparency about pay scales, this will continue. This situation is exacerbated by the fact that two-thirds of lower paid workers are women, that unemployment figures for women have risen more than 60x faster those for men in the last four years (in March 2012, the ONS found the unemployment rate among women stood at 1.13m, up 20% since 2009, whilst male unemployment rose 0.32% in the same period), and that cuts to public sector funding

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Last year, when Right Reverend Mark Davies the Bishop of Shrewsbury used his Christmas sermon to attack same-sex marriage, likening it to Nazism, I postulated that, given the extensive endorsement of liberal and progressive principles in the Judeo-Christian Bible, perhaps he had never actually read it. When Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, announced less than a week after a Christmas sermon in which he called the governments same-sex marriage plans a shambles, that masses designed specifically for the gay community in Soho are to end, and Archbishop of York John Sentamu remarked that same-sex marriage is an unjustified change that would change the English language, I not only started the year of 2013 feeling less than hopeful for the governments plans for same-sex marriage, I started it believing that characters like Davis, Nichols, Sentamu and other members of the religious right were simply reading a different Bible to me. Although today we can look forward to a year of samesex marriage, I am still convinced that there must be an alternative Bible that I have yet to read. What it seems to me is that while one can if one searches extensively find verses depicting a very conservative view on certain issues, there is simply no way that I can find to read the Bible and not conclude that it is overwhelmingly supportive of treating others as you wish to be treated, showing mercy and offering help to the needy, and refraining from judging. Its full of all kinds of liberal and progressive values. One would have to omit huge sections of Exodus, Genesis and the Psalms to not read about bringing justice to the poor and oppressed; one would have to overlook the many poetic endorsements of equality, and mercy for the widow expressed in so many of the Psalms verses; one would have to neglect the entirety of the book of Prophets, with its anger towards the mistreatment of poor people and immigrants. Looking across the Atlantic, did the conservative Christian Arizonan Senators not read the Prophets before signing Senate Bill 1070, which allowed for the deportation, detention and prosecution of illegal aliens? Did they follow Gods word when they advocated the racial profiling of those for which there is suspicion that they are foreign? Because I think not. Additionally, its virtually impossible to ignore the multitude of New Testament verses endorsing liberal and humanitarian behavior. In no less than 24 verses of the Gospel, Jesus talks about mercy towards those facing difficulty; in 34 he tells us not to judge; he tells us of forgiveness and to love thine enemy in 53, and to treat others as they would like to be treated in 19. Roughly speaking, there are around 260 verses in which Archbishop Sentamu and Right Reverend Mark Daviess Bible speaks of progressive and liberal values, yet those in which it sounds like a conservative extremist? I couldnt find them. Despite its incredible popularity in historical times, Jesus never once condemned abortion. He never spoke against homosexuality, even though he lived through times when the Romans openly embraced it. He advocated for better treatment of the poor, not the condemning of adulteresses, and never once demanded that the Romans reduce their taxes or enforce different regulations on businesses. He did not confuse his status as a religious figure with that of a political figure, and neither should todays religious leaders. definition of heaven and hell, or hold any view whatsoever on theology; we all have a right to hold our own beliefs. All religions have their extreme absurdities that could be used to discredit them, but just because I currently dont conform to the belief system of any known religion doesnt mean that I have any objections to the faith of those who do. If you wish to believe in a God who doesnt care about the needy, discriminates against immigrants, supports homophobia, and encourages you to express selfish and narcissistic traits, its your decision. But when religious leaders, whether in the church or politics, claim to vehemently follow the sacred words of the Christian Bible when their political manifestos fundamentally oppose most of whats actually in there, I feel obligated to raise an objection. So when the Archbishop of Westminster criticized the government for supporting equality yet claimed to be following the theology of the Bible, I have to ask this: are we both reading the same book, or is he simply making this toxic garbage up, because his political views are directly opposed to the Bible he claims to be so frivolously following. I would go as far as saying that the excessive homophobic preachings of Right Reverend Mark Davies and many other conservative Christians worldwide are the exact opposite of what the Bible teaches, and they are becoming increasingly political and showing less and less compassion for the needy. I feel they are isolating the immigrants, the poor, and the neighbor who wishes to be treated equally. They are forcing judgment upon those in the community who need them the most and advocating a Darwinian selection process for success in life. Modern conservative Christians are standing in the way of equality because of selfishness. I would praise the person brave enough to quote their own scripture to them: You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brothers eye. Matthew 7:5. Lets cast aside prejudice, hatred, bigotry and party politics, and pay tribute to the diversity of our community by embracing the more liberal and progressive elements of the Christian Bible and by showing our support for the governments successful efforts to pass same-sex marriage. I therefore challenge you, whether you believe in the Bible or not, to strongly evaluate the validity of any argument using Gods word as the reason for obstructing equality.

Modern conservative Christians are standing in the way of equality because of selfishness
The American, anti-immigrant conservatives who claim to be acting out of their Christian faith must have forgotten to read Leviticus all together, and therefore completely missed the following, Dont mistreat any foreigners who live in your land. Instead treat them as well as you treat citizens and love them as much as you love yourself. Republican party representatives have to forget that Mary said of Jesus, The hungry he has filled with good things, the rich sent empty away, when they vote solely in favor of the 1%. Im not advocating communism here, Im simply pointing out the hypocrisy within the Christian, extreme right-wing GOP supporters in America. But people of Britain, this applies to you too: the same psyche is here among our own religious and political systems. The only time that Jesus talks about the specifics of judgment, he says, All the nations will be assembled before [God] and he will separate them one from another as the shepherds separates sheep from goats. Who enters heaven? The nations who fed the starving, embraced the foreigner, and treated their contemporaries with respect. I have not chosen isolated verses: there are hundreds of them in every book in the Bible. It doesnt matter whether you believe in God, hold a religious view, or abstain completely; whether you believe in a recognized

This is a story about power, and how it has come to have nothing whatsoever to do with politics or governments, and absolutely everything to do with money. It is a story about how everything you hate in the world banks, the financial crisis, unaccountable and outsourced private warfare, arms dealing, the onset of globalization all began at a game of poker played at number 44 Berkley Square, in 1963. The men who sat around the poker table would go on to change the world forever, shaping the societies of Britain and America in their own guise. Many of them are recognisable, infamous household names, but to understand them you need to understand the club where they played the game. The Clermont Club was founded in 1962 by a man called John Aspinall, an aspirational member of the middle class and who wanted nothing more than to recreate a long-absent era of aristocratic bohemianism. He believed that Britain had been made great by men, in particular those of decisive reckless action risk takers and he was determined that his club would be filled with them. The Clermont was a gambling club, notorious for the fast life, fast girls and rich men who frequented it, people of whom it was remarked, bred envy from their hedonism, unconventional hours, and the casual ease with which they made millions without ever completing a regular nine to five. These were men of violence, many of them recently retired from military service, descended from antique lines of fighters, cavalry men and swashbucklers. Aspinall once remarked that the ideal member of the Clermont would have been Sir Francis Drake, nautical thief and international relations disaster turned beau of the queen a quick glance at a portion of the clubs founding membership shows how close he got to that dream. The clubs book in 1962 included Colonel David Stirling, the founder of the Special Air Service and arguably the inventor of the combination of guerilla warfare and surgical strikes which have come to define Western special forces operations. He was a man of intense brilliance; as it was once remarked by Aspinall, Stirling was quiet but menacing and one often wondered how many throats he had slit. Other notable members were James Goldsmith, playboy, bully and ferocious gambler; the tycoon Tiny Rowland, the man who would go on to become the unacceptable face of capitalism; Jim Slater, the inventor of the hostile takeover and the man who would irreversibly restructure global economics; and, finally, a descendent of the leader of the Charge of the Light Brigade, hedonistic, nanny-murdering future escape artist, the infamous Lord Lucan. All five of these men would go on to shape the nature of the twentieth century and prove to all of us what we had always suspected that politicians are completely useless. When he joined the Clermont Club in 1962, Colonel David Stirling was angry. He had fought tirelessly throughout the Second World War with one aim in mind: to protect the glory of the British Empire. He had thought he had achieved his goal by winning the war, only to find that successive governments could barely wait to disband Britains imperial possessions. He hated this, and being a man of action he decided he was going to do something about it. He needed a new way to reassert Britains dominance on the world stage. In September 1962, Egyptian troops invaded the Yemen, backed by the Soviet Union. The West was terrified; President Nasser, and by extension the Russians, now threatened the Saudi oil fields on which Western capitalism depended. Conservative Cabinet Minister Julian Amery spoke in parliament on the subject in 1963, pointing out the danger to British industry in the loss of access to oil in the Persian Gulf. Amery was Stirlings close friend and they determined to do something about it. They met the Foreign Secretary, Sir Alec Douglas Hume, at Whites Club for lunch, over the course of which Stirling put forward an idea that has come to revolutionise modern warfare. Stirling proposed the creation of a private militia made up of his retired SAS friends who would sell their services to the Saudis and help them fend off Nassers armies. In scenes typical of the paternalism of the time, the government immediately agreed. And so it was that three noblemen invented the new face of British defence policy over lunch in Mayfair, in 1963. As Major Bernard Mill, the ex-SAS commander of the Yemeni Operation remarked later, one felt that we could create countries in a better image if they were tied to Britain Stirlings idea was admittedly brilliant: he had come up with a way to reassert Britains military dignity, protect Western capitalism from the Soviets (without making his government accountable), and he got the Saudis to pay for it all. It was a new form of private enterprise crossed with foreign policy for free and continues to be used in conflicts the world over to this day. But at the time the idea was on shaky ground.

In 1964, Labour were elected, and that threatened everything. The Conservatives had been in power for over ten years and Labours tax and spend policies came as a nasty surprise to the currency markets, which reacted in typically exaggerated style and moved as much money as they could out of Britain. Their reaction was so acute that the government introduced drastic spending cuts, particularly in the defense budget. The Defence Secretary, Dennis Healey, decided Britains military attitude had to change: we cannot go on being a policeman for the whole world on our own forever. He felt the defence industry should make money, not cost it, and the man he asked to achieve this goal was Colonel David Stirling.

In 1969, the Conservatives were looking gleefully ahead to another five years in power. They knew they had won the election for the simple reason that they were presiding over an economic boom that had lasted over ten years. But this was easy, because they had control. With their close personal friends, the Captains of Industry, the government was able to predict, steer and engineer the economy with no nasty side effects like inflation or unemployment. But they had forgotten one thing, the stock exchange. Ten years of economic growth inevitably produced an accidental boom in the stock markets and one of the few who were attracted to this new force was a young accountant for the Leyland Motor Company, Jim Slater. Slater began a portfolio and discovered his almost messianic talent for playing with stocks. He spoke to his friend Nigel Lawson, the editor of the Daily Telegraph, and secured a regular financial column written under the pseudonym The Capitalist which became the stock brokers bible in the period he was writing it, and largely due to the advice he put forward, the stock exchange grew by 3.6% and his own portfolio by 69%. In other words he was damn good. But in his success he discovered something nobody had noticed before, something that would have great implications for the world economy. It was a terrible secret about the Captains of Industry Slater discovered that they didnt actually, legally, own their companies; they were in fact owned by the shareholders. One of the Captains was a man called Colonel Coote, the latest in a long line of Cootes who had founded the Cork Company which had, shockingly, been producing corks for over seventy years. Slater approached the Colonel to show him that the Coote family were no longer majority shareholders and put in a takeover bid, but the Colonel refused. So Slater made economic history and initiated the first hostile takeover in Britain in living memory he went behind the Colonels back and bought the Cork Company for a massively inflated price. The City saw this as a vulgar and ungentlemanly act to be reviled as brazenly cruel, but none of that mattered because there was nothing they could do about it. Slater had to pay for the takeover, and to do so he borrowed a vast amount of money that was accumulating interest, fast. To pay it off he began to sell any asset belonging to the Cork Company that wasnt absolutely necessary. He had invented a formula he would go on to use again and again: borrow the cash to buy the shares, then sell off the assets to pay off the interest and finance the next acquisition. It was simple, quick and, most importantly, it made anyone who did it staggeringly rich. Slater had single-handedly slapped British business awake from the comfortable paternalist dreamland of the 1950s and John Aspinall noticed. Slater had been identified as a risk-taker and Aspinall invited him to join the Clermont Club where one other member stood out in his heady mix of high business acumen and crushing ruthlessness, James Goldsmith. Christopher Fildes, a financial journalist and economist since 1963, tells a story about James Goldsmith: he was a turbulent schoolboy, constantly at odds with his Housemaster, and when it was time for him to leave school, he entered his Housemasters study claiming to have bought the man a present as he did not wish to leave the house on bad terms. It was the complete Marriage of Figaro on several vinyl disks placed in a box. The Housemaster clearly melted at this, but as he approached with hands outstretched Goldsmith dropped the box and watched its contents smash to pieces on the floor, leaving the room, and the school, without another word. A ruthless combatant and a formidable enemy. The establishment looked at the Clermont Set with violent distrust; they saw them as dangerous gamblers intent on circumventing all the rules of British society. At the time, the journalist Paul Johnson wrote of them: they are squirming social scum typical of the rottenness which is poisoning British society. But to one group they were heroes, the middle classes, because they had shown them how people with very little capital of their own could take on the gargantuan Captains of Industry and win, humiliating their foes in the process. Jim Slater became so powerful in the stock market that, as financial journalist of the 1960s Brian Basham put it, he knew if he bought a share it would go up, and thats a pretty good way of printing money. But this was all a dream, and it would take the politicians to prove it.

Stirling went to meet with an old friend of his, King Faisal of Saudi Arabia. Healeys defence policies had left the Saudis out in the cold, as stringent cuts had included removing British troops from the country. Stirling proposed an evolution of his idea concerning the Yemeni Operation; the British government would sell the Saudis enough of its latest fighter jet, the Lightning, to make up an air force which would then be run privately by Stirlings ex SAS militia. Once again, Stirling had shown his genius for foreign policy, Saudi Arabia would be protected, and Britain would retain its influence in the Middle East Healy loved it. There was only one problem: the Americans had exactly the same idea.

The Saudis came up with an ultimatum that would have sinister implications for government in years to come. Either Britain or America had to bribe Faisals entourage to secure the deal. Both admitted doing so but it was Britain who ended up on top, and in December 1965, the Saudis agreed to buy the planes. It was the biggest arms deal in the history of Britain and a raucous success for Stirling, who had not only made himself incredibly rich, but moved one step closer to reasserting the glory of Her Majesty on the world stage. Stirlings militia became Watchguard International, the worlds first private security company which saw resounding success in the late 1960s and early 1970s, protecting and advising African governments on military operations. All seemed well, but in 1973, Stirling suffered a near-fatal car crash and was forced to retire to his ancestral castle in Scotland.

The world began to change in his absence, cut off as he was from foreign affairs in the Highland wilderness. The Arab-Israeli conflict broke out, fuelling fury and distrust in the Middle East concerning Americas support for Israel. King Faisal, the worlds largest supplier of oil, restricted supply to drive up the price and cripple the American economy making many of his countrymen obscenely rich in the process. And so it was with bemusement that, when he returned to the clubs of Mayfair in 1974, Colonel Stirling found them full of foreigners, wealthy oil barons from the Middle East, all desperate to squander their money as lavishly as they could. Stirling noticed a problem with this: he saw that there was a quietly seething rage growing between the disaffected lower classes , ravaged by high oil prices, constant strikes and union action, and the increasingly opulent upper classes profiting with the Arabs, seemingly at the expense of the poor.

Stirling was sure that revolution was afoot and he did not like that. It was not that he wished to impose his extremely right-wing views on the public, but that he viewed all forms of direct action striking, trade unions and revolution as undemocratic and that they should, therefore, be stopped . In 1975 he trawled the Mayfair clubs for recruits, all exmilitary men, most of them his friends from the SAS. They formed Great Britain 75, a group with a simple purpose: should an undemocratic event take place that threatened the future of the country, as they saw it, they would take over the government by force. The group was bankrolled by another charismatic member of the Clermont Club, James Goldsmith, who had become one of the most successful and revolutionary businessmen in the world. He had succeeded on the back of his friend from the Clermont, Jim Slater and Jim Slater had allowed him to do it by changing Britain, and the world, irrevocably.

In the 1950s Britain had been controlled by a small group of men called the Captains of Industry, incredibly powerful business leaders who owned the vast manufacturing firms that supported Britains domestic economy. But within fifteen years their power was destroyed, never to return, all thanks to a suburban accountant called Jim Slater. He managed this by awakening a beast that had lain dormant since before the war: the stock exchange.

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Its just a marketing gimmick; take no heed, call them what you will. If you feel childish telling your intellectual counterparts that you are reading a comic then call it a graphic novel, (and perhaps take some time to attend to your self-esteem issues). A crap graphic novel or a crap comic: the name will neither change the nature nor the content of the medium which we shall all come to love. The aim of this article is to convert at least one person to the marvellous world of comics. If there is one writer worthy of the job it is the big-bad-dog, glowering and penetrating hauntingly into your mind, the man that you see below Alan Moore (Mr Moore to the likes of you). He makes Cerberus seem like a pussy (cat). Alan Moore truly is a hero worthy of idolatry a giant (metaphorically) of storytelling and an intellectual power-house, looming over the likes of the modern emblme de clbrit; the likes of Justin Beiber and Kerry Kardashian Katona ad nausea. Forget the gossip, the dead-eyed leaked sex-tapes and the various other shockingly mundane stories that are incessantly drip-fed into the media, who in turn sieve through the fodder amassed by publicists and their unsuspecting label-clad tools of revenue; why not read a comic instead?! Self-proclaimed wizard (we shall get to that later, if I am allowed), with a penchant for Satanism (dont ask me how that works), Moore is the genius behind such comics (or graphic novels) as V for Vendetta, Swamp Thing, The Lost Girls, Watchmen, Batman: The Killing Joke, From Hell, The League of Extraordinary Gentleman, and many more. I sincerely believe that if we could get our modern day Prospero (Moore), Tom Waits, Nick Cave and Leslie Nielson all genetically conglomerated and fused into one single being, the world would be a far more remarkable (and slightly more hazardous) place; we would have some damn fine entertainment. I am sure everyone has seen the film V for Vendetta, a good watch admittedly (not a feat worthy of a whole heap of approbation considering the wonderful story being distilled due to omissions), but when compared to the craftsmanship and finesse of the comic the film becomes rendered immeasurably overshadowed. It is inadequate to the task of representing the comic in all its glory. I would challenge the stipulation that it was due to bad casting or directing that the film does not do the comic justice; it just happens to be a work of art that, separated from its originally intended medium, begins to lack certain features that made it great in the first place. Moore has accordingly, and admirably, denied any affiliations or support for any films based on his works, including From Hell, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Watchmen and V for Vendetta, the work I wish to allure you to in this article. Thatchers government was compelled to consider. This consideration was based around the theory of eugenics; initiated as a result of the AIDS epidemic that was so prevalent during the 1980s. The idea of resettling certain minorities selected by sexual preference or race is unsettlingly akin to the ideologies entertained by the Nazis and other fascist movements. The tragic message woven between the words and images of this comic is haunting. It makes one think of the precipitous ground upon which our society stands, and how the slightest fracture, the single occurrence of almost infinite possibilities, can bring the apparent order of a society crumbling to its knees, and ultimately back to a Darwinian free-for-all. The theme embodied by V for Vendetta, that of rebellion under a tyrannical government, is unmistakable, and is reinforced by the Guy Fawkes mask worn by the revolutionary protagonist V. Intimations to this theme run throughout the story as it mirrors the historical gunpowder plot, another historical event that, were it not a failure, raises many intriguing questions. The unmistakably intimidating and trademark architecture of Londons ruling oppressors are targeted by V. The buildings are dubbed The Ears (for surveillance), The Mouth (for propaganda) all paying homage to Orwells 1984 Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Truth. The slogan that FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH is ever apparent to the reader as an adage blindly adopted by the oppressed populace. This book affords the reader with some wonderful ethical, political and sociological brain-food. It encourages, if not forces, one to consider the fickle nature of politics and humanity as a whole, and just how easily one single event (the vagueness of just what this event is in the comic further reinforces this idea) can turn a seemingly functioning and democratically run country into a land exacted under the thumb of a faceless autocracy (or maybe scientologists) when forced into a corner of fear and confusion. Vs intricately devised plans intend to free England from the hook of the tyrannical governance, structured as some sort of grand event that climaxes once V has harvested the fruits of his labours; the destruction of his creators and the social change illuminated by fireworks emanating from the now-perverted Houses of Parliament. Tchaikovskys 1812 Overture bellows from the street-speakers that had, up until then, served only to announce official government news. The pyromania-enthused rebellion affected by V indicates that he is a product of the governments doing. The largest irony lies in the fact that what they worked to produce, under the guise of scientific enquiry, shall, in turn, orchestrate their downfall. The musical scores complementing the action, and the many references to artists, poets, philosophers and musicians (all banned by the government) that V holds in rightful adulation, harmonises the revolutionary action taking place in opposition to his oppressors to create a queer and remarkable reading experience; an experience unique to the comic book medium and one that reminds us of what is of value in this life. It pains me down to the marrow of my bones to think that an author like Jodi Picoult has a wider readership and greater critical acclaim (though arguably one would prefer a single gleaming review from the likes of Patrick Stewart over a What Book to Read this Year article suggested in The Daily Star) than the literary Wizard Moore.



V for Vendetta is set in a future (or what would have been

future in the 80s) dystopian London, amidst a woeful depiction of England that is crumbling helplessly under the tyranny of the leading political party. This far-right government rose to power standing as a might is right saviour in the wake of some form of worldwide disaster (a plague, perhaps), and amidst that chaos they offered to re-instate an order in the wake of the vague disasters fallout. England stands alone as an island free, conveniently for the ruling party, from the apparently malevolent and contagious (biologically, culturally, economically?) influence of the rest of the world. There is an unmistakably Orwellian feeling to the comic, which is complimented by the absolutely fantastic artwork by (mostly) David Lloyd, depicting scenes of squalid alleys and surveillance paraphernalia as common as the street lamp. As a further wink to the Orwellian theme John Hurt, who played the chief protagonist Winston Smith in the film version 1984, ironically plays the principal of the party in the film adaptation of V for Vendetta; the victim is now the maliciously draconian leader of the ochlocracy. Moore writes in his introduction that he was inspired by the ruling Thatcherite government and the radical measures that were being entertained under Margaret Thatchers rule. The Larkhill Resettlement Camp featured in the comic was intended as a testimonial to the grotesquely familiar alleged plans that

Alan Moore

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Jess Dunn, Olivia Gillman and Paul Lichtenstern
In Defence of the Risk Takers Paul Lichtenstern
The London theatre scene has no appetite for ambition. It scorns the rule-breakers, peering down at them from its high horse of tradition, and munches instead on the stale, uninteresting meat that is theatre of the line-toeing and safetyloving. A box office hit, it seems to me, must tick the conventional boxes. This is a shame, for I love watching ambitious productions. I think that if a show has nothing new to say then theres probably no point in saying it, and that an important story averagely told trumps a perfectly produced performance of little import. I was shocked by antagonistic responses to recent productions of Shakespeares Much Ado About Nothing and Marlowes Edward II, and frustrated by an apparent unwillingness among audiences and critics alike to sacrifice aesthetic perfection for true creative discovery. During my gap year I was lucky enough to sit through rehearsals of Much Ado About Nothing at The Old Vic theatre, directed by Mark Rylance. It was an entirely unconventional production. For a start, Rylance cast Vanessa Redgrave and James Earl-Jones (with a combined age of 158) as young lovers Beatrice and Benedick , and set the action not in sixteenthcentury Messina, but at an English Country Estate in 1944. More interesting still was the process, as Rylance focused predominantly on helping the actors develop an understanding of the characters and the text, and not at all on blocking the structure of each scene. Indeed he maintained that no two performances should ever be the same, and that all the actors should move and intonate every line differently each night.

Much Ado received almost exclusively one and two star

reviews. Most nights some audience members walked out. It was a box office failure. Why? Because The Old Vic has a reputation for producing traditional plays in a traditional style, and of Shakespeare at The Old Vic audience members have very particular expectations. They were angered by the ageinappropriate casting, the unusual setting, and the fact that (due to the spontaneity of the actors interactions) some scenes would be almost inaudible, performed upstage with the actors backs to the audience. Rylance broke conventions with Much Ado and, as such, some customary elements of good theatre were missing. To me this is an entirely forgivable element of unique creations. When I watched Much Ado I saw a homage to two great actors, given the opportunity to perform Shakespeare at The Old Vic at the end of their careers. When I watched Much Ado I saw a revolutionary approach to acting, culminating in moments of exquisite naturalism. When I watched Much Ado I saw a show about process instead of performance, about a group of actors embracing a beautiful text, and sharing their experience with an audience. Not performing to or at or for an audience, but performing with them. For introducing such an innovative performance style, in spite of the productions shortcomings, I had much admiration for Much Ado. The NCH Cultural Events Forum (an online platform for the NCH community to share cultural reviews) featured at least one criticism of Much Ado, but it was the National Theatre production of Marlowes Edward II that inspired more debate. Joe Hill-Gibbins concept-heavy production mixed

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Elizabethan with modern day costumes, sat an electric keyboard centre stage, utilised live video projections of the action throughout, and cast a middle-aged woman as the young Edward III. Four of countless interesting decisions, whilst also four of countless reasons the show was scorned by critics and NCH students alike. I find our reaction to Edward II even more worrying than that towards Much Ado. I accept the latter was, at times, flawed, but admire it for its ambitious intentions nonetheless. The former, however, was a stunning production, criticised because of not in spite of its ambitious and unconventional side. It was visually spectacular, contained moments of beautifully quiet truth and explosively loud violence, and had a strong cast that told a great story: significantly, none of the additional elements detracted from the clarity of the text. But it was undeniably different, and for that we disliked it: the London theatre scene has no appetite for ambition. What about the mainstream theatres that are thought to favour ambitious productions? The Young Vic is often put forward as the citys most innovative and youthful venue, and it certainly does occasionally produce some ground-breaking shows. David Greigs The Events is a stunning example: the show placed a different local choir on stage each night to confront a performance of an Anders Breivik-style high school shooting massacre, whilst exploring how music can be used to overcome grief. It was both original and mesmerising. Such productions, however, are few and far between. The Young Vics biggest recent success, Hattie Morahans portrayal of Nora in A Dolls House, was an aesthetically exquisite version of a great play that categorically failed to capture the urgent relevance of Ibsens story for contemporary society. It portrayed Noras fight for independence as thoroughly historical, and the audience enjoyed laughing at the ridiculously overplayed manner in which she is objectified by her husband, Torvald, from the safety of their distanced auditorium. The National Theatre do occasionally produce artistically or politically ambitious shows such as Edward II (this should be on the increase with the appointment of new Artistic Director Rufus Norris), but the most challenging pieces are performed in The Shed, The Nationals pop-up venue external from the main building, and are hence not proper NT productions, but little, unimportant experiments physically detached and thus easily detachable if anything goes wrong. Whats more, the two biggest NT hits in recent years War Horse and One Man Two Guvnors rank among the theatres most mundane productions.

Even at The Royal Court, a venue that still consistently boasts ambitious work, there lies a line that cannot be crossed: consider the scornful reaction to the genius that was the arrival of a spaceship, complete with seven-foot, one-eyed aliens, in the final five minutes of Bruce Norris eighteenth-century morality tale The Low Road. The Court has an unfortunate air of self-congratulatory ambition; only occasionally does it do something truly unexpected, and here, like in The Low Road, it is often condemned. Where truly ambitious aspirations remain, financial support is both imperative and lacking. The Tricycle in Kilburn, one of the most consistently provocative venues, has suffered drastic cuts to its Arts Council funding. Artistic Director Nicholas Kent retired last year in protest, after spearheading the theatres programming for twenty-eight years. No surprise that one of Nicholas first jobs after leaving The Tricycle was as Associate Producer on Rylances Much Ado. And there is more on the unpaid fringe: for example Swivel Theatre Company, last seen with a show about female circumcision in modern day Cairo, next month perform Waiting for Summer, a truly revolutionary collection of stories from women in the Arab Spring. And this is what the London mainstream must learn to embrace. When a politically urgent or artistically adventurous show surfaces it needs funding, coverage and support. It needs a transfer to a big venue, reviews in national papers. Let us not sideline the radical. Let us not restrict ambitious theatre to ambitious audiences, but push this most exciting of genres to the forefront of London theatre. Let the Christmas blockbusters be Much Ado and Edward II, not Fortunes Fool and The Light Princess. In the last edition of Anchor, Rory Keddie suggested that the world of Modern Art might be immune to shock. I agree. But its also, thankfully, a world that embraces shock. Unlike theatre it has no line in the sand (or barbed wire fence) which cannot be crossed; it strives to be shocked, and it admires that which is progressive and challenging. An argument in favour of the unconventional is itself unconventional, and therefore unappealing to those who appreciate convention. But I implore you: humour me. Go and see something truly ambitious. Go and see a show that attempts to do or say something new and different, to tell a story upside-down, to create and redefine art simultaneously. For one night only forget the rules. Get down from your high horse and embrace the alternative. Trust me, it can be magical.

Go and see a show that attempts to do or say something new and different, to tell a story upside-down, to create and redefine art simultaneously

An ambitious set: Edward II at the National Theatre, Olivier

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The Buckling Plaster of The Apollo: Allegorical for the Dangers of the Superficial and the Artificial?

I look down at a ticket Im holding to a show tonight: Nimax Theatres, it says. I pause before entering The Vaudeville on The Strand. My body tenses as I recall the stories my friend had just told me, about standing on Shaftesbury Avenue outside the The Curious Incident of The Dog In The Nighttime last week. A young boy, crying for his mother, had come running out in front of her, blood pouring down his head. Before events became clear many were convinced a bomb had hit. In fact, a West End interior architecture, housing a National Theatre transfer, had just collapsed. To allow for diminishing budgets smaller details, such as health and safety, are often overlooked in the arts world, leading to situations where poor, unstructured or misguided governance becomes unsustainable and leads to collapse. I was once ordered by a theatre boss to place cakes that looked appetising, but had been stored in a warm cupboard (our staff room), onto a display plate for sale to the general public in the foyer bar. A government official noticed the cuisine in a surprise check, only later that day. In this vein the buckling of The Apollos plaster dome can be seen as an allegory for the fragilities and imperfections that often exist just underneath glossy theatrical surfaces, especially in the performance and media industries, where beauty can be superficial, temporary, and unsustainable. Just to be clear, I think the glossiness of theatre, when devoid of corruption, is an important and dazzling entity: the presentation of stories sitting at its core. In Saving Mr Banks Walt Disney says: thats what storytellers do they restore order with imagination. Theatre is a sort of visual ordering of stories in three-dimensional form: encompassing both presentations of, manipulations of, and alternatives to, the truth. However, in this article I am discussing the darker side of theatres glossiness: examining the artificiality, corruption, and difficulties that can boil beneath its magical surface. I am considering a theatre industry where a Royal Court show can be on the cusp of selling out, only to lose its leading actor as with actor Paul Bhattacharjee in June 2013 to a bankruptcy related suicide. This, so his wife puts forward, might have been closely related to the instability of the industry. But I am also considering theatre in the more base sense of social artificiality and the lie, examining the collapses these forces can create in trust and relationships. This echoes F. Scott Fitzgeralds Gatsby. He, in the heart of the grand American Jazz Age, forged a theatrical, dishonest gloss to present his entire being to a community before collapsing with a shot wound.

addiction had operated just beneath the surface of their glossy images before finally becoming impossible to conceal at the moment of their collapses. Both females beauty as young women satisfies viewers of their images well into the 21st century. Though we might see them less like sweet caricatures of angelic perfection and more like humans to be empathised with if we knew their full story. This empathy, when in existence, seems to arise from the greater public through a sympathy for each woman in death. Nigella Lawson is currently villainised in the press for her drug taking, yet if she died tomorrow she'd become an icon. These women are trapped within the theatre of the media, their collapses analysed by a field which itself operates based on content often far from the truth. From another angle, it is sometimes a criticism of performers that they remain in character in social situations, building thick theatrical glosses to efficiently mask fragilities, imperfections and insecurities. By performers, I dont just refer to theatrical professionals, but anyone required to make performances in a role required of them: from conmen, to doctors who need to disclose news of terminal illness, to television presenters required to remain composed, coherent and aesthetically appealing on camera. Theatrical gloss, therefore, ranges from being useful to abhorrent in its deployment. I used to date a man who was a compulsive liar. Henry (for the sake of this article) had calm composure, Bambi-like eyes and a reassuring smile. He would cushion reality in a package of fantasy, going as far as to spin a reason for a graze on his forehead as him having been hit by a car. The graze, he later admitted, had been due to someone else hitting him on the head with a milk bottle for lying to them. This explained its small circumference. Getting his own milk bottle out to punish a corrupted theatrical gloss, in June 2013 Russell Brand infamously challenged presenters of Americas Morning Joe in an interview. Mia Brzezinski and her co-presenters address him in the third person, as though an object. He outlines, in return, how rude they are being before taking over the programme and casting himself as presenter. The manner he adopts parodies the superficialities of his environment. Prior to this moment the presenters shoehorn in a plug for the show Kinky Boots based on the fact Brand was wearing boots, enforcing him, against his will, to be a bearer of product placement. What is most surreal about their interaction is the way the three Mia as their leader act like they are in an exclusive club, segregating themselves, inexplicably, from Russell with a faked air of superiority. This kind of theatrical gloss is typical of the atmosphere exhibited by cliques that prey upon the insecurities of individual members. Socially group leaders like Mia nourish their inferiors by giving the security of artificial group mentality, where, as though brain-washed, no one understands the superior feeling they are inhabiting enough to understand, or communicate, from it with comfortable ease. Russell saw straight through Morning Joes theatrical gloss and instigated its collapse to humourous effect, whilst illuminating to an international audience its ridiculousness with a relaxed demeanour. This forged a new kind of iridescent theatricality that bettered the falsity of the show because Russell had scratched away botox-ed skin to unveil a sense of humanity. We, as consumers of the theatrical, should be aware that glosses, falsities and flaws exist on and in everything from people to buildings to television shows. Just as The Apollos customers may have been better with helmets, so through our analysis of others and situations should we always be prepared to question what is presented to us. Just as The Apollos customers would have looked idiotic with helmets on, so should we be prepared to criticise our external world subtly for self-protection, so that we might use this understanding to champion sustainable environments through a reassuring, and peaceful, awareness of truth. As in James Joyces conclusion to his essay Drama and Life, I drop the curtain here (or something clichd like that) with an Ibsen quotation: What will you do in our society, Miss Hessel? asked Rorlund. I will let in the fresh air, Pastor, answered Lona.

Olivia Gillman

Park Avenue Cat, or as (I believe) Paul OGrady tweeted, Park

Avenue Twat, is a prime example of why a play, for all its aesthetic in production, needs a sound structural foundation captivating and coherent plot, words and packaging to sustain an audiences attention. I worked on the productions West End debut in 2011, witnessing nightly its glossy aesthetic, consisting of a set with the initial appearance of a Sex and The City film studio... until you got to the scene where the revolving bed would regularly collapse. Delivering the story of farcically unsuccessful marriage counselling, the texts glossy aesthetic consisted of a series of jokes that were designed for a Vogue reading young female audience. But they just fell flat. Bombed. Every night. The only distinguished laugh that would ever cry out, exaggerated, vibrating the strands of red velvet on The Arts Theatres three hundred seats, was that of Frank: the playwright. Afterwards he was to be found in the bar, asking the bemused audience of twenty, with a beaming pearly white smile, why theyd loved the show. Many looked as though they wished The Arts Theatre had just imploded around them midperformance if only as a get-out method. He inspired an artificial uneasiness, as though normality was on the edge of collapse, wherever he went. His play had done the same. Yet noticing that this artificiality existed allowed those leaving the building, with wry smiles, to find the situation blissfully amusing. Marilyn Monroe's death, though a contentious topic, was a suspected suicide; ruled to be acute barbiturate poisoning. She was only 36. On the day Judy Garland died, aged 47 (June 22nd, 1969), The New York Times wrote how Miss Garland's personal life often seemed a fruitless search for the happiness promised in Over the Rainbow.In the case of both icons, drug

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In my opinion, these are some of the most beautiful words in all of Shakespeares works. They show him at his most poetic and ingenious, when talking about the act of creation. However, they are just words on a page. Henry V has always been one of my favourite plays, for the elegance and grace of the language. What I had never fully appreciated, before seeing it at the Noel Coward Theatre this December, was the brutality and reality of war that the play also exposes. What baffles me about the study of dramatic texts is the almost exclusive focus on the written word. Unlike poetry, prose, or nonfiction writing, with drama the words on the page are only half of the work of art itself. A play is not a thing to be read, with the possible exception of later, more literary-minded playwrights like Beckett. I appreciate that a deeper understanding of what you see before you can only come from reading, studying and analysing the script, but to have one without the other is to misunderstand the nature of the art itself. Ashley Zhangazha, whose performance of the memorable prologue was electrifying in its simplicity and conversational tone, played the Chorus throughout the play. The message to the audience to use their imagination to construct the epic scale of the events the actors were about to present was reinforced by his costume. He wore a white Union Jack print t-shirt and jeans, and had a rucksack on his back. Every other character in the play was wearing what might be thought of as historically accurate clothing. What upset me was that Mr Zhangazha also played Boy and was therefore present in almost every scene in the play, with his little rucksack on his back, looking like a tourist. Whilst Im definitely not averse to anachronism in a production of Shakespeare, especially as the concept of historical accuracy in Shakespeares plays is anachronistic in itself, I do like consistency, unless there is a very good reason for it. The brutality of the war scenes, which was made so apparent by the combination of the powerful text and wonderful acting, especially by Jude Law, who played Henry V, was slightly softened for me, as I was acutely aware of the distance between myself, and my own understanding of war, and the reality for the characters on the stage. The balance between the imagination asked of the audience and the verisimilitude that a truly stirring performance of Henry V requires was not always present. This somewhat facile reaction was only possible because I was seeing the play in front of my eyes. Every failure and triumph of the performance only added to my appreciation of it. It was this performance that deepened my admiration for the play, and what it is trying to achieve. As Jude Law ran onto the stage, covered in dirt, followed by an exhausted and disenchanted group of soldiers, the lines: Once more unto the breach dear friends had never held so much meaning. It wasnt noble or grand, it was required. It was required to take a group of men, almost at the end of their strength, to almost certain death. This is something that no close reading could have prepared me for. Imagine that an artist created a blueprint for a painting, and that a gallery took this, gathered some other talented artists and invited people to come and watch them create a large canvas painting, based on these guidelines, over the course of three hours. Each artist would necessarily bring their own style to the work, whilst blending in with the other artists to create a coherent piece. A story, including elements of the blueprint, and of the artists own styles and interpretations, would gradually form on the canvas. Imagine that every night the gallery burnt this painting, and that a new one had to be made each day for the duration of the exhibition. It would be perfectly reasonable to discuss and analyse the blueprint for that work of art, as it would be the only physical object that remained at the end of the exhibition. In fact, it would be foolish and ignorant not to credit the blueprint with its due significance. After all, without it, nothing could have been created. However, if we

wondered what was missing from a study of just that blueprint, we might necessarily come to the fact that the gallery visitors, the gallery itself, and the artists were unable to be present in our studies. We were missing the moment of creation. No record remains of the canvasses created by the collaboration between blueprint and interpretation; they are ashes in a bin somewhere. It lives on only in the memories of the people who went to the exhibition. Surely this is what is unique about theatre, that which belongs to theatre and live performance which no other art form can claim to have: the act of creation, by people, for other people. Not a finished product, by no means a perfect product, but something alive. In theatre, even a bad performance makes a character whole. That is, takes a character from a two-dimensional 17th century script to a three-dimensional living, breathing, walking, and talking character. A good or even great performance will make the character whole in a different way. They will become a person, the person of Henry V changing from a prince with no responsibility to a king who must manage a kingdom and a war, and have the blood of many men on his hands. It is a very different experience from reading about that same person in a text. The actor may not have interpreted the character in the way that you envisioned it in your head, but that is not the point, and, hopefully, this wont matter. A theatrical performance is ephemeral by nature. It can only exist once in that exact form, so how can it be studied? Should it be studied? The focus of any discourse about a play must concentrate on fully understanding the play in performance. Henry V is at Noel Coward Theatre, booking until 15 February 2014.

Henry V: Why studying plays is only half the work of art

Jess Dunn

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The question of free will is one which has plagued many great minds over the course of human history.
It can be seen almost as a time bomb, waiting to explode, ensconced within our minds. The debate in its regard involves a stand-off, so to speak, between ones intuitive belief concerning ones capacity for free will, and the unassailable fact of determinism: every event has a cause. Many have explored a plethora of different avenues in desperate attempts to solve the stubborn problem of metaphysical freedom. The problems lie within the fact that our bodies clearly belong to a physical sphere of discourse. It is very hard to imagine such a physical sphere to not be dominated by deterministic values. Modern science has shown us the full extent of the influence that cause and effect has on physical entities. One can look at compatibilist views to try to understand how free will could live alongside determinism, or one could argue that determinism is false. Either way, I am of the belief that both of these avenues cease to provide any substantial answers. They all lead to an entanglement of

different agreements and disagreements. Upon studying this subject at great length, I became very concerned with the fact that I could not find anything but fault in the theories that granted humanity the ability to have free will. This realisation left me in a lonely place, isolated from the bondage of morality and rationality; surely without free will, both of those concepts cease to hold any significance. I became drowned in a hedonistic pit of desire, ignoring any need to cater for the feelings of others. Unadulterated hedonism emanated out of my every action and thought. My despair subsided when I fortunately attended to my need for a greater understanding of early German idealism. Johan Gottlieb Fichte intuitively found a Kantian view of the noumenal world distasteful; this noumenal world is said to harbour entities which exist outside of our minds capabilities. Fichte, and indeed Hegel, rejected this suggestion of things within themselves and contested that what the mind cannot constitute does not exist. Note that cannot is used instead of does not. Fichte is referring to something which is permanently outside of ones mental capabilities. To this day, I still remember where I was when I first read the above statement: I was lying under a tree on Turnham Green waiting for a source of pleasure to emerge into my perception. I read the sentence what the mind cannot constitute does not exist over and over again. Something happened within me in that moment and I

have never been able to reverse that event. That sentence continued to reverberate around my consciousness that whole evening, and I eventually found myself immersed in a horrible solipsistic loneliness. I was lead into a belief that, if the aforementioned statement were true, then surely the only reality that existed was my own. Other entities that inhabit the world I inhabit only seem to exist when I perceive them. In hindsight, what happened within me that day under the tree was the realisation that I could have no true knowledge of anything outside of my mental constitution. This unfortunately led me to accept that only my own reality was a fundamentally true reality. The silver lining of this abhorrent realisation is that, based on Fichtes statement, I found a possible solution to the on-going problem of free will. I named my theory Intellectus Possibilus. It is best described with the following thought experiment. Say that there is a being named Frank Whittle. Frank is lying on a chaise longue and enjoying a cigarette. Some light Blues music, Flat tire by Albert King to be exact, is whispering in the background as the rays of light shine through into his vision. In front of him is a bottle of water on a large black leather ottoman. He reaches over, picks it up, and moves it slightly to one side. This action could be seen by an outsider to be completely random, however to Frank it was merely a satisfaction of his aesthetically driven desire to place the bottle of water symmetrically on the

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ottoman, as opposed to its previously vulgar asymmetrical placement. This thought experiment requires one to make the following two assumptions; in the world that Frank Whittle resides within, determinism is true: every action a human being makes, every will and thought that he has is completely traceable back to a specific cause; there is a complete abundance of a traditional view of free will. The second assumption is that in this world, what a mind cannot constitute does not exist; absolutely nothing can exist independently of the minds capability. Now, before I return to my thought experiment, it is necessary to explain another one created by Pierre Laplace. In this experiment there exists a person who is said to be able to possess absolute knowledge of all particles in the world at any given time. Laplace here is suggesting that such a being would be able to tell the future due to an allencompassing knowledge of the world. He is referred to as Laplaces demon. Frank had no choice in the matter of whether he was going to move the bottle of water. In this fictional world, that event was completely caused. Frank could not have done otherwise. Frank also could not have wanted to do otherwise. Both Franks will and action could not have been different. Frank could never have absolute knowledge of how his set of beliefs would e/affect (can we find out which one he means here, please)his actions.

However strong the hold that determinism has on Franks world, Frank surely could never be said to have any knowledge whatsoever of the deterministic chain that controls his life. The inevitable result of the sufficient ground act of his will could never be apparent to him, before it was materialised into an action. One could go further and state that he would never be capable of having such knowledge and thus the chain of causality that commands his wills and actions is rendered non existent; this chain exists outside of Franks mental capability. Even if one were to imagine a world in which normal beings could constitute such knowledge regarding the laws of determination, surely this would leave them with the ability to change the course of the future, very much like Laplaces demon. If they could understand the deterministic sphere of discourse they were ensconced within, they could, in theory, affect the effects; if Frank were capable of knowing how his set of beliefs would affect his actions he could alter them, and thus create the possibility of a different outcome. If one were to redefine a free action as one in which the agent believes to have committed freely, and a free will as a will which one believes could have been otherwise, then regardless of any infestation of causality within Frank Whittles world, he freely moves the bottle of water and he freely desires to do so. The underlying fact that he doesnt have a choice in whether he moves the bottle or not is irrelevant in this case because this fact can

never be apparent to Frank. If one assumes that Fichte was correct in imposing restrictions on existence, then the problem of free will is solved. It doesnt matter whether determinism is true or not because even if it is, according to the revised definition of free will, it has no implication whatsoever. An advocate of my theory would have to go further, and claim that in this thought experiment determinism doesnt even exist because it exists outside of Franks potential understanding. Even if the determinist refutes this, and claims that knowledge of the causal chain of determinism is possible, then surely that would leave the possibility of there being more than one possible outcome. The determinist is left with the damaging fact that if even he recognises determinism within Franks world, then it is immediately refuted. This attaches an absurd nature to determinism in this instance. The theory of Intellectus Possibilus implies that determinism cannot exist alongside the idea that what the mind cannot constitute does not exist. To put it simply, if Fichte and myself are correct, determinism is rendered non-existent by the restricted nature of a human minds capability.

My theory can thus be seen to be completely libertarian.

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I have only twice felt sick in an exhibition. The first time was in the reliquary of the kings Residenz in Munich. Id wandered in, in a Protestant-touristic spirit during a spare hour, and found myself in a dark room filled with tibulae, fibulae, metacarpals and crania, pearl-white, pearlencrusted, silver-set, velvet-cushioned former frets of bodies of the greatest spirits to have had bodies. I looked at the first few in wonder: the thigh bone of Saint John, the wrist bone of Saint Jude. Then my eyes scanned the room and gauged quite how many thighs, wrists, skulls, and kneecaps I was within venerating distance of and my stomach gave a lurch. I yet again endorsed my decision (taken after an anguished dilemma at the age of fifteen) not to become a vet, or anything else of a surgical nature. But I stayed. Ever the professional tourist, I felt the duty of thoroughness to all the relics I had not yet seen. And as I looked at the other bones of the Wittelsbach collection, I found my stomach settling again. Through accustomisation, I was able to see them all. The second occasion was a few weeks ago at the Shunga Exhibition in the British Museum. I looked at the introductory love scenes in the same spirit that one reads the opening chapters of Lady Chatterleys Lover. But wheres the gamekeeper?, one

asks oneself. And this was banned? But as in certain real life sex scenes, one goes in cold and should be gradually warmed up. The foreplay in this case was brief. Come the third painting, and WHAM. A twenty centimetre vagina gaping ten centimetres open. A penis standing jauntily nearby. A reclining Japanese woman and man attached to these objects, smiling in different directions. Next: a twenty-two centimetre vagina gaping eight centimetres wide, red and folded as a pomegranate, black hairs waving scrupulously away over white skin. Veins on a penis bulge like erect penises under trousers. Smiles. On to the third Then, as in the reliquary, I made the mistake of looking up. The room in which the exhibition was held is long, and one penetrates it much further than one at first thinks possible. My mind made an involuntary calculation, and realised that it had some two hundred vaginas, two hundred penises, and forty thousand neatly choreographed pubic hairs yet to assimilate. My stomach gave a lurch. Perhaps this is what an orgy feels like, if one wanders around uninvolved. It didnt help that this was a Members late night opening, and it felt somehow transgressive being in the Museum in the first place flitting about amongst the ancient objects like an escaped tourist from the wrong century, which one in fact always is. There were no windows in the

exhibition, but its darkness was deepened by knowledge of the night sky outside, giving it something of the feeling of a bar. I leaned onto the rail to gape at my tenth couple. A man came and leaned next to me. Looking at the same painting in an exhibition can be a great way to start a conversation. One has something in common, and perceptions to exchange. But not in this exhibition; not with these paintings; not in England. There was absolutely nothing that either of us could say. But for all that there was plenty to be said, and, for the fact that I found it, I was grateful again to nausea-quelling habituation. The exhibition was curated with maturity and accessible intellectual zest, and I learned a fair bit about the culture which many Westerners find the most foreign amongst its neighbours. Shunga, I learned, means spring pictures. They were produced for and owned by all classes. They served in part as an instruction manual, for newly-weds for example. This would account for their stylised clarity; one can imagine them being held up at the front of Dutch sex education classes today no enlargement necessary. It has sub-genres, one of which is the political-satiric, and it was this one that presented a slender bridge to European art of the same period. A few of Thomas Rowlandsons prints represented the late 17th and 18th century tradition

(driven decisively underground by the Victorians) of satire through representtation of sex. This is distinguishable, however, from satire of sex. In the Shunga I often felt that sex itself was part of the joke, involving the kind of grin that one also finds on the face of Pan and the satyrs. A variety of kinds of sex, as well as genres of representation, were on offer. There was one picture of an older and a younger male lover lying happily under a blanket which was being rearranged by a female attendant. There was another placed at the very cervical end of the exhibition which was apparently of two young male lovers but turned out, on closer inspection of their uniforms, skin pigmentation, and accompanying inscription, to be a Japanese soldier raping a Russian as a metaphor for victory in the RussoJapanese war of 1904-5. This was an exception. The sex represented in nearly all the other pictures was comfortably egalitarian; though all were created by men, both the women and men were enjoying the event. It was leisurely. These pre-orgasmic people seem to have all the time in the world. They have conversations, as in the early 1820s painting by Katsushika Hokusai (of The Great Wave fame), in which a man sucks the breast of his pregnant wife, whilst their conversation is rendered in a casual grass script all around them.

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The leisure of pleasure is something which belongs also to the Floating World the world of geishas and courtesans with which shunga has kinship (although the couples that the latter depicts are spouses and lovers, not professionals and customers). The delights of this world were evoked by Asai Ryoi in the mid1660s as follows:
Living from moment to moment; singing songs and drinking sake whilst gazing at the moon, the snow, the cherry blossoms and the maple leaves; merrily drifting alongyour spirits unsinkable as a gourd riding a stream: that is life in the floating world.

Onto his silent lap she lowers her eloquent hips

This epitomises the stillness, as well as the eloquence, of shunga. The faces are often smiling, and are nearly always close to each other. Rarely is sex from behind; we are thousands of geographic and cultural miles, as well as two millennia, from ancient Greek vases and their repeated satyric penetrations from the rear. And yet and yet I never saw what I feel by ecstasy. I saw delight, tenderness, love, and great contentment. But not the smelting love-lust of Giulio Romanos Lovers (c. 1525) as they look into each others eyes at a few centimetres distance. Rarely do shunga

Another poem of a similar genre, but unknown date and author, announces magnificently:

couples look into each others eyes. Nor do they have the transcendent delight and creative fun of the couples in erotic Hindu temple sculptures. Finally, to my taste, the genitals were too stylised. It came as a relief, part way through the exhibition, to find a few 16th century Chinese erotic paintings included in order to suggest their influence on early shunga. In these everything apart from the womens feet was more realistically sized, and more decorous. I was reminded of the Masterpieces of Chinese Painting 7001900 exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum which, although necessarily selective (representing twelve centuries of a vast empires art in three small rooms) nonetheless interestingly contained no sex or violence.

No sex one muses the Chinese got to be over a billion people somehow. But to have sex is not to represent it, as the Victorian population explosion makes abundantly clear. Representing sex is a choice which certain cultures have at certain times made, and at other times (such as Japan, at precisely the time that Toulouse-Lautrec and Picasso were becoming inspired by shunga) shunned. There are certain things, like the insides of vulvas, and bones, which we often prefer to hide. And, when we then find ourselves confronting them, we find the need to assume a position: of anatomist, worshipper, lover, or art critic.



Constants are a hard thing to find in our musical taste, as more often than not we find that the first thing that we loved to listen to is something we look back on with embarrassment (ref. Sum 41, Blink 182, Limp Bizkit.) Yet perhaps one of the most perplexing and confusing things is when your own years spent travelling from childhood into adulthood directly coincide with the growth of a musical entity that you love. Nostalgia hits me harder than Dereck Chisora when I recall flicking on the now non-existent MTV2 and watching the distinctly homemade video of teenage Alex Turner and the rest of the Arctic Monkeys going nuts while performing I Bet You Look Good on The Dance Floor. Shy but effortlessly cheeky, the Monkeys front man to this day in many ways remains an enigma. And yet to an extent I would argue that over time Ive come to know him and the rest of the band by hearing them develop musically, and it is this that is most terrifying of all: its eight years since their debut album Whatever People Say I Am, Thats What Im Not was released, and in those eight years Ive made the journey from child to man. Or have I? The religious roots of my heritage would long ago have meant that come thirteen I would be officially declared a man and therefore be ready to till the fields/watch over the sheep. Instead, as is the case for near all of us when growing up, adulthood is a pinnacle that we desperately seek. Deeply entrenched stereotypes compel us to desire to go to clubs, unyieldingly pursue all forms of independence and ultimately escape the roost from as early an age as possible. In experiencing this, a tidal wave of ongoing change takes place, as we develop new interests and passions. For me, my taste in music progressed rapidly, from receiving a Beatles CD aged 11 to dancing in dank warehouse raves in Hackney Wick aged 19 and questioning what inspired so many Italians to grow one solitary dreadlock and become Rastas. Much of the music I once listened to has been thrown into the gutter, the only exception that has truly remained being the Arctic Monkeys. Offered the chance by a friend to go to a gig on their latest tour, I lapped up the opportunity on the basis that they were a band that I theorized I could never dislike no matter how much my taste in music changed. And this was where things got strange. The shy boy from Sheffield is nowhere to be seen that night as a man, now with an ego of substantial proportions, takes to the stage, whipping out a comb between each song to mow his coiffure and ensure its greasiness remains unchallenged. Having once sung about the qualms of finding a taxi after a night out, Turner now sings with a poetic verve few of his contemporaries possess (example lyric: Do you ever get that fear that you can't shift the tide that sticks around like [sic] summat in your teeth?) but more importantly no longer relies on the experience of youth for lyrical inspiration. In hip-hop for example, so many artists struggle following on from their debut due to the fact that the muse to their lyrics, their difficult upbringing, has been exhausted of all its poetic juices. Yet in the case of the Arctic Monkeys one is left with a realization that as a band they have succeeded where so many others have failed in having adapted to changing times and refused to stick to their initial guns. In truth, upon exiting Earls Court drenched in sweat, what became apparent was that this musical development was one that correlated directly with the synthesis between age and maturity in human life. Just as we move and grow out of grooves that we once felt fitted us perfectly, so the Monkeys have done the same, only in a way that doesnt necessarily appeal to those who loved them from the onset. Whilst I am still capable of appreciating their talent now, it dawned on me that the most important thing to do was admit that whilst I had once been a huge fan of the band, there was no need for me to continue being so purely for the sake of devotion that had past its sell by date. Whether we choose to or not, it is a dangerous thing to refuse to accept change and hold onto something on the basis that because you loved it at the beginning, you therefore cannot stop loving it. Perhaps instead the best thing to do is, when loving something, place your energy into the moment, as opposed to an eternity of adulation. Turner sings Well over there theres friends of mine, or can I say Ive known them for a long, long time? in the song A Certain Romance; he hits the nail on the head with these words. Though we wish to remain friends with many aspects of our early years, in becoming the proverbial adult we must both consciously, unconsciously and arguably healthily accept that the friends of old are ones that we may have known for a long time, but are nonetheless no longer what they once were to us.

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Every month around six billion photos are loaded onto Facebook. Last New Years Eve we celebrated the end of 2012 by uploading 750 million photos to Facebook in one night, no doubt most capturing some form of drunken pout. Sadly it seems the smart-phone revolution has transformed us all from humble people into self-obsessed, shutter-snapping machines. The evil queen from Snow White no longer needs a magic mirror to massage her ego; an iPhone (preferably 5S with the HD front camera) will do just fine. Along with the urge to play Candy Crush, the urge to photograph has become overwhelming. Whether it be a state funeral or a visit to the Louvre, focussing on the event we are attending, or appreciating the beauty of the site we are visiting, have both fallen in our list of priorities ask the Prime Minister of Denmark if you dont believe me. But its not all bad news: the explosion of smart phones has made photography into a wonderfully democratic art form. Joseph Beuys optimistic claim that everyone is an artist couldnt be more true than when applied to the art of photography. My Instagram gallery is a case in point. View my private collection by visiting @Roarkeds, soon to be exhibited by White Cube. However, when faced with a plethora of selfies and predictably smiley photos what can help us in identifying a quality photo? Last month the most reproduced image was a photograph of Helle ThorningSchmidt taking a selfie (the youngest member of the Oxford English Dictionary) flanked by David Cameron and Barack Obama at Nelson Mandelas memorial service. The popularity of the image must typify the narcissistic obsession we have with smart-phone photography and our pocket-sized magic mirrors. Furthermore, the popularity of this image is not the product of receiving any artistic acclaim; it is the product of a vast amount of right index fingers clicking share. Ever wondered what put the icon in iconic? Perhaps the quality of an image is now determined by the amounts of likes and shares it receives. Im quietly hoping this is not the case: see the picture above which has 28 likes and counting. On a more serious note, if the art and appreciation of photography is dying in a sea of selfies, has the role of the true photographer become obsolete? I wouldnt say it has. Recently the Science Museum opened the eagerly anticipated 4.5 million media space with Only in England, a retrospective of Tony RayJones street photography alongside the early black-and-white work of Martin Parr. The Bygone photography certainly juxtaposes the modern displays exhibited in the next room, but this does not detract from the experience of seeing the work of two great British photographers exhibited in one of the biggest venues for photography in the UK. The two photographers are best known for depicting their abiding subject: the English. Despite having never met RayJones died at the age of 30 in 1972; Parr was just 19 Parrs photographs exhibit a conscious debt to his influential predecessor. In the 1960s Ray-Jones wrote down his simple approach to photography: dont take boring photos. He didnt, and neither does Parr. Their photographs manage to find the extraordinary in the ordinary: images of everyday events which somehow capture a moment through the conglomeration of little details into a storytelling whole. In comparison to the regular selfiesnapping iPhone owner, it seems Martin Parr has ventured out of the cave and reached photographic enlightenment. He recognises the difference between the shadowy selfies projected onto our screens and the true nature of photography, with its ability to capture an immutable permanency from the fleeting nature of our experiences. I asked Parr, who has recently become a member of the Magnum Photographers (the guardians of the photographic world), how much he sees the picture before he presses the shutter, and how much he is waiting to see that magical coming together of part? In the best photos, those rare magic moments where everything comes together, the smaller details, not spotted at the time of taking, add a great deal. He adds, You have a pretty good idea when everything works out, but there is always an element of surprise. You keep shooting, hoping to improve, until the moment passes. Ray-Jones clearly used the same trick; it is plain from the contact print of the couple lunching at Glydebourne that he pursues the idea until it falls away, the sign of a very intelligent photographer. As well as photographing Glydebourne, Ray-Jones documented life at English Public schools, something he had experienced and loathed whilst attending Christs Hospital, a place I also spent seven years of my life. Once again following in the footprints of Ray-Jones, Parr spent two years photographing at Christs Hospital, lurking in the background at all sorts of events, from the summer ball to the Beating Retreat *. Unfortunately, my familiarity with the events photographed by Parr at Christs Hospital also bred my disinterest with the images. The photos capture events which I experienced and people who I know well. For me, these photos do not manage to find the extraordinary in the ordinary, because I have lived these moments and already know the story the photo is trying to tell, but to a much fuller extent. To be frank, theyre just not that different to the photos that pop up on my home-screen. I posed this to Parr and he responded with the following: I cannot really account for how you read my photos of familiar events, but I would have thought they contain more information than the smiling and predictable photos on Facebook. Perhaps he is right and I am yet to venture out of the cave to reach photographic enlightenment, a journey that would enable me to separate the Parrs from the photographic plebs. But, as Socrates would insist, for this to happen my dialogue with Parr would have to last longer than the three questions I asked. The analogy to the Platonic Forms is provocative; presumably Parr doesnt actually have the knowledge of the form of the photograph, but has just devoted a lot of time to his passion a more Aristotelean approach to photography. Parr estimates that he takes tens upon thousands of photographs a year and only prints out a few thousand, he adds If there are ten good ones, it would be a good year. It seems that expert photography depends on chance, but this isnt a criticism. In the words of French photographer Robert Doisneau, chance is the one thing you cant buy. You have to pay for it and you have to pay for it with your life, spending a lot of time, you pay for it with time, not the wasting of time but the spending of time. We could learn a lot from Martin Parr and the photographers that came before him: the likes of Cartier-Bresson, and of course Ray-Jones. Instead of clicking the share button or instantly uploading a photo, stop and think about it. Listen to the advice given by our beloved Queen in her Christmas broadcast: Take some time to reflect. Whatever happened to time spent creating a real photo album, or even a collage? Its time to form two rebellions: one against the pout, and another against the virtual world of smart phone photography.

*Beating Retreat is a military ceremony dating back to 16th century in which the band perform to spectators, usually to mark a special occasion. It was photographed by Martin Parr and can be seen above.

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After two maybe three mornings of jogging a couple of laps round your neighbourhood, you discover the bakery you never knew existed. The lycra becomes your Cronut* Costume as you nosh away whilst watching Game of Thrones, doing bicycle legs in bed. The Res: Quit Smoking The Premonition: 40 packs of e-cigarettes purchased with Christmas cheque from Grandma its what she would want. In your excitement you forget to read the instructions. Sucking away, clad with seven Nicorette patches slapped up your arms, you reach what can only be referred to as a nicotine-induced coma. Upon reflection you realise that smoking good old-fashioned fags is probably much better for your health and send Grandma down to Happy Shopper for a pack of L&B. The Res: Detox The Premonition: Mother got a Vitamix** for Christmas (received with veiled scorn) so you decide that you shall join her and start the year with a juice fest. Day three, and your temper is past fraying; it's more unravelled than that scarf the dog mauled to death on Boxing Day. You decide to lift your spirits by testing that three horsepower blade on your little sister's new Furby. The Res: Take every opportunity by the horns The Premonition: This year is the year. No more missed opportunities; this year you will ride the wave of life. You received a book of positive affirmations, which you are meditating furiously upon. If only Uncle Derek would stop waffling on about his friend and their law firm youd be able to concentrate. Having waved goodbye, individually validating each family member and giving them that sincere I appreciate you look you practised in the mirror, you pull out the life-plan to absorb. So successful is your absorption that you miss the train home and spend three hours bitterly reminding yourself to live in the moment whilst waiting for a replacement. The Res: Anger Management The Premonition: Father suggests that your response to not even having been able to beat Aunt Sheila at the cracker competition (dear, its supposed to be a bit of fun), was what a therapist would refer to as an irrational peak of aggression. Fuelled by the guilt from the trip to A&E and the irreparable state of the kaleidoscope, you agree to seek anger management. Two weeks into the hypnosis and youre feeling great, regularly visiting your happy place the owl sanctuary, armed with your psychological tennis racquet. Unfortunately, the future is not bright for those of us taking on the New Years resolutions. Sights set on rapidly transcending ourselves we are instead destined for failure and feelings of inadequacy. Let us all just hope that society at large vows to give up Bit-strips, Keep Calm and Carry On paraphernalia and Michael Gove, whilst we persevere to avoid straying into lives of hardened criminal activity.
* cronut disgracefully delicious croissant-doughnut pastry attributed to chef Dominique Ansel. ** Vitamix obscenely overpriced blender/juicer. A trophy of status within vegan circles.

Word on the Milky Way is that Mother Nature's credit card got declined in ASDA and she threw a bit of a wobbler; what with all this weather that's been getting up in its shit, it's proving hard enough to see the glitzy Carnaby.St. robins, let alone the messages in the stars. So, just this once, Mystic Mill (sincerest apologies for the third person reference) is going to turn the cosmic spyglass inwards, and project a forecast for your New Years resolutions, from knowledge of endeavours past and present. The Res: Exercise More The Premonition: Dazzled by the 4ft neon sale signs you will stride over the threshold of SportsDirect (other sport shops are available) and navigate your way through the rails of intimidatingly active garments. Virtuously you pay for your co-ordinated lycra three-piece and strut from the store towards future you.


with the pace you can achieve anything. The worst thing: I don't really know my neighbours. What do you like most about your area of town? The food! Londons comedic heritage is formidable; what do you think makes it such a haven for comedians? Well, there's all the clubs for a start. When I started out there were 40 to 50 places you could play across a month, and if you committed to that you could learn your trade pretty quickly. But also because it's the centre of the known universe. Whats your earliest London memory? Coming to town to I think Chelsea Barracks, where my dad was doing something military-ish. I think I played with my Action Man whilst he pretended to do battle with the Russians. Like father, like son. If London were a beverage, what would it be? Probably a Black Velvet: Guinness and champagne, something for everyone. What do you love most about London, and what do you dislike the most? The sheer energy of it. If you hop on and can keep up Describe your ideal day out in London. Lunch at J Sheekey that ends at midnight. Do you think Al Murray the man would be a better landlord than Al Murray, The Pub Landlord? Ha no God, no way. I don't like getting up in the morning and I don't like doing accounting! Whats your favourite pub in London? The one I'm drinking in at the time. What was the last show you went to see in town? The Book of Mormon. It's fantastic: a complete satire and the firmest rebuttable imaginable of the idea that Americans don't do irony. It's a quite beautiful dissection of how religions acquire dogma and tradition, as well as adherents and heretics. With tap dancing and jokes. Whats your choice escape destination from the city? The Eurostar. It's a modern wonder of the works. Boris or Ken? Oh god. North or south of the river? I lived south of the river for about ten years, which is why I live north of the river. Weve all heard the old trope If youre tired of London, youre tired of life. Whats your favourite pithy quote about London? Mind the gap. And finally can you recommend us a wine? Pol Roger Winston Churchill: I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me.