235 results for 'Anastasia '
I’ve been thinking recently about William Wilkie Collins, the Victorian novelist, contemporary and friend of Charles Dickens. If you’ve read him at all it’s likely to have been The Woman in White, a mystery story, or The Moonstone, the first proper detective novel in the English language, the two great poles of his literary career. In between there is a lot of middling stuff, some good, others dire.
But when it comes to the history of English literature Collins deserves to be remembered in his own right, especially in this year of Dickens. In many ways he is such a sharp contrast... (more)
I’d never heard of Andrew Breitbart, the American conservative activist, author and blogger. I’d never heard of him until last Thursday, when news of his death was announced in a post on Blog Catalogue.
I took exception to the early tone being set, one of minor celebration. Considering that he died at a relatively early age, considering that he leaves a wife and four young children, I described it as despicable and distasteful. There are times when political differences are irrelevant. In response I was given a link to another blog and asked, once I read it, if I would feel the... (more)
There is one compelling reason to see The Iron Lady– Meryl Streep’s performance as Margaret Thatcher. This is not acting; it’s almost as if an uncanny doppelganger has come to life, a performance which seems to clone the real-life Thatcher; her speech patterns, her mannerisms, her movements, her gestures; a fine observation of the finest details. This really is iron. The movie itself, though, is a little more like wood.
I have no hesitation at all in saying that Margaret Thatcher only stands comparison with Oliver Cromwell as the greatest commoner in British history. When people like... (more)
I admire Sean Penn; let me get out of the way to begin with. There is much to admire in his work as an actor and director. I admired his performance as Sam Bicke in The Assassination of Richard Nixon. In review on my blog I wrote;
Penn is truly superb in the part, totally different in every way from his usual onscreen character, at once diffident and subdued, at twice angry and explosive. Bicke is the kind of man who might make normal losers feel good about themselves: he is a failure in absolutely everything – in marriage, in business, in life itself. It’s certainly possible to feel... (more)
I said in discussion recently that Barack Obama’s slogan for the coming Presidential election should be “No, I can’t”, a more honest and apt statement about him as a man, a leader and a chief executive than “Yes, we can.” There was something else I said: if a play is ever written about his time in the White House it really should be called The Death of a Salesman. It’s such a pity that it’s already been done. But I wasn’t actually thinking of Obama in the guise of Arthur Miller’s Willy Loman. It’s another salesman I had in mind – Samuel Bick from the movie The Assassination of Richard Nixon.... (more)
That’s a tweet by Hamaza Kashgari, a particularly brave Saudi Arabian-based journalist, poet and political activist. Already in trouble for stating this obvious truth, he chirruped a couple of tweets too loud; he tweeted about the Prophet Mohammed. Rather naïve of him, I would have thought, given where he lives and given what he knows, given that this is a subject likely to whip up all sorts of dreadful atavistic passions in a dreadful antediluvian kingdom.
He is young, only twenty-three. It was all innocent enough, but there is no innocence in this desert hellhole. Here it is in... (more)
Were you born in the wrong century? It’s a question I gave a little thought to recently. I was born in the twentieth century, in 1986, to be exact, and I'm now over the threshold of my quarter century!
I’m glad to be twenty-five, so I’m glad to be born when I was, possibly at exactly the right moment in history. If I had been born significantly earlier I would most likely have been denied the opportunities that women have now. If I had been born, say, in Jane Austen’s England, no matter how wealthy and privileged, my life would been spent in speculations about marriage and romance, thoughts... (more)
The traces are everywhere; the debris of death is everywhere. There are obvious places like Choeung Eck not far from Phnom Penn, where a memorial has been constructed, an ossuary containing thousands of skulls, many bashed in, evidence of how they met their end.
Nearby is a tree, now known as the Chankiri or the Killing Tree. When Brother Number One ruled Cambodia infants and babies, brought with their parents from Toul Sleng, the capital’s notorious detention centre, were battered to death against its trunk, swung by the feet. It was the habit for the murderers to laugh as they beat... (more)
Since the issue of race has been raised with regard to Barack Obama I’ve been thinking more widely about the American obsession with ‘roots’ and labels of all kinds, in particular the label ‘African American.’ It’s one that Obama himself leans on, even though his mother was white.
I simply don’t understand the point of this; I simply don’t understand why the label American is not sufficient in itself. I know it was devised to escape terms like ‘negro’, to give black people an identity and heritage specific to themselves, just as white people were in the habit of describing themselves... (more)
If you live in London I’m sure it will come as no surprise to you that it’s impossible to avoid mad people, especially on the tube, the underground railway. I’ve had a few encounters, the last with a guy obsessing over my blonde hair, reaching out to touch it, not a comfortable experience, I assure you.
Rod Liddle, writing in the Spectator, describes an encounter he had on a train with a ‘loony’ (Rod never walks on verbal tiptoes!), a guy who was barking mad – literally! Every time the train drew into a station he barked, loudly. Only when the train pulled away again did he return to... (more)