Category Archives: Writing

The Popular Agenda

My mother was horrified by The Beatles’ I Wanna Hold Your Hand (1964.) She felt that the song’s overly forward message heralded a downturn in decorum and general civility. The repetitive panting of the lyrics and the explosive tribal yodeling was a far cry from the songs of … Continue reading

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Working for The Man

Robert Tressell’s novel The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, published posthumously in 1914, has become a recommended text for initiates into the Socialist movement. The plot is episodic and disconnected, the characters don’t develop much beyond caricatures, possibly because the book’s main purpose is … Continue reading

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Mentioning Sticks and Stones

This week’s suicide of Lutterworth teenager Hannah Smith is tragic and incomprehensible. Seeking solace and advice online for a common teenage skin condition, she was verbally hounded and bullied by anonymous contributors to the site Ask.fm to the point where she took … Continue reading

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Music and Sales – Let’s Get Naked!

In the 50s, 60s, and 70s American corporations and manufacturers commissioned reputable and successful composers (such as Kander and Ebb, who also wrote Cabaret) to write large-scale Broadway-style musicals that would energize the sales force. These Industrial Musicals were fully staged and … Continue reading

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(Get To) Know Your Audience

What makes an audience? What motivates people to buy a ticket? What influences their decisions? Answer this with any degree of certainty and a job in the Audience Development Department of a major arts organization can be yours. Ask a performer … Continue reading

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My House, My Rules.

Two verses of Hillaire Belloc’s satirical verse The Garden Party deftly satirize how class distinction is expressed. The scene would be an expansive lawn in view of a splendid English manor house, thrown open to the locals (by invitation) for an afternoon … Continue reading

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Beware! Celebs with Opinions!

In America, celebrity can get you anywhere. It can even win you the Presidency. Most importantly, it can maneuver you to a position in front of the microphone ahead of the other guys. The media turn to celebrities to offer … Continue reading

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Carmina Bikiniana

The Confederate flag remains a fiercely reviled image of the subjugation of the African American population because it rallied the supporters of slavery in the American Civil War. It recently flew at the state capitol in Raleigh, North Carolina, to celebrate the … Continue reading

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“All is True”

“All is true” wrote Balzac, in English, at the beginning of his 1835 novel le Pere Goriot. It is a warning that despite the dastardly characters and their actions the book is a realistic representation of Parisian life, not to be … Continue reading

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I Understand Only Station

“It’s all Greek to me!” Languages pick on the foreignness of other languages to express a communication breakdown. Many pick on Chinese, probably because of its complex script and pronunciation. Some choose Hebrew, some Russian, presumably for their non-Roman alphabet … Continue reading

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