Subversive folk

The most exciting television this weekend was not Line of Duty, but a moment in Doctor Who.  An episode called Thin Ice, set in 1814 London at the time of the Thames Ice Fair, and the moment comes as the Doctor confrons Lord Sutcliffe, who has developed an unorthodox bio fuel supply chain – including a captive alien – to ensure that his mills are powered and his business prospers:

Sutcliffe: I made the most of the situation.

Doctor:  What makes you so sure that your life is worth more than those people out on the ice? Is it the money? Is it the accident of birth that puts you inside the big fancy house?”

Sutcliffe: I help move this country forward; I more this empire forward

Doctor:  Human progress isn’t measured by industry. It’s measured by the value you put on a life.  An unimportant life.  A life without privilege.  The boy who died on the river, that boy’s value is your value. 

Continue reading


The final voyage

In November 2010, we went to hear Stornoway at Southampton Students’ Union.  Our then-teenage son had sparked my interest in contemporary music after a gap of many years.  He introduced me to live gigs and this was our first “family” outing.  We saw this quirky, quality band every couple of years, in different combinations – the children at a Festival, my husband and I in a tiny Salisbury Arts Centre; three of us sometimes, but never all four of us together again. We always reported back in the same way: we “had forgotten, somehow, just how incredibly good they are”. Continue reading

Meet and greet

mark-rylance-nice-fishOn Friday evening I went to see Nice Fish.  A whimsical, delicate piece developed by Mark Rylance in collaboration with Louis Jenkins and based upon the latter’s prose poems.  In addition to the sheer joy of seeing Mark Rylance on stage – no-one else is quite so relaxed, so playful, endearing, gracious – the piece offers a meandering meditation on living (it’s irresistible to compare it with Waiting for Godot).  And on Sunday morning I went to Shakespeare’s Globe with a view to being a volunteer steward this summer.  Continue reading

We are such stuff as dreams are made on

I don’t believe in ghosts.  But once someone has died, I think they continue with us.  They continue in our memories and through their children (if lucky enough to have them): a tilt of the head or a look suddenly represents them to us.   We hear music, we visit a place, we hold an object dear to them and they are with us once again:  a vivid, piercing, disorientating flash of recollection.  For a moment they stand next to us, sharing our senses, placing their hands on ours.  We feel both joyful and bereft.
Continue reading

Quick now, here, now, always.

Moving to London meant leaving my job – obviously – and I am searching for work.  Writing applications is laborious (oh, the irony that hunting for work is itself hard work) and disquieting.  I cannot know how long this process will take;  I never know whether the next application might be the lucky one.  Conversely, if only it were easy to recognise when I am wasting my time.  Each application offers the possibility of a different future.  A different role, a different work place, different people, a different life. Continue reading

Masters, look to see a troublous world

1985-antony-sherAs I tried to find some way to comprehend the US Election result, Richard III came to mind.   I do not suggest that Trump is as evil, or as intelligent, as Shakespeare’s Richard; I wondered rather about the circumstances which allow an individual to become unstoppable in his ascent to power. How does an outrageous campaign, full of bluster and falsehood, confound all reasonable expectation and win?
Continue reading


packing_in_progressI wanted to assert that we are homeless.  To some small extent this may be true – when we left the house in Hampshire, we had no date for moving into the London flat, and we are currently dependent upon the kindness of my best friend to give us shelter.   But we are not really homeless.  Continue reading