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Showing posts from April, 2018

Last poem, and Roland Leighton's military uniform, as described by Vera Brittain

Hédauville, poem by Roland Leighton to Vera Brittain
The sunshine on the long white road
That ribboned down the hill,
The velvet clematis that clung
Around your window-sill
Are waiting for you still.  Again the shadowed pool shall break
In dimples at your feet,
And when the thrush sings in your wood,
Unknowing you may meet
Another stranger, Sweet.

And if he is not quite so old
As the boy you used to know,
And less proud, too, and worthier,
You may not let him go---
(And daisies are truer than passion-flowers)
It will be better so.

I watched 'Testament of Youth' yesterday. The sense of loss still lingers when I woke up early on Sunday morning. One wrenching scene in the film depicts the return of the uniform Roland was wearing when he was shot.

"For though he had only worn the things when living, the smell of those clothes was the smell of graveyards and the dead. The mud of France which covered them was not ordinary mud; it had not the usual clean pure smell of earth, but …

The BBC Ministry of Truth

Room 105 at the BBC was where candidates for positions of influence were/are vetted. Files were routinely passed to the security services for study and those whose views did not align with the anti-left establishment were refused employment. This political blacklisting, reminiscent of McCarthyism in the US, was not always applied, 'charwomen' job vacancies were open to all. BBC management made robust denials of the practice which worked to deter the occasional inquisitive newspaper journalist. There was occasional concern that if the scale of vetting became publicly known, it "would be grounds for ridicule and vilification".

Isabel Hilton discovered she had been blacklisted (and on what turned out to be spurious grounds that were never overturned), and says 'beyond the particulars of my own case, I felt that the BBC had betrayed public trust by promoting a system in the UK by which the secret police were licensing and blacklisting journalists. Whenever I hear the…

Lisa O'Neill: No Train to Cavan

Deborah Luster: Layla “Roach” Roberts (Inquisitor) from the series Passion Play, 2012-13

Terrific ModernArtNotes podcast, with Tyler interviewing photographer Deborah Luster.  Contains interesting background to the pictures, and it is a refreshing change to hear someone who doesn't resort to art-speak.