The Corona Diaries: Hello darkness, my old friend

Here we are, Sunset and Camden: yesterday, for the first time in almost half a year, I sat in a movie theatre, watched the lights go down, the curtain open, and the film begin. Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Connor, all wearing yellow raincoats, begin to sing that iconic song. Sitting in the satiny dark of the cinema felt like coming home – but, like so many homecomings, there’s a note of ambivalence.

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A Damn Fine Cup of Culture Podcast #38: It’s (a)live!

At A Damn Fine Cup of Culture, our wheelhouse is mostly films, TV series, books – the damn fine cups of culture that you can enjoy at your own leisure, in your own time, at the turn of a page or the push of a button. There is an entirely different world of culture out there, though: live performance. Join Julie, Matt and our guest for November, Nicolette Kretz from AUAWIRLEBEN, the theatre festival happening annually in Bern, Switzerland, as we talk about why we love live performance, what some of our favourite live performances have been, and how 2020 – the year of COVID-19 – has been an opportunity for many to rethink what makes a piece of culture live.

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All the Stream’s a stage

These are bad times for theatres, theatregoers, companies and performers. Playhouses are closed, festivals are cancelled, productions are postponed to 2021 – provided that the venues and companies survive until then. While some countries have made money available for the arts, to cover loss of income, it’s clearly not on top of any list of priorities, and likely it isn’t even on most people’s radar. Certainly it doesn’t help that artists, actors, directors, musicians, writers, and so on, are rarely sitting on a big, comfortable pile of money for a rainy day, and they know as much as the essential workers that applause has never fed a hungry mouth or paid for the rent.

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A Damn Fine Cup of Culture Podcast #11: Westworld

d1ad56da-abce-4afe-9f45-79294aede9e3Tune in for episode 11 of A Damn Fine Cup of Culture, in which we visit Westworld, look back at season 1 and discuss whether its Hosts are more human than human. Is the series great, cerebral sci-fi or is it a puzzlebox too far? We also talk about festivals, theatre and otherwise, and pay our respects to the late, great Sam Shepard, by way of Michael Shannon. Continue reading

What did you do in the war, Dad?

For many people, the 1982 war between the United Kingdom and Argentina over the archipelago known by one side as the Falkland Islands and the other as Islas Malvinas is little more than a historical footnote, or at best a handy conflict used by the leaders of both countries as a means of drumming up nationalist support in the last years of the Cold War. (Well, the original Cold War, not the off-brand sequel that seems to be fomenting these days.) It’s not the thing that comes to most people’s mind with respect to the early 1980s. They remember E.T., Ronald Reagan, Eye of the Tiger and Chariots of Fire, Dallas and Dynasty – but the Falklands War rings very few bells.

Campo Minado / Minefield

This is decidedly not true for the Argentinians – and, more so, for the soldiers who fought during those absurd 74 days. The Falklands War happened almost forty years ago, yet it is still very present.

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