Red Or Dead

I learn today, via the ‘Full to the Brum’ website that Cherry Red’s, that fabulously unpretentious cafe in Kings Heath, the one with the really well-cooked halloumi –¬† is to close. It’s a great piece¬†which interviews the owner, who explains why she’s moving on, and that the joint is up for sale. I just thought […]

XOM and the question of music

In Review: XOM’s Rockyoke About 400 years ago, when I was an undergraduate, it was my pleasure to make the acquaintance of John Sloboda, professor of psychology with a particular interest in the psychology of music. For Professor Sloboda, music is “a way of defining community”: My eyes were really opened to this when I […]

XOM and the question of music, part 2

In Review: XOM’s Rock ‘N’ Roll Sing-along Part Two: The Greatest Gift British Oak, Stirchley: 20th December 2018 Christmas comes but once a year, and as Christopher Hitchens remarked, you can’t get away from it then, like a one-party state, with its regulation songs, symbols and, ‘sickly Santa Claus obsequies’. Contrary to popular belief, even […]

Covid-19 in the UK

One week into the UK’s so-called ‘lockdown’, and I thought it would be good to look at the UK response to the virus, and round up some political and social developments within this benighted territory over the past few weeks. Coming so soon after last year’s late general election, which confirmed the Johnson administration in […]

a good play needs no epilogue

or, a bum reduced to the status of an actor Part One: Yes, And? January. But not just any January. It’s 2018. On Jan 9th President Trump cancels a program allowing 200,000 San Salvadoreans temporary status to live in the US, the same day mudslides sweep away 100 houses in Montecito, California, killing at least […]

Philip Martin

The writer Philip Martin has died. Probably best known for the 1970s TV play and later series ‘Gangsters’, which was set and filmed in Birmingham, ‘Gangsters’ stands up today partly as social commentary and partly as an exemplar of non-realist TV drama somewhere between Patrick McGoohan and Dennis Potter. He subsequently wrote two rather idiosyncratic, […]

The Story of 1804 Part One: Winter

The independence declaration, written in French by Louis Boisrond-Tonnere and signed by General-in-Chief Dessalines, founded a new state called by its native name, dedicated to the abolition of slavery, ‘anathama to the French’, and a ‘radical understanding of race and citizenship.1 Revolutionary France, under pressure from Saint-Domingue’s ‘black jacobins’, had abolished slavery in 1794, emancipating […]