LETTERS FROM LONDON
REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL
9 February 2013
Money Talks - and Makes Movies

The presenters, the nominees, the winners...and the BAFTA goes to - America!

Why it could have been the American BAFTAs. American Academy of Film
and Television Arts. Hollywood on the Thames. LA in the rain. There were no
British films nominated in several  categories. A homage-to-American-
patriotism.

1 Scot, 2 Aussies, 7 Brits, 14 Americans - and oh yes, 6 women stood on the
stage to hand over the award to mostly Americans in the 2 hours the ceremony
was televised. Apparently Brits were given the honour of presenting the awards
we didn't see: you know - costumes, sound, special effects - the non-celeb
awards crucial to filmic success.

Evidently the French managed to make 2 films last year. Quelle surprise.
Amour par example.

Quite a few in the audience looked dumb-founded : "Is he talking english?"
Stephen Fry was superb with his usual verbal acuity - as was charmer Daniel
Day-Lewis who was surprisingly funny - laugh out loud funny.

It was entertaining, but British - not quite.


Mind-Numbing

Revenge is best served cold? No hot school lunches then.

The ever smug Education Secretary, Michael Gove, is seeking revenge on the
EU. He has deleted Brussels from the school curriculum.

In an act of imposing emotional maturity, Gove is blaming the European Union
for scuppering his regressive education reforms. Students in citizenship
classes will merely study the UK’s ‘relations with the rest of Europe’. But why
stop there? France? Germany?

While Tories aren't celebrated for their intellectual curiosity, academic
competence or love of culture, Gove took the decision to prove it by eliminating
all creativity for school-aged children. No music, drama, design or art. This
does not make him a fascinating, fun dinner guest.

Gove's precious new English Baccalaureate Certificate allowed for maths and
english. I'm going unconscious thinking about it. Mind-numbingly boring. He
probably thinks the West End, Tate Modern, the Royal Ballet, The Royal Opera,
the Royal Albert Hall, The Globe are merely tourist attractions. Assuming here
that his standard for 'high culture' is
Strictly Come Dancing.

Gove admitted in his mea culpa U turn that his obsession with his reforms was a
bridge too far - referencing his favourite film starring his favourite actor, "one of
my heroes", the wife-beating Sean Connery. Oh dear. Time for another U-turn,
Michael? Connery once admitted that women 'deserved it' because they were
annoying and 'didn't know when to shut up or stop.' A behaviour too far....

Gove's admiration may be seen in his removal of women from British history.
No, seriously. He planned to delete The Empress of India, Britain's longest
reigning monarch, the Queen of England 1837-1901,
Queen Victoria from the
national curriculum, as well as Florence Nightingale, Jamaican born of
Scottish/Creole descent Crimean nurse Mary Seacole(who was voted the
greatest Black Briton in 2004) and pioneering aviator Amy Johnson (the first
woman to fly solo to Australia in 1930). Queen Victoria? That deserves
repeating.
Queen Victoria?

What could Gove's possible rationale be? Certainly not his attempt to
'modernise' the curriculum. The man is a muppet.

German painter, draughtsman, printmaker, sculptor Georg Baselitz, surely
would approve of Gove's misogynist position. The rubbish painter and basic
illustrator: "They simply don't pass the market test, the value test. As always the
market is right. Women don't paint very well. It's a fact."

He cited Modigliani as a great painter; the favourite of first year students in the
60's. Lovely paintings, not great art. This from a 75 year old man whose work is
merely illustration sans aesthetics.

Baselitz spewed out that women lacked the basic character to be great
painters. I rather think Georg lacks not only character but talent to be a great
painter. Funnily women make up most of the students studying art.

They can be inspired by Agnes Martin, Bridget Riley, Barbara Hepworth, Diane
Arbus, Lee Miller, Eve Arnold, Margaret Bourke-White, Hilla Becher,  the
genius Eva Hesse, for starters.

Ah. Men who hold positions of power in the world dismissing women - yet
again. Welcome to 2013.
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