Category Archives: Uncategorized

No draws in war

Previous post tagged chess A major element of fun in games, said Goffman (in the essay of that name) is that “the outcome or pay-off has a good chance of remaining unsettled until the end of play.” But what happens … Continue reading

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the changes

National Express waiting room, Heathrow, August 2017 Over the last several years, I’ve found it harder to read in the evenings. The cause is partly biological (and helped by reading glasses) but partly or even mainly social. The lights are actually going out. In … Continue reading

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“The 19th century was a strange century because the interior empires were beginning to decline, slowly but surely, while the exterior empires, the colonial empires, were still being constructed by the French, the British, the Dutch, the Belgians, throughout Africa … Continue reading

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progress

When I am not working I have the impression I know what to do.Once I start I am lost. The eye is very precise.You risk losing the expression.The head of an Egyptian in the Louvremissing its eyesbrings it out.I don’t … Continue reading

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museums: Fahrelnissa Zeid

Tapestry, carpet, stained glass window, mosaic, kaleidoscope are some of the metaphors that come to mind in viewing the work of the Ottoman-born artist Fahrelnissa Zeid. Her dominant tones were modulations of primary colors – tomato red, denim blue, Girl … Continue reading

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RIP the village voice

That one time I took a Sylvia Plachy picture. I read the Village Voice every week of the seven years I lived in New York. Every single week. If I was out of town, I bought it at the nearest … Continue reading

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Worldcon 75

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theater: macbeth at the globe

Cloth wrappings are integral to Iqbal Khan’s Macbeth; the witches, four of them, perform a body-part puppet show with a black curtain while a PA system speaks their speech over ghostly music. At intervals through the action, characters appear draped in … Continue reading

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year of the pigs

It was a hot, bright summer the year the pigs invaded Ipswich. They did so stealthily, under cover of one of the endless social media campaigns that were taking the place of government. Walkathons for medicine, ice bucket challenges to … Continue reading

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treasurehouse of language

If you want the definitive word on the meanings of “pretty” in Jane Austen’s time, the tricky etymology of “bank,” the earliest attested use of “bromance,” or almost any other philological matter in English, you need to consult The Oxford English Dictionary. Now, … Continue reading

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museums: portrait of the artist as a young lion

Before its 1981 renovation, Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts had an indoor Japanese garden as part of its Far Eastern galleries. Grey sand raked in patterns. The slurp and purr of a stream over rocks. A stone shrine meticulously placed under the … Continue reading

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theatre: red shed

The Ipswich performance of Mark Thomas’s monologue play The Red Shed took place the week after the Brexit vote. This made it a bit of a period piece, though Thomas did insert some dog-whistle references to the referendum. The Red Shed is presented as … Continue reading

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