A note to start to let you know that in common with many I'm moving away from Twitter.
I've set up a Mastodon account and, stay the time of writing have one follower. More would be very welcome and if you're on the mailing list for this newsletter I hope you'll be among them.
I'll continue to use Twitter for the time being, to share newsletter links and to promote
The Glue Factory until the gatherings end in December. But I may shut down
my account before then if the site becomes unendurable.
Mastodon is not as user friendly as Twitter, at least not for this newcomer, but -
how best to put this? - there's a room in the elephant.
Now, by way of a change to the usual header here's the Brazilian flag.
More on this in the postscript at the end of this week's newsletter.
1. Aid for Ukraine
2. This week’s online gathering
3. Indie press news
4. This week's Wendy Erskine news
5. This week's other Wendy Erskine news: Dance Move on the BBC
6. Dracula: the Untold Story
7. Theatre for a quid!
8. The Observer / Anthony Burgess prize for arts journalism
9. Punks Listen - a new anthology
10. Shocking filler 🧦🧦🧦
11. Next week's online gathering
1. Aid for Ukraine
Take a look at item 9 below - some good work going on there.
The most far-reaching aid programme has been, and remains, the British Red Cross Ukraine Crisis Appeal. You can donate quickly and easily here.
Please donate whatever you can, whenever you can.
2. This week’s online gathering
AS second Sidekick Books showcase with publisher Jon Stone and guests
Lotte Mitchell Reford, Julia Rose Lewis, Lara Frankena, Adam Crothers,
Belle Roach and Vika Gusak
Plus two remarkable artists - Ximena Perez Grobet from Mexico on her nine-year project Reading Finnegans Wake, and two short lyrical films by Rose Ruane in Glasgow.
Stephen Fowler will perform some Day of the Dead poems and David Spittle (TBC) on Italian Horror/Giallo.
And continuing the macabre theme I'll be sharing my thoughts on Hitchcock's under-valued masterpiece The Trouble with Harry, a light romantic comedy... about necrophilia.. .
13. PS A note from George Monbiot prompted by revelations of the disgraceful conditions in what amounts to a concentration camp at Manston housing refugees:
How do you make voters feel better about their circumstances, without actually improving their lives? You performatively mistreat other people, who have no vote, to show your voters that someone sits below them in the pecking order. That's what Manston, and Braverman, are about.
And, in the words of Tony Benn: 'The way a government treats its refugees is very instructive because it shows you how they would treat the rest of us if they thought they could get away with it.'
The new President of Brazil's slogan is 'sem medo de ser feliz' (literally: 'without fear of being happy').
I look at the mediocrities currently in control of my country and it strikes me that one of the many things they fear is happiness. This seems to be a condition of many of those on the Right.
They have failed in their life at happiness; being happy themselves and being the cause of happiness in others. What brought them to such a condition may have been something in childhood or adolescence; unskilled parenting; a reaction to education, and to others; a lack of formative cultural and social and emotional experiences. Or perhaps that's just the way some people choose to become: callous, dull, conservative.
I look at some of these elderly dead-eyed men and women (most of them born after 1980 and therefore, if improbably, still in their early 40s) and wonder what went wrong in this country and in their lives.
Can you imagine having to endure lunch with any of them? Braverman? Sunak? Patel? Rees-Mogg? Fabricant? Dorries? Raab? Gove? Hancock? Can you picture your intense boredom and loathing and loss of appetite as they belch and dribble their way through a meal, honking their sullen commonplaces, their dull bigotry and glib simplistic takes on complex matters? Can you imagine feeling happy in their company?
They all of them share a hatred of expertise and excellence. Having wrecked the civil service, the law, the BBC, the NHS, the economy and the sea that surrounds us, they have now turned their attention to the arts.
This week Arts Council England (ACE), the government organisation responsible for funding theatres and museums and galleries and other cultural institutions, announced on Friday the cutting or axing of support for leading London arts companies, including the English National Opera and the Donmar Warehouse Theatre, both of which lost all their funding. And the Glyndebourne opera lost all funding for education and outreach, so only the well-heeled toffs will get to see and hear music performed there. (I'd never go to Glyndebourne in any case because there's a serious risk of bumping into the likes of Liz Truss).
This is all entirely political. It was the farcically shallow and inadequate former Cultural Secretary Nadine Dorries who demanded a £70m cut from London from ACE. This is her only legacy.
The total annual budget ACE budget is, or was, £381m for 1 year.
That might seem a lot, but Rishi Sunak's ill-fated 'Eat out to help out' initiative to encourage people to have a subsidised nosh-up in restaurants during the pandemic cost £849m. For 1 month.
And it led to a spike in covid cases, and many more deaths.
So the government cuts the money supply to organisations dedicated to the spread of human happiness. Why? For the same reason that dogs lick their willies. Because they can.