Saturday, 6 April 2013

Russian ballet in London, bedroom taxes and tax dodgers William and Kate

Happy the nation whose people has not forgotten how to rebel’

So said R.H. Tawney, the great English radical historian, a man who despised the acquisitive society of his own time and would certainly be apoplectic about the obsession of our times with the accumulation of consumer tat.

He might also have been dismayed, at least, with the condition of the English working class, which seems to have sunk into a mire of televisual tripe, ballooning out on a diet of adulterated junk food without protest, uncomplaining of an education that leaves them defenseless in the face of global corporations that pump bread and circuses into their heads, the distractions of which leave them as putty in the hands of their political class.

When they do revolt, it is into the shops, which is not what Tawney had in mind, I suspect.

Still, back in London, we were enchanted by the Mikhailovsky Ballet’s production of Laurencia at the London Coliseum and encouraged to find an audience of young and old, black, white and every shade in between sharing our delight in a visual and aural banquet, a dramatic tale of love, lust, power and revolt told entirely in mime and music, colour and gesture.( our clip below shows the same show in the same theatre in 2010, it is well worth watching )

We left the theatre with hope in our hearts, and like everyone else, we were smiling and feeling glad to be alive - the exact opposite of how I felt as I finished watching Tarantino’s Django Unchained, the pleasure from which I felt ashamed to have felt, as it relentlessly rehashed the American idea that all problems are solved by firepower.
The excuse for the glorification of violence that the film epitomises is that it is a western, and so is true to the past and to the genre - but no, this is a lie, the America of that time could not have produced that many bullets, and the only way the hero of this film could have fired as many bullets would be if he was followed by a mobile arsenal to replenish his Colt 45.
Another excuse might be that the film is a cartoon, metaphorically speaking, but this won't wash, because we know now how these things affect us - film and music go straight into our brains, bypassing our critical faculties and settling into our unconscious minds, shaping the way we interpret and understand the world. Our minds are not equipped to operate a filter that prevents metaphorical violence from slipping into position, ready to govern a response at some later date.
What the film does is act as a form of propaganda for the idea that what’s good about America is there because the gun made it possible, and that guns will keep America good. If you’re a good American, with God on your side, you will be heavily armed and a damn good shot.

The last time London had a riot, in August 2011,the spark was provided by a small time gangster,Mark Duggan, who had been shot dead by the police because they thought he had a gun. He did indeed have a gun on him, but nobody trusts the police version because the police are always being caught lying, the latest example being the ‘Plebgate’ affair in which the police fabricated evidence against a member of parliament, accusing him of calling the police 'fucking plebs’ - perhaps a fairly accurate assessment for some of them, let’s hope they haven’t seen Django Unchained too many times - it might give them ideas.

We thought there might be a riot over the bedroom tax and cuts in welfare budgets, which the government has combined with tax cuts for wealthy folk and barely any tax cuts for lower paid workers - which when combined with inflation leave most people worse off, but most people feel that welfare has gone too far, even those that get it, and the bread and circuses prevent them from noticing that the politicians claim to make work pay would be achieved if they would only tax them less - but the government needs the money for their mates, who will be about £50 grand a year better off as a result of their tax cuts.

Talking of tax and bedrooms, Prince William and Kate are living on Benefits too and they're moving into a ten bedroom pad in Sandringham - will they have to pay the bedroom tax?
I doubt it, as they don’t pay any tax at all - actually, none of the Royals do.

You’d think this would be good for a riot, but everyone seems to love Kate, despite her utter lack of character or sex appeal - and despite having all the time in the world, she has never said anything of any interest whatsoever.
Mae West, a marvellous woman, once said, ‘ It’s not the men in my life that matters, it’s the life in my men’
It's unlikely that she would have fancied William.

Ans she knew something that Kate will never know - how to live your own life.
It takes guts.

It's good to be back in London and Elena caught this shot of our black cabs at work from the top deck of the 189 bus!

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