`Rivers of blood’, as Enoch Powell’s Birmingham speech in 1968 about immigration was famously dubbed. Except he never really said that. Like so much else we call history, it was a moniker adopted by the press out of an illusion the politician, fond of quoting from classic scholars made: `like the Roman, I seem to see the River Tiber foaming with much blood.’ Yanked out of context, it stuck. Continue reading →
Jonathan Lynn is best known as co-writer of the hugely successful Yes,Minister and Yes, Prime Minister with Antony Jay. Comedy is clearly one of the weapons in his armoury and his account of the strained relationship between two major figures in modern French history, Marshal Pétain and Charles de Gaulle is nothing if not mischievously revisionist. Continue reading →
When Tilda Swinton first played Manfred Karge’s trans-gendered Max Gericke in 1987 (Traverse, Edinburgh, Royal Court, 1988), it and she became a cause célèbre. Directed by Stephen Unwin, Karge’s extraordinary portrait of pre and post-war Germany seen through the eyes of a crane-worker’s widow who takes up male identity proved mesmerising as a piece of socialist surrealism with Swinton, just beginning to make her name, clad in y-fronts and bovver boots.