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Time Is a Political Issue

Changing Time in Our Lives is a Trap for Any Government Whether it’s abolishing British Summer Time, fixing Easter Sunday or changing school terms and day timings, governments undertake such controversy at their peril. Christmas Day is fixed, Remembrance Sunday is always the nearest one to 11th November. So how hard is to agree on Easter? Well, an Act of Parliament of 1928 allows it to be the nearest Sunday to 12 April, but it requires agreement of the churches. In the meantime, our Easter floats variously between 22 March and 25 April each year. Scrapping British Summer Time As governments run out of time, they sometimes focus on issues they hope will distract public and media. The old idea of abolishing British Summer Time … Read entire article »

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Old Film and Musical Ideas Never Die

Films and Musicals That Inspire More Films and Musicals In the showbiz world the best new ideas for movies and musicals are often born from old ideas, recycled and reshaped for today’s hungry entertainment media. While the arts are the personification of freedom of expression and the joys of creativity, often they are also about self-promotion and are totally inward looking. But if works of art about works of art and artists succeed in show business, and clearly they do, why would their creators need to look anywhere else for ideas, inspiration and income? Films about Films Films from novels we’re used to; films of plays often work. Even films of cartoon/comic book characters also work: Superman (1978), Batman (1989), Spiderman (2002), Watchmen (2009). From the beginning of … Read entire article »

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Visual and Performing Arts Reuse the Old

Films, Plays and Songs That Inspire Films, Plays and Songs In today’s cost-conscious world of entertainment media, it’s often apparent that old ideas revisited and reinterpreted are valid inspirations. That one art form can, and does, inspire many sons and daughters in other art forms may be clear from films about films, films about musicals, films of books you have seen, or songs from shows that go on to be used elsewhere. Cabaret Illustrates the Phenomenon. Liza Minelli’s film masterpiece of 1972 is often cited as a great work of that decade. Cabaret, the film, came out of the 1966 Broadway musical that derived from John van Druten’s 1951 play I Am A Camera, which in turn was inspired by Christopher Isherwood’s novel, Goodbye to Berlin. The play Sleuth had a … Read entire article »

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Mind Your (Parliamentary) Language

Everyday Expressions in English that Originated in Parliament Not many people know that some commonplace expressions we use frequently began in the House of Commons and their origins make fascinating pub-quiz answers material. The United Kingdom’s Parliament is the oldest in the world, and over the years it has given the English language many expressions and phrases that often take on other meanings. The result of the forthcoming General Election will focus attention on the building, the traditions and customs. Here are some phrases that have become part of the fabric of the institution. It’s in the Bag Behind the Speaker’s Chair – and out of sight of the cameras – hangs a large bag, into which Members of Parliament place petitions from constituents that are required to be considered by the House of … Read entire article »

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Good as New Covers of Hit Songs

Pop Music Industry Recycles Top Tunes from the Past There’s little that’s new in the pop music industry – just like most performing arts – and covering other people’s songs has always been a route to success or derision. If a song has done well and sold a million a few years ago, most pop moguls think it will sell again. Or a movie might suddenly need that very song, and it’s rehashed, re-recorded and released to a wide-eyed generation of youngsters or nostalgic oldies. Dolly Parton’s rendition of old-time rockers Led Zeppelin’s 1970s classic, Stairway to Heaven, is a far cry from the original. Sacrilege in the eyes of many diehard fans. Equally, Britney Spears’ recycling The Arrows old hit I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll … Read entire article »

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