Articles Comments

David Porter » Archive

Conference Season Is Fun-and-Games Politics With Serious Purpose

  Autumn party conferences are the only show in town for devotees, managers and media. But do they do any real political good, make any lasting impression? All British political parties, great and small, hold gatherings of their party faithful at some point during the year. Attenders are treated to a succession of debates in conference on substantial issues, the party’s great and good in the flesh, fringe meetings, cabals, sideshows and personalities and opportunists (media and political) working the rooms. It’s a somewhat rarefied atmosphere, cocooned within a ring of high-level security. The rest of the country (starting with locals inconvenienced by security) matter only when they and their opinions are suddenly remembered. Such events allow leaders and would-be leaders to grandstand, network and feel involved. They can make or break … Read entire article »

Filed under: Articles at Suite 101

University Challenges of Cash, Costs, Worth and Perceptions

As UK universities start another academic year, the horizon is still smoking from the rows about debt and financing. But those aren’t the only issues. Just ahead of the November 2010 disturbances/demonstrations, Education Editor of The Daily Telegraph, Graeme Paton wrote that the cost of a degree had ‘tripled in 20 years’. That was before the increase to £9000 a year that the demonstrators were protesting about. Paton’s figures were average £6360 a year tuition and accommodation, compared with £1545 in the late 1980s, which was higher than the rise in family incomes over the same period, taking into account parental contributions and grants/loans. The debate centred, and still does, on ‘pricing students out of university education’. Always Complications Figures of potential future graduate debt fluctuated wildly, depending on the side of the ideological … Read entire article »

Filed under: Articles at Suite 101

‘Good Books Make Bad Movies and Vice Versa’: Discuss

A perennial Media Studies question: do good books make bad films or do bad books make good films? However, perhaps the bigger question is: does it matter? Filmmakers take most material from adaptations, recycling and re-envisioning. They’re rarely bothered about whether it’s a ‘good’ book they’re using, as long as the movie makes money. Books (good and bad) make films (good and bad), that’s the bottom line. Critical and artistic acclaim are bonuses. Tim Robey, Sunday Telegraph’s Film Editor mused (21 Aug 2011) that autumn 2011 would bring a ‘slew of high-profile literary adaptations’ to the screen. Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, We Need to Talk About Kevin and The Help to discuss good/bad books. He said that One Day had enjoyed box office success retelling the big … Read entire article »

Filed under: Articles at Suite 101

The Happening Was the Progenitor of Performance Art

  Installations, Events, Happenings, Environments were favoured by 1950/60s art and drama students: just kids having a laugh, or claim to a serious artform? The term ‘happening’, as in ‘what’s happening, man?’ was a very 1960s one. In fact, it described a particular form of performance theatre arising from and fusing with visual arts. It’s not fully understood in contemporary performance circles, but The Happening was instrumental in paving the way for performance art to be an artform in its own right. It was an ‘event’ or ‘situation’ sometimes billed as ‘art in random places’ (empty shops, old houses, warehouses, streets), with little linear narrative, but reliance on mixed art forms with the audience frequently involved, willingly or not. Scope for improvisation (much as Commedia dell’Arte actors did in the 16th … Read entire article »

Filed under: Articles at Suite 101

Irish Eyes Are Not Smiling: Where Is the Irish Economy Going?

  Little to sing, dance or smile about as world and home-grown economic problems continue to impact Eire, but all is not lost. There’s some optimism around. Harsh economic realities of post-Celtic Tiger years batter Ireland as much as but in different ways from other parts of Europe. The nostalgic, romanticised, When Irish Eyes Are Smiling (1912), is about Irish character surviving tribulation: ‘When Irish Eyes Are Smiling, sure ’tis like a morn in spring/In the lilt of Irish laughter you can hear the angels sing/When Irish hearts are happy all the world seems bright and gay/And When Irish Eyes Are Smiling, sure, they steal your heart away’. The recession/slowdown of 2008-2009 was felt across the land. Finger-pointing and blame for collapse of housing market and banking, overheating, taxes, unemployment, the … Read entire article »

Filed under: Articles at Suite 101

A Welcome in the Vales: Where Is the Welsh Economy Going?

  Whether down in the gloomy depths of valleys or high on the hills of optimism, Wales’ economy is in the spotlight as discussion continues about direction. In the traditional-nostalgic Welsh anthem, We’ll Keep a Welcome, the chorus goes: We’ll keep a welcome in the hillside/We’ll keep a welcome in the Vales/This land you knew will still be singing/When you come home again to Wales’. That’s determination to keep going, look on the bright side and welcome people home. Economic realities don’t live up to folk culture and song, but the fact is, that like much of the rest of Britain, Wales has the necessary resilience, commitment, ideas and drive to regenerate and thrive. Of course, different people hold different views. Professor Dylan Jones-Evans is Director of Enterprise and Innovation at the … Read entire article »

Filed under: Articles at Suite 101