Archive for the ‘Cultural issues’ Category


The most popular first names in Britain today

September 24th, 2017 by Roger Darlington

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has just issued its annual data for the names chosen last year for boys and girls born in England and Wales. I always use this material to update my comprehensive essay on naming practices all around the world. You can check out the section on British first names here. […]

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How much and what sort of television do you watch?

September 11th, 2017 by Roger Darlington

Over the past 15 years, I’ve written a regular column on IT issues for a trade union and my latest piece (the 95th) looks at television viewing habits in the UK. Do you watch more or less television than the average Briton and do you watch the channels most popular with UK viewers in real […]

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A review of the recent Holocaust film “Denial”

September 9th, 2017 by Roger Darlington

When British history writer David Irving sued for libel the American historian and academic Deborah Lipstadt, because she had accused him of being a Holocaust denier, I assumed that he had no chance of winning and that, having been defeated in a court of law, the cause of Holocaust denial would be irredeemably damaged. I […]

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A review of the powerful new film “Detroit”

September 6th, 2017 by Roger Darlington

There are far too few female film directors and probably none as commercially and artistically successful as the American Kathryn Bigelow. Her two previous works, “The Hurt Locker” and “Zero Dark Thirty”, were both outstanding and showed men in uniform under pressure. “Detroit” has the same essential theme but, as the title makes clear, this […]

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A review of the recent film “Collateral Beauty”

September 1st, 2017 by Roger Darlington

I’m really not sure about this movie. What is certain is that it is studded with stars: Will Smith (in an unusually sensitive leading performance), Edward Norton, Michael Peña, and no less than four British actresses, Helen Mirren, Kate Winslet, Keira Knightley and Naomie Harris. It deals with a terribly serious issue – the death […]

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Understanding the nature of the Islamic State

August 31st, 2017 by Roger Darlington

Over the past four evenings, I’ve watched recordings of the four-part television series on Channel Four called simply “The State”. Written and directed by the acclaimed Peter Kosminsky, this tells the fictional account of recruits to ISIS – one from Wembley next door to where I live – and how they are increasingly disillusioned by […]

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A review of the novel “To Kill The President”

August 26th, 2017 by Roger Darlington

Although I read the “Guardian” newspaper every day, I hadn’t realised that its political columnist Jonathan Freedland wrote political thrillers under the pseudonym Sam Bourne but, as I browsed in a bookshop, I read the blurb on the back of this novel and was seized by the ‘torn from the news headlines’ nature of the […]

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A review of the recent Portman film “Jackie”

August 25th, 2017 by Roger Darlington

Israeli-born actress Natalie Portman has come a long way since her amazing performance as a young girl in the thriller “Leon”, winning an Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in “Black Swan”. In this film, she portrays Jacqueline Kennedy in the days between the assassination and funeral of her husband, US President John […]

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A review of the documentary “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power”

August 23rd, 2017 by Roger Darlington

When the documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” was issued in 2006, it took me three years before I caught up with it at home but, this summer, I made a point of viewing the sequel straightaway at the cinema. The issue of climate change has become so much more urgent and the stakes so much higher […]

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A review of the 2016 movie “The Accountant”

August 19th, 2017 by Roger Darlington

This is an action thriller with an unusual central character – a kind of cross between Raymond Babbitt from “Rain Man”, since he has acute autism with phenomenal mathematical skills, and the eponymous hit man in the “John Wick” series, since he has the kind of martial and shooting skills of a small army. Christian […]

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