Archive for November, 2019

A review of the new bio-pic “Harriet”

November 30th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

Araminta “Minty” Ross was born a slave in the American state of Maryland probably in 1822 but, when she escaped to Philadelphia in 1849, she took the ‘free name’ of Harriet Tubman. As if her own escape was not remarkable enough, she subsequently made some 13 missions back south to rescue approximately 70 enslaved people, […]

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A review of the British stage production of “My Brilliant Friend”

November 28th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

Three years ago, it took me almost three months, but I completed my summer/autumn reading project: to read the four works and 1700 pages that make up the ‘Neapolitan Novels’, an acclaimed series by the Italian author Elena Ferrante. This is a saga of the 60-year friendship between two girls from a poor neighbourhood of Naples […]

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A review of “The Testaments” by Margaret Atwood

November 26th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

“The Handmaid’s Tale” was published in 1985 and the sequel “The Testaments” came out a full 34 years later in 2019 when it was that year’s joint winner of the Booker Prize. I reread the original novel before I went on immediately to read the sequel – such a wonderful pair of well-written and cleverly-constructed […]

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Ever heard of the Darien Scheme? Maybe if you’re Scottish …

November 25th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

I’m doing a six-week evening class at London’s City Literary Institute entitled: “The Making Of The United Kingdom 1603-1801: Restoration, Revolution, and Political Unions”. Last week’s session – the fourth – included reference to something that I’d never heard of before: the Darien Scheme. This was a plan for the formation of a Scottish colony […]

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When will we know the name of the Democratic opponent of Donald Trump (or just maybe Mike Pence)?

November 22nd, 2019 by Roger Darlington

There’s frustation in some quarters of the Democrat Party that there are still so many candidates seeking the party’s nomination to contest the presidential election in November 2020 and there is still no obvious front runner. Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are currently the strongest contenders with Pete Buttigieg coming up strongly, but […]

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It’s World Toilet Day – and that’s no joke

November 19th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

4.2 billion people live without safely managed sanitation – more than half the global population. 673 million people still practise open defecation worldwide. Globally, at least 2 billion people use a drinking water source contaminated with faeces. Inadequate sanitation is estimated to cause 432,000 diarrhoeal deaths every year and is a major factor in diseases […]

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The Spanish political system, general election and constitutional crisis

November 18th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

Spain has just had its second general election in seven months and its fourth in four years. Once again, no political party secured anything like an overall majority. So, what’s going on? Read my updated guide to the Spanish political system here.

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A review of the new blockbuster movie “Midway”

November 17th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

While “Tora! Tora! Tora!” (1970) and “Pearl Harbor” (2001) both portrayed the Japanese attack on the Americans in December 1941, “Midway” is an account of the American defeat of the Japanese in the battle of June 1942. Like “Tora!”, this new movie includes the Japanese point of view with use of Japanese dialogue and sub-titles. […]

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How do people decide how to vote in an election?

November 15th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

The calling of a snap General Election in the UK was hardly a surprise: Boris Johnson was planning one from the day he became Prime Minister and, after failing to get his Brexit deal through Parliament, he decided to seek the majority he needs to get his deal “over the line”. The result may not […]

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Once upon a time, Britain actually had a revolution …

November 14th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

… but it was a very British revolution. I’m doing a six-week evening class at London’s City Literary Institute entitled: “The Making Of The United Kingdom 1603-1801: Restoration, Revolution, and Political Unions”. This week’s session – the third – was all about the 1688-90 Revolution. It is known as the Glorious Revolution or the Bloodless […]

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