Archive for April, 2021

A review of the 2014 French film “Gemma Bovery”

April 30th, 2021 by Roger Darlington

In the beginning (1856), there was the classic French novel “Madame Bovary” by Gustave Flaubert of which there have been many film versions in French, English and even Hindi. Then, in 1999, there was an English-language graphic novel “Gemma Bovery” by Posy Simmons which reworked the story into a satirical tale of English expatriates in […]

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The joy of writing and the challenge of the short story

April 29th, 2021 by Roger Darlington

I’ve always enjoyed writing. For 59 years now, I’ve kept a daily diary. Some 36 years ago, I even wrote a book: a biography of a Second World War night fighter pilot. I write a lot on my website – especially book reviews and film reviews. But all this is non-fiction: my life, someone else’s […]

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What do you remember about your childhood?

April 28th, 2021 by Roger Darlington

I was brought up in Britain in the 1950s and 1960s, so I have a particular set of memories. Do you remember early closing of shops on Wednesday and early release from work on Friday? These days, shops are open all the time and people work all the time. Do you remember being sent home […]

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Word of the day: synesthesia

April 23rd, 2021 by Roger Darlington

Synesthesia is an anomalous blending of the senses in which the stimulation of one modality simultaneously produces sensation in a different modality. Synesthetes hear colours, feel sounds and taste shapes. What makes synesthesia different from drug-induced hallucinations is that synesthetic sensations are highly consistent: for particular synesthetes, the note F is always a reddish shade of rust, […]

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A review of the novel “Moonstone” by Sjón

April 17th, 2021 by Roger Darlington

This novella – it runs to a mere 100 pages of actual text – is the product of Icelandic writer Sigurjón Birgir Sigurðsson (Sjón is his pen name). The setting (the Icelandic capital Reykjavík) and the period (October-December 1918) are unusual and the central character – 16 year old Máni Steinn or the titular Moonstone […]

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Who is the most powerful man in the United States?

April 17th, 2021 by Roger Darlington

This is not a trick question, but a serious one. Let’s start with the answer: Joe Manchin, Democratic senator for West Virginia. You could have been forgiven for thinking that the answer to the question is President Joe Biden. But Biden can achieve nothing substantial without getting legislation through Congress. That requires a majority in […]

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Word of the day: ecocide

April 16th, 2021 by Roger Darlington

International lawyers are drafting plans for a legally enforceable crime of ecocide – criminalising destruction of the world’s ecosystems – that is already attracting support from European countries and island nations at risk from rising sea levels. The panel coordinating the initiative is chaired by Professor Philippe Sands QC, of University College London, and Florence […]

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Word of the day: Anthropocene

April 15th, 2021 by Roger Darlington

The ‘Anthropocene’ is a term increasingly used to define a new planetary era: one in which humans have become the dominant force shaping Earth’s bio-geophysical composition and processes. Initially emerging in the earth sciences as the name for a proposed new geological epoch, the Anthropocene has been widely adopted across academia as a catch-all description […]

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A review of the new biography “Walter Citrine” by Dr Jim Moher

April 14th, 2021 by Roger Darlington

The subtitle of this book is “Forgotten Statesman of the Trades Union Congress”. Now most books and programmes that use the words ‘forgotten’ or ‘unknown’ in their title are usually something of an exaggeration, but not this one. In spite of over 50 years of Labour movement activism (including half of that time as a […]

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Word of the day: fungibility

April 12th, 2021 by Roger Darlington

In economics, fungibility is the property of a good or a commodity whose individual units are essentially interchangeable, and each of its parts is indistinguishable from another part. For example, gold is fungible since a specified amount of pure gold is equivalent to that same amount of pure gold, whether in the form of coins, ingots, or in other states. Other fungible commodities include sweet crude […]

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