Archive for August, 2023


A review of a new book: “The Russo-Ukraiinan War” by Serhi Plokhy (2023)

August 26th, 2023 by Roger Darlington

On 22 February 2022, Russia launched a full-scale attack on Ukraine, intending to occupy the country and install a puppet regime in a matter of weeks if not days. This book was written between March 2022 and February 2023, so it covers the holding of Kyiv by the Ukrainians, the recovery of the territory originally […]

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Do you have a National Flag Day and, if not, would you want one?

August 24th, 2023 by Roger Darlington

My last holiday was to the three countries of the Caucasus: Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia. I was struck by the observation that each of these three countries has a national flag day. Wondering how common or how rare this practice is, I checked it out on Wikipedia and learned that over 50 countries – around […]

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Is Lucy Letby a case of the banality of evil?

August 19th, 2023 by Roger Darlington

Understandably, the British media is awash with coverage of the recently-concluded, ten-month court case in which Lucy Letby has been found guilty of murdering seven babies and attempting to kill six more. The newspaper which I read – the “Guardian” – today devotes its first 12 pages to the case. I love children. I love […]

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A review of the new action movie “Heart Of Stone”

August 14th, 2023 by Roger Darlington

Sadly, everything about this Netflix movie is contrived, starting with the title. Heart is the name of a super-powerful system of artificial intelligence, just like The Entity in the “Dead Reckoning” segment of the “Mission: Impossible” franchise. Stone is the surname of the special agent at the heart of the plot (see what I did […]

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A review of the novel “Heat And Dust” by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala

August 12th, 2023 by Roger Darlington

For a long time, I assumed that the author was of Indian ethnicity because of her name and her long association with film director James Ivory and producer Ismail Merchant. In fact, her parents were Polish Jews, she was born in German, and she came to England at the age of 12 when in 1939 […]

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Searching for WIMPS in North Yorkshire

August 10th, 2023 by Roger Darlington

WIMPS are weakly interacting massive particles. These subatomic entities are the most likely source of dark matter which, it is believed, accounts for around 85% of the universe‚Äôs mass. There’s a plan to discover these little WIMPS 3,000 feet underground in a working mine in North Yorkshire. Wouldn’t that be something?

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A review of the 1983 film “Heat and Dust”

August 7th, 2023 by Roger Darlington

One of the great collaborative teams of British cinema was the trio of director James Ivory, producer Ismail Merchant and writer Ruth Prawer Jhabvala and “Heat And Dust” was one of their most successful enterprises. Based on the eponymous novel by Jhabvala and set largely in northern India, it tells two parallel stories located in […]

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A review of a book about the creation of Czechoslovakia at the end of the First World War

August 6th, 2023 by Roger Darlington

“Dreams Of A Great Small Nation” by Kevin J McNamara I have been visiting Prague regularly since 1988 and I have often crossed the Legion’s Bridge opposite the National Theatre, but it was only in 2023 when I visited a charity shop in Manchester that I found that there was a recent (2016) English-language work […]

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Word of the day: anabasis

August 5th, 2023 by Roger Darlington

The word means a military expedition or advance. I came across it in a book about the Czech Legion in Siberia at the end of the First World War: “Dreams Of A Great Small Nation”.

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A review of “Mission: Impossible -Dead Reckoning Part One”

August 4th, 2023 by Roger Darlington

It’s been a long time coming – and we still don’t have the complete story. Shooting of the latest IMF escapade has been interrupted so many times by Covid that the final budget is a reported $290M, making it one of the most expensive films ever, and delaying its release until five years after the […]

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