The transcript of my speech against the character assassination of Julian Assange given at ‘Imperialism on Trial: Free Julian Assange’ on Tuesday 11th June 2019 at the Crypt on the Green, Clerkenwell, London. I also summarise some of the other speeches given that evening and at the linked event on the following evening in St James’s Church, Clerkenwell. Speakers included Vivienne Westwood (fashion designer), Chris Hedges (Pulitzer Prizewinner), Clare Daly (Irish TD and MEP), and Ogmundur Jonasson (former Icelandic Interior Minister).
Between 20th and 22nd March 2019 I visited Derry, Northern Ireland, in order to attend the speaker event ‘Imperialism on Trial’ held on 21st March in the Guildhall. In just two days, my sympathy towards, and knowledge of, Ireland and its North were transformed.
In September 2018 I visited Lev Tolstoy’s estate of Yasnaya Polyana for the first time, in order to celebrate his 190th birthday. This happy event was preceded by an exhilarating evening with old friends in Moscow, and followed by a short sharp illness, from which I emerged to struggle through my paper on Tolstoy’s ‘On Shakespeare and on Drama’ at an international Tolstoy conference at Tula University. I returned home weak and happy.
This term Geoff Colman – Head of Acting at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama – gave an acting workshop for the students at New College of the Humanities. His advice glittered with metaphors and aperçus, from which I here reconstruct his Stanislavsky-based theory of acting.
A warm crowd on a cold day opposes the weapons system that more influential countries such as Germany seem to feel perfectly safe without.
In May I spoke at the Hay-on-Wye Festival. Initially reluctant, I was in the end glad – as was Wordsworth before me – to have revisited the banks of the Wye.
I recently visited Southwell and thought, not just of its Civil War past, but of D.H. Lawrence’s characters, for whom Southwell represented, variously, the past and the future.
On 9th March 2015 Howard Jacobson, novelist, was interviewed by Jaya Savige, poet, at New College of the Humanities, London. Over the course of the evening Jacobson explained how he became a writer – and how it was necessary for him to make a break with his Cambridge mentor F.R. Leavis in order to do that.
This week I attended a Parliamentary rally of Hacked Off, the campaign for the implementation of the recommendations of the Leveson Report, for a free press, and a fair press. John Cleese was in bruising and bruised satiric form…
London has a Russian bath. I visited it, ate honey, was beaten with birch bundles, drank tea, and reflected on its health-giving qualities…
‘The Invisible Woman’ is a fine film, but a lot less coarsely entertaining than Dickens himself; London’s Dickens Museum does great walking tours but less illuminating candle-lit evenings; the St Pancras is worth a tour; and why does England do so many Victorian fairs and festivals, and so few Georgian ones?
Spyros Mercouris last night put forward a strong case for the Parthenon Marbles’ return. But at least as moving was the circle dance performed at the end by the Greek expats of London – a dance more ancient than the marbles themselves.