2 September 2015

Today three pictures have been circulating on Facebook and Twitter. One shows a tiny child who we do not know, whose family we do not know, and whose short life-story we do not know; this toddler had been neatly and carefully dressed by somebody – a mother, a father, a sibling, a friend – but the … More 2 September 2015

9 August 1942: first performance of Shostakovich’s Seventh Symphony in Leningrad

Following the post about Shostakovich’s Seventh, I was asked for the story about the first Leningrad performance. Laurel E. Fay has written about it so well that I shall quote her (entirely referenced of course – not plagiarism), along with Elizabeth Wilson. Both are fascinating accounts of Shostakovich’s life and work. Laurel E. Fay, ‘The … More 9 August 1942: first performance of Shostakovich’s Seventh Symphony in Leningrad

In the Wellcome Library: Stoddart and Smart

During today’s post-lunch recovery phase at the Wellcome Library, I found a short book by William Henry Butter Stoddart (1868-1950) an eminent practitioner in the field of ‘mental diseases’ in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. His 1908 textbook The Mind and its Disorders was a key text for doctors interested in emerging ideas about psychology … More In the Wellcome Library: Stoddart and Smart

In the Wellcome Libary: garden chalets and custard

The reading rooms at the Wellcome Library in Euston Road are airier and cooler (in all senses of the word) alternatives to the sometimes oppressive gloom and shuffling-noises of Rare Books and Music at the British Library. The only problem is that there are so many enticing titles staring at me from the shelves that … More In the Wellcome Libary: garden chalets and custard

Die Moritat von Mackie Messer

In 1998 my little brother embarked upon his Grade 5 TCL violin exam. One of his pieces was an arrangement of the ‘Tango-Ballad’ from Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht’s Die Dreigroschenoper. We invested in a CD of Die Dreigroschenoper, the 1958 recording from the Afifo Studio, Tempelhof Berlin, with Lotte Lenya.  In retrospect, the ‘Tango-Ballad’ was a louche choice of arrangement … More Die Moritat von Mackie Messer

Two Times a Lady: The Extraordinary Travels of Mary Anne Stewart

Whenever I fly from London to New Zealand, I am gripped by excitement and despair when the interactive map of the flight path becomes available on the little screen. Excited because of the huge size of the world, compared to the tininess of Britain and New Zealand, and despair because I know how slowly the little … More Two Times a Lady: The Extraordinary Travels of Mary Anne Stewart

‘Confer-ence’

One of the interesting people I follow on Twitter is Laurence Raw, a member of the English Faculty at Baskent University in Turkey. He has written extensively on adaptation and the discipline of adaptation studies in a variety of texts including Adapting Henry James to the Screen: Gender, Fiction, and Film, and Adapting Nathaniel Hawthorne to the … More ‘Confer-ence’