The Invention of Brazil by Misha Glenny

bookshelves: spring-2014, published-2014, nonfiction, travel, politics, filthy-lucre, anthropology, casual-violence, environmental-issues, fradio, gangsters, slaves, under-10-ratings, true-grime, south-americas, sleazy, revolution, religion, recreational-drugs, radio-4, music, lifestyles-deathstyles, history, colonial-overlords, bullies, brazil, art-forms, architecture, adventure, plague-disease, roman-catholic, sport, suicide

Read from May 02 to 19, 2014

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b042jcxs

Description: Forget the beach volleyball, carnival, and the rest – here’s the truth about Brazil. The murder rate is among the highest in the world. The economic inequality is visible wherever you go. Behind the happy cultural imagery there lies a much darker Brazil, the result of an extremely dark colonial history when this land was little more than a giant farm worked by slaves.

Misha Glenny and producer Miles Warde travel from the favela of Rocinha in Rio de Janeiro up the coast to Salvador, the first capital of Brazil, and then back to Sao Paulo, economic powerhouse of the south. On the way they meet contributors including the anthropologist Peter Fry; Americo Martins of Rede TV; historian Lilia Schwarz; and bestselling author Laurentino Gomez. Further contributions from Luciana Martins, David Brookshaw and Patrick Wilcken, author of Empire Adrift.

From the team behind The Invention of Germany and The Invention of Spain.

Salvador. Most of the slaves to Brazil landed here. At that time, Salvador was the capitol.

São Paulo is a sprawling mass and is the modern economic hub of this vast country. It was from this area that the slavers worked to capture indigneous indians. Think ‘The Mission’, Portugeuse style.

Episode 1: BBC DESCRIPTION: In The Invention of Brazil, Misha Glenny traces the gaps between the image and reality, beginning with the arrival of the Portuguese in 1500. More slaves were transported to Brazil than anywhere else, more than the United States, more than anywhere. “There were many Africans who served as interpreters,” Joao Reis explains, “who could tell the slaves: ‘You are not going to be eaten by those whites’. And that was the African fear – that they were being brought to an unknown world by whites where they would be eaten.”

Rocinha, the biggest slum in South America.

The favela borders Gavea, one of the richest areas of the city. The contrast is stark.

Episode 2: BBC DESCRIPTION: Misha Glenny continues his exploration of the little known but extraordinary events that have shaped Brazil. This week, two unexpected events in Brazil’s path to independence. The first occurred in 1808, when the entire Portuguese court moved across the Atlantic to escape Napoleon. They lived in Rio de Janeiro, which they enjoyed so much that they stayed on for another 13 years. The second occurred in 1822 when the King of Portugal’s son, Dom Pedro, declared ‘Independence or Death’, breaking Brazil free from her European overlords. We reveal that the British were heavily involved in both events.

Episode 3: BBC DESCRIPTION: From giant factory farm for Europeans to modern BRIC economy, the story of Brazil’s transformation is captured in this final programme in the life of Getulio Vargas – moderniser, dictator, and finally democratically elected president. In the final part of the Invention of Brazil, Misha Glenny explores the life of Vargas, the man who changed Brazil.

“I was struck by how short he was … the crowd went wild with adulation, an enormous mass of people. Their spontaneous shouts made me think I was in Italy, watching one of those fascist rallies.” Unnamed public official, seeing Vargas for the first time.

Vargas came to power in 1930 and proved an expert at keeping himself in power. Initially he styled himself on Mussolini – the story of why he took Brazil into the Second World War on the side of the Allies is central here. As also are the events leading up to his suicide while still in power. With contributions from anthropologist Lilia Schwarz, Professor David Brookshaw, Peter Fry, and author Ana Maria Machado whose father was arrested by Vargas several times.

“As quid pro quo for escorting the Portuguese across the Atlantic, the British ended up arm twisting the Portuguese royal court into signing a very one sided treaty, which in fact ended up giving the British more rights than the Brazilians themselves.” Patrick Wilcken, author Empire Adrift.

I enjoyed this three part documentary, however flister Laura, a Brazilian herself, rated this 2* so maybe this is not a rounded portrayal.

Dylan Thomas by John Goodby

bookshelves: radio-3, britain-wales, lit-crit, poetry, essays, nonfiction, published-2001, under-10-ratings, fradio, spring-2014

Read from May 07 to 10, 2014


Dylan admires ……. the medieval Laugharne castle. The foreground shows the rear view of the wooden sculpture of Dylan Thomas set in the Millennium Garden

Recorded at the Laugharne Live Festival, in the grounds of Laugharne Castle, West Wales. Five leading writers and artists reflect on the ways in which they connect with one of Wales’s most famous cultural exports, Dylan Thomas.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b042bk3l

Dylan Thomas Centenary

Episode 1: Professor John Goodby is one of the world’s most respected academic authorities on the poetry of Dylan Thomas. Using poems such as the radiant “In the White Giant’s Thigh”, “And death shall have no dominion” and “A Refusal to Mourn” he explores how the boundaries which Dylan Thomas crossed in both life and art have made it difficult for critics to pigeon-hole his legacy.

Episode 2: Andrew Davies reflects on the influence of Dylan Thomas on a child growing up in Wales in the 1950s, with aspirations to be a writer. A day trip to Rhossili beach and a Cornish pasty chimed with Davies’s role model’s account in “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog”, but was this the gateway to a future as a poet?

Episode 3: The poet and writer Gwyneth Lewis, whose words are emblazoned over Wales Millennium Centre, takes a personal journey through the language of Dylan Thomas. She argues that to appreciate the work fully we must understand the poet’s rigorous practice and detailed knowledge of poetic history and tradition.

Millenium Centre

Episode 4: Linking up from New York, writer, poet and activist Kevin Powell looks at Dylan Thomas’s far-reaching influence on Black American writers, from his own introduction to Thomas’s words in the new poetry and spoken-word scene happening in New York in the early 90s, to the new wave of Black American artists inspired through hip-hop, spoken word and America’s oral tradition.

Episode 5: Poet and musician Twm Morys explores the links between Wales’s poetic heritage and Dylan Thomas’s writing. Drawing on memories of living in Thomas’s hometown of Swansea, he considers whether Thomas’s writing is universally acknowledged to represent the cultural landscape that nurtured its creation. [I loved this one]

Dylan Thomas reads After the Funeral (In Memory of Ann Jones)

Listen also to 120 mins from the Live Festival: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b042bk3d

I have spent many a day on Rhossili and it is as beautiful, and as long, as described:

Hindle Wakes by Stanley Houghton

bookshelves: published-1910, play-dramatisation, spring-2014, under-10-ratings, radio-4x, britain-england, lifestyles-deathstyles, lancashire, edwardian

Recommended to ☯Bettie☯ by: Laura
Recommended for: BBC Radio Listeners
Read from April 25 to 26, 2014

 

4 Extra Debut. Lancashire, 1912. Can Fanny Hawthorn defy her parents’ wishes for her future? Stars Sophie Stanton and Sue Johnston.

Description: The play is set in the fictional mill town of Hindle in Lancashire in England, and concerns two young people who are discovered to have been having what would now be called a “dirty weekend” during their holiday, during the town’s wakes week. Their families pressure them to get married, but the young woman refuses. She is disowned by her people but manages to get her job at the mill back.

It has been filmed four times, twice in the silent era (1918, 1927), and twice in the sound era (1931, 1952) although the film versions have tended to open out the play considerably. There was also a grittier TV movie version of it (1976), starring Donald Pleasence and co-directed by Laurence Olivier.

The 1931 film starred Belle Chrystal as the mill girl and John Stuart as the employer’s son, with Sybil Thorndike, Edmund Gwenn and Norman McKinnel. Parts of it were filmed in Blackpool.

Listen here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0414dj7

Sue Johnston

Bright Hair About The Bone by Peter Ransley

bookshelves: film-only, spring-2014, ipad, published-1993, mystery-thriller, under-10-ratings

Recommended for: Laura
Read from April 11 to 12, 2014

 

Ann Devenish (the superb Emilia Fox) has a curious nature that leads her to stumble into a gory crime scene in the her leafy laned (Surrey?) village. She also suffers from blackouts.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Peter Ransley has written extensively for television. His BBC adaptation of Sarah Waters’s ‘Fingersmith’ was nominated for a BAFTA for best series in 2006 and his ITV drama ‘Falling Angel’, starring Emilia Fox and Charles Dance, was screened in 2007. He is a winner of the Royal Television Society’s Writer’s Award.

Full film here

The Son of a Servant by August Strindberg

bookshelves: e-book, gutenberg-project, spring-2014, published-1913, under-10-ratings, translation, nutty-nuut, shortstory-shortstories-novellas, politics, sweden, stockholm, filthy-lucre, next

Read from April 08 to 10, 2014

 

And here is Strindberg and Helium at the Beach , my favourite so far.

Tjänstekvinnans son
TRANSLATED BY CLAUD FIELD
WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY
HENRY VACHER-BURCH

Opening: In the third story of a large house near the Clara Church in Stockholm, the son of the shipping agent and the servant-maid awoke to self-consciousness. The child’s first impressions were, as he remembered afterwards, fear and hunger. He feared the darkness and blows, he feared to fall, to knock himself against something, or to go in the streets. He feared the fists of his brothers, the roughness of the servant-girl, the scolding of his grandmother, the rod of his mother, and his father’s cane. He was afraid of the general’s man-servant, who lived on the ground-floor, with his skull-cap and large hedge-scissors; he feared the landlord’s deputy, when he played in the courtyard with the dust-bin; he feared the landlord, who was a magistrate.

There is no getting away from the fact that Strindberg is important and when I moved to Sweden at the end of 2001 I vowed to read him. Nary a sentence goes past without mention of status, class or filthy lucre but he was born into a quickly changing time and the seeds of a future social democracy were firmly rooted.

http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/44109
http://www.freeliterature.org/

3* Miss Julie
3* The Father
4* Röda rummet
2* The Son of a Servant

Soft Targets by Stephen Poliakoff

bookshelves: film-only, play-dramatisation, published-1984, under-10-ratings, spring-2014, suicide, slavic, spies, cold-war

Read from April 07 to 08, 2014


Description from cream tv: Entertaining and sumptuously bizarre look at upper-middle-class English life from Stephen Poliakoff, seen through the eyes of minor Soviet official Alexei Varyov (Ian Holm). Living quietly by himself in a west London compound with other Russian journalists and civil servants, Alexei’s rather humdrum life of typing up Time Out-style articles for the Soviet press, with a side-line in posting videotapes of British TV to Russian broadcasters made from the twin VCRs in his flat, is livened up with a hefty dose of Cold War paranoia.

While sending some tapes of Top of the Pops abroad on an Aeroflot charter flight, he’s accosted at Heathrow by upper crust, impetuous foreign office agent Harman (Nigel Havers) who, after a rather showy demonstration of the reasons he was, entirely coincidentally, at the airport, drags Alexei off in his car to the early Sunday morning remains of a party at a Hampstead flat, where two young women Frances (Celia Gregory) and Celia (Helen Mirren), as well as assorted hangers-on including Rupert Everett, regard the nervous Russian with a mixture of suspicion and condescension.

Helen Mirren
Ian Holm
Nigel Havers

A disappointing number from Poliakoff’s oeuvre: a something-of-a-nothing, star-studded and polished production for BBC’s ‘Play for Today’ series. In later interviews Mirren was rather embarassed at her overt exhibition of how far her elocution lessons had progressed, and it was jarringly noticeable in this play.

Watch Here

3* Shooting the Past
2* Soft Targets
4* She’s Been Away
4* Playing with Trains
3* A Real Summer
WL Joe’s Palace
WL Capturing Mary

The Tribe by Stephen Poliakoff

bookshelves: play-dramatisation, published-1996, spring-2014, film-only, too-sexy-for-maiden-aunts, under-10-ratings, london, britain-england, cults-societies-brotherhoods, adventure, architecture, contemporary, lifestyles-deathstyles, ouch, casual-violence

Read from April 07 to 08, 2014

 

Description: The Tribe – Stephen Poliakoff (1998)
In this psychological drama, a real estate developer buys an old house in London, only to discover a group of bohemian squatters happen to be living there. While the developer intends to evict them, he soon finds himself intrigued by their lifestyle of free love and drug-fueled philosophical experimentation, and the longer he observes them, the more he longs to become a part of their world. Produced for the BBC, The Tribe stars Joely Richardson, Jeremy Northam, and Anna Friel.

From the interview with The Independent newspaper published today:

Poliakoff, the son of a Russian-Jewish father and Anglo-Jewish mother, grew up in a cultured household and attended Westminster School and Cambridge University. His fascination with the past stems from his parents, who were relatively old when he was born. “Their stories came from the 1920s and 1930s. They were both born just before the First World War, so that made all of the 20th century available.”

Chislehust caves.

Down House, today in the London Borough of Bromley was Darwin’s home.

3* Shooting the Past
2* Soft Targets
4* She’s Been Away
4* Playing with Trains
3* A Real Summer
WL Joe’s Palace
WL Capturing Mary
4* The Tribe

History of London Prisons. Geoffrey Howse by Geoffrey Howse

bookshelves: e-book, spring-2014, tbr-busting-2014, published-2012, nonfiction, london, history, britain-england, architecture, bullies, casual-violence, dip-in-now-and-again, execution, eye-scorcher, gorefest, gulp, lifestyles-deathstyles, medical-eew, mental-health, newtome-author, nutty-nuut, ouch, plague-disease, recreational-homicide, religion, revenge, spies, tragedy, true-grime, under-10-ratings

Read from April 04 to 08, 2014

 

Description: London has had more prisons than any other British city. The City’s ‘gates’ once contained prisons but probably the most notorious of all was Newgate, which stood for over 700 years. The eleventh century Tower of London was used as a prison for a variety of high profile prisoners from Sir Thomas More to the Krays. Discover the background of a variety of historic places of incarceration such as The Clink, the Kings Bench Prison; and debtors prisons such as the Fleet Prison and the Marshalsea. ‘Lost’ prisons such as the Gatehouse in Westminster, Millbank Penitentiary, Surrey County Gaol in Horsemonger Row, The House of Detention, Coldbath Fields Prison and Tothill Fields Prison are also described in detail; as are more familiar gaols: Holloway, Pentonville, Brixton, Wandsworth and Wormwood Scrubs. In his A History of Londons Prisons Geoffrey Howse delves not only into the intricate web of historical facts detailing the origins of the capitals prisons but also includes fascinating detail concerning the day-to-day life of prisoners – from the highly born to the most despicable human specimens imaginable – as well as those less fortunate individuals who found themselves through no fault of their own ‘in the clink’, some soon becoming clients of the hangman or executioner.

Opening: The original function of the Tower of London, built for William I (William the Conqueror) and completed in 1097, was to act as a power base for the King within the City of London itself.

When I first went to the Big School, Kay, my bestie, brought to school a book she had pinched off her dad about implements of torture. Hidden in her satchel she would flash me diagrams, pull a grimmace, then laugh wildly and flick through some more. It is a fact: older children and newish teenagers love this the way young children love the horror of fairytales.

This book has aspects of that ‘can’t bear to watch but can’t look away’ mesmerism. Coming to this I see there is only one other rating here on grramazon, and that is a 5* too.

I still think it is sad/unjust about Raleigh.

Isadora Duncan: An Intimate Portrait by Sewell Stokes

bookshelves: film-only, winter-20132014, biography, published-1928, under-10-ratings

Read from February 09 to 17, 2014

the basis for the film ‘Isadora’ (1968) starring Vanessa Redgrave.

Description: 928. This is the story of the life of an American dancer, written by one who knew her and called her a friend. Duncan was born in San Francisco and at the age of 25 joined Loie Fuller’s dance company, touring Germany where she was acclaimed in Budapest and Vienna. Two years later, she established a dance school for children near Berlin at Gruenwald. In 1921, Duncan was invited to Russia where she opened another dance school in Moscow and married Sergey Yesenin, the Russian poet. Tragically, Duncan was killed in an automobile accident in 1927

Crossposted:
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Blottentots And How To Make Them

bookshelves: e-book, gutenberg-project, poetry, art-forms, amusing, kiddlewinks, under-10-ratings, winter-20132014

Read on February 15, 2014

IMPISH

You can see by the look of this
big-footed Sprite,
That just the one thing that
affords him delight
Is to give a high jump and land
on your toe,
On the very same spot where
the biggest corns grow.

Hah – what fun, so I opened up an ink cartridge and had a go myself and am now covered in the ruddy stuff!

MACBETH

Act I, Scene I.

“When shall we ‘two’ meet again—
In thunder, lightning, or in rain?”
“When the hurly-burly’s done,
When the battle’s lost and won.”

Gutenberg