How to explain the phenomenon of Breaking Bad? I pondered this as we waited for One Man Breaking Bad to begin last night in a sold-out, packed Liverpool Philharmonic. The fact that Miles Allen, a Los Angeles-based actor and comedian could fill the place with his 80-minute précis of five seasons of a series never shown on UK television is quite something. Asking … Continue reading One Man Breaking Bad
Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell in ‘Wolf Hall’ ‘Simply brilliant TV’ was how the Independent quite rightly lavished praise on the BBC adaptation of the first two volumes of Hilary Mantel’s as yet unfinished Wolf Hall trilogy. The series – directed by Peter Kosminsky from a superb script by Peter Straughan – was exceptional television, as far removed from routine … Continue reading Wolf Hall: These bloody days have broken my heart
After completing our odyssey through the first two series of Edgar Reitz’s epic Heimat, we approached Heimat 3 with great anticipation. However, although it has its moments, this stage of the saga which takes the story of its characters as far as the millennium, did not attain the majestic heights of the earlier seasons. Indeed, … Continue reading Heimat 3: a disappointing ending
Peter Kennard , Photo Op, 2006 Increasingly we live in a world where nothing makes any sense. Events come and go, like waves of a fever, leaving us confused and uncertain. Those in power tell stories to help us make sense of the complexity of reality. But those stories are increasingly unconvincing and hollow. So … Continue reading Bitter Lake: helping make sense of complex reality?
Edgar Reitz For us, this autumn has had something of a German tinge: listening to Neil MacGregor’s Memories of a Nation radio series, seeing the Anselm Kiefer retrospective. Then there were Germany’s November anniversaries, including the quarter-century since the Wall came down. Meanwhile, I’ve been reading the last two episodes in David Downing’s espionage thriller series – each book the title … Continue reading Heimat: unreliable memories and ‘living-in-spite-of-everything’
Käthe Kollwitz, ‘Mother with her Dead Son’, Neue Wache, Berlin This week Neil MacGregor’s superb series for BBC Radio 4, Germany: Memories of a Nation, reaches its conclusion – fittingly timed to coincide with Germany’s Schicksalstag, or Fateful Day, the ninth of November. In our lifetime it’s the opening of the Berlin wall on 9 November 1989 that we … Continue reading Germany: Memories of a Nation
Rembrandt, The Jewish Bride, c 1662 An exhibition of Rembrandt’s late works featuring this painting, on loan from the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, has just opened at the National Gallery. I hope to see it in November and, while I would not go as far as Vincent van Gogh who, in 1885, remarked that he ‘should be happy to give … Continue reading Simon Schama on Rembrandt’s late masterpieces