Hymns and visions: the quiet fire of Tord Gustavsen and Simin Tander

Hymns and visions: the quiet fire of Tord Gustavsen and Simin Tander

The Norwegian pianist Tord Gustavsen is renowned for the hypnotically hushed tones of the half-dozen albums he has recorded for ECM during the last 15 years. So we were not entirely surprised on Saturday evening, in the stripped-back surroundings of the CBSO Centre in Birmingham, to experience jazz at its  quietest and most minimal. Continue reading “Hymns and visions: the quiet fire of Tord Gustavsen and Simin Tander”

An Afghan child’s odyssey to sanctuary in Britain

An Afghan child’s odyssey to sanctuary in Britain

Gulwali Passarlay was 12 when his mother paid people smugglers to take him from Afghanistan to Europe. After the US invasion, the Taliban had put pressure on them to become suicide bombers. For his mother, flight to Europe was the only way to keep her children alive.

Passarlay tells his story in an article in today’s Guardian that I think merits being reproduced here. Continue reading “An Afghan child’s odyssey to sanctuary in Britain”

Bitter Lake: helping make sense of complex reality?

Bitter Lake: helping make sense of complex reality?

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 begins Bitter Lake, the new film from Adam Curtis who has previously brought us intellectually-challenging films such as The Century of the Self, which showed how the work of Freud, Jung and others was appropriated by business and politics, Power of Nightmares, that compared the rise of American neo-Conservativism with the radical Islamism  and claimed similarities between the two, and All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace which argued that computers have failed to liberate humanity and instead have ‘distorted and simplified our view of the world around us’. Continue reading “Bitter Lake: helping make sense of complex reality?”