Was George Orwell just a dirty old man?

George Orwell
George Orwell

CRAIG BROWN: In our contemporary climate, would George Orwell be allowed a platform to speak up about anything?

THE DAILY MAIL 2/14/18
A week or two ago, I pointed out that Brexiteers and Remainers alike are convinced that if George Orwell were alive today he would be firmly on their side.

This raises another question. In our contemporary climate, would George Orwell be allowed a platform to speak up about anything?

In America, the wonderful comic writer Garrison Keillor has been silenced following allegations of improper conduct. The long-running radio show he created has been given a new name and old episodes are no longer being repeated; his weekly newspaper column has been cancelled; and a plaque in his honour at his old university has been removed.

 And what exactly was his crime? No one is saying. According to Keillor, he placed his hand on a woman’s back, meaning to console her after she told him of her unhappiness.

‘She recoiled. I apologised. I sent her an email of apology and she replied that she had forgiven me and not to think about it. We were friends. We continued to be friendly right up until her lawyer called.’

Nearly 70 years after his death, George Orwell is still regarded as one of our greatest essayists and novelists, but a trawl through his life and work by the Thought Police would, I’m sorry to say, unearth far worse.

Even his most sympathetic biographers acknowledge that, as an officer of the Indian Imperial Police in Burma, he paid regular visits to the waterfront brothels of Rangoon. After spending time in Morocco, he also confessed to his friend Harold Acton that he ‘seldom tasted such bliss as with certain Moroccan girls’.

A friend recalled Orwell saying that ‘he found himself increasingly attracted by the young Arab girls’. He confessed to the same friend that he told his wife, Eileen, he ‘had to have one of these girls on just one occasion’. Eileen agreed, and so he went ahead [ . . . ]

Full Story at: CRAIG BROWN: Was George Orwell just a dirty old man?

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Daniel Kaluuya wins the EE Rising Star The British Academy Film Awards 2018

British actor Daniel Kaluuya has won the BAFTA Rising star award for his stellar performance in critically acclaimed horror film Get Out.

The 28-year-old actor beat out stiff competition from Florence Pugh, Josh O’Connor, Timothée Chalamet and Tessa Thompson in the EE-sponsored category, which was voted for by the public.

Brian Ferguson: Trad scene is booming, but can anyone replace Runrig?

Manran
Trad scene favourites Manran. Can they fill Runrig’s footsteps?

The Elephant Sessions, Tide Lines, Skipinnish and Manran are part of a new wave of bands from the Highlands and Islands filling venues up and down the country

Not so long ago it was a case of feast or famine for many of Scotland’s musicians. The summer and winter festivals were still a time for hectic schedules, long journeys and playing to packed crowds in concert venues, village halls and tents across the UK. For those who associate themselves with the ‘trad’ scene, Celtic Connections was a rare chance to take to a much bigger stage than they were used to, and win new fans perhaps unfamiliar with their music [ . . . ]

Source: Brian Ferguson: Trad scene is booming, but can anyone replace Runrig?

“Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool” and Gloria Grahame’s Defiant Power

Source: The New Yorker

The rise of talking pictures coincided with the Great Depression. The ostensible golden age of the studios paralleled the darkest days of the thirties. Orson Welles’s “Citizen Kane,” released two months and two days before the bombing of Pearl Harbor, sparked an artistic revolution amid the Second World War’s stifled traumas. Current-day Hollywood contrives its public self-image from the phantoms and the fumes of the classic studio era; in the process, it evokes, with a fallacious longing, the hard-knock times that high-studio movies symbolize. The latest revenant of reflected glory is in not a Hollywood movie but a British one—“Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool,” based on the British actor Peter Turner’s memoir about his relationship with the Hollywood luminary Gloria Grahame, which began in 1978 (when she was fifty-four and he was twenty-six) and lasted until her death, in 1981.

 

As the title of Turner’s brisk, poignant book suggests, it’s the story of how Grahame, one of the most celebrated (and, to my mind, one of the best) movie actors of the nineteen-fifties, ended up being nursed through her final illness by him and his pleasantly unexceptional, warmly conventional working-class English family (who offer an extraordinary breadth of generosity and depth of emotion). The book’s strength is found in its sketches of surprising personal connections through a diverse range of places and settings: Turner and Grahame met in London, visited California and Las Vegas, and lived together in New York before Turner returned to Liverpool and, after a break in their relationship, was summoned to London to gather Grahame there and deal with her failing health. Turner, a working actor of local renown, found himself in contact with a legend whose way of life had become surprisingly ordinary but whose personality retained its grandeur, whose every casual remark resonated with the weight of a past that was populated by potentates and geniuses and by fierce conflicts—intimate, public, and historical. Continue reading