Half of England is owned by less than 1% of the population

gross
that’s gross

Research by author reveals corporations and aristocrats are the biggest landowners

Half of England is owned by less than 1% of its population, according to new data shared with the Guardian that seeks to penetrate the secrecy that has traditionally surrounded land ownership.

The findings, described as “astonishingly unequal”, suggest that about 25,000 landowners – typically members of the aristocracy and corporations – have control of half of the country.

The figures show that if the land were distributed evenly across the entire population, each person would have almost an acre – an area roughly the size of Parliament Square in central London.

Major owners include the Duke of Buccleuch, the Queen, several large grouse moor estates, and the entrepreneur James Dyson. [ . . . ]

Continue reading at THE GUARDIAN: Half of England is owned by less than 1% of the population

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Radio series about the lives of homeless duo Tara and George wins BPG Award



Journalist Audrey Gillan’s caring and compassionate radio series wins big alongside Killing Eve, Patrick Melrose and Derry Girls

A six-part series documenting the lives of two rough sleepers has won Radio Programme of the Year at the 2019 Broadcasting Press Guild Awards.

In Tara and George, which aired on Radio 4 in August 2018 but is still available online and to download as a podcast, journalist Audrey Gillan carefully teased out the complex pasts and precarious presents of rough sleepers Tara and George with compassion and care.

Gillan talked to Tara and George over the course of almost two years in and around London’s Spitalfields, where they were a mainstay of the community, often to be found on the doorstep of another famous duo, artists Gilbert and George (shown, with Tara and George, above).

Tara McKerr and George Crompton found strength and solidarity together after meeting at a Crisis at Christmas dinner. The pair, both in their late 40s, became inseparable and over the course of six episodes, listeners learned about their troubled childhoods, family breakdowns, mental health and addiction issues, with Gillan also tracking down members of their wider family.

The result was compelling, a rare gem of a radio series looking at love and devotion, as well as the everyday realities of life for two people who found companionship on the margins of society.

Listen to the podcast at at https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0bfykqm

Source: Radio series about the lives of homeless duo Tara and George wins BPG Award

EU Funded ‘Avante-Garde Eurovision’ Event EuroNoize To Debut May 2019

This May 23rd at London’s Scala comes the inauguration of an event which promises to turn Eurovision’s concept on its head, featuring a selection of European artists from the world of experimental and noise music.

The brainchild of artist and promoters Pil and Galia Kollectiv’s fascination with the Eurovision Song Contest, this one day conference will bring together a selection of 11 representative “punx and weirdos” to perform a single original song together, all being live streamed to an international audience, who in keeping with Eurovision will have a chance to vote for their favorite act.

Among the acts which will be appearing is Ireland’s Sissy. Known for their outspoken feminist politics and pro-choice activism, the lo-fi punk group may be the most melodic entrants of the bunch. ‘Sail and Rail’, their take on Enya’s ‘Sail Away’, garnered much attention for its brilliant parody of anti-abortion rhetoric. The song featured Radie Peat from experimental folk outfit Lankum, who are also well known for their political engagement. Read Lankum’s interview with Hot Press from earlier this year here. Other entrants in EuroNoize are cult Estonian group Winny Puhh, who actually competed in Estonia’s pre-Eurovision competition in 2013, as well as Russian experimental electronic trio Asian Women on the Telephone.

Pil and Galia Kollectiv are working with The University of Reading, Kunsthall Oslo and ARE Prague, alongside recieving EU funding for the project. Currently living in London, they were born and raised in Israel, ironically the controversial host of this year’s song contest. Seeing Eurovision on television growing up, they were struck by the program’s over the top spectacle: “the requirements on the one hand to represent an increasingly meaningless idea of national identity and on the other hand some kind of recognisabley Anglo-American popular music”. With EuroNoize, they hope to take their Eurovision fascination in a weird and boundary pushing direction. Continue reading

Samantha Morton: ‘I felt a lot of anger when I was a teenager in care’

The actress, director and activist opens up to Jane Graham about her younger years, sharing her experiences of living in care

At 16 I was living in a homeless hostel in Nottingham – it was called an independence unit but basically it was a dumping ground for kids who had to leave care. We were just forgotten about really, with no support or follow-up. The people who ran the unit were great, they were as helpful as they could be with helping you get your money or applying for college. But it was a very tough time. I felt a lot of anger when I was a teenager. I’d been in care since I was a baby, so it had been a massive part of my life.

I was angry at the system, the state, for failing to take care of me in the most basic common-sense way. Why was I being abused by residential social workers but I couldn’t stay the night at my friend’s house because their parents hadn’t been checked out? Of course I was angry.

My stepfather, who I adored, was Glaswegian and very outgoing. If I’m anyone’s child it’s not my mother’s or my father’s, it’s my stepfather’s. I’m very like him – he was very outspoken and a real character.

Despite my unstable upbringing, I was never shy. I loved fighting for the right to do or say something. I always had my hand up in class. And my stepfather supported me in everything I did. I lost touch with him for certain reasons. But when I was with him I did say thank you. He knew how grateful I was.

I told him I wasn’t into crime any more and I’d cleaned up my act,

Sometimes all you need to turn a child’s life around is one person who notices, who cares, who goes the extra mile. For me it was Mr Thompson at my junior school. He saw something in me. He knew I liked doing school plays and he encouraged me to visit the Central Junior Television Workshop run by Ian Smith. So I went to an audition and the rest is history. I found drama and I found Ian Smith.

Ian became my teacher, my mentor. He was the guy I phoned when I was in the cells again. He was incredible to me. I was in and out of the Workshop from age 14 and when I was 16, and ready to really turn my life around, I got back in touch with him. I told him I wasn’t into crime any more and I’d cleaned up my act, having been part of the rave scene. He put me back into the Workshop, got me to auditions, and I started to get proper speaking parts. I owe so much to those two teachers. [ . . . ]

Continue at THE GUARDIAN: Samantha Morton: ‘I felt a lot of anger when I was a teenager in care’

‘Centuries of entitlement’: Emma Thompson on why she quit Lasseter film

When the actor Emma Thompson left the forthcoming animated film Luck last month while it was still in production, it was done without public fanfare, and was only confirmed when film-industry publications such as Variety magazine picked up on it. Now Thompson has put herself firmly above the MeToo parapet with the publication publishing her incendiary letter of resignation addressed to the film’s backers, Skydance Media, one of Hollywood’s most prestigious studios.

It was known that Thompson was unhappy with the arrival in January of former head of Pixar John Lasseter as the new head of Skydance Animation. But the letter goes into extraordinary detail about her disquiet over the appointment of a studio executive whose downfall had been one of the key landmarks of the Me Too and Times Up campaigns.The move was immediately hailed by activists. Melissa Silverstein, founder and publisher of the website Women and Hollywood tweeted: “This is more than an open letter — Thompson has issued a rallying cry. We hope others with power and privilege will join Thompson in speaking out about abuses of power and those who enable that toxic behavior.” [ . . . ]

Continue at The Guardian: ‘Centuries of entitlement’: Emma Thompson on why she quit Lasseter film | Film | The Guardian