Alan Bennett, Church Music, Michael Wyschogrod, Hitchens & Orwell, Featherbowling


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What I Did in 2015

Alan Bennett | London Review Of Books | 22nd December 2015

Alan Bennett's diary. Much theatre-going, with varying results. Sarah Kane’s Blasted leaves too little to the imagination. "If a character is mutilated on stage, blinded, or anally raped, or has his or her feet eaten off by rats, the pain of this (I nearly wrote the discomfort) must transcend anything else that happens on the stage. A character who has lost a limb cannot do other than nurse the wound, no other discussion is possible" (5,960 words)

Andrew Gant On English Church Music

Beatrice Wilford | Five Books | 18th December 2015

Musician and composer discusses his favourite books about English church music from the Middle Ages to the present. "Up to the middle of the 18th century the tune was in the tenor, because you had mostly men and your farm labourers would bellow out the tune. Then when you get into the 19th century you start to get the vicar’s wife training up the children of the Sunday school, and the tune migrates into the treble" (4,490 words)

Obituary: Michael Wyschogrod

David Goldman | Tablet | 17th December 2015

Michael Wyschogrod "was old enough to have stood with his father across the street from Berlin’s main synagogue as it burned on Kristallnacht". Until his death he was "our last living link to the engagement of yeshiva-educated Orthodox Jews with continental philosophy". He argued that "Jewish history begins with an act of inexplicable love: God fell passionately in love with Abraham and for his sake loved his descendants" (1,500 words)

The Importance Of Being Orwell

Christopher Hitchens | Literary Hub | 22nd December 2015

In which Christopher Hitchens seeks to explain away George Orwell's prejudices. "Anyone reading these accounts will be struck by how vividly Orwell expressed his unmediated disgust at some of the human specimens with whom he came into contact. When joining a group of itinerant hop-pickers he is explicitly repelled by the personal characteristics of a Jew to whom he cannot bear even to give a name" (3,460 words)

Featherbowling

Chris Koentges | ESPN | 19th June 2015

Lyrical portrait of a medieval bowling game brought from Flanders to Detroit and marinated there in the Cadieux Café. Players roll oblong balls through long dirt trenches. "It's Belgian shuffleboard. It's horseshoes with a pigeon feather target. It's bocce, except you roll discs that have been slightly weighted to rotate unevenly across the earth, exposing the shooter's secret divine grace ... Each trench is its own living thing" (6,300 words)

Video of the day: Haneda Airport

What to expect: Tilt-shift time-lapse. An airport as as if it were a toy (3'49")

Thought for the day

Politics is the art of preventing people from taking part in affairs which properly concern them
Paul Valéry (http://www.amazon.com/Independent-Diplomat-Dispatches-Unaccountable-Politics/dp/0801445574)

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