Month: March 2014

A Three Pipe Problem (MCV8)

‘What are you going to do, then?’ I asked. ‘To smoke,’ he answered. ‘It is quite a three pipe problem, and I beg that you won’t speak to me for fifty minutes.’ Arthur Conan Doyle (1891) The term ‘cultural value’ appeared in… Read More

The value of everyday evaluation

‘We all began with the best of intentions, and then ran slap into reality. Very quickly, it was evident that the project was altogether impossible.’ So writes Elizabeth White (Director, British Council Azerbaijan) about a production of Martin McDonagh’s Leenane Trilogy, performed… Read More

I don’t like football. Really.

And it’s not through lack of exposure to the beautiful game. I was taken to a match (Wolverhampton Wanderers led by Derek Dougan) when I was at primary school, where I was also required to participate myself on a far too regular basis. For… Read More

Cui bloody bono?

The speech of women There is a paradox, acknowledged by the speaker herself, in a woman giving a lecture about how the female voice has been excluded from public discourse since the origins of Western culture. Mary Beard’s lecture, given at the… Read More

Well-worn touchstones

As you approach the Acropolis Museum in Athens you see the Parthenon’s reflection floating in the dark glass wall of its topmost level. It’s an optical trick worthy of the ancient temple builders themselves, bringing the most celebrated monument of European culture… Read More

A small boat on a dark sea

Text of a talk for the Greek EU Presidency conference, “Heritage First! Towards a common approach for a sustainable Europe” • ‘Two gross of broken statues’ In August this year, Europeans will mark the centenary of the start of the First World War,… Read More

Naked emperors

‘I want to change, but not if it means changing,’ a patient once said to me in complete innocence. This insight from psychoanalyst Stephen Grosz came to mind as I listened to some of the discussion at and around the latest ‘State… Read More