REVIEW: KIMI NO NA WA, OR, WHAT’S IN A NAME

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by Alex Valente

A quick preface to the following, which also serves as a way to convince myself that I am … allowed to write about this, rather than the Bologna protests, or the political mess in Rome, or the current turmoil on the Italian left-of-centre party PD, or the upcoming women’s general strike. Those are things at the front of my mind – but I will take this week to find a little glimmer of beauty in a sea of constantly rising anger, instead.

Enter then, one of the two films I saw this year that made me think about language, and how we use it, and how it is used in the media. The other is Arrival, and so much has been written about it already, I decided to focus on Makoto Shinkai’s gorgeous animated film 君の名は (‘Kimi no na wa’), released in English as Your Name.Continue Reading

THE FAILINGS OF MODERN SCHOOLS AND THE IMPORTANCE OF CREATIVE EDUCATION

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by Laura Potts

Forget statistics, results and score tables – how much does the modern school system genuinely guide young minds toward a progressive and fulfilling future?

John Dewey, often called the father of modern western education, argued that raising children as obedient conformists, rather than individuals who think for themselves, is very dangerous for democratic society. In recent decades, generations of people have been brought up at a midpoint between these two extremes, raised to conform to individualism. This has provided support for dangerous social, environmental and political power structures which do not provide for the vital collectivist needs of our ever-more-globalised world.

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REVIEW: LOVE IS LOVE ANTHOLOGY, FROM IDW PUBLISHING

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by Gwen Taylor

How on Earth do I put these feelings into words? I’m sitting here just after finishing Love is Love and I have been utterly floored. 2016 has been an awful year all around, a year where hatred and intolerance appear to have won, and love has been  firmly pushed into a corner. One of the most horrific events of the year took place in June at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. One person took the lives of 49 others who were celebrating their individuality and love in what had always been regarded as a safe space.

Love is Love is an anthology of responses to the shooting published by IDW Publishing and supported by DCComics to raise money for Equality Florida. It contains 144 pages of beautiful stories designed to celebrate love following a tragic event. Each piece is 1-2 pages long and all are incredibly powerful; the sheer number of contributors demonstrates how this horrific event was felt by everyone.
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LEFT WING CHRISTMAS SONGS AND THE IMPORTANCE OF CULTURE

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by Chris Jarvis

On Friday it was revealed that this year’s Christmas Number One was Clean Bandit with Rockabye, their names forever written into the record books, joining some truly excellent pieces of music that have shared the top spot over the years. The Beatles scored a hat-trick in the 1960s. Slade’s ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’ beat Wizzard’s festive effort in 1973. Queen managed it twice, with Bohemian Rhapsody, some 16 years apart. We’ve had Spice Girls, The Human League, and Elvis Presley – all deserving the accolade.Continue Reading

ART OF NORWICH: DOING WHAT YOU CAN TO MAKE CHANGE

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by Jan McLachlan

On a chilly December evening I went to St Margaret’s Church of Art in Norwich for the opening of ‘Enlightening the Eye’s Mind’. Rus Ki, the organiser of the exhibitions there, has a history of hosting thought provoking, inclusive exhibitions that are open to all artists and with no funding from the Arts Council or any government/corporate body. As Rus Ki says ‘providing our artists the freedom to articulate and express themselves however they choose’. This was no exception, with interesting and beautiful work by local artists, several of whom are disabled artists.

I was particulary looking forward to seeing (and hearing) Vince Laws’ work. Vince is an artist, a poet, a political campaigner and an activist. His politics often inform his artwork, but recently, as he says ‘I wanted something brighter to work on alongside some of the campaigning’.Continue Reading

REVIEW – AN EVENING WITH AN IMMIGRANT, BY INUA ELLAMS

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by Alex Valente

I moved back to Prato, Italy, last March. I thought I’d left behind the UK poetry scene, so very different in Italy in so many ways. Then, my own hometown organises a whole series of free events, including poetry nights – and invites Inua Ellams to perform his An Evening with an Immigrant show. Did you really think I wouldn’t attend, notebook in hand?Continue Reading