Robert Hughes died recently. I liked reading his work.
This is what he said about democracy and art – from an editorial in the Guardian newspaper:
The late Robert Hughes wrote his own epitaph in his 1993 polemic Culture of Complaint, where he inveighed against the banal politicisation of art and championed instead the importance of quality.
“Some things do strike us as better than others – more articulate, more radiant with consciousness,” Hughes insisted. “We may have difficulty saying why, but the experience remains.”
Democracy’s task, in the field of art, he believed, was to make the world safe for elitism, not to outlaw it. He believed passionately – in Hughes’s case the adverb is redundant – in an elitism that was not based on class, wealth or race, but on skill, imagination, high ability and intense vision Continue reading
Olaudah Equiano - one of Belfast's more famous visitors.
Question: What have Liverpool, Bristol and all sorts of other places got that Belfast hasn’t?
Answer: A corporate history of slave trading.
Hurrah! One shameful pursuit into which we did not dive. Continue reading
It must be catching, this Titanic fever. There’s no escaping it on telly or in the news. Here’s my contribution…
In other words – enough already. We built it. It crashed. It sank. Continue reading
Filed under history, life
After 70-odd years, the BBC has begun to leave Bush House, home of BBC World Service radio. Some buildings have character. BBC Bush House has… had. This gives a flavour of it.
For a while I worked, drank and watched the fish inside Bush House.
I was particularly fond of the Outlook programme – partly because they paid me for stories from Africa. But also because you could climb out a window from their office to a flat roof with satellite dishes. From there a metal ladder led up to another roof level. Then a second set of rungs provided a route to the very top and views over most of the rooftops between Bush House and the Thames.
I sometimes wandered past the rooftop water tanks to the front of the building and out onto the canopy over the grand entrance. In my mind’s eye we sat and contemplated our eyrie above the throng. I lay back and surveyed the clouds. Maybe one of us smoked. I remember the roof as curving – with the slight risk of sliding off to plummet to street level, but it looks more angular in the slide show. Memories can be tricky.
Thank you Culture Northern Ireland for giving me a £100 Amazon voucher (for
winning a writing competition completing a survey). And thank you Gerry Anderson and politician Gregory Campbell for helping me spend it. Well, to be more precise – they had a row. But Continue reading