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“A thing of beauty is a joy forever”

Yesterday, John Keats’ poem Endymion came to mind yesterday as I concluded Alice Mansfield’s thoroughly absorbing Rust post on Courbet’s The Origins Of The World [10th July] and thereafter spent many hours contemplating the ideas and issues that it brought to focus. One of the features of [...]

July 11, 2020 // 0 Comments

The Origins of the World/Gustave Courbet 1866

A popular figure in the National Rust is our picture editor Malcolm. One of the joys of us contributors is – after we have completed our post as a draft – seeing what accompanying photos Malcolm has selected for it. He has a totally free hand but if he feels them to be inadequate he [...]

July 10, 2020 // 0 Comments

What’s in a name? Plenty … er, obviously

It’s stating the obvious to mention it, but in a 21st Century dominated as it is in cultural and campaigning circles by themes of equality, diversity, LGBT [and is it Q? – in any event, the acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer or questioning rights], anti-colonialist and [...]

July 8, 2020 // 0 Comments

A coincidence of sorts

Yesterday – Tuesday 7th July 2020 – I happened to read fellow columnist J.S. Bird’s latest post to the Rust entitled “Just another notch on the ‘Strange Times’ belt”. In it he commented upon the wide variety of reactions from ‘special interest’ [...]

July 8, 2020 // 0 Comments

American Pastoral/Philip Roth

Readers may recall that I kept this book by my loo as an aid to constipation. Occasionally when a passage of writing engrossed me it moved location but before long was back in its place of residence. It’s problem is that it is long, over-detailed, wordy and there is no narrational time arc. [...]

July 7, 2020 // 0 Comments

Just another notch on the “strange times” belt

Mention has been made of it before on this organ but my subject today is the irony of some of the ‘interest group’ reactions, justified or not, to the Covid-19 crisis. Few would argue that the actions taken by the Government have been exemplary, timely or uniformly correct, despite its attempts [...]

July 7, 2020 // 0 Comments

The Directors/Sky Arts

I was so pleased that a further series of The Directors was being run by SKY. I happened to see listed under SKY Documentaries a documentary on Don Siegel, most famous for the Dirty Harry films with Clint Eastwood. In pushing the “Record all” button I saw there were further programmes on John [...]

July 4, 2020 // 0 Comments

Lives of the artist

When I studied French and German literature for my A levels our teacher had a rather pedantic view that little was served in studying the life of the writer. In fact as I soon appreciated it’s crucial. Michael Stuart was complaining to me that in his music course he learned far too little [...]

July 3, 2020 // 0 Comments

Kind Hearts and Coronets

This classic – which I watched on the Talking Pictures channel yesterday – passed with flying colours the Rosen test of excellence, namely initially deciding to watch the first few minutes of a film I have seen many times and staying with it right to its end. It’s known for the [...]

June 26, 2020 // 0 Comments

Das Boot : a historian’s view

Bernadette Angell (TV critic of the Rust) asked me to appraise the historical  accuracy of Das Boot.      I have seen the much-acclaimed 1981 film which Neil Rosen rates as one of the best war films ever. Aside from the accusation levelled by a New York Nazi, which may have been propaganda, [...]

June 25, 2020 // 0 Comments

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