del Rosso review: Blessed Unrest’s LYING

Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 12.11.06On 52nd Street in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen, The Interart Theatre Development Series is presenting Blessed Unrest’s production of “Lying,” a stage adaptation by Matt Opatmy of Lauren Slater’s metaphorical memoir of the same title.  Going in, I knew Blessed Unrest to be an exuberant, adventurous company. I also knew Director Jessica Burr was a Lucille Lortel Award winner in 2011.

“Lying” is the coming-of-age of Lauren (Jessica Ranville)  – wait, the fourth wall is broken, so it’s really a meta-metaphorical adaptation of a metaphorical memoir.  Jessica the actress plays Lauren the writer though Matt did the adapting. Jessica playing Lauren’s coming of age is told through the prism of epilepsy – wait, but the real Lauren may not have had epilepsy; she may be “Lying.” Then again, the details about the auras and regarding the ground as a crash pad are spot-on, and I should know, because I have epilepsy, and I am not lying. So if the real Lauren did not have epilepsy, then she did an inordinate amount of research, including but not limited to what it feels like to be conscious during a brain operation.

My question is: Why?

Published in 2000, the book “Lying” was Lauren Slater’s fourth memoir; perhaps the words “fourth memoir” should give one pause.

Out of the mouth of Jesus, beautifully played by actor Nathan Richard Wagner, comes this: “Patients with Munchausen’s Syndrome use fake illness as a conduit for conveying real pain. They pretend or exaggerate not for money but for things beyond weight, beyond measure.

Many choose epilepsy.”

Near the end of the performance, Jessica the actress playing Lauren says, “I am not an epileptic. I am really really not an epileptic. I have had many serious psychiatric and neurological problems in my life, but epilepsy has not been one of them. I have a fitful, restless brain, I feel I have several selves. I have had auras all my life and I take anticonvulsant medication daily. The metaphorical world and the material world blend and blur, become each other; believe me, I have suffered seizures.

Jessica Burr is a fascinating director: endlessly inventive, visually exciting. She is an innovator when it comes to combining music and choreography, and the results can be transformative.

Why choose this material?

If Lauren’s truth as well as her journey is mercurial, Burr can go meta-crazy: she can break the fourth wall at will; she can tease as much humor and fun out of the script without sacrificing poignancy. She can cast brilliantly -Charise Green, Nathan Richard Wagner, Sonia Villani, Rich Brown- who play up to eleven roles each, including Lauren’s three-headed mother, her small father, nuns, Jesus, a neurosurgeon, a therapist, AA members, and a sexually-addicted famous writer. And that’s not even half. Jessica Ranville is equally adept at the various incarnations of Lauren. Burr can evoke emotions through the use of music and employ an industrial-sized fan in a witty, olfactory way. In short, she has a lot of room, and knows how to use every inch.

It’s interesting to like “Lying” yet find the source material for this devised work distasteful. Then again, that could be my epilepsy talking. I thought Act I was superb and Act II less successful. On the long but pleasant walk home from Hell’s Kitchen to the Upper West Side, I tried to figure out why. There was less humor. It seemed to be full of desperate people. Or maybe, instead of running out of ideas (not something Blessed Unrest could ever be accused of), it had too many all at once.

When Jessica the actress playing Lauren finally learns how to fall (in Act I), I was genuinely moved. That is a testament to Director Jessica Burr and her talented cast. “Lying” may actually be about a liar, a thief, a manipulator, a sociopath: Burr made me care about her. And that is no lie.

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ONE 9 • Down & Out Between Glasgow and Edinburgh

Kenny MacAskill, Orwell, arts funding and some fresh angles of an old question.

“Poverty is what I’m writing about.” -G.O. —

When George Orwell voluntarily submitted himself to a life on the low, he discovered two distinct stories in two major cities: Paris and London. In the former, while struggling for day

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ONE blogs – JOHN CALDER – Man for Monday: ‘LAISSEZ FAIRE’ EQUALS LET FAIL

The short reign of Gordon Brown will come to an end on the 6th of May, and looking back, there can be no question of it having been anything other than a disaster. Following in the misguided footsteps of Tony Blair, who simply continued the Thatcherite policy of deregulating as much as possible in order to let rampant greed and civic irresponsibility go wherever it wanted, Gordon Brown swallowed the old line that if things appear to be going well, then they will continue to go on for ever, thereby ignoring all history that, as everyone with common sense knows, says that what goes up in the air must sooner or later fall down. read more —>

ONE 9 • Notes from New York and Ireland

Notes from New York and Ireland
Home (noun) 1. residence 2. native habitat 3. place of origin 4. safe place
December 2009—Geraldine Sweeney
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ONE 9 • Leaving New York

LEAVING NEW YORK
By way of Havana, Miami, San Francisco & soon Barcelona

 

–Jorgé Soccaras
As a native New Yorker, leaving this place has been a marker for certain periods of my life. My first distinct memory of leaving New York was in1959 when I was seven years old. read more —>

ONE 9 • Hollywood Notes: Let Them Eat Cake

savehollywoodland.org

–Cheryl Compton

ONE Editor Martin Belk issued me a challenge for this edition of the Hollywood Notes:
“I would love to know what’s really going on behind the scenes out there. It’s amazing that they throw zillions at bad movies while everyone else eats cake.”
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ONE 9 • Paris Notes: Auto Bios & A Lady Named Betty

In the summer of 1982, while visiting my son, Jesper, in New York City, I decided to call my friend, Betty Dodson, to see how she was doing and to plug into her amazing energy and intellect. She answered the phone and reported she was writing her autobiography, that I was in it and that I should come over for tea and she would read the passage concerning us. I replied that I would like nothing better than to visit her and have a cup of tea, to catch up with her projects, but I had no desire to check-up on what she was writing about me. I trusted her completely and would read the book when it was published. We then agreed that I would come to her Madison Avenue apartment later that afternoon.

Paris Notes: Autos Bios & a Lady Named Betty
–Jim Haynes

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ONE 9 • Kansas City Notes: Down by the River (Missouri That Is)

Kansas City, Missouri is uniquely American. This is the place that gave us aviatrix Amelia Earhart, saxophonist Charlie “Bird” Parker, outlaw Jesse James and artist Thomas Hart Benton. While standing on a bluff overlooking the Missouri River, seriously dwarfing in size its more famous cousin, the Mississippi, one can readily imagine a riverboat paddling along as it did a hundred years before.
Like with most of the developed world, office towers and suburbs have now risen across this epic landscape. But the horizon looking over the state line into Kansas is remarkably unchanged. Sunrise and sunset are meaningful when you can actually view them without craning your neck.

Kansas City Notes: down by the river (Missouri that is)
–Blair Schulman

 

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ONE 9 • American Notes: Confessional Celebrity Culture Running Wild

It has been nearly a half-century since American film critic Pauline Kael wrote that celebrity in the modern world provided its own raison d’etre.

 

It didn’t matter why you were famous or if you deserved to be famous, she said, but just that you were famous.

American Notes: confessional celebrity culture running wild
–Lee Lowenfish

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ONE 9 • Legal Notices: This is Not a Circular

aslfhkjasklj
STATEMENT OF ACCOUNT
In response to the ‘Digital Economy Bill’ announced by the UK Government on the 20th Nov, 2009.

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ONE 9 • Poetspace

Vestibul med perspektiv Swedish
Cecelia Johanna Kopra
inte här, snälla
akuten är runt hörnet
nej, inte här
piccolo på röda mattan, två bagagevagnar i mässing
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ONE 9 • Theatrespace

Samaritan
by Lisa del Rosso

ONE 9 • Wheels Within Wheels: The Perpetual Motion of Political Spin

During the Crimean war, the first—and greatest—war correspondent, W.H. Russell, revealed the scandal of under-equipped troops serving at the front to readers of The Times. Such was the outcry following his article that a special debate was held in parliament, and new equipment dispatched to the troops in theatre within weeks.

 


Wheels Within Wheels – the perpetual motion of political spin
–James W. Wood

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ONE 9 • In Defence of Plagiarism: Mashing up Pop Culture’s Past

In a contemporary world of political and social cycles, with the same mistakes made time and time again, the one area of our lives where repetition is not only welcomed but encouraged is pop culture. read more —>

ONE 9 • New Fiction: Cancer Party

Prologue
‘1992. Winter.’
It was a celebration; it was a mourning.
The rain spat down on the frowning tartan umbrellas and ill-fitting trench coats gathered at the graveside. Adam had to strain to release his hand, a tiny bug locked in his father’s fist. He knew he should have been concentrating on the words, the ceremony, the celebration the family had tried so hard to make the occasion, but Adam couldn’t fathom this turning over of soil on top of a wooden box. read more —>

ONE 9 • Conversations: Kirsty Gunn & Martin Belk

Kirsty Gunn is Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Dundee. Her novel ‘The Boy and the Sea’ was awarded the 2007 Sundial Scottish Arts Council Book of the Year Award.

ONE 9 • Conversations: Suhayl Saadi on Writing, Publishing & Identity

ONE: What is the background to Joseph’s Box? How long did you spend writing it?
SH: I got the idea around 2000, and started doing research, then started physically writing it in the early part of 2002 when I received a bursary from the Scottish Arts Council, and blasted through it before I ran out of money. I left it to work on Psychoraag, until I had more time. I wrote the second two thirds between 2006 to 2007. I don’t how long it took, if you were to add it up to a fulltime equivalent, I think it would be probably about 18 months.
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ONE 9 • A Journey Far from Over: ‘The Invention of the Jewish People’ by Shlomo Sand

“I could not have gone on living in Israel without writing this book. I don’t think books can change the world- but when the world begins to change,
it searches for different books.”
— Schlomo Sand
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ONE 9 • Two Deaths of Liberalism: ‘First as Tragedy, Then As Farce’

Slavoj Žižek, a Slovenian Lacanian Marxist and provocateur of the Left, shows no sign of abating in his quest for the revival and return to the Communist spirit in his latest offering, First As Tragedy, Then As Farce. In this compelling work, Žižek performs his own particular analysis of the first ten years of the twenty-first century, taking as the starting point the attacks of 9/11 and finishing with the recent financial collapse. While these boundaries prove to be arbitrary in the subsequent thrust of his arguments, it is in his effortless switch from the complexities of Lacan to unashamedly popular cultural references such as the children’s film Kung Fu Panda that Žižek performs a stunning critique on the bankruptcy of liberalism and liberal democracy.
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ONE 9 • The Grumpy Chef: Food of the Fat Gods

We all have vices and habits, they’re human nature. They get us through our day and make us happy. Unfortunately now, one too many of my happy habits have been ruined by the ever expanding universe of food marketing which has become flooded with jumped up, opinionated oinks dictating what we should eat. Frankly, I choose to care not whether many processed products will increase my chances of getting some form of Cancer — my smoking, alcohol consumption and stressful working environment will take care of all that in due course.
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ONE 9 • Footnotes: Remembering Postcard Records

Postcard Records, with just 13 singles released over a period of 3 years, helped forge the sound of indie pop and radically changed the musical landscape of Scotland. Dubbed ‘The Sound of Young Scotland’ by label head Alan Horne, the music remains vital and exciting to modern ears. Run from a tenement flat on West Princes Street, the label has proven to be an inspiration for young musicians and has shown that important music made from modest means can be produced in Scotland. Postcards Records is little known outside of Scotland, and among post-punk indie fans around the world, but its influence is easily discernable in much of the main-stream indie music that has been produced in Britain over the past few years, most notably in Franz Ferdinand.
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ONE 9 • Why The Best is Off

Early 2010 is packing a theatre scene punch in, unlike the fall of 2009, which promised a bang and delivered a whimper. The best of the best right now is off-Broadway, and will leave you thinking and turning questions over in your mind long after the actors have taken their second bows (which they deserve, by the way). read more —>

ONE blogs – JOHN CALDER – Man for Monday: PAST, PRESENT & FUTURE

Anyone with a serious interest in history knows that there is no such thing as steady progress. There are times when things go forward and life improves, but always there is a counter-force that comes along, stops the advance and pushes human progress back. The golden age of fifth century Athens (BC) ended with the Persian wars, civil wars and then the growth of the Roman Empire, which itself was brought down partly by invasions from Germany and the East and its own internal upsets, but mainly by the rise of Christianity, anti-intellectual and anti-progressive, it always tended to support royal tyranny which was meant to reflect heavenly tyranny. read more —>

ONE blogs – JOHN CALDER – Mo-Mo-Monday: THE YEAR OF REVOLUTION CONTINUES

Yes, there are revolutions, one after another, and February has only just ended. I was touring Ireland with a theatre production when the election took place, wondering why they even bothered to go through the motions when the polls already knew the result and could declarer the new government without forcing the elector to go to vote. read more —>

ONE blogs – JOHN CALDER – Man for Monday: ‘THE MEANING OF CAPITALISM’

Adam smith in The Wealth of Nations described capitalism as a method of creating wealth through the use of innovation and invention, which in practise became mass production replacing handicraft and home industry. It also led to driving whole populations off the land and into factories and led to mass unemployment, which made brutal exploitation easy, so that those who understood what they were doing could become rich at the expense of society as a whole. read more —>

ONE blogs – JOHN CALDER – Man for Monday: ‘FAITH, HISTORY AND FRAUD’

Ever since the human mind began to ask itself the kind of question that animals never ask, such as ‘where do we come from?’, ‘why are we here?’, or ‘where are we going?’ there have been some willing to provide answers, usually to get an advantage. So a priesthood developed to give answers, prophets and preachers, and to them we owe thousands of years of cruel and bloody wars and conflicts that have made life intolerable for a majority of those alive at any one time. There seems to be a need to have faith in something, a religion, a patriotism, a fashion, a cause or a means of making money.

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ONE blogs – JOHN CALDER – Man for Monday: ‘SIX MONTHS FROM NOW…IMAGINE!’

Although the newspapers are not short of pundits, everyone is looking at the present, while the politicians and their friends who own the media, the bans and the big commercial and industrial enterprises, while looking to the past with nostalgia, and against all the evidence predicting that the recession is nearly over and the good timers about to return, are still refusing to recognise their past follies and face reality. But the general election is looming ever closer and now is the time to look at what will follow it. I shall certainly be wrong in much of the detail, but not think in the general picture of what we will see in six months time. read more —>

ONE blogs – JOHN CALDER – Man for Monday: THE POLITICIANS WE NEED: HOW TO GET THEM

There are three basic types of elected politicians. First, there are those who are hungry for power, not that much unlike those who seize it somehow, either by leading a revolution, a coup d’etat if they are in a position to affect one, or by turning a successful election into a dictatorship. Dictatorship is in any case what the power-seekers want and the present government is behaving more and more like one through its increased police powers, constant acts of censorship, and decisions taken that effect everyone without in any way seeking public approval. read more —>

ONE blogs – JOHN CALDER – Man for Monday: THOUGHTS ON DESERTS

Calgacus, the first recorded leader of the early Scottish Picts, who resisted the first Roman invasions, is quoted by Tacitus as saying: ‘They Make a Desert and they call it Peace.’ How true that is today. We with the Americans are among the worst offender in our futile and ultimately doomed attempts to impose an alien culture which we hypocritically call democracy on other parts of the world of which we have no significant understanding, currently Iraq and Afghanistan, although in living memory it includes other places, especially those that once formed the British empire and still does the American one. read more —>

ONE blogs – MARTIN BELK – film review: ‘NINE’ — “I should have IDIOT tattooed across my forehead”

Yes, yes you should, along with all the filmmakers involved in this project. Along with me for paying to sit through this nonsense. Daniel Day Lewis as an Italian? Please. Somehow tieing this into Fellini? A travesty. With this, and the goose-choking release of ‘Avatar’, I have a lingering question: with all the money, pr machines and resources in the world, how come Hollywood can’t eek out a good fart, much less a film?

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ONE blogs – JOHN CALDER – Man for Monday: WANTED NEW IDEAS

As 2009 approaches its dismal end and the next British General election looms ever nearer, the political parties are groping desperately for some new ideas and failing to find any. Even Vince Cable, the most articulate and believable member of the House of Commons, and one of the few certain to be there when the election is over, is saying little that is new. read more —>

ONE blogs – JOHN CALDER – Man for Monday : THE BLIND LEADING THE BLIND

As the depression deepens daily, it becomes ever more evident that no politician has any idea of what the situation really is, or what to do about it. Vince Cable’s book ‘The Storm’, published early this year, gave an accurate picture of what has led to the present crisis, but avoided saying what should have been done. As an active politician he could not outline unpopular measures with the next General election so near. Eventually, these measures must be taken. Robert Skidelsky, who wrote a fairly standard biography of Keynes, has just been published a new work, Keynes: The Return of the Master, which demolishes the inadequate apologias of those who believe that market forces and lack of regulation will eventually bring us back to a growth economy. read more —>

ONE blogs – JOHN CALDER – Man for Monday: CAN MAN PLAN?

On the opening day of he great international conference in Copenhagen, over fifty of the world’s leading newspapers jointly published a single editorial, emphasizing that this important event must not be allowed to fail. Interestingly, only one American newspaper, in Miami, Florida, was among them: New York, Chicago, L.A. etc. had obviously declined to join the consensus, an ominous signal of the American unwillingness to face reality or to confront the disasters that are now facing us.

There is everywhere and new awareness, except in the countries that either cannot conceive of losing the life-style they have enjoyed for decades or have just entered a new affluence such as China, which is still uncertain which way it wants to go. International careful planning to make a single world economy and level of existence is of course the answer, but is it possible? read more —>

ONE blogs – JOHN CALDER – Man for Monday: DEMOCRACY, RELIGION AND PREJUDICE

There are few countries where democracy really works, and usually it is because of a high level education, a unified general culture, and a high level of affluence, with little or no real poverty. Switzerland, with its four official languages, relatively high number of immigrants, many of them refugees from persecution elsewhere, is an exception, but it has a history unlike any other country: set up after the Congress of Vienna, as a group of small ethnic groups in an inhospitable mountainous landscape on condition it committed itself to specialise in highly individual products, such as watches, clocks and luxury chocolate, alpine carpentry, and a little later, touristic pursuits such as hiking, skiing, mountain climbing and elegant hotel keeping. read more —>

ONE blogs – MARTIN BELK – CALL TO ACTION: SAVE BORDERS PREVENT BOREDOM — A CRUCIAL PART OF BUCHANAN STREET

This is not advertorial. This is a blatant CALL TO ACTION on behalf of Border’s Books, Buchanan Street, Glasgow. I was saddened by the news of administration, I was sickened to walk by and see bargain-basement ‘CLOSING DOWN’ signs just now.

If Border’s Buchanan Street is allowed to close, Glasgow loses, in a big way. If the government can bail out the banks, they need to step in here.

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ONE blogs – JOHN CALDER – Man for Monday: POVERTY AND WEALTH

The new century is nearing the end of its first decade, but everyone looks back with nostalgia to the last one, forgetting the terrible wars, the holocaust, the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs, the suffering that went with the end of colonialism, the tyranny of Hitler, Stalin and many lesser dictators, remembering only the rising affluence that built up a culture of debt, mortgages and spent spend spend. So few now know their history that they have become accustomed to following the unreliable promises of politicians and the blandishments of commercial advertisers…that is until recently when the credit crunch brought back a sense of reality. read more —>

ONE blogs – MARTIN BELK – snap – CATCH A FALLING MAN: THOMAS HAYWOOD ON THE SCENE

ONE Magazine photographer and editorial liaise Thomas Haywood gets caught while catching a falling man at the Union Gallery, in joint collaboration with The Edinburgh Filmhouse:

MLB

 

ONE blogs – JOHN CALDER – Man for Monday: WHEN WILL THEY EVER LEARN?

So goes the song (Where have all the flowers gone?). Politicians will never learn because they don’t want to, because they will never admit that they are wrong, because they care little if at all about human life unless it concerns them personally, and above all because being in office gives them the impression that they are infallible. Their only fear is of losing their office and the power that goes with it. Arrogance comes after they have been in power for a year or so, and when public opnion swings against them they cannot seem to understand why? read more —>

ONE blogs – MARTIN BELK – WE’RE FALLING APART: IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT

http://s3.amazonaws.com/estock/fspid6/252000/francisco-closed-store-252082-o.jpg

I, for one, am very fatigued to keep hearing about the sad state of Western economies, particularly in the US and UK. Frankly, ‘SHUT UP ALREADY’, is my current sentiment. Every single bit of this so-called financial crisis is your fault, our fault, and now it’s high time to take action or just lie down and take it.

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ONE blogs – JOHN CALDER – Man for Monday: WHAT’S IN AN ‘ISM’?

At One Magazine’s public day on ‘Lying’, based on Oscar Wilde’s amusing little book on its decay, I pointed out my definition of what a society based on greater equality and fair distribution of wealth might be like, one lady, assuming that I was describing socialism, said that she had passed half of her life under communism in Russia and had firsthand experience of the failure of socialism. I told her that Russia, although it had been under Lenin through a period of violent Bolshevism had never had socialism. She could not have been a particularly competent reader of Marx, because very quickly Stalin had changed a Tsarist dictatorship into a totalitarian dictatorship (of the proletariat only in name), which in a country that was at the time composed almost exclusively of peasants, was very little different. She did not get my point because, as with most people, they connect a name with a situation which might, in reality, have very little to do with its original meaning. read more —>

ONE blogs – JOHN CALDER – Man for Monday: ‘THANK YOU PETER BRIERLEY’

A simple gesture can speak for the feelings of millions of people, and I would like to thank Peter Brierley, father of the soldier killed in Iraq, for refusing to shake Tony Blair’s hand because it was ‘covered in blood’. Indeed, his hands have the blood not of just of a few unfortunate soldiers, but of the millions killed by bombs on false information about the existence of ‘weapons of mass destruction’ which had already been dismissed as ‘highly unlikely’ by the U.N inspectors. read more —>

ONE blogs – JOHN CALDER – Man for Monday: A WEEK OF UPSETS

It is difficult to think of any week in which so much has been overturned as the one that has just passed. Members of parliament are in a dilemma. For years they have been making the taxpayers, who are their real employers, pay for personal laundry, house-cleaning and gardening work, housekeeping and repairs, mortgages and many other personal expenses which ordinary people in no way expect their employers to have paid, except indirectly through earned salaries and wages. They have been able to keep away from criticism by having no competent self-regulation and a code of secrecy protected in recent years by Speaker Michael Martin, whose recent elevation to the peerage is a disgrace. read more —>

ONE blogs – MARTIN BELK – THIS IS IT: POP AND CIRCUMSTANCE — on Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson from official site


I’m going to break with my normal postings here for a film review of Michael Jackson’s THIS IS IT.

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ONE blogs – JOHN CALDER – Man for Monday: TIME TO SAY NO!

It is time to say no to a great many things. First of all to the ridiculous notion that Tony Blair, an ignorant and simplistic chancer if there ever were one, should ever be considered for the new presidency of President of Europe, when it is not difficult to think of many other more suitable candidates. The position will be purely honorific, and if there is one thing to which Blair has proved himself to be completely devoid of- then it is honour. read more —>

ONE blogs – JOHN CALDER – Man for Monday: WHY NOT AN INCOMES POLICY?

Although politicians cannot see, do not realise it is happening, and are too pre-occupied with their own careers and well being, a radical change is taking place in society. We are constantly told that we will soon return to things as they were, that is to the period of concern only with one’s own financial spending power and pleasures, and a culture based on admiration of role-model celebrities, known- not for their intelligence, creativity and moral excellence- but for their good looks, luck or frequent appearances on television and in the fashion pages. Little thought has been given to the problems of millions of people that are short of the most basic means necessary for their subsistence- those unfortunate enough to be suffering barbarous persecutions and massacres, or even to the natural cataclysms of the a planet which is undergoing violent climate changes that will ultimately affect us all. Climate change, uncontrolled and reckless overpopulation, shortages of food, water and other basic needs: these things can no longer be ignored. read more —>

ONE blogs – TIM SMYTH – MIGHTY REAL: SYLVESTER — MAN AND MUSIC

Celebrating the Life of the Original Miss Thing

You been dancin’ all night long with so many different guys.
I waited patiently for you to notice me but you never caught my eye.
Make some room cuz I’m coming through….
The feelings getting stronger I’m not waiting any longer for you.

I can’t lose.
Taking love, taking love into my own hands
Don’t you try to stop me?

“Takin’ Love Into My Own Hands” Megatone Records

The determination heard in these lyrics clearly gives us a glimpse into what Sylvester was made of. Bursting on to the Disco scene in 1979 with his hit song “You Make Me Feel Mighty Real,” this flamboyant, totally outrageous, genderbender sashayed his way onto the world stage. The flamboyant falsetto singing powerhouse captivated gay and straight audiences and helped change attitudes and inspire everyone to discover their own “real ness.” read more —>

ONE blogs – JOHN CALDER – Man for Monday: THE IRRESPONSIBLE SOCIETY

Even in the Great Depression of the thirties, a time we are having to relive today, a sense of responsibility was generally cultivated in most families and classes. This consisted of not spending on what you did not need, not wanting what you could not honestly have, not letting yourself fall into debt if it could be avoided and in general living regulated and disciplined lives, helping others where necessary and not expecting too much out of life, which could be hard and needed much patience. read more —>

ONE blogs – JOHN CALDER – Man for Monday: A NEW LEISURE CLASS?

The real causes of the long-expected depression (by a few thinking observers anyway) are seldom mentioned. It is not just the greed of a few – bankers, CEOs etc. – but a historical phenomenon that has been growing ever since the beginnings of modern capitalism in the period that followed the English Civil War. This forced the too large and growing agricultural majority population off the land and into factories and whatever town life could offer in terms of employment. Most of it, other than heavily exploited factory workers, went into domestic service, some went into the arm and navy that created the British Empire, but miserable slum life, involving much crime, as captured in the novels of Disraeli and Dickens, was the destiny of a considerable number of the new urban proletariat. This led to the rise of the middle classes which was able to rival and often join the old landed aristocracy, much of it originally created by the Norman conquest. read more —>

ONE blogs – JOHN CALDER – Man for Monday: TERRORISM, PATRIOTISM, FANATICISM… What’s the Difference?

That which we call monomania by any other name would still be as dangerous… Our Man for Monday, John Calder, discusses where terrorism and patriotism converge and the consequences of governments, the press and militants – to paraphrase George Santayana – redoubling their efforts when they have forgotten their aim.

We use words as mind-set clichés and usually without much thought. George Washington was called a terrorist by the British parliament and, not that long ago, that was what Margaret Thatcher called Nelson Mandela, whose statue now stands proudly in Parliament Square along with Churchill, Abraham Lincoln, Disraeli, Gladstone and so many others, including Mandela’s one-time compatriot, although on the other side of the ideological fence, Jan Smuts. read more —>

ONE blogs – JOHN CALDER – Man for Monday: IS DEMOCRACY A GOOD THING?

Is democracy a good thing? According to Plato who was able to observe it in its early days in Athens, which first invented it, definitely not. It is too open to corruption, either by those who use it through demagogy or whipped-up prejudice or bribery to take advantage of the naivety of simple people to achieve their own ends, or because most people are too unaware of what is best for them to be able to make the right choices. All that remains true today. Plato saw how Socrates, probably the greatest thinker and teacher of his time, was driven to his death by corrupt democracy. Indeed, if it were not for Plato we would not even know of Socrates’ existence, let alone his ideas because he appears to have written nothing down. read more —>

ONE blogs – MARTIN BELK – THE ARROGANCE APPARENT: CARNIVAL IS THE NEW FESTIVAL

I had high hopes for this recession. The clearing of yuppies and trust-fund brats from Manhattan, the bust of mediocre record companies, film houses and television studios which, for the past 13 or so years have kept us swimming in beige. The clearing of yuppies and trust-fund brats from the rest of the world who now watch cable television and pretend they are in Manhattan. No such luck.

Last Monday, I sat with John Calder at a talk with MP Vince Cable, author of The Storm, and not unlike our own Mike Holmes of ONE Magazine, the only writers with the balls to write a preemptive newsflash about the current economic meltdown. The subject of the talk: The Root of All Evil? Morality and Money.

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ONE blogs – JAMES W WOOD – 80’s POP: A SPECIES OF ETERNITY?

Time for a little much-needed levity on these pages. Last week I dug out my mix tapes from twenty years ago. Some of you might remember these things – you bought the singles (or the albums), or borrowed them from friends and then recorded them onto cassette tapes so you could play them on a walkman or anywhere else on a ghetto blaster.

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ONE blogs – JOHN CALDER – Man for Monday: THE CAPITALIST CONSPIRACY

Looking at the last two-hundred years or so, one can see how the growth of capitalism, starting in a small way with industries perceiving a need or possible opportunity to create one, where some new invention had come along, often taking the willingness of people to believe in the value of what would turn out to be a bubble, has developed into what it is now. read more —>

ONE blogs – JAMES W WOOD – NEVER BEEN TOLD….

In December 1962, Kingsley Amis and his then wife, the novelist Elizabeth Jane Howard, were separately approached by The Observer newspaper and asked to name their favourite novel of the last ten years.

Their response raised a few eyebrows in London’s literary community, since both chose a moderately successful paperback, now long forgotten, by the novelist Elizabeth Taylor which was called Angel. Dealing with an unremarkable Buckinghamshire stock-broker’s wife who imagines how different her existence might have been had she made other choices, the Amises chose the novel because, as Amis remarked to Karl Miller in a letter, “it is written in a style that perfectly matches its subject”.

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ONE blogs – JOHN CALDER – Monday Monday… JIMMY REID: VOICE OF THE FUTURE FROM THE PAST

It always pays to look back over old books, especially if they are only partly read. Recently, I came across a book I’d forgotten (I had all but forgotten the author) and while re-reading Power Without Principles, published in Edinburgh ten years ago, I was struck by how little the book had ‘dated’ and partiucularly how much it applies to today, and how all the wrong things in the world that Jim Reid lucidly describes with great prescience are still present, only worse. read more —>

ONE blogs – JOHN CALDER – MONDAY MANIFESTO: Politics Again.

“A week is a long time in politics,” said Harold Wilson, and equally often quoted is Harold MacMillan’s reply to being asked why carefully planned policies so often go wrong: “Events, dear boy, events!”

Well, recent weeks have proved both statements not only relevant, but significant, in that a revolution in our political system is now inevitable, fuelled by an awakened public interest that has not been seen in our – until recently – trivialised society for a very long time. read more —>

ONE blogs – JAMES W WOOD – WORSE TO COME, BUT HOPE FOR THE FUTURE

ONE readers used to reading the unvarnished truth on this site will hardly welcome my first comment this week – namely, that the worst of this financial crisis is yet to come, probably in the autumn of this year or early next year at the latest. However, I’ll also argue today that there are signs of hope – not of a return to what we called “normality” over the last twenty years, but of a return to sanity and morality.

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ONE blogs – JOHN CALDER – Man for Monday – PRIVACY, PRESS INVASION, COPYRIGHT, INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY etc.

Many topics, but all interrelated! Information fed to the press by whistle-blowers about the extravagent expenses of M.P.s and others is leading to a political showdown that is generally welcomed, except by those involved. Other press revelations about the phone-tapping of mobile telephones to get spicy details about private matters is more questionable, and there have been some high-profile cases involving plagiarism of established copyright, as well as libel about such press figures as Lord Black and Desmond, owner of the Daily Express and many erotic publications. The whole question now arises: what is it good for us to know, how important is it to protect privacy and how far does intellectual property extend? read more —>

ONE blogs – JOHN CALDER – Man for Monday – THE ONLY ECONOMIC ANSWER: UNGLOBALISATION

“There is nothing we can do about globalisation,” said Tony Blair some years ago. Then the great easy-to-foresee disasters began. There was Enron, there was Lehman Brothers, there was Nothern Rock, Royal Bank of Scotland… and round the world enterprises failing, sometimes being rescued reluctantly by their national governments, sometimes not. Too big to fail is the lame excuse made in some places. Both Tony Blair and this second statement are wrong. So let us look at the causes and then what can be done. read more —>

ONE blog – MARTIN BELK – ‘For your consideration: MISS GRACE JONES’

You don’t ‘go see’ Grace Jones. You lounge with Grace Jones. Glasgow. 22 January 09

 

Somehow, although spending much of my young adulthood in New York City (well before HBO and Giuliani), 10 years of it as a club producer (before we had titles like ‘producer’) I missed Grace Jones…at Palladium (gone); At Mudd Club (gone); Or Roseland (gone or is now a senior center) — but as music, style and well, style goes: I didn’t miss her music or her influence.

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ONE blogs – MARTIN BELK – ‘For your consideration: MISS GRACE JONES’

You don’t ‘go see’ Grace Jones. You lounge with Grace Jones. Glasgow. 22 January 09

Somehow, although spending much of my young adulthood in New York City (well before HBO and Giuliani), 10 years of it as a club producer (before we had titles like ‘producer’) I missed Grace Jones…at Palladium (gone); At Mudd Club (gone); Or Roseland (gone or is now a senior center) — but as music, style and well, style goes: I didn’t miss her music or her influence.

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ONE blogs – JOHN CALDER – Man for Monday: O TEMPORA O MORES! WORSE AND WORSE

There has probably never been a good time. We quote Cicero, Wordsworth, Dickens and countless others, who mostly decried the time when they were condemned to be alive, and now that our own long period of apparent contentment is over, at least in the more fortunate parts of the planet, we can look at the mess around us, where the newspapers daily uncover something else to disgust us and question the hypocrisy that enables us to go on living with ourselves.

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ONE blogs – JOHN CALDER – Man for Monday: ACCEPTING THE UNACCEPTABLE

The laws of the Medes and the Persians, so the old saying goes, were unchangeable. It seems to be a feature of all animal life, including that of most of our human race, that we live in a situation, good or bad, that we expect will stay the same. read more —>

ONE blogs – JOHN CALDER – Monday, Monday: YES! THEY’RE ALL ROTTEN, ALL THE SAME…

The dissatisfaction with politics and politicians is pretty near universal just now, expecially in Europe. While Obama stands out as an emblem of hope, there is much pessimism about the problems ahead of him and a feeling that they are far too large for even his abilities, given the deepening of world recession and the volatile nature of American culture.

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ONE blogs – JAMES W WOOD – IT AIN’T NECESSARILY SO…

Towards the end of his life, Karl Marx admitted that he had underestimated the capacity of capitalism to adapt to changing social and economic circumstances. In making this admission, Marx was acknowledging the truth that the capacity to analyse and recognise features of a problem doesn’t necessarily mean that one produces the best solution to that problem.

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ONE blogs – MARTIN BELK – CATCHER IN COURT: A BATTING WIN FOR ART

Judge Deborah A Batts, of Manhattan may be the first in a revival of a once-popular trend: reading. In short, she sent Swedish writer Fredrik Colting packing. While I haven’t read Mr Colting’s book (and don’t plan to), I am elated that a judge took the time and effort to evaluate, from a literary craftsmanship standpoint, the work in question.

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ONE blogs – JOHN CALDER – John Calder Man for Monday: PROBLEM #1, EMPLOYMENT

We have a government that does not know what to do and an electorate anxious to vote, but not sure what it wants to vote for. It certainly knows what it wants to vote against. We have an international crisis that is mainly economic, but also a clash of cultures, faiths, nationalistic fervours and class and intellectual differences under which lies a deep and growing fear of what the future holds in store. read more —>

ONE blogs – JOHN CALDER – Man for Monday: YOU, YOURS, & BLACKS IN ABERFELDY

editors’ note: If you know anything about John Calder, one of the UK’s most notorious publishers — who has brought us Alleg, Beckett, Duras, Hiss and Selby. Typed in London on a manual, mailed to and re-keyed in Glasgow, ONE Magazine is pleased to present the second article from the Man for Monday.

Man is an animal, and all animals have certain things in common – one of them being a natural, tribal instinct. This means that prejudice against anything that does not belong to our own tribe is perfectly normal, as is the loyalty to one’s own tribe. Colour, race, religion – or even the fact of living a few miles away – arouse suspicion, dislike, even venomous hatred. This applies as much to rats and birds as to humans. read more —>

ONE blogs – JOHN CALDER – Man for Monday: ENLIGHTENING THE UNENLIGHTENED

Our’s is an interesting period. Everything has grown too bigand complex to be understood except by a few very intelligent people who areinterested enough to examine events and what has led up to them, and most ofthose are rogues who are looking for a what to take advantage of a world thatis not understood by those in authority, who only follow events long after theyhave occurred, and are wildly casting around for a cure which they will never find, because their thinking is only to go back to the past. They cannot imagine any other future.

But, there have always been a few honest gurus able tounderstand what is happening, able to describe it and prescient enough to guess at what is coming next — even to suggest solutions. read more —>

ONE blogs – JAMES W WOOD – IF SIX WAS NINE: THE SPIRIT OF SIXTY-EIGHT

How can today’s young artists, writers and intellectuals recapture the ideals of those caught up in les evenements of May 1968 in Paris? Is it still possible to feel that sense of adventure, creativity and youth in a world where we struggle just to find enough money to feed ourselves, a world whose defining characteristics are insecurity and uncertainty?

Daphne Kauffmann’s first novel, Nos mots croises (“Our Crossed Words”, Editions Intervales, Paris, 2009) attempts to answer these questions. Kauffmann interleaves her experience as a young writer and musician struggling to make a career with the recollections of Michel Besmond, a soixante-huitard who continued the adventure into the seventies, travelling to Mexico and beyond.

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ONE blogs – STEPHEN THOMPSON – ART AND CRAFT: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

Categorisation is as necessary to human life as breathing. We must have names and labels if we are to differentiate between one thing and another. To imagine a world without categories is to indulge in a spurious kind of intellectualism.

The problem arises when we come across things that defy easy classification, be they objects, processes, or states of being. Some things don’t fit easily into their prescribed boxes, if they fit at all. Take, for example, the question of what is art. Is a piece of jewellery art, craft, or both? read more —>

ONE blogs – JOHN CALDER – Man for Monday: BRING BACK CLAUSE FOUR

We live, not only in an age of political denial, but one of historical ignorance and total confusion over labels. New Labour never had much to do with Old Labour (which was never called that), but much to do with Thatcherism, imitated and closely followed by both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. We are constantly told that green shoots are visible, but not to me. Large conglomerates are failing, one after another, jobs are being shed, overproduction of many manufactured goods is meeting lower demand because of short of money, and the burden of both national and personal debt is in no way diminishing.

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ONE blogs – MARTIN BELK – WHITE PAPERS and NET PIRACY: PACK OF WHITE LIES…

Tomorrow, the UK government is set to release a ‘white paper’ on piracy over the internet. The assertion is that internet piracy is costing thousands of jobs, and threatening the film, radio and TV industries, as well as life in the free West as we know it today. BULL.

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ONE blogs – MARTIN BELK – BECKETT SUCCESS: ‘FILM’ and the art of conversation

Yesterday ONE Magazine hosted a successful West End Festival event. John Calder, Samuel Beckett’s publisher and friend joined a standing-room only crowd at the Grosvenor Theatre, Glassgow for a screening of FILM – Beckett’s one and only ventures into celluloid – starring the late Buster Keaton. read more —>

ONE blogs – JAMES W WOOD – BUDDY GUY – DAMN RIGHT HE’S THE REAL DEAL

The Rolling Stones’ last live album was the usual re-hash of hits everyone has heard everywhere over the last forty years – hardly even worth stealing. But one track makes it worth buying the double-CD deluxe version – their cover of Muddy Waters’ fifties classic, “Champagne and Reefer.” (check out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=724c8pQ9bRo)

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ONE blogs – JAMES W WOOD – POETRY FROM THE NEW SCOTLAND

This post has been edited following abusive and damaging comments made by a reader. The author considered removing this post but was dissuaded by other writers and ONE Magazine editor Martin Belk, who collectively support his right to speak freely and without fear of intimidation.

These days, the talk from academic critics is of there being “no young poets from Scotland”, and that – even where younger artists are writing- these writers are not taking risks. In other words, the youngsters are no good but even where they’re good, they’re dull.

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ONE blogs – JOHN CALDER – MONDAY x2: IS THIS A REVOLUTION?

Monday has come early with another blog from the indefatiguable John Calder. The media is exposing corruption en masse in our government and independents are gaining political clout with the discontent masses becoming disenfranchised with party politics. So, John Calder asks, Is this a Revolution?

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ONE blogs – JOHN CALDER – MONDAY MANIFESTO: POLITICS AGAIN

“A week is a long time in politics,” said Harold Wilson, and equally often quoted is Harold MacMillan’s reply to being asked why carefully planned policies so often go wrong: “Events, dear boy, events!”

Well, recent weeks have proved both statements not only relevant, but significant, in that a revolution in our political system is now inevitable, fuelled by an awakened public interest that has not been seen in our – until recently – trivialised society for a very long time. Although Gordon Brown, with his back to the wall, is putting up a spirited last-ditch fight to survive, nobody believes that a general election can be long delayed and what the result of that will be is anybody’s guess, probably an unlikely coalition of smaller parties. read more —>

ONE blogs – STEPHEN THOMPSON – THIS LITERARY LIFE: HOW I BECAME A WRITER

I decided to become a writer after reading Love In The Time Of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The year was 1990, and I was in rehab trying to kick my addiction to cocaine. It was the first novel I had read since leaving school, bought on the recommendation of a very persuasive second-hand bookseller, and long before I had finished it I knew what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.

The desire to write was so strong with me it felt like a sickness. The only problem was I didn’t know what to write about. I had no stories. read more —>

ONE 8 • Scotland Notes: Homecoming, Burns an’ a’ that

Scotland Notes: Homecoming, Burns an’ a’ that

ONE Magazine welcomes its newest contributor, First Minister Alex Salmond

The year 2009 is already shaping up to be an exceptional year for Scotland. Inspired by the 250th anniversary of the birth of our national cultural icon Robert Burns, our Homecoming Year is celebrating many of Scotland’s great contributions to the world. For everyone touched, influenced and inspired by Scotland, this year presents an opportunity to reconnect with our past, and play a part in the dynamic Scotland we are building today. And with three months of events behind us it is clear that Homecoming is already having a significant impact, with many events reporting and projecting high participation levels.

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ONE 8 • Glasgow Notes: From the Heart (By Way of Toronto)

Glasgow Notes: From the Heart (By Way of Toronto)

Leaving Glasgow for good was never my intention. Moving on was akin to boiling a frog; if I had left with the sole purpose of settling elsewhere the pain may have been too great for me to bear. As it was, I spent six months here and six months there: London, New York, Hong Kong, Sydney. Before I knew what my life was about I was travelling further afield and for longer periods of time.

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ONE 8 • New York Notes: Baseball’s Edifice Complex

New York Notes: Baseball’s Edifice Complex

Major league baseball in the USA has been on a binge of new stadium construction. Baltimore’s Oriole Park at Camden Yards started the craze in 1992 with a deservedly hailed ‘retro’ park that combined the intimacy and sightlines of a baseball-only ballpark with the modern amenities of wide concourses and copious concessions. Since the triumph of Camden Yards 17 of the 30 major league teams have built new stadiums. Or I should say had built for them with the generous assistance of local and state governments who have given team owners enormous tax breaks and also provided public funds for new highways and access roads.

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ONE 8 • Belfast Notes: Breaking New Ground

Belfast Notes: Breaking New Ground

Belfast is getting better. My perspective of Belfast is informed by a small graffiti I saw in a toilet stall in Europa Train Station. Nestled among crudely drawn penises and acronyms such as ‘IRA’, ‘UDA’, ‘INLA’, and ‘UVF’, were the words “I F*cking Hate Belfast” written in tiny letters upside down in one corner. As I see it, this kind of righteous anger towards all the insanity of The Troubles is exactly what is going to sweep Belfast into the modern age.

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ONE 8 • Hollywood Notes: Black Lists in Beverly Hills

Hollywood Notes: Black Lists in Beverly Hills

Every year Hollywood managers, agents and executives put together an inventory known in the business as ‘The Black List.’ Unlike the McCarthy witch hunts of the 1950s, the current Black List is a desirable and enviable place to be — the list of the hottest and most sought after screenplays in town. While the heavy dramas typically win the prestigious awards, this year’s Black List is 80 percent comedies. Is this a surprise in these economic times — that the entertainment business should actually entertain, and make us laugh?

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ONE 8 • Greetings from St. Andrews!

StAnza, Scotland’s International Poetry Festival kicked off last night with a inaugural address from First Minister Alex Salmond, and the immolation of sculpter David Mach’s Robert Burns match stick head – Rabbie burns… Rabbie burning… Rabbie burnt. Now,the 12th annual festival is well under way…

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ONE 8 • Berlin(ale) Notes: Views on Potsdamer Platz

Berlin(ale) Notes: Views on Potsdamer Platz

‘Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.’ Transpose Kipling’s Asian Ballad to Mitteleuropa and imagine the climate in Berlin before 1989. But, in November of that year, with one swell foop (Berlin said IamONE?), the wall came tumbling down and we now have ‘… neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth’.

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ONE 8 • Woodstock Notes: 1969 to 2009

Woodstock Notes: 1969 to 2009

Talking ’bout my Generation

This August will mark the fortieth anniversary of Woodstock, the historic festival at Bethel, New York where some of the greatest musicians of my generation performed; Joan Baez, Janis Joplin, The Who, Crosby Stills Nash and Young, the Grateful Dead and many others.

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ONE 8 • Poetspace

In the beginning was the Word,
somebody added an I
and all hell broke loose
.
—Peter Porter, from Cross Stitch

enjoy, link, but no copying. ©2009

Photography of Andy Warhol, Michael Wisenhunt, John Sex, Javier, International Crisis, Rebecca Field, The Warhol Skull, Leigh Bowery, John Kelley, Betsy Johnson, Marcus Leatherdale, Cirque du Soleil, Mark Garbarino Madonna and Keith Haring by Marcus Leatherdale www.MarcusLeatherdale.com

Poets: Peter Porter, Kevin Cadwallender, Robert Burns, Lord Alfred Douglas, Lord Gawain Douglas, Mary Folliet, Peter McCarey, Marilyn Chiat, John Calder, Angus Peter Campbell, Judith Taylor, Ken Abrams

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ONE 8 • Black Down in Britain

Black Down in Britain

From an Obama victory back to 1970s Britain: Stephen Thompson, popular author of Toy Soliders and Meet Me Under the Westway reflects and arrives with some new takes on politics from both sides of the pond.

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ONE 8 • Art and Matter

Art and Matter

Art and Matter: the idea came to me recently in Paris, at an exhibition of manuscripts. Near a letter written by an anguished Paul Verlaine, not far from one in the actual hand of Marie Antoinette, was a page from Albert Einstein. Although I could read little of the text and formulas, I was impressed by the composition as a whole, with variable line weights, lengths and shapes and intricate notations. Where would an Einstein find himself today, I wonder.

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ONE 8 • No Thoughts on Art: an excerpt from the final manuscript ‘The Dusty Answers’

No Thoughts on Art

On the tenth anniversary of his passing, ONE Magazine presents the first published peek at his final manuscript The Dusty Answers. If, according to The Naked Civil Servant, ‘an exhibitionist has no friends,’ then what happens to the exhibitions?

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ONE 8 • Shooting Warhol

Shooting Warhol

by Gerard DeGroot

The author of the controversial book The Sixties Unplugged (2008) revisits a pivotal event for he infamous Pop Artist.

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ONE 8 • Welcome to Generation Free

Welcome to Generation Free

What does every good techno-revolution need? A great mutiny. While the self-proclaimed keeps of pop culture join the ranks of the chicken-little licensing naysayers, a new generation has emerged that is savvy and immediate, with a clear message: the jig is up. Smells like punk.

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ONE 8 • A Matter of Art

A Matter of Art

Can art matter in the age of the internet now that noone pays for anything anymore?

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ONE 8 • ‘The Death Predictor’: Winner of the Scottish Book Trust Creative Writing Competition ages 12-16

The Death Predictor

Horace screwed the final bolt into place before standing back to admire his creation. How long it had taken him to perfect his machine! It was unreal. For years Horace had been cooped up in his house. He wouldn’t leave for weeks on end, working in every spare second he could find. He no longer socialised and hardly ever left his living room, never mind his house. Neighbours no longer sent him Christmas cards and the community in which he had lived for many years didn’t even know his name.

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ONE 8 • ‘Dreams, Lessons, Friendship, Hope’: Winner of The Moth Teen Story Competition

Dreams, Lessons, Friendship, Hope.

Each year The Moth invites one brave teenager to share a personal story on our main stage in New York City. They share the stage with celebrated writers and performers, which would be intimidating for someone twice their age. Last year, that teen was Tavar McKenzie. From our first telephone call she blew me away with her intelligence and warmth. A lot of teens we meet want to talk about forgetting their first homework or missing the bus, but Tavar insisted on a much more challenging subject. Last April, in front of a crowd of 300 people, she took The Moth stage by storm with a fierceness that first broke our hearts, then made them cheer. Tavar is a true rock star and we feel so honoured to have met her at the beginning of her journey. We can’t wait to see how high she’s going to fly.

– Catherine Burns, Artistic Director, The Moth NYC

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ONE 8 • ‘She’s My Dream Come True’: Polmont YOI Short Story Winner

She’s My Dream Come True

As part of ONE Magazine’s prison writing programme we hosted a creative writing competition throughout the young offenders institution. Entires came in from throughout the gaol, in all genres, and this piece of fictionalised autobiography emerged the winner. PJ Thompson’s delicate piece demonstrates that not all teenage men are the brutes that society likes to imagine, nor are all young offenders the one-track thugs that tabloids like to sell.

– Martin Belk, Writer-in-Residence, Her Majesty’s Young Offender’s Institution, Polmont.

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ONE 8 • Genesis of the Grumpy Chef

Genesis of the Grumpy Chef

Step aside Gordon Ramsey, your nemesis has arrived… and his vocabulary extends beyond ‘f*ck’.

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ONE blogs – JAMES W WOOD – THE GIFT: PHILIP BLOND AND NEW LOCALISM

By way of a springtime gift, I can’t offer readers of ONE anything better than to direct them to this piece by Philip Blond, a Director of Demos, the London-based research institute:

http://www.prospect-magazine.co.uk/article_details.php?id=10608

In it, Blond describes with laser accuracy the nature of the current crisis – and what needs to happen to get us out of the crisis. Among many sound points in his analysis, one point struck a deep chord with me – namely, that the UK is crippled by the fact that too many of the people and too much of the talent lives (mostly of necessity) in the South-East of England.

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ONE blogs – JAMES W WOOD – BLOGGING IN THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY…

As the media we’ve been used to collapses around us and politicians are proving to be more corrupt than at any time since the English Civil War, it’s worth looking backwards to get a taste for how things might be in the future.

Three hundred years ago, before the advent of learned journals and newspapers, Europe’s intellectuals conversed with each other by letter. These letters were written in Latin and took dangerous, twisting paths from the author to the recipient. If they survived the highwaymen and the perils of the voyage, the letters were ready avidly by those who received them, and most usually by an extended circle of admirers as well.

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ONE blogs – JOHN CALDER – Man for Monday – WANTED: A COMPETENT ELITE

Great Britain has always been a country in love with the amateur and only during the last two-thirds of the twentieth century has that in practice, if not altogether in theory, diminished. Sport, for instance, whether in field sports, boxing or equestrian, was an activity for amateurs, usually gentlemanly ones, until spectator interest attracted the attention of commercial interests and big money produced sporting heroes able to earn good money through their talent, thereby attracting regional or sectarian fan-support , which made their sport widely popular, commercially viable and above all: professional. read more —>