Starting in May and continuing on into June, Community Channel is proud to dedicate a season of programming designed to raise the profile of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities both in the UK and beyond. will celebrate the unique arts and customs specific to Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, as well as explore some of the most pressing social, economic and political issues they face in modern Britain and across Europe today.
We’ve been working hard on getting in titles for the season, such as four documentaries from the excellent Mundi Romani series, The Pied Piper of Hutzovina with Eugene Hutz of Gogol Bordello, a range of titles from the fantastic Jasmine Dellal and, of course, Lunik IX, by our very own Artur Conka.
We’ve also been filming the GRT360 news bulletins for UK and EU, as well as an Agony Aunt show with Travellers’ Times‘ Violet Cannon. They’ll will be shown around 9pm and 11pm on weeknights. I wrote and edited some of the scripts, and sat in on pretty much all of the filming to mark up the scripts. Behind-the-scenes pics below…
From Paddy Power of all people…
London, November 22nd: After weeks of flack, Newsnight finally has some Christmas cheer to celebrate. Its economics editor Paul Mason is Paddy Power’s joint 5/1 second favourite to win the Literary Review’s ‘Bad Sex’ Award.
Nominated for a stirring passage taken from his debut book in which he describes an overweight businessman trying out tantric sex whilst explaining a financial transaction … “He began thrusting wildly in the general direction of her chrysanthemum but missing, his paunchy frame shuddering with the effort of remaining rigid and upside down. ‘The cartel, sells, to the global market,’ he panted… He switched to some ancient steppe language as he ejaculated, blubbering and incoherent.”
However, before he can get his hands on the gong, Mason is facing some stiff competition.
The current 3/1 favourite is Bad Sex veteran Tom Wolfe who scooped the prize in 2004. Going for an uncomfortable double, the racy Wolfe sets the tone… “Now his big generative jockey was inside her pelvic saddle, riding, riding, riding, and she was eagerly swallowing it swallowing it swallowing it with the saddle’s own lips and maw — all this without a word.”
Sadly, Will Self’s impenetrable sex scene in Umbrella failed to make the shortlist, however Sam Mills’s creepy homage to the author, The Quiddity of Will Self, is a generously priced 5/1 for many a sterling effort which include “My cock soared Selfwards … her climax shuddering up, up, up to Will”
A slightly flustered Paddy Power spokesperson said: I was about to tell you I almost spit out my cornflakes devouring Mason’s prose but given his taste for flowery language I don’t want anyone getting the wrong idea. Anyway, best of luck Paul, everyone at Paddy Power is rooting for you, in a non-sexual way mind.”
These two films each take an unflinching look at the damage wrought when countries have change imposed upon them, but leaven the tone with helpings of ridiculousness.
Midnight’s Children (in a nicely streamlined screenplay by the novel’s author Salman Rushdie) sticks with the magic realism of the novel, such as when India is actually plunged into a permanent midnight during Indira Gandhi’s State of Emergency in the mid 70s, known as the country’s “darkest hour.”
The novel’s sense of the absurd is woven throughout the film, mirroring the the attempts of the narrator, Saleem Sinai, to create a coherent narrative out of all the strange things that have happened to him and to the newly independent India, since both were born on 15th August 1947.
The fact that No succeeds as an engaging film to such a greater extent than Grassroots shows that political races on film need to be contested by sharply-outlined protagonists. Furthermore, while there can be laughs, playing the whole contest for laughs kills the anticipation.
The 56th BFI London Film Festival will open tonight with Frankenweenie, a stop-motion take on the Frankenstein story, directed by Tim Burton. It will close on 21st October with Great Expectations, starring Burton’s partner, Helena Bonham Carter.
The Festival has a new director, Clare Stewart, who’s shaken things up a bit. Here’s what she has to say about the next 11 days:
So this happened:
I’m always on drugs … Look, I couldn’t spend another summer meeting deadlines behind a computer at night when I could be on the rooftop of Le Bain looking for shooting stars and smoking angel dust with my friends and writing a book, which is what I’m doing next … Drug addicts undeniably bring editorial black magic to the table like nobody else, but obviously we make the worst staffers.
That is lovely writing, but the content. If it was fiction, it would be great, but it isn’t: Cat has now left xojane.com, and is definitely not heading back to rehab. She is walking away from a writing job to take drugs and write a book.
Cat Marnell’s columns for xojane.com exist at the sharp, scary end of women’s confessional writing, along with Liz Jones‘s for the Daily Mail (read those last two in succession; feel your heart break), where the reader actually becomes concerned that the writing is a continuing call for help that no one is answering. I always found Cat’s columns hard to read for that reason.
At the other end of the spectrum, you have Lena Dunham‘s work and Candace Bushnell‘s dating columns that led to you-know-what. In these columns and TV shows, the material for the written confessionals comes from Candace/Carrie and Lena/Hannah Horvath’s lives, but is fictionalised lightly, and transformed into something fun, or at least wry, no matter how many disasters happened.
In between, there’s every other female writer who’s worked in the confessional mode (which is most columnists you can think of). Men rarely work in this genre; it isn’t really expected of them. Why is that?