Culture column

An open letter to Nick Cave

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Acclaimed rock band Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds played two shows in Tel Aviv in November in contravention of the international cultural boycott of Israel. Arts journalist and BDS activist Mark Brown has written the following open letter to Cave.

Dear Nick,
“Some people say it’s just rock and roll. Oh, but it gets you right down to your soul.” This lyric from your song “Push the Sky Away” could function as a shorthand expression of the relationship I have had with your work for much of my adult life.

As a theatre critic and arts journalist, I spend much of my professional life trying to find art works that transcend the banalities of everyday life and touch something profound in the human experience. Rarely am I as affected by the work I review as I am by your music.

Dylan did not go gentle

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Dylan Thomas

The centenary of the birth of the great Welsh poet Dylan Thomas is being marked by a host of events across Wales, including tours, art shows, film screenings, plays, lectures and poetry readings. The highlights include a Dylan Thomas Festival in Swansea between 27 October and 9 November and exhibitions at Swansea Museum and the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth.

Scotland: Independent artists

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Yestival, Scotland

One of the most exciting aspects of the Scottish referendum campaign has been the way in which it has reinvigorated political debate and civic life across the country. The flourishing of activism has been predominantly on the pro-independence, Yes, side of the argument and noticeably left wing. It has also fed into all manner of other campaigns, from the movement against the Bedroom Tax to the outpouring of rage against Israel’s war crimes in Gaza.

Documenting the struggle

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Still the Enemy Within, the passionate, crowd-funded film about the 1984-85 Great Miners’ Strike, won the Audience Award at the Sheffield International Documentary Festival where it was premiered last month.

The film combines a wonderful mix of elements to illuminate the strike. First hand testimony comes from ex-miners, campaigners from Women Against Pit Closures and members of black, student and gay and lesbian support groups.

He's a right royal knockout

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10 September. Write that date in your diary NOW. If you can afford it, book a holiday; if you can't, stock up with sick-bags. You will need them because on that day the Invictus Games will begin. You have been warned.

If you believe the hype, these "Games" were the brainchild of Prince Harry, but in reality they are a copy of the "Warrior Games" held in Colorado last year. Men - there are no female "heroes" apparently - who have been mutilated in the NeoCons' wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will have a run around and a kick about.

Man of celluloid

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Thanks to a new high definition restoration, Polish director Andrzej Wajda's iconic 1976 film "Man of Marble" has the chance of a second life.

Wajda became famous in the 1950s for his war trilogy which included the masterpiece "Ashes and Diamonds". These were tragedies of the human condition in the face of profound moral dilemmas. His heroes often struggle for freedom or dignity against overwhelming odds. Wajda's stories are deeply embedded in Polish history, yet they have a universal message appealing to a wider audience.

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