Culture

“We needed to write our own history”

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Known as the “Godfather of Black British Photography”, Vanley Burke was born in Jamaica and moved to Birmingham in 1965 at the age of 14. He spoke to Birmingham poet Kurly about his life, his photography, how communities had to respond to racism after immigrating, and his new exhibition at Birmingham Cathedral for Black History Month, Being Built Together.

How were things when you arrived in the UK compared with where you were brought up?

Matangi/Maya/M.I.A

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Celebrities often talk about themselves as if they’re among the most important people in the world. Rapper M.I.A is different. She has spent her career talking about some of the most marginalised people on the planet, including victims of war and in particular, refugees. Now she has an opportunity to tell her story without being ignored. If anyone deserves to make a film about themselves it is M.I.A.

Lindsay Kemp: working class bohemian

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The unexpected death has been announced of Lindsay Kemp, I was going to say the dancer, but he was far, far more than this. He had a profound effect on the art and music scene of the 1970s and beyond and he was at the centre of an LGBT+ cultural revolution in London. As he once said, “We wanted to change the world, and we did for at least ten minutes.”

Heads Roll

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In the age of the selfie and endless posts of faces on social media, what can the artistic portrait tell us about how we see ourselves and others?

Sheffield-based artist Paul Morrison, who is well known for his often unsettling pictures of plants and horticultural subjects, looks at a completely different genre of art in Heads Roll, which he has curated.

Killing Eve

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Eat your heart out George Smiley, here comes Eve Polastri, earthily played by clever Sandra Oh.

Connecticut-raised and London based, Eve’s on the staff of MI5 with a routine job in security, but her background in criminal psychology drives her to look more deeply than her boss likes into a string of professional assassinations across Europe — and begin to draw some connections.

Bodyguard

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New BBC series Bodyguard is high octane from the opening moments, as the lead, Specialist Protection Officer David Budd (Richard Madden) helps locate a suicide bomber on a London-bound train and talks her down from detonating her device. The following day Budd is promoted and begins work protecting the home secretary, Julia Montague (Keeley Hawes).

The Little Stranger

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Part gothic ghost story, part social commentary on post-Second World War Britain, Lenny Abrahamson’s film is a tense psychological (or is it supernatural?) study of class and the change wrought by war.

Adapted from Sarah Waters’s 2009 novel, it stars Domhnall Gleeson as Faraday, a youngish doctor in a Warwickshire village just before the National Health Service. He lives alone and spends his working hours tending to the rural poor. Then one day he is summoned to Hundreds Hall, the stately home his mother had worked at as a maid a generation before.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post

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A study published by the Williams Institute this year estimates that in the US almost 700,000 LGBT adults aged 18-59 have received “conversion therapy” in an attempt to “cure” them of homosexuality. Half of them went through it while they were adolescents. Over a third received the treatment from registered health care professionals, the rest from religious advisors.

Political theatre returns

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La Maladie de la Mort (The Malady of Death), based upon Marguerite Duras’s 1982 novella (which was, famously, written in the depths of the author’s alcoholism), was one of the highlights of last month’s Edinburgh International Festival. Staged for the leading French company Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord by acclaimed English director Katie Mitchell, it is an atmospheric and discomfiting hour of theatre.

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