Art and Culture

Making drama to quicken the heart

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Trevor Griffiths, co-writer of the film Reds, talks to Phil Turner about why he is committed to making a film on 18th century radical Tom Paine.

During his life Thomas Paine was hounded from Britain, imprisoned in France and treated as a pariah in the US, his adopted country. Why should we celebrate Paine's life and work?

He was one of a fairly long line of British socialists or pre-socialists, radicals whom history has sought to erase in one way or the other.

Welcome to the revolution

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I might be a month late, but I think it is time to celebrate the October revolution. No, not the Russian one, but Wednesday 10 October 2007.

That was the day Radiohead released In Rainbows, an album not only available as a download, but - wait for it - the buyers decide how much they pay!

Yep, for as little as one penny you can get yourself an album by one of Britain's biggest bands. Thom Yorke, the band's lead singer, told a journalist, "We're not part of this big empire - it's trying to get away from that because it's the death of anything creative." But I wonder just how noble the band's aims are.

Playing for the Moment

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The Bays are one of the most exciting bands in Britain, with an innovative and unique sound. Yet you won't find their music in record shops. Band member Simon Richmond talks to Hannah Dee and Martin Smith.

You have made a choice not to make records. Is that because of a musical ideology?

There are two ways of looking at it, and we kind of like to have it both ways. On the one level it isn't really an ideology. It's what musicians have always done, which is perform and entertain. The recorded music industry is about 100 years old whereas performed music is as old as humanity. The choice to perform and not record is more in tune with what the spirit and essence of making music is all about.

Reality comes home

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Atlanta International Airport is a major transportation centre for US troops going to serve in Iraq. I happened to be passing through the day after General Petraeus gave his report on the so called "surge" and the day President Bush made a major speech on the conflict.

Television screens sited all around the airport lounges beamed Bush's speech. The place was alive with US soldiers discussing the situation with each other and members of the public. Many soldiers openly voiced their opposition to the occupation.

Picket lines and songs of protest

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Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello talks to Martin Smith about playing at stadiums, demonstrations and coffee shops.

Tom Morello strolls into the hotel lobby wearing an IWW baseball cap - the International Workers of the World or Wobblies as they are more commonly known were advocates of militant industrial trade unionism in the early part of the last century. He also carries an acoustic guitar, with the slogan "Whatever It Takes" painted on the front. By any definition Tom Morello is not your average rock star.

Blair in the dock

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Theatre director Nicolas Kent and Guardian journalist Richard Norton-Taylor are well known for their powerful plays based on tribunal hearings. They talked to Mark Brown about their new drama, Called to Account, which puts Tony Blair in the dock over Iraq

An interesting process has taken place since the movement against the Iraq war exploded onto the British political scene. A legal term, which ordinarily would be a topic of discussion for only a small minority of the population, has become part of mainstream public consciousness - possibly millions of people in Britain believe that their own prime minister is a "war criminal".

Reflections on Empire

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Jonathan Maunder looks at contemporary art in the US in the post-9/11 era.

In his poem "Lennox Avenue Mural", the black American poet Langston Hughes captured perfectly the tension in a society where people's hopes and ideals are continually frustrated:

"What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore -
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over -
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?"

Interview: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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'My book is not just about people thrown into a war where we watch them die. It is about people who have full lives and how war changes them'. The award winning author of Purple Hibiscus, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, talks to Charlie Kimber about her new novel, Half of a Yellow Sun, set during the Biafran War.

Although she is only 29 years old, the Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has won wide acclaim. Her first novel Purple Hibiscus was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction and longlisted for the Booker.

Her latest book, Half of a Yellow Sun, focuses on the Biafran War.

Don't Go, Don't Rush, Don't Spend

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Cesky Sen (Czech Dream) is a film that documents the largest consumer hoax the Czech Republic has ever seen.

Filip Remunda and Vit Klusak, two young Czech student documentary filmmakers, in co-production with Czech Television, set out to explore the psychological and manipulative powers of consumerism by creating an advertising campaign for something which doesn't exist.

Time for a Commercial Break?

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Have you found that while waiting for the 73 bus you hear voices?

Or have you come away from the stop for the 149 smelling of the latest fragrance from Givenchy?

Well, fear not, you're not going insane - these are just a few of the bus stop shelter "innovations" that companies like JC Decaux are promoting as outdoor advertising gimmicks to try to tempt the pound from out of your pocket.

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