Animal Farm: the graphic novels

Animal Farm “featured at number 31 on the Modern Library List of Best 20th-Century Novels.” Yep, and I’ve bought a graphic version of it.
One reviewer says it’s the first graphical version, but that’s not true – Ralph Steadman did a version in 1995.
Says something of the power of the book, that I remember bits that aren’t featured in this version – e.g. the return of religion through the crow.
The story remains unbearably sad, or depressing.

Mind you, could do with George Orwell now, to write about Trump and Johnson; or maybe the nature of financial markets.

Ken Fleet

Ken Fleet on a European nuclear disarmament demonstration in Brussels, 1981.
Photo from Tony Simpson and the Guardian.
I happened to be at that demo, but travelled with colleagues from Birmingham.

Ken Fleet organised many of the radical groups run from Nottingham, along with Ken Coates, that gave Nottingham such a radical reputation in the eighties.
Always pleasant to talk with.
Tony Simpson has written an obituary, published in The Guardian.

Extract of obituary written by Tony Simpson.

UK travel vlog of Nottingham by Renata Pereira

The second of two vlogs on Nottingham; published December 2018.
The first – is Nottingham real? – focussed on the castle and around.

Seen a few Vlogs on Nottingham now, and a number of its viewers have said this one is worth watching.
Of course, I’m sensitive to what is missed – the radical history of Nottingham, its sports history, the night life (tens of thousands at the weekends), the cultural offer – and the repaired building featured is better known as the offices of our best ever architect. If given the chance, might have recommended other restaurants.
Not allowed to film in some of our attractions, where the tours are a key part of their business, but photo presentation was a good substitute.

History of Broad Marsh by NottsFlix

The Broadmarsh shopping centre regenerates; the video author is a Doctor Who fan.

Ran into this 3 part video history series after seeing a travel vlog.
Written and presented by Michael, of Nottsflix, and published in 2018 and 2019, this is a pretty impressive effort if, as claimed, this was his first attempt. It tries to be light-hearted.
I’m not an historian so can’t know is everything is right, but it seemed pretty compelling to me.
A history of the Broadmarsh shopping centre, starting with what Broad Marsh itself was, how it was known to be a monastery, how it was taken over for various trades, how living conditions came to be so intolerable despite the wealth being generated in the city, why the shopping centre came about and why it has the brutalist architecture (albeit, 3rd wave, muted brutalist architecture).
Michael has also found letters from the protestors against the shopping centre being built, although seems a little unclear as why the council was so keen (suggesting something dark and underhand).
Not sure. One of the losses that at one stage the early and much more ambitious proposals for regeneration wanted to re-instate was the previous city streets plan for that area (although that was also compromised by Maid Marian Way. That optimistic time was first publicly promoted I think in 1997, but the scale of the proposals was huge, and the then owner Westfield, had other projects, e.g. Derby’s shopping centre, that were easier to do and so done first.

Meanwhile – look the videos up –
The Shopping Centre with Too Much History | Broadmarsh #1 | Nottsflix History (November 2018)
The Shopping Centre with A Dark Past | Broadmarsh #2 | Nottsflix History (March 2019)
The Shopping Centre Rises | Broadmarsh #3 | Nottsflix History (August 2019)

Clement Attlee came to power 80 years ago

The Labour statesman Clement Attlee (1883-1967). He was Prime Minister from 1945 to 1951. (Photo by © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

Since local elections generally take place between the 1st and 7th May, it’s been quite a time for my Labour Councillor friends, celebrating their anniversaries as Councillors.
And why not? Available every waking hour and seeking to implement a free society with no unjustifiable inequalities to help the many rather than just a few from a council and ward level.  
On Friday, we were invited to celebrate the 75th anniversary of VE Day, but the signs are that we’ll be invited to think of in terms of veterans from the armed forces rather recalling the wider efforts of the people, their long hours, low rations and extra duties that put more of them in jeopardy.  
Through experience of a planned economy and consideration of the previous inequalities in health care, and wealth and employment (especially in the ’30s), people came to want more; and voted for it on 5th July.  
So on Sunday, 26th July, we can celebrate the 75th anniversary of Clem Attlee and the Labour government coming to power. The day when Britain “won the peace”.
And as a friend recently pointed out, we overlook the contribution of Labour to organising the delivery of victory.

So this Sunday, we can celebrate the 80th anniversary of Clem Attlee and Arthur Greenwood joining the government. Viewers of the “Darkest Hour“, broadcast for the first time on BBC tv, can be forgiven for wondering who Clem was, if they didn’t ready know. The dialogue he had was for a debate that Arthur led on, and in which Churchill gave the government case – instead the film showed an empty seat with a hat on (laughable).

Victory in Europe Day – 75 years on

VE-Day; telegram from Eisenhower; front page of Nottingham Evening Post.

Hard to celebrate during the lockdown, but the television broadcasts are also a bit safe and dull. Perhaps I’ve read too much Spike Milligan, but I thought there was a great deal of irreverence around.
Socialists have of course been keen to emphasise the victory over fascism.
Keir Starmer’s video was broader than that.
But it appears we all might have been trumped by Germany’s SPD party and also by the speech by the German President.

Saw some front garden parties, where people might just have crossed the line, but tricky for anyone to police. Enjoyed a garden tribute to one WWII soldier.
My penance for not doing more on VE Day – learning more about the Nuremberg trials.

I wonder what some were hoping the message was going to be today as they made the 75th anniversary of VE Day a public holiday.  
Perhaps – that Britain at its best can be the best and doesn’t need anyone else.  
Well, watch the history and know, we absolutely did need others; know that the WWII spirit in facing down a crisis lasted as long as the panic buying for toilet rolls; and realise, that Britain, despite the efforts of our key workers, is nowhere near its best, just when we needed to be.

We can do better; we can be better; no more lions being led by donkeys.


John Howes served on the western front

John Howes – Dad and Grandad. Called up Christmas 1942 just before his 19th birthday. Landed in France 22nd of June 1944. Saw action at Caen, Brest and beyond. Only brother killed in Burma 1944 aged 24. Wounded and hospitalised 30.3.1945. Voted Labour in 1945 – Attlee was his MP. NHS delivered in 1948. Lifetime pacificist thereafter. A great generation – we owe them so much. Photo shows him with a tank crew and tank in Belgium in December 1944.

Happened across this on my exercise walk; a simple display of paper and cardboard and gaffer tape; a member of a tank crew, that a descendant wanted to celebrate; not only for his service, but also for his politics.  
Of course, so many could be celebrated in this way today.  
But I happened across this one, so here it is.