Their finest

A celebration of cinema and when Britain and its empire stood alone against the Nazis.
A reminder of the sexist nature of the world of work.
An entertainment.

And how the screenwriters must have enjoyed writing a screenplay where the screenwriter is the hero in a war film.
(No doubt learning from journalists who make themselves the hero in a political story.)
One bigger quibble – the female lead makes strides for women and without any real reason, falls for the boss at work (having fallen previously for an artist who didn’t champion her) without any kind of narratve to suggest there had been real warmth.  Surely the screenwriters should have spotted that.


Touched” is an acclaimed play, first shown in Nottingham forty years ago, and being shown at the Playhouse again.
But because it was first shown 40 years ago, parts of the play that might have been novel then – home abortions, nuclear bomb explosions – have been shown again since by other productions – including in the Playhouse.  So the play has become thinner with time, and I wonder if the script wasn’t worth a re-visit to give a bit more width to the other characters in the play.
Still go see Vicky McClure and definitely go see Aisling Loftus (compelling) – Nottingham born actors.
Meanwhile, gotta say, got distracted by the projection of a map of 1940’s Nottingham onto the set.  Towards the end, the graphics showed parts of the city disappearing under the boiling cloud of atomic bombs – save the scale of the explosions were far too small; a bit odd.

Denial: the verdict

“Irving has for his own ideological reasons persistently and deliberately denial-irving-loses-ruling-ab0745hmisrepresented and manipulated historical evidence; that for the same reasons he has portrayed Hitler in an unwarrantedly favourable light, principally in relation to his attitude towards and responsibility for the treatment of the Jews; that he is an active Holocaust denier; that he is anti-Semitic and racist, and that he associates with right-wing extremists who promote neo-Nazism…[4][65] therefore the defence of justification succeeds…[5] It follows that there must be judgment for the Defendants.[66]
The court case verdict is so important.
The solicitor says it plain: the defendants’ book has stood the test.
And the Fascist’s credibility as historian is destroyed.  He is a racist and anti-Semite, he is a holocaust-denier – the judge found so.

Coverage of the case on TV that night kinda gave Irving a chance to repeat the stuff he’d been found wrong on, and emphasised why Lipstatd and Penguin Ltd.’s took the stance they did – put Irving on trial, not the author, and not the survivors of Auschwitz.

Denial” the movie is great.
Congratulations to all involved.
Says what holocaust denial is.
Shows Auschwitz as is now, in a compelling  and moving way.
Shows the defendants being knowledgeable, determined and effective.
Says you must be accountable for what you say and not all opinion carries the same weight.

There were risks – reducing 32 days of a trial to 32(ish) minutes of screen time (e.g. didn’t understand why the judge was exploring new questions during a defence’s summing up).
But the film is a triumph.

I’d been waiting for this film to be shown – because in 1980, I joined a number of people who shouted David Irving down when he came to Birmingham University’s Guild of Students, invited by the Debating Society.  He spoke, but he wasn’t heard.  A kinda colleague, Labour, with great English skills, put out a leaflet equating those of us who’d shouted as Animal Farm’s pigs who’d learned to walk with two legs.  (My previous attempts to use Guild Council to cast doubts on the reasons for his invite from the Debating Society had been ruled out of order – I was only an associate member(!))  Yet a big message from the film was to point out the problems of debating with such re-writers of history.  They didn’t deserve such a platform.  I feel the film vindicated those of us who said – these are not the kind of people to debate with.

And the hallmarks of holocaust denial –
1. the killings were not systematic;
2. the numbers were exaggerated;
3. Auschwitz wasn’t built for extermination;
4. the holocaust is a myth.

And in a subsequent development, Deborah Lipstadt has developed ideas of soft-core holocaust denial – worth reading.

Holocaust Memorial Day civic service of commemoration – 2017

You need social courage”   …. from HMD’s video   … worth 3 minutes of your time –

A ceremony held a The Council House – this year much more about the genocide of the Jews during WWII.  A shame Donald Trump couldn’t join in.
Instead – chaos at US airports over actions geared more to prejudice than effective action against terrorism; Mo Farah likely to be excluded from training in the USA; legal officers having to suspend aspects of a Presidential order cos of lack of process; a fire attack on a mosque in Texas.

Paddy Tipping – a descendant of the Huguenots who came to Britain centuries ago to avoid persecution by the then Catholic church – spoke on current concerns :
about heightened prejudice against Muslims; contrast that with how well all our kids get on at schools; hate crime remains an issue, even if it’s calmed down since after the Referendum.

We Will Remember


Nottingham Black Archive and Black Poppy Rose remembered heroes from the Caribbean and Africa who fought in the World Wars (1914-1918 and 1939-1945).
Over 30 adults and 11 children attended.

Pictures and more information available in Facebook.

Happy to update with more information.

Where Nazi HE bombs fell on Nottingham

The Local Studies section of Central Library has a map of where high explosive bombs fell on Nottingham during the second world war.

The City Centre.
IMG_0797ac0668h WWII he bombs city centre
Does not show the extent of fire damage.  Or the bomb that hit St.Mary’s.

The Nottingham Midland railway corridor.
IMG_0797ar0793h WWII he bombs midland railway
Hundreds of coaches were damaged.

From Eastcoast down to Meadow Lane.
IMG_0797al0967h WWII he bombs Meadow Lane

The Meadows.
IMG_0797am1229h WWII he bombs Meadows
Including Wilford Crescent West where the rumour of a buried unexploded bomb remains current.

Meadow Lane Co-op Bakery bombing

IMG_0807fc1275h Battle of the Flames coop bakery WP_20160509_12_27_16_ProThe site of the Co-op bakery on Meadow Lane where 75 years ago today, 48 people were killed and 20 injured by Nazi bombing.

The Co-op built a big grave at Wilford Hill Cemetary for the victims.
There was a memorial plaque remembering the deaths at the bakery, but after the site was sold the plaque was moved to the Wilford Hill Cemetary.

I posted on Facebook about this, and community activst Richard Gutteridge replied “I understand that there is still a bomb under Wiford Crescent West. It did not go off so they just filled in the hole. Another one demolished part of Ryland Crescent just to the North.”