Saturday, April 24, 2010

Radio Waves

I always have mixed feelings about radio programmes, and I certainly never thought I would be writing a post about Laurence Llewlyn-Bowen, but on Sunday afternoon his 'Escape to the Country' slot on Radio 4 is about Feargus O'Connor and the Chartist Land Plan:

"Our tendency to idealise the countryside hasn't always reflected the reality of rural life. But it provides a fascinating glimpse of our dreams and fears as a society.

Out of the insurrection and radicalism of the 1840s came the idea of the countryside as a place of freedom and independence from the squalor and sweat of industrial servitude. In 1842 Feargus O'Connor, the charismatic leader of the Chartists, drew up the Land Plan, which showed how ordinary people across Britain, could plough their own furrow.For O'Connor a plot of rural land had the capacity to deliver financial independence and social dignity to the poor."

Although I am pleased to see Chartist land scheme given coverage - the intention of the Chartists was not to make the poor financially "independent and dignified" but an attempt to transform the relations of production at a time when the relentless enclosure of common land had impoverished vast numbers of people, who were being forced into wage slavery by the privitisation of land, state terror, and the transformation of the economy by industrial capitalism. It will be interesting to see the context in which the programme sets the land scheme.

Also worth catching is the Radio 3 'Words and Music' programme on Sunday(10.15 pm), which brings together a series of short readings under the heading The Rebel:

"From the Paris Commune to the American teenage rebellion of the 1950s, from home life to public life, David Bamber and Gillian Bevan explore the defiance of personal rebellion and collective uprising."

There is enough potential in this subject for a whole series of programmes, but I will be listening in particular to hear the reading of Louise Michel's poem 'L'oeillet rouge'.

The real treat of the week for me, however, is the repeat of Richard Mabey's series of five essays on the theme of "The Scientist and the Romantic" at 11.00 pm Monday to Friday on Radio 3 - flawless prose, in which Richard explores his lifelong relationship with science and nature.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Divide Between People and Nature

Peter Marren explores the social and legal forces that perpetuate and widen the gap between separation of people from nature in a perceptive article in the Independent

"Personal, direct contact with nature is being discouraged by fusspots and busybodies and control freaks who seem to want to regulate every waking moment of our lives. You can read their disapproval in the small print under the welcome sign at the entrance. Look but don't touch. You know it's illegal."

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Colin Ward Memorial/Celebration

Five Leaves, the publisher of many of Colin's books have just circulated first details of the celebration/ memorial for Colin:

"On Saturday July 10th there will be a grand celebration/memorial meeting for Colin running from 2.00pm -5.00 pm at Conway Hall in London. Ken Worpole is officiating. The event is free and all are welcome."

The event will include several speakers and music. Appropriately, given it was Colin, there will be displays of his past work, first editions and the like, as well as a large bookstall. Five Leaves is also rushing through a new edition of Goodnight Campers! A history of the British holiday camp (co-written with Dennis Hardy, one of the speakers) which had been planned before Colin died.