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Caveat Emptor

The opinions expressed on this page are mine alone. Any similarities to the views of my employer are completely coincidental.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Moral Dilemma: Zwarte Piet edition

Lots of shouty stuff on twitter right now about VC pay. I've had my say and have little to add. The important question isn't about how much you should pay your VC but about how you should construct the process that determines what you pay your VC. Here's a clue: the answer to the second question isn't let HEFCE decide or let Andrew Adonis decide.

Anyway while thinking about controversial issues I was heartened to  hear of  one country  where all there is to  worry about at the moment is the colour of Santa's helper on St Nicholas' Day. In the Netherland this is celebrated on December 5th but everywhere else that I know of on December 6th. Of course we are talking about a country that is so reasonable that it can even go without a government for 208 days without anything terrible happening. And it has a sense of humour. Here is Zondag met Lubach's take on the ethics of blacking up. Luckily since I can't understand a word of spoken Dutch there are subtitles. TRIGGER WARNING. There is something in this to offend practically everyone. Enjoy.

Friday, 24 November 2017

Friday music

It's Friday, I'm off to see West Side Story but in the meantime here's Arif Lohar with some Sufi mysticism.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Rodney Bewes RIP

So long
Rodney Bewes.

That was your

You were a likely lad.
Keith's mum said:
Whatever happened?

No Beiderbecke.
No bloater.
No fishy on a dishy.

And now
Your boat has
Come in.

E. J. Bolam  82¼

Monday, 20 November 2017

Hannah Ryggen at Modern Art Oxford

If you are in town then check out the Hannah Ryggen exhibition at Modern Art Oxford. It's really worth  a couple of hours, not because there is so much to see, just a couple of rooms, but because you need a little time to let the woman's achievement sink in. 

She was a Swedish self-taught tapestry weaver who after marrying a painter moved to a fairly remote part of Norway and lived for most of her life on a pretty primitive but self-sufficient smallholding. There she produced a couple of hundred tapestries, spinning the fibres herself and creating her own dyes from whatever was around - urine, moss, bark and so forth.

Most of her works have overtly political themes - she was a member of the Norwegian Communist Party - like this one celebrating and memorializing Liselotte Hermann  who was executed by the Nazis in 1938.

Even after the occupation of Norway and the imprisonment of her husband she continued to weave large allegorical  tapestries embodying her political vision.

Be sure to take time to watch the documentary film on show at the exhibition (it has English subtitles unlike the link above). The impression you get is of a woman with a singular vision determined to let whatever is inside her express itself whatever the obstacles.

I rather admire people with  a calm but  assured sense of purpose. There is a real sense in which important things can get done by everyone tending their own garden and rowing with the oars they are given.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Friday music

It's Friday so what better than to listen to some cool rabbis play Neil Young? These  guys really rock.