Hello and welcome to this edition, which finds us in a characteristic frame of mind, with articles on radical thought, overlooked music, and government propaganda documentaries, among others.
Our feature articles this time include my breathless canter through critiques of the Enclosure movement in English literature and song (a paper which was kindly presented on my behalf at the 2011 Loughborough University English and Welsh Diasporas Conference by Professor Julian Wolfreys). A new book on Shakespeare is the springboard for Mark's entertaining foray into Stratford-upon-Avon, to ponder its reinvention by the nineteenth-century heritage industry.
In Art, Paul provides a moving appreciation of the Barbara Hepworth: Hospital Drawings exhibition, which showcases the artist's eloquent depictions of surgeons engaged in life-saving interventions. He also highlights the little-known story of Henry Stuart, Prince of Wales, who died in 1612 at the tender age of eighteen, a tragedy retold in the current exhibition of memorabilia from his reign. The Books section contains plenty to chew on, including Mark's puckishly humorous review of The John Lennon Letters, edited by Hunter Davies. Fred evaluates a new offering on English utopian thought by Swiss author Reto Suter, uncovering a fascinating and little-known English reaction to the French Revolution. History buffs will also enjoy Steve's cogent evaluation of A Short History of England by Simon Jenkins, and James' review of the latest instalment in Dominic Sandbrook's epic series of modern popular histories, Seasons in the Sun. On a lighter note, James enjoys the quirky science fiction Truxxe trilogy by Ruth Wheeler, whom he also interviews.
In Cinema, Neil finds much to fascinate in the BFI collection of British government propaganda films, Roundabout 1963, which conjures up a lost and yet familiar world. He also provides a critical but touching review of the new Julien Temple film, London: The Modern Babylon, which examines the capital's evolution into a model metropolis. Television contains Neil's psychologically penetrating examination of the legendary seventies comedy series The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin. Music is chock-a-block with album reviews and artist interviews. New folk and rock album releases include offerings from Richard Thompson and a host of up-and-coming bands, as well as plentiful reissues, and artists interviewed include Chris Wade of Dodson and Fogg, the Fierce and the Dead, Ebony Tower and Thieves' Kitchen. The classical review section is awash with recordings of music by Vaughan Williams, Bridge, Grainger, and an obscure member of the Purcell family, among others. Finally, in Diversions I confess to a soft spot for early Cliff Richard movies and discuss a few of my favourites, while Em samples the latest beauty products.
The weather right now is grim, both literally and metaphorically, but we would like to remind readers that, in the words of the old song The Banks of the Sweet Primeroses,
There's many a dark and a cloudy morning/ Turns out a bright and sunshiny day.--The Editor