Blog / 2017

Christopher Fowler
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The Arts
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For everyone it was an astonishing year in politics; bizarre, divisive and absurd by turns, Trump and Brexit occupying far too much of our energy and attention. Most have come to the realisation that leaving Europe has already damaged our finances and our international standing. Will Brexit have an upside? Perhaps, if it makes us rethink our attitudes to others. Travelling around the country this…
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Christopher Fowler
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The Arts
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This is one for which writers themselves (me included) are culpable. Writers have often been outsiders, and have had a tendency to write without boundaries. The great censorship battles of the past are well documented, from 'The Communist Manifesto' and 'Main Kampf' to 'Fahrenheit 451' (oh, the irony). Naturally many banned books have sexual content, like the salacious satires of 'Lady Chatterley…
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Christopher Fowler
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The Arts
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Our next taboo concerns ghettoised writing. As someone who prefers inclusivity at any cost, I now feel impatient with the ghettoisation of certain types of literature; women's writing, gay writing and to a lesser extent black writing, only because I find it hard to read about any section of the population in isolation from any other. I appreciate that in a geographically diverse America these sub…
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Christopher Fowler
Posted in
The Arts
As I'm now only a short distance from the Mayan complex of Chichen Itza in Mexico's Yucatan it occasions me to forget the astonishing history of this lost civilisation and recall instead the truly hideous 1970 TV special 'Raquel!' which featured Ms Welch singing and posing her way through different world locations with Tom Jones and John Wayne. Here, the Mexican authorities allow a TV crew to…
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Christopher Fowler
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The Arts
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I've been looking for patterns in reader satisfaction. Working on the Forgotten Authors project for so long has given me a sense of what proves popular, and it seems to me that readers are both open to originality and experimentation, and a good, simple idea well executed. What I think readers don't like is over-complexity for its own sake. I'm on the same page. There's a reason why certain books…
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Christopher Fowler
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The Arts
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While I'm having sight problems I'm using pre-prepared blog items every few days to get me through; they're all new, but I can't write lengthy perambulatory pieces about London at the moment. This week's song comes from the opening of the 1979 Palme D'Or winner at the Cannes Film Festival 'All That Jazz', about the life of Bob Fosse, who nearly killed himself through overwork while simultaneously…
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Christopher Fowler
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The Arts
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I suspect that when it comes to fantasy (although tell me I'm wrong) that you're either a Harry Potter fan or you prefer the Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell trilogy. A more divisive choice lies between 'The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe' and 'His Dark Materials'. The choice is complicated by the issue of religion. CS Lewis's books are a clear Christian parable. Pullman's trilogy is an inversion…
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Christopher Fowler
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The Arts
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We've come a long way since James Bond slapped a girl on the bottom and told her to fetch him lunch. Watching old Hollywood films yesterday, it was shocking to note how many of them gave no dialogue lines to women but simply dumped them from the plot once they'd taken a shower and walked about provocatively in a bikini. Black males were pimps or thieves, and black women were invisible. In many…
10 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Media & The Arts
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There's been a lot in the academic press lately about the ways in which public-driven censorship is destroying free debate. Although this is currently more of a US talking point, what starts there usually ends here. Currently there are over a dozen books featuring drugs, abortion, race and LGBT issues on the US college libraries' 'most banned' lists, along with 'To Kill A Mockingbird', which faces…
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Christopher Fowler
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The Arts
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The Fleet Street play 'Ink' has transferred from Islington's local Almeida Theatre to the Duke of York's in St Martin's Lane, where I just saw it, and is a good example of a play whose seemingly esoteric subject reminds us of a pivotal point in British social history. It concerns the beginning of the end, when editor Larry Lamb took over an ailing newspaper, The Sun, and explores his faustian…
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