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Showing posts from September, 2018

I DON’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT [128]

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Last week, the “Radio Times” published an article by former TV talk show host Sir Michael Parkinson, calling for UK television to have a US-style chat show for five nights a week. According to him, the only time it was tried was when Channel 5 launched with “The Jack Docherty Show” in 1997. However, research digs up Channel 4’s “V Graham Norton” (2002-03), Norton having first presented a chat show by standing in for Docherty; BBC Three’s “Johnny Vaughan Tonight” (2003), and most recently ITV’s “The Nightly Show” (2017), before you count shows from Paul O’Grady, Alan Titchmarsh and Richard & Judy during daytime hours. Parkinson then suggested Piers Morgan as host, someone who already had his own chat show, on CNN, which was cancelled in 2014 following declining ratings. Television isn’t exactly bereft of different ways to have one person interviewing someone else, but the reason I am not a fan of it when presented to me as a chat show is because there is something that fee

THERE’S A GHOST IN MY HOUSE [127]

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Trying to take a complex philosophical concept, that I am only just beginning to understand, and trying to apply it to chocolate, to make it easier and more palatable, may well be the most literal possible example of biting off more than I can chew. However, with long-gone brands, and their tastes, still on the tips of many tongues since childhood, there may no be easier place to start. What am I talking about? A word that has come to mind a lot recently has been “hauntology,” which was coined in 1993 by the French philosopher Jacques Derrida. It is a play on “ontology,” the philosophical study of being, of existence and reality, of how things can be said to exist – the French “ontologie” and “hauntologie” sound identical when spoken. The idea that existence can be haunted comes from Derrida, in his book “Spectres of Marx,” ruminating over how Communism can be said to have failed, with the Soviet Union having been dissolved in 1991, despite Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels opening

WE’VE JUST BEGUN TO DREAM [126]

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The Walt Disney World Resort is almost its own entertainment nation state, made up of theme parks instead of cities. At thirty-nine square miles, it is the size of the Caribbean island of Montserrat, or slightly bigger than Jersey. Its second theme park, Epcot, opened in 1982 as a celebration of human endeavour, a kind of answer to how the Magic Kingdom came to be. Building from Walt Disney’s original idea for the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, where traffic would travel in tunnels under a lush garden city, the “EPCOT Center,” to use its original name, would combine two further theme park concepts, one of technology and another of international cultures, into what was often labelled a permanent World’s Fair. Disney’s involvement in the 1964/65 New York World’s Fair is a precursor to Epcot, where its attractions “It’s a Small World” and the “Carousel of Progress” would be relocated to Disneyland after the fair ended, while Disney’s first full animatronic display, “

WHEN I SEE AN ELEPHANT FLY [125]

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On 3 rd July 2018, Southwark Council approved the demolition of the Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre and surrounding buildings, to be replaced by a mix of low-cost apartments, student flats, retail and leisure space. The owners of the site intend to close the centre by 31 st March 2019, with its tenants being offered lower rent and help moving to other sites in the meantime. How nice. I have only visited the Elephant & Castle once before, around twenty years ago, when my brother played ice hockey. We must have parked under the shopping centre, then walked across to the venue, passing through the centre to get supplies. The reputation the Elephant & Castle has gained as being a kind of, well, white elephant probably didn’t make an effect on us at the time, as we lived close to the Tricorn Shopcentre in Portsmouth, a Brutalist concrete construction routinely labelled the worst building in Britain, until it was demolished in 2005, its bazaar of dark corners replaced