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Random Thoughts for 20th February 2013: Richard Briers, Caedmon and Ella Fitzgerald

fathom-posterThis is the latest in my series of Random Thoughts posts with links, things found on the web and other stuff that has occurred to me between 12th February 2013 and 19th February 2013:

The Liberal Democrats are the only fair tax party – Danny Alexander

“In government, Labour increased tax on low income households; in government the Lib Dems have led the largest programme of tax cuts for working people for a generation. If it’s fairer taxes you want, the Liberal Democrats are the real thing and Labour a pale imitation.”

New Lib Dem peerages: runners and riders

A good analysis of the potential names in the frame for new Lib Dem peerages from Liberator’s blog.

The educational charities that do PR for the rightwing ultra-rich

Should think tanks have to disclose who funds them in the same way that political parties do? That was the question I was asking after reading this George Monbiot article.

Roobarb and Custard 1974

I’ve been reading various people’s reactions to the news of the death of the actor Richard Briers this week. They seem to be divided between those who want to highlight his theatre and Shakespearian roles, those who remember his various TV sitcom characters, and then those who want to talk about his narration for the children’s series ‘Roobarb and Custard’. Which means I have now had that theme tune in my head for the last day or so. I don’t see why I should suffer alone:

Fathom (1967) – IMDb

For some reason I’ve always remembered Richard Briers role in the silly 60’s Raquel Welch spy caper film “Fathom”. Apart from the set piece girl on a parachute scenes there isn’t anything particularly memorable about this film which I can’t have actually seen for at least 25 years. So I was trying to work out why. I think it might be how Briers’ originally likeable character suddenly and chillingly turns nasty during the course of the film that made an impression. That was the thing about Richard Briers as an actor – there was often something unsettling about him. Even his most loved sitcom characters had an edge to them.

Richard Briers, Tom Good and the rise of Margaret Thatcher

That element of edge was there in Richard Briers portrayal of Tom Good.

Anglo-Saxon Portraits: Caedmon

In a previous ‘Random Thoughts’ post I recommended the Radio 3 Essay series looking at the Anglo-Saxons. Several more episodes have been added recently. Even if you have no interest in this period of history you really should listen to children’s writer David Almond’s deeply evocative depiction of Caedmon “the earliest English poet whose name is known”.

Man admits handling stolen Wenlok Jug

The thieves who stole the (since recovered) historic Wenlok Jug from Luton’s Stockwood Discovery Centre pleaded guilty at Luton Crown Court last week.

Ella Fitzgerald Sings ‘Summertime’ by George Gershwin, Berlin 1968

This is so lovely. There is a moment just over half way through that gave me goosebumps. (Hat tip Open Culture [Edit: Video was removed :-( ]

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