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Ruth Ewan - A Jukebox of People Trying to Change the World

Cooper Gallery, Dundee (online) Jukebox Jive ‘Too many protest singers Not enough protest songs’   And then Ruth Ewan came along with  A Jukebox of People Trying to Change the World . Twenty seven years on from this perfectly reasonable observation by Dundee-raised Edwyn Collins in his euphoric 1994 smash hit, ‘A Girl Like You’, this latest iteration of Ewan’s rolling programme of socially driven songs shows just how much times have changed.    A Jukebox of People Trying to Change the World was first presented in 2004, and since then has been shown in London, New York, Venice, Bordeaux, Liverpool and Louisiana. Ewan’s ongoing folkloric excavation, à la Hamish Henderson or Alan Lomax, has developed so it now contains an ever-expanding collection of more than 2,000 works that might be broadly described as protest songs. This provides the perfect set list for the sort of political cabarets that have given voice and inspiration to protest movements for decades.    This time out, the  Jukeb
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Annea Lockwood – For Ruth

Counterflows At Home   The sound of laughter is what strikes you first in For Ruth, the nine and a half minute sound work composed by Annea Lockwood. As the flagship piece for the 80-something New Zealand born composer’s tenure as featured artist in this year’s online edition of Counterflows, the annual Glasgow-based showcase of free thinking music, the laughter is infectious.    The laughter too is the unselfconscious kind that erupts uncontrollably when two people find boundless, all encompassing joy in and with each other. The birdsong, sounds of lapping water and more ethereal echoes that filter through between add a filter of sense memory to such intimate exchanges.    For Ruth is drawn from recordings of telephone conversations between Lockwood and her late wife, fellow composer and kindred spirit of more than four decades, Ruth Anderson. The calls took place shortly after the couple first met in 1973, during the first giddy flush of what was initially a long-distance romance.  

Paul Ritter - An Obituary

Paul Ritter – Actor Born December 20, 1966; died April 5, 2021      Paul Ritter, who has died from a brain tumour aged 54, was a quietly brilliant character actor, who had the ability to inhabit each new role to the point of being unrecognisable. He became an increasingly familiar face as the eccentric and often shirtless patriarch Martin Goodman during the six series’ of Robert Popper’s  sit-com, Friday Night Dinner (2011-2020). Martin’s many off-kilter tics included greeting his grown up sons as “bambinos” and smearing tomato ketchup on his bare chest.    He was odd in a different way as shabby forensics genius Randolph Miller in all twenty episodes of Paul Abbot’s deadpan Manchester-set police drama, No Offence (2015-2018). Ritter could be scary too, as he was playing Anatoly Dyatlov, the bullying engineer at the heart of the real life nuclear power plant disaster in Chernobyl (2019).   Previous to this, Ritter had come to prominence as Guy Hainesin James Bond film, Quantum of Solac

Bertrand Tavernier - An Obituary

Bertrand Tavernier – Film director Born April 25, 1941; died March 25, 2021      Bertrand Tavernier, who has died aged 79, was a filmmaker who applied an endless curiosity about human behaviour and the world it exists in to a weighty and expansive vision across almost forty features that took French cinema beyond the New Wave. Tavernier was perhaps best known in the UK for English language features that included ‘Round Midnight (1986), which starred real life jazz musician Dexter Gordon as an addict saxophonist. Over forty years as a director, his range embraced everything from slow burning cop dramas to historical period pieces, all driven by a political sensibility that loomed large.   This was clear from his debut as a director on The Watchmaker of St Paul (1974), which drew from a story by Georges Simenon in its study of a father and the detective searching for his teenage son after he apparently killed someone. Corps de Torchon (1981) was adapted from Jim Thompson’s pulp noir nove

George Segal - An Obituary

George Segal – Actor Born February 13, 1934; died March 23, 2021    George Segal, who has died aged 87, was an actor who rode a wave of grown up comedies during  the 1970s, when Hollywood was exploring some of the new freedoms opened up the decade before. Segal evoked the amorous ambitions of assorted hapless but usually well intentioned roués at odds with their lot. He did this with an understated twinkly-eyed dryness as he sparred gently with a role call of actresses who similarly defined their era.    He starred with Barbra Streisand in The Owl and the Pussycat (1970); played a suburban bank robber alongside Jane Fonda in Fun with Dick and Jane (1977); and – magnificently – played opposite Glenda Jackson in A Touch of Class (1973). Out of this came a kind of post me-generation focus on romantic shenanigans that took screwball comedy into more intimate areas.   Segal first came to prominence for his Oscar nominated turn in Mike Nichols’ big screen version of Edward Albee’s play, Who’

Nicola Pagett - An Obituary

Nicola Pagett – Actress Born June 15, 1945; died March 3, 2021    Nicola Pagett, who has died of a brain tumour aged 75, was an actress whose refined presence lent itself to numerous aristocratic roles over a distinguished high profile thirty year stage and television career . She first came to prominence in Upstairs Downstairs, Jean Marsh and Eileen Atkins’ cross class early twentieth century set TV drama that ran from 1971 to 1975. Pagett played Elizabeth Bellamy, the rebellious daughter of Lady Marjorie Bellamy and her Conservative MP husband Richard. During her time in the show, Elizabeth flirted with socialism, became a suffragette, and married a sexless poet before being dispatched to America following Pagett’s departure after two series’.    Pagett went on to play the title role of Anna Karenina in a ten-part BBC adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s novel that saw her make Tolstoy’s free spirited heroine her own.  “There's nothing remotely ethereal or delicate about me,”  Pagett told

Yaphet Kotto - An Obituary

Yaphet Kotto – actor   Born November 15, 1939; died March 15, 2021    Yaphet Kotto, who has died aged 81, was an actor whose commanding presence came to prominence when he played dictator Dr Kananga, the nemesis of James Bond in Live and Let Die (1973). As the film’s chief villain, Kotto’s character disguises himself as New York drug lord Mr Big. If some scenes looked straight out of the blaxploitation handbook, any badass attitude was upended during Kananga’s final tussle with Roger Moore’s Bond, when his body inflated like a balloon  after he swallowed a gas pellet  and exploded.   Kotto later made a more heroic appearance as doomed engineer Parker in Alien (1979), directed by Ridley Scott. By that time he had been Emmy nominated as best supporting actor for his portrayal of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin opposite Peter Finch and Charles Bronson in TV film, Raid on Entebbe (1976).   Latterly, Kotto became best known for his long-term tenure in Homicide: Life on the Street (1993-1999), as