Professor Brian Cox told us all about the universe in Nottingham last night. It wasn’t a lecture because we were drinking cosmic beer and no-one fell asleep, but an awful lot of information poured out in fast-flowing Mancunian, devoid of pauses and punctuated by lots of smiles. At one point half way through I thought I understood Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. But this morning I realise that with every passing second more of that knowledge is slipping away into the space-time continuum and so I need to get this blog down fast.
Last week, the Mayor of New York, Bill De Blasio, announced free access to health care for all New Yorkers. For British citizens a universal right to free health care might not sound radical – it is something those of us under the age of seventy have enjoyed our entire lives. But medical bills are the single biggest cause of bankruptcy in the USA. Having witnessed some of those closest to me requiring urgent access to our free British National Health Service over three successive New Years, I am in full agreement with the Mayor when he says that “[h]ealthcare is a right not a privilege reserved for those who can afford it”, but also reminded that it is a “right” that most global citizens do not actually enjoy.
Ah, Green Man. A dreamy festival bursting with beguiling folk and indie music, where the views of Table Mountain (original Welsh version) compete for attention with the bands on the main stage; where the range of craft beers is so extensive they required a menu the length of a short novel; where there’s more vegan food than you could shake a tofu skewer at; and which this year was dedicated to the National Health Service (NHS), whose founder, Nye Bevan, grew up and developed his twin passions for social justice, song and art in nearby Tredegar.
If anyone has yet to see ‘To Provide All People’, Owen Sheers’ incredible ‘poem in the voice of the NHS’, dramatised by the BBC, then you are missing out on the television event of the year.
I do love a good dictionary and Dr Johnson remains the master of the genre, three hundred years after he compiled his first such tome. This is why markontour and friends took a short detour to Lichfield on our long drive back to London from the English Lake District, for it was in this little Staffordshire city that Samuel Johnson was born in 1709 and his childhood home has be turned into a lovely museum and bookshop.
Markontour’s first film. Not likely to trouble the box office. But the snow was fun..
The western world’s greatest music festival is over for another year and 2017 was undoubtedly defined by the way that Glastonbury embraced Jeremy Corbyn. I’ve been going to this magical festival for 25 years and have experienced countless ‘Glastonbury moments’, when an entire crowd is moved to euphoria as one under the power of extraordinary musical performance, but I’ve never witnessed anything like this.