The journey to an awakening, whether of a fictional character, a reader or a writer, is rarely straightforward. In Suncatcher, my narrator’s political awareness begins as a young boy when he reads Trotsky by torchlight. “The Problems of Life” is a Young Socialist pamphlet he has nicked from his father’s bookshelf. Under a mosquito net, in post-colonial Ceylon, Kairo is drawn in by Trotsky’s impassioned lectures on vodka, housework and the cinema. I discovered it while researching Sri Lanka in the 60s, a time when the Trotskyite party was at its peak. But it could have been in our house all along, tucked among the leftwing books on my father’s shelves – the 1962 edition I found in the British Library had been printed in Colombo, a mile from my childhood home. A generation earlier, in 1908, Ananda Coomaraswamy, a Ceylonese man of English and Tamil parentage, published Mediaeval Sinhalese Art, printing it on a hand press used by William Morris. … [Read more...] about Start a fire: the best books about political awakenings
China owned port in sri lanka could alter trade routes
From wigs to weaves and hair extensions, the market for human hair is enormous. But few know where these lustrous locks come from and the journey they take across the globe.Go online in search of a wig or hair extensions and you'll be presented with a dizzying spectrum of choices. "Luxury" virgin hair from Brazil or Peru. "Pure" Mongolian hair. "Finest remy" hair from India. Sleek European weaves. But very rarely will you see hair from China advertised - even though that's where most of it is from. China is the biggest exporter and importer of human hair and harvests huge amounts from its own population, as Emma Tarlo discovered on a three-year quest to untangle what happens to hair once it is no longer attached to our heads. Find us on Facebook "People who work in the industry are conscious of the fact Made in China is viewed as a negative label and market it in more glamorous ways instead," says the professor of anthropology and author of Entanglement: The Secret Lives of … [Read more...] about Untangling where your hair extensions really come from
To their fans, night trains sum up the best of the European project. They are time efficient, environmentally sustainable, and irresistibly romantic: you go to sleep in one country and wake up in another, possibly having made friends along the way. In public at least, Europe's politicians and railway companies agree: in December 2009, many of them ceremonially boarded a specially commissioned "Climate Express" from Brussels to the UN climate summit in Copenhagen. Yet five years later, sleeper trains are being silently phased out across the continent, while countries elsewhere in the world are modernising their services. Deutsche Bahn, the German rail provider, confirmed this month that its City Night Line sleeper trains on the Climate Express route would cease from 1 November, while the night train that connects Paris to Berlin, Hamburg and Munich will be stopped from December. The Amsterdam to Prague and Warsaw sleeper will be cut back to run from Cologne to Warsaw and Prague. The … [Read more...] about End of the line for Europe’s iconic night trains?
In May 1960, Michelangelo Antonioni's L'Avventura was the sensation of the Cannes film festival. The screening was one of the noisiest and most uncomfortable on record. The second half of the film played to an angry accompaniment of shouts and catcalls from sections of the audience. Affronted critics leapt to the director's defence. In 1962, L'Avventura was runner-up in Sight and Sound's poll of the top ten films of all time, coming closer than anything else in four runnings of the event to toppling Citizen Kane from its decennial perch. In 1972 L'Avventura held fifth place, in 1982 it was seventh, but by 1992 and 2002 it was out of the money. This seemed a fair enough reflection of altered attitudes, the eclipse of the European art-house cinema which Antonioni's work exemplified. In the 1960s, a handful of directors looked to be taking films across new frontiers of expression. A cinema dominated by Hollywood special effects (dinosaurs, aliens in space) no longer expects to deliver … [Read more...] about Michelangelo Antonioni
Scott Morrison disappointed a packed pub of revellers when he refused to a skol a beer on Anzac Day. The Australian Hotel in Townsville was the Prime Minister's final stop on Thursday, where he was keen to enjoy a refreshing lunchtime ale after a busy morning of attending Anzac Day commemorations. The rowdy Queensland crowd erupted into a drinking chant as soon as Mr Morrison received his schooner at the bar. But despite their enthusiastic pleas and a federal election looming, Mr Morrison refused to follow in the footsteps of Australia's most legendary beer skoller, former prime minister Bob Hawke. Disappointed Anzac Day revellers in Townsville soon lost interest in prime minister Scott Morrison when he decided to sip his beer instead of downing the schooner in one go Former prime minister Bob Hawke (pictured) is legendary for his beer skolling prowess He chose to politely sip his beer instead, sparking loud boos and jeers from the crowd. 'He's no Bob Hawke,' one shouted. … [Read more...] about ‘He’s no Bob Hawke’: Scott Morrison lets down a pub full of Anzac Day revellers by refusing to skol a beer