April 27, 2018

That word 'Romantic'. We associate it with candlelit dinners, an unexpected marriage proposal on a beach in Bali, the magic of an evening walk along a Venetian canal. Attach it to the creative output of writers, artists and musicians of the late 18th and early 19th cen...

March 21, 2018

The dictionary defines a koan as:

a paradoxical anecdote or riddle without a solution, used in Zen Buddhism to demonstrate the inadequacy of logical reasoning and provoke enlightenment.

In the third part of East Coker, the second of TS Eliot's Four Quartets, Eliot writes...

January 30, 2018

“I saw the light!”

If I told you that, you would probably assume I had disabused myself of a previous misconception or even that I had attained some state of ecstatic knowing. We equate the light, at least semantically, not just with an effervescent ease but with unders...

December 1, 2017

I grew up hearing quite a lot of Yiddish and understanding not much of it at all. And that was a good thing in that my parents used it when they didn't want me to understand. Of course by the time I was around to not understand their Yiddish, it was liberally intersper...

October 2, 2017

The history of Spain can be written in the history of flamenco, as the 20th c Spanish composer, Manuel de Falla was well aware. Since his student days he had been interested in this Andalusian traditional art form which drew together music, dance and poetry in a spirit...

July 2, 2017

Dreams. Where do they come from and what do they mean? If we can say anything about them at all it would be that they are irrational, inexplicable, ineffable. In our night time dreams often quite ordinary events are placed side by side in an improbable collage so that...

April 25, 2017

Ardent Arts in the Community activist, Bona Shin, arrived in England from South Korea in 1994. Having studied acting in Korea, she gained a degree in Drama at Hull University and an MA in Arts Administration and Cultural Policy at Goldsmiths University in East London....

April 13, 2017

In March 1931, the 47 year old Eliot wrote to Stephen Spender: "I have the A minor Quartet (the Op 132 quartet, one of the 6 late quartets of Beethoven) on the gramophone, and I find it quite inexhaustible to study. There is a sort of heavenly, or at least more than hu...

March 12, 2017

What is the connection between the song 'Hurt', sung so hauntingly by Johnny Cash in a music video that has been described as 'the saddest of all time' and the song for soprano and piano entitled Kaddish by the early 20th c composer, Maurice Ravel? In the song 'Hurt',...

February 25, 2017

The term Metaphysics first appeared in the 1560s meaning "branch of speculation which deals with the first causes of things". It was derived from the Greek title of the 13 treatises which traditionally were arranged after those on physics and natural sciences in Aristo...

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