Save British botanical gardens scientific work

This video is about Kew Gardens in London, England.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Campaign and petitions launched to save botanical garden jobs

Saturday 19th April 2014

London’s Kew and Wakehurst Place in Sussex are threatened by government cuts

A national campaign has been launched to save vital conservation and scientific work at two botanical gardens where 120 jobs are under threat.

General union GMB said on Thursday that jobs are under threat at Kew in London and Wakehurst Place in Sussex due to government cuts.

Kew Gardens is a world leader in its field with over 250 years experience, but has announced a £5 million deficit.

The campaign includes a petition and early day motion in Parliament.

Naturalist Sir David Attenborough is backing the campaign.

GMB regional officer Paul Grafton said “The aim is to save globally important conservation and science under threat.

“Never before has Kew faced such a significant threat to its future. It now needs public support to ensure its globally-important plant and fungal collections can continue to be used to support plant and fungal science and conservation around the world.”

The petition can be found here.


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Kew Gardens threatened by British government

This video is about Kew Gardens in greater London, England.

From the World Socialist Web Site:

Job cuts threatened at UK’s Kew Gardens

The Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) says 125 jobs are at risk at the world-famous Kew Gardens as a result of funding cuts proposed by the Department for Food and Rural Affairs.

The PCS says the cuts would threaten the world-renowned scientific research carried out at Kew.

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British artist Richard Hamilton, exhibition

This video from England says about itself:

Richard Hamilton Serpentine Gallery London 2010

Richard Hamilton, the 88 year old Godfather of Pop Art speaks at the opening of his solo exhibition “Modern Moral Matters” with introduction by Julia Peyton-Jones and Art World Superstar, Hans Ulrich Obrist.

By Christine Lindey in Britain:

Messages in mediums

Saturday 22nd February 2014

An excellent retrospective of Richard Hamilton’s multilayered work reveals an acute commentary on art, politics and mass culture, says CHRISTINE LINDEY

Tate Modern’s comprehensive exhibition shows that Richard Hamilton (1922-2011) achieved far more than pioneering British pop art, for which he is best known.

The son of a London car showroom driver, he studied art at evening classes from the age of 12. Too young to be conscripted, in WWII he was directed to an engineering drawing apprenticeship and worked as a draughtsman until 1946.

Resuming his art studies, he was expelled from the traditionalist Royal Academy schools for voicing his admiration of Cezanne. After his national service, in 1948 he found more congenial teaching at the Slade School of Art where there was a Cezannesque emphasis on painting from the motif to establish acutely judged relationships of form and space.

This disciplined visual awareness, combined with his expertise in engineereng draughtsmanship, informed Hamilton’s future works.

Fascinated by design, science and technology and the impact of the mass media on our understanding of the world, Hamilton rebelled against the rarefied introspection which dominated contemporary art.

In the postwar period visual communication was transformed by sophisticated marketing and advertising techniques, innovations in colour photography and film, television and industrial printing technologies.

While most artists viewed these media as vulgar threats to traditional high art mediums, Hamilton made their messages and processes the subject of his art.

For a 1956 exhibition he worked on The Fun House, a sensory environment complete with optical illusions, a juke box playing and blown-up images of Hollywood stars, science fiction and advertising.

For the catalogue Hamilton produced the now iconic Just What Is It That Makes Today’s Homes So Different, So Appealing? Featuring the latest shiny consumer goods – hairdryer, vacuum cleaner, television and tape recorder – he populated his tiny collage with male and female stereotypes.

This led to paintings which interrogated and satirised but also celebrated the seductive dishonesty of mass media’s verbal and visual languages. Combining these with those of high art painting and drawing Hamilton, bridged the gap between art and mass culture.

He juxtaposed diverse collage materials, photography, airbrushing, technical drawing, representational painting and abstraction’s swirls and eddies. Works such as $he – whose dollar sign S signals advertising’s commercialisation of women’s bodies – show Hamilton’s impressive technical mastery in combining a wide variety of techniques in the pre-digital age.

The handcuffs which link Mick Jagger to Hamilton’s art dealer in the famous Swingeing London painting consist of three-dimensional aluminium and metalised acetate attached to canvas. Its title plays on the judge’s recommendation of a “swingeing sentence” for the drug offence by glamorous protagonists of what the media called swinging London.

Such word games typify Hamilton’s preoccupation with complex, multilayered references and meanings. His major early influences were James Joyce and Marcel Duchamp and Hamilton introduced the latter to a baffled British audience in a mid-1960s exhibition.

Richard Hamilton, Study for “Portrait of Hugh Gaitskell as a Famous Monster of Filmland”, 1964. Oil and collage on photograph on panel 61 x 61 cm

Yet unlike Duchamp, Hamilton engaged periodically with social and political issues. In 1963-4 he combined photographs of Hugh Gaitskell with ones of “a famous monster in filmland” to vilify the Labour leader’s betrayal of the party’s majority support for unilateral nuclear disarmament.

The 1984 installation Treatment Room evokes the bleakness of an impersonal hospital room. Instead of clinical equipment, a television set overhangs a treatment table and broadcasts an unctuously hypocritical Margaret Thatcher repeating a speech. Torture replaces diagnosis or cure. Expressing the anger of his generation which had built the welfare state, Hamilton asked: “Is the vision of Mrs Thatcher patronising a victim of the health service part of the future we once thought so bright?”

Later works addressed the troubles in Northern Ireland, Mordechai Vanunu’s revelation of Israel’s nuclear programme to the press during his abduction from Rome, Tony Blair‘s vile posturing during the invasion of Iraq and Israel’s illegal fragmentation and invasion of Palestine.

The unifying theme of Hamilton’s work is its appeal to the mind. His work’s non-emotive, impersonal means of expression with their multilayered references to art, politics and mass culture can seem over-cerebral. The expectation of art to elicit immediate visceral responses stems from the dominant western aesthetic criteria which privilege sensory and emotional appeal over meaning.

The sensuous painterliness, elegant line and sensitive drawing which bubble up in many works suggest that Hamilton was attracted by both divergent aesthetic currents.

Yet overall he resolutely looked outwards at the contemporary world – quizzically, satirically or accusatorially – but always from a progressive point of view. Rooted in a rejection of the self-indulgent introspection of 1950s abstraction, Hamilton’s work belies a passionate and well informed commitment to jogging consciences and waking up minds.

The Richard Hamilton retrospective runs at Tate Modern, Bankside, London SE1 until May 26, box office: (020) 7887-8888. Two of Hamilton’s pioneering 1950s installations are on view at the ICA in London until April 6.

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World War One in London musical

This music video is called We need recruits! – “Oh! What a lovely war!

The lyrics of the songs of this musical are here.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Theatre: Oh What A Lovely War

Tuesday 18th February 2014

The revival of a classic play on WWI is a must-see, says JOHN GREEN

Oh What A Lovely War

Theatre Royal, London E15

5 Stars

How well has Oh What A Lovely War, that iconic collaboration between Charles Chilton, Joan Littlewood and Gerry Raffles, survived the ravages of half a century since its first production in 1963?

The answer is that it is as hale and hearty as ever and remains one of the most powerful anti-war dramas ever. This improbable collision of form and content still sends out an unexpected explosion of dramatic intensity.

At its opening, we’re greeted by a troupe of pierrots who banter and play lightheartedly and engagingly with us before we’re transported to the first world war front and immersed in the horrors of that conflict.

Simply by donning helmets and jackets over their pierrot costumes, they present us with Tommies, Germans or French soldiers, generals and businessmen. Making full use of creative lighting techniques and the sounds of gunshot and detonations, we are in the trenches with the troops on the Somme, at Ypres and Verdun.

The story of the war is told in short, snappy episodes, interrupted by the songs of the time – full of pathos, earthy humour and irony – and jolly cabaret routines. Even Michael Gove makes a fleeting photographic appearance as a donkey at the beginning.

In true Brechtian style, and despite tearful and poignant moments, we are not allowed to wallow in sentiment but forced to confront the harsh realities of an incompetent ruling class indifferent to human misery and mass slaughter.

On a moor in Scotland we see businessmen having a pop at grouse while discussing their war profits and expressing their fears of an early peace.

An army chaplain tells the troops that God is on their side and, despite mounting losses, the generals order the troops forward regardless.

In the background above the stage, rolling text on a panel gives the unbelievable numbers of dead as the weeks and months pass.

There is not a minute of boredom with this excellent ensemble in which there are no stars or main roles. They keep us transfixed with their bursting energy and enthusiasm, easy banter, dancing and singing.

The leader of the troupe at the end brings us back to the present by reminding us that this war game has continued since that century-old conflict and is still being played today.

A really must-see drama. It can’t be recommended strongly enough.

Runs until March 15. Box office: (020) 8534-0310.

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Hungarian fuehrer’s failure in London

This music video is called Der Fuehrer’s Face by Spike Jones.

By Ryan Fletcher in Britain:

Jobbik fascists forced to flee

Tuesday 28th January 2014

Protesters drive off far-right as Vona attempts to rally hatred in London

Anti-fascist campaigners struck a blow against the far-right yesterday by kettling supporters of the Hungarian neonazi party Jobbik inside Holborn Tube station.

A planned rally in Camden with Jobbik leader Gabor Vona, scheduled on the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day, was cancelled as more than 70 fascists were surrounded by protesters and forced to shelter in the station ticket hall.

After two hours they had to get back on the underground and reconvene at a dismal and last-minute gathering in Hyde Park.

Hundreds of anti-fascists gathered in the pouring rain outside the station at 12.30pm to protest against the arrival of Mr Vona, whose racist and anti-semitic political party is now the third biggest in Hungary.

There were tense scenes as fascists dressed in Hungarian colours and carrying flags attempted to leave to attend the rally but were pushed back by demonstrators.

The stand-off lasted around two hours with police forming a line separating the two groups.

The fascists’ numbers swelled as small groups appeared outside the station to attend the rally, which was supposed to start outside Holborn station. Police officers escorted them inside as protesters shouting “nazi scum – off our streets” surrounded them.

Hungarian Marta Berai attended the protest.

She said: “I am against this fascist development in Hungary. It’s terrible that it has developed like this. I was surprised – I didn’t know there were so many fascists in Hungary.

“It’s shameful.

“The Hungarian community in London are outraged.”

London Assembly member and former Labour MP Andrew Dismore spoke outside Holborn station after hearing that the meeting had been cancelled. Earlier this week he wrote to Home Secretary Theresa May demanding that Mr Vona be banned from holding the event.

He told the Star: “I think it’s been magnificent that we’ve been able to stop them. We’ve been able to stop the nazis peacefully and that’s what it’s about.

“We don’t want to get into fights with nazis we simply want them off our streets.”

After being forced to get back on the underground the Jobbik supporters re-emerged at Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park, where police allowed a 100-person rally with Mr Vona to go ahead.

Unite Against Fascism (UAF) said the disruption of Mr Vona’s plans was a “good day for anti-nazis.”

The organisation’s joint national secretary Sabby Dhalu said: “UAF has played a central role in driving back fascism in Britain. Jobbik’s fascist hatred has no place in a modern society here or in the rest of Europe.

“Wherever fascists have a presence, racist, anti-semitic and Islamophobic attacks increase.”

This video is about the anti-nazi demonstration at Holborn Tube station in London.

On Holocaust Memorial Day LINDSEY GERMAN charts how the nazis were able to perpetrate their crimes by eliminating all effective and organised opposition: here.

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