Tag: The Guardian (page 1 of 19)

Culture is in a state of constant flux

My parents, the son of a factory worker and assistant baker and the daughter of domestic servants, were both the first in their families to go to university. As such, they wanted to ensure that their children, my sister and I, knew our way around ‘culture’.

Hence, for me, a childhood punctuated not only piano lessons and visits to National Trust properties but visits to the cheapest seats at the theatre to see ballets and plays. In their mind, at least back then, there was ‘Culture’ (with a capital ‘C’) to which we had to be introduced.

As Kojo Koram from the School of Law at Birkbeck, University of London, writes, however, culture is something that is continually remade by the people living it. These different conceptions mark the boundaries of the culture wars currently being played out in British politics and society.

In the 1960s and 70s, when [Stuart] Hall was writing, most British intellectuals dismissed the new mass culture taking hold in the country as a passing fad that did not deserve the attention given to Shakespeare, Elgar or Hogarth. But Hall recognised how it offered an increasingly multicultural British population the opportunity to interpret and experience life as it was lived on the ground. Rather than seeing culture as something fixed and unchanging that needed constant protection, Hall saw it as something that underwent “constant transformation” and was always being made and remade by the people living it, a moving force that perpetually created new identities.

It is no coincidence that so many of the primary battlegrounds where today’s culture wars are being staged are the elite institutions that represent a traditional British hierarchy: stately homes, Oxford university common rooms, the Last Night of the Proms. To culture warriors on the right, these institutions best represent Britain’s national culture as a whole. That they are exclusive is part of their appeal: when culture is defined as something that only a few people can access or control, its preservation is best entrusted to high-ranking authorities.

Source: Here’s what the right gets wrong about culture: it’s not a monument, but a living thing | The Guardian

Leslie Caron on Cary Grant’s attitude to money

I read most things online, but I came across this one via my print subscription to Guardian Weekly (which I recommend highly). Leslie Caron, who danced and acted with a host of big names, highlights Cary Grant’s attitude towards money.

I’ve always found Cary Grant fascinating, and in fact my online avatar used to be a photo of him. It seems, as Leslie Caron points out, that one’s mindset can be out of step with reality — which is a lesson to us all.

Who was her most talented leading man? “Cary Grant,” she answers immediately. In 1964, she starred with Grant in the romcom Father Goose; Grant was 27 years her senior. “Cary was a complicated brain,” she says, pointing to her head. “He was a remarkable performer. He was very instinctive, seductive, intelligent. But when he got mad he would get into a terrible state. He worried about money.” Surely he had plenty of it? Yes, she says, but when you grow up poor you always think like a poor person. “I remember Charlie Chaplin saying to me: ‘If I were rich …’” When Chaplin died in 1977, he left more than $100m to his fourth wife, Oona.

Source: ‘I am very shy. It’s amazing I became a movie star’: Leslie Caron at 90 on love, art and addiction | The Guardian

The most sustainable foods?

I’m surprised at this list from The Guardian, which includes red meat. As of February, I don’t eat fish (or shellfish) so mussels are off the list for me as well.

What is important, I think, is the bit at the bottom about waste food. I’ve started putting coffee grounds on the garden, and that banana skin curry sounds… interesting!

If, as a planet, we stopped wasting food altogether, we’d eliminate 8% of our total emissions – so one easy way to eat for the planet would be to tackle that, Steel points out. That could be through preserving and making stock from meat and fish bones – but it could also be as simple as eating as much of a fruit or vegetable as possible. “The skin, the seeds, the leaves – these are where the phytonutrients are,” she says, citing Nigella’s banana skin curry as an example. Supporting companies which are repurposing waste – surplus bread into beer, surplus fruit into condiments and chutneys – is another easy win.

Source: Eat this to save the world! The most sustainable foods – from seaweed to venison | The Guardian