Tag Archives: Beckett Student_Fees

Video blogging for the New Statesman: Camera in hand and idea in the head

For the last few weeks I’ve been out and about filming moments in the developing protest movement against the unconscionable coalition government and its programme of swingeing cuts in every department of social provision.  The result has been a number of short videos posted here on Putney Debater. I’ve now been invited by the New Statesman to become its first video blogger, so from now on, that’s where my videos will be posted first (although I’ll continue to post written blogs here). Here’s the first one, which condenses the videos posted here previously with some additional material.
The idea I have is to build up a picture of the movement as it evolves, so I’m working on the basis that I’ll end up with a documentary record of three or four months of struggle. The method is simple: to return to Glauber Rocha’s formula for Cinema Novo in Brazil—to go and make films with a camera in the hand and an idea in the head. (Too simple for the section on methodology in a grant application, and there’s no time for that anyway, so I’m not making one.)

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New spate of agitational web videos

The last few weeks have seen a new spate of agitational web videos, accompanying the amazing upturn of politicking in Britain in response to the brutal, ill-considered and philistine cuts proposed by the coalition government which took office last May. Continue reading

Beckett’s pauses / Students’ Warning

Two letters in the Guardian this week past caught my attention. The first concerns the pauses in Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot. Murray Marshall of Salisbury writes:


  • The obituary for Timothy Bateson (Obituary, 8 November) mentioned the difficulties that original cast had with grasping the meaning of Waiting for Godot. The author himself was apparently not a lot of help. A friend of mine was assistant stage manager on the first production, and the cast and crew eagerly awaited Beckett’s visit to a rehearsal. They assembled after performing to be enlightened by the great man. After a suitably Beckettian interval, he said: “The pauses were not long enough.”

I also have a story about this, which comes from the horse’s mouth, or anyway, Peter Hall, who directed that first production in 1955. Many years ago, when I was taken to visit him at his house near Wallingford, he told us what happened when they played in Blackpool before coming to London, and the audience was mystified and bored. Someone noticed that the last train back to London on a Saturday night left before their scheduled finish, so in order to catch it, they decided to eliminate the pauses. The play went by like a flash, the audience found it very funny and laughed a lot, and they got their train!

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The second letter is an altogether more serious matter. This is from almost 200 student union officers warning MPs that unless they sign a pledge to vote against an increase in fees, they will be named and shamed. Continue reading