Friday 19 March 2010, 18:51
Here is a lovely fragment of archive I found. It is in the middle of a very serious BBC documentary called "Flightpaths to the Gods" made in 1997 all about the Nazca Lines in the high Peruvian desert. The film tries to explain who or what made the mysterious geoglyphs. After dismissing Erik von Daniken...
Tuesday 23 February 2010, 13:39
It is astonishing that everything about the credit crisis is still discussed in the technical terms of economics. Although, as most commentators agree, almost all economists failed to predict the financial crisis that swept through the western economies in 2008 - we still slavishly discuss and analyse...
Wednesday 10 February 2010, 16:24
In 1966 one of the most brilliant American New Wave movie directors - Joseph Strick - made a documentary for the BBC. It was about heckling in the British general election of that year. It is great piece of verite film-making.
Strick is still making films, and lives in Paris. He has now approached me...
Friday 29 January 2010, 16:06
ILLUSTRIOUS CORPSES - PART ONE
Afghanistan didn't just defeat the Soviet army. It reached out and corrupted and corroded the Soviet Union's faith in itself. Above all it destroyed what was left of the dream that communism was the future universal model for the world.
The fascinating question now is whether...
Tuesday 19 January 2010, 12:54
Here is an extraordinary piece of film. It is a live outside broadcast of a British army simulation of an attack on a train in Britain. It went out at prime time on a BBC programme called Saturday Night Out.
And it happened in 1956.
I have tried to find out whether the British government and army were...
Friday 8 January 2010, 15:54
What I find so fascinating about the reporting of the War on Terror is the way almost all of it ignores history - as if it is a conflict happening outside time. The Yemen is a case in point. In the wake of the underpants bomber we have been deluged by a wave of terror journalism about this dark mediaeval...
Thursday 17 December 2009, 14:54
Blue Peter seems to have had rather an obsession with Afghanistan in the 1970s - not only did they take some Afghan hounds to see the King of Afghanistan when he came to visit the Queen of England, but in Christmas 1976 they found an Afghan hound that could sing. You have to watch the whole thing through...
Tuesday 15 December 2009, 13:39
I've been asked to put the film from the It Felt Like a Kiss show back up. So here it is.
Friday 4 December 2009, 15:49
PART SIX - THE WAR ON POP
In November 1975 the first rock festival was held in Afghanistan. It was in the gymnasium of Kabul University. Everyone was very excited, especially as the headliners were one of Afghanistan's two prog-rock bands - The Stars.
And the Stars were excited because they had been...
Monday 30 November 2009, 17:00
Here is a film made by the BBC in 1975 about Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. At that point he was the ruler's son, but he would become the man who helped create modern Dubai.
It is a glimpse of Dubai just before it started to become the strange fantasy world it is today. It has a great creepy...
Friday 13 November 2009, 16:24
PART FIVE - INTERCONTINENTAL
The King of Afghanistan was called Mohammed Zahir Shah. He believed in modernity.
His family had ruled the country for over 150 years and he was driven everywhere in a black chevrolet.
Zahir Shah loved to show off how modern his country was. The key place was the Kabul...
Wednesday 28 October 2009, 17:13
The more you dig into the history of the West's relationship to Afghanistan, the stranger and more complicated it gets.
In 1978 a group of Afghan marxists overthrew the royal family who had ruled Afghanistan for 150 years. They set out to turn Afghanistan into a modern socialist utopia but it quickly...
Tuesday 13 October 2009, 16:55
PART THREE - THE LOST HISTORY OF HELMAND
When you look at footage of the fighting in Helmand today everyone assumes it is being played out against an ancient background of villages and fields built over the centuries.
This is not true. If you look beyond the soldiers, and into the distance, what you...
Tuesday 6 October 2009, 19:24As well as our relationship with Afghanistan, I am researching the legacy of other European empires - in Africa. We think of those empires as history but actually they still haunt our everyday lives in the strangest of ways.
Friday 25 September 2009, 19:19
In early 1970s the Italian conceptual artist, Alighiero e Boetti often visited the hotel he had bought in Kabul, Number One Hotel. By 1972 it was being used not just by Boetti's friends but by more and more western travellers.
All around them in Kabul revolutionary forces were...
Friday 18 September 2009, 17:01
I am researching the extraordinary history of the West's relationship to Afghanistan over the past 200 years. It is a very complex, and sometimes weird, story. These are notes on some of the characters and episodes involved.
There are many individuals and fragmentary events that have...
Friday 24 July 2009, 13:04
This is the whole of the experimental film, It Felt Like a Kiss. It was the basis of the show I did in Manchester with Punchdrunk. The show may well come to London - but probably not till the end of the year. If you think you might want to go to the show, then you might not want to watch the film. Or...
Thursday 23 July 2009, 16:14
This is a list of the music in the film It Felt Like a Kiss and the show.Oh What a Dream - Ruth Brown
Monday 20 July 2009, 17:16
The It Felt Like a Kiss show finshed last night. Because it was so popular the people who run the Manchester Festival want to bring the show to London - and possibly to Moscow as well.
Because of this they have asked me only to show the film that the show was based on for a limited time. I think that...
Wednesday 17 June 2009, 15:00It Felt Like A Kiss is a show I am doing with Felix Barrett of the theatre company Punchdrunk. It's at the Manchester International Festival and is a co-production between the festival and the BBC. It starts on July 2nd. This is a short trail.
This is a website expressing my personal views – through a selection of opinionated observations and arguments. I’ll be including stories I like, ideas I find fascinating, work in progress and a selection of material from the BBC archives.