.Big Eyes (general release)..the real life story of artist Margaret Keane. In the late 50s she fled one husband with her child to pursue her life as an artist only to meet up with William Keane who pretended to the author of her paintings, make millions out of her art and keep her as a prisoner in her own home. Eventually after escaping to Hawai she took William to court and exposed his fraud and regained her reputation as an artist. You might recognise her pictures as they have been used on many posters, cards and ephemera. They are the big eyed waifs, maybe sentimental and ghoulish, but in reality representing Margaret’s own unhappiness. It is Margaret’s story but the film does ask questions about what is art, is it for the few who can patronise an elite of artists, or is it about what we all like to look at and can afford to put on our walls. Another interesting and funny film from Tim Burton.
the Shaker Aamer campaign…he is the last Londoner in Guantanamo camp. This is his number; 239. An innocent man who has waited 13 years to be released. After many years of campaigning by a small group of dedicated supporters, his case is now being taken up by the great and the good. Strangely two weeks ago the Daily Mail put his case on the front page?! Find out more at
Listen to PJ Harvey’s song about Shaker at
….the paintings of Stanley Spencer who worked as a medical orderly in the war. Called Heaven in a Hell of War, they depict the banality of war, soldiers eating jam sandwiches, piles of white crosses, mosquito nets. It made me think about how people survive(d) combat. It is probably one of the few realistic interpretations of the FWW that I have seen this year. At Manchester Art Gallery see
…. northern writer Jim Allen. Documentary maker Lizzie Foster interviewed his children, actor and fan Chris Eccleston, and discovered his archive at the WCML in Salford. Listen to it on Radio 4 Thursday 8th January at 11.30am, and it will be available on the iPlayer for a month.
Slapp Happy(1998)…a CD by German/English avant- garde band, of the same name, which was originally formed in 1972 with Anthony Moore, Peter Blegvad and Dagmar Krause. Love Dagmar Krause’s German vocals and the beautiful lyrics make this CD stand out from other contemporary sounds of its era.