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No, London has not peaked

An article in The Guardian last week asks “If we really have passed ‘peak London’, what does that mean for Britain?” The sub-heading concedes that the capital may have fallen on hard times but, as if this were a compelling counter-argument, “. . . it still offers a defiantly different version of Englishness.” After regaling … Read More

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English is not a singular language

Recent flareups over issues of “cultural identity” have brought into sharper relief the question of what it means to be English. Related to this: what does it mean to speak English? Populist purveyors of ill-intentioned identity politics rush to demand that we consider what they see as similarly consequential questions: what does it mean to … Read More

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The Devil Dialogues have always showcased intelligence

We have been pleased to launch a new format of podcast earlier this month, entitled the Devil Dialogues. They are inspired by the dedication to wit and good conversation as stipulated in the rules laid down by Elizabethan playwright Ben Jonson. A contemporary of Shakespeare’s, he launched The Apollo Club in an upper room of … Read More

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500 years of Fleet Street: a good start

If as a thought experiment we accepted the generally proffered age of humanity as 200,000 and the average age of generational turnover over the centuries as working out around 20, then arithmetic suggests that we can work our way up either parental line through 10,000 grannies to get to The First Grannie. Imagine then a … Read More

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Curating the very process of curation

Two weeks ago, this blog posed a question about what museums could be for, responding to a book review in The Financial Times that surveyed the landscape of museums across the world. It took as a given that whatever else will define the museum of the future, it will be a building occupying a space … Read More

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Salisbury Square is ready for the next big step

Of all the reasons for locating the new Justice Quarter in Fleet Street, character comes out top. An ambitious construction scheme for the Fleet Street area seemed to have survived its second phase of consultation and, as the new year turned, was on course to deliver a significant new block of buildings on the south … Read More

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What could museums be for

Too much of the commentary on the purpose of museums is one-dimensional, prosaic, and entirely uninspired by what excites the human imagination. Controversy has been swirling recently over what we now think of as identity politics: how do we define ourselves in terms of what we think about other people, and how we act towards … Read More

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Step away from the technology

Too much focus on the gizmos distracts from the simple truth that the market for Virtual Reality lies in the market, not in the technology Every time there’s a big new thing in the world of consumer technology, the initial breathlessness is invariably followed by a long sigh of disillusion before a more sensible middle … Read More

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With Patreon, a great adventure beckons

Just as London recovered spectacularly from the plague and fire of the 1660s, so it will from Covid and the economic calamity of this past year. Cradle of English has a role in this. This month sees Cradle of English launching a page on Patreon, a membership platform that describes its function as providing business … Read More

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Theatre and the politics of empathy

Theatre enabled a shift from “I’m sorry for your loss” to “I feel your pain” and so seeded the ground for the development of Democracy Oskar Eustis, artistic director of the Public Theatre in New York City, is one of a number of eminences to have pointed out the correlations in time and place between … Read More

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