"A disturbing drama . A group of rough, young men walk down a deserted dark street at night, drinking and boasting about a fight they've just been in. Kev, the younger brother, isn't drinking and obviously feels uncomfortable with the situation. He sees someone lying on a traffic island and they cross over to investigate. It's an old man, conscious but not talking. Scaz, Jax and Marty start hassling him, looking for money and generally intimidating him. Kev suggests they try to get help and makes an attempt to wave down passing cars. Scaz pulls a knife on the old man and threatens to give him a hiding.
The old man wets himself in fear and Marty decides to give him a 'shower.' Kev, disgusted with his brother Marty, punches him. Marty retaliates and Kev falls heavily.Scaz and Jax taunt Marty as they walk away. Marty checks Kev is all right and leaves him, saying he had to do it, otherwise what would his friends think? As Kev lies there crying, the old man sits up and pats him on the shoulder."
"This week the minaret of one of Syria's most beautiful mosques was destroyed in the northern city of Aleppo. The Ummayad mosque established in 715 was rebuilt in 1159 after being damaged by a fire and then built again a century later after the Mongol invasion. The oldest surviving part was the minaret and both the State forces and the rebels accuse each other of its destruction. Lying in the Old City, the mosque is a Unesco world heritage site but has become part of the wider devastation of Syria's rich cultural heritage; a Crusader castle and Roman ruins in the ancient city of Palmyra have also been damaged.
However sad this physical destruction of history and art is, it should matter less to us than the recent reports that some 70,000 lives have been lost in this terrible civil war with hundreds of thousands more displaced. This is a war which is gradually ripping the country apart but about which the rest of the world doesn't seem to know what to do. Yet there is a different poignancy to the loss of a country's artistic and cultural past. It is these visual artifacts, building and ruins which speak to us of a country's history, its collective memory, the love and passion of the people who make a piece of land into a nation state. That so many Syrians are now killing each other and destroying ruins and religious sites poses the disturbing question, what exactly is still held sacred in so many part of the Muslim world?
A couple of weeks ago I returned from a short break to Istanbul. The area surrounding the majestic Hagia Sophia and the Blue mosque is also a Unesco world heritage site, tourists wander freely, the buildings stand sublime, the contested past of the place breathing its religious spirit into a refashioned, modern and vibrant city. But I wonder whether the preservation of history is only meaningful in countries where there is the preservation of peace, where people can enjoy the ordinariness of life, where there is order and purpose and we have the luxury of self reflection.
Earlier this week the former Met commissioner sir Ian Blair said societies choose what kind of violence they will tolerate. Looking across to so many part of the Islamic world where there is civil war, state violence and individual acts of terror, I wonder how and when Muslim societies will move away from seeing violence as a resolution to human conflict. When God is great is uttered as people and buildings are blown up what kind of God have so many created in their hearts and minds? The destruction of the minaret is not just a physical destruction but a tragic metaphor for a nation's soul."
(Mona Siddiqui, 26 April 2013, BBC Radio 4: Thought for the Day)
Fig.1 At left, the damaged Umayyad mosque in the northern city of Aleppo, Syria, on Wednesday 24 April 2013; at right, the view of the mosque with the minaret intact on 6 March 2013. (AP) [http://www.wbur.org/npr/178906558/minaret–of–iconic–syrian–mosque–destroyed–in–fighting].
"Blue Velvet begins with the lily–white small town of America's collective fantasies and shows us its dark underside: drugs, violence, sex, and particularly sexual perversion. Our hero, Jeffrey, hiding in the dark, peers through the slats of Dorothy Vallens' closet at Dorothy getting undressed and Frank's strange sadomasochistic sex with her. Jeffrey stands for all of us American filmgoers peering (voyeuristically!) at Evil in traditional American films. Lynch clues us as to how we should read his film when he shows us a cluster of ants under the Beaumonts' pretty lawn. This is Tennyson's nature red in tooth and claw–the underside of cutesy Lumberton with its free enterprise propensity for cutting down trees."
(Norman N. Holland)
"'Pink Flamingos was an antihippie movie made for hippies who would be punks in two years. It's a pothead movie. I wrote it on pot.' – John Waters"
(Jeff Jackson, DreamlandNews)
Fig.1 John Waters (1972). trailer for "Pink Flamingos".
"The player is drawn into the world of Dead Island on the brink of a mysterious epidemic that suddenly, and without warning, breaks out on the fictional island of Banoi. As a guest of the Royal Palms Resort, the player's stay was supposed to be a dream holiday; a luxurious getaway to the beautiful beaches of a tropical paradise. But faced with the reality of a zombie apocalypse, there is only one thing left to do: Survive."
(Deep Silver Inc.)