At the start of the pandemic, I thought about getting into DIY – putting up shelves, doing home improvements and so on. That quickly fell by the wayside, but I did assemble a bar cart. We never had cocktails at home pre-Covid; now I mix a mean Manhattan. Like many basic millennials, I have also become obsessed with houseplants during quarantine; it is amazing how much a bit of greenery can cheer you up. April was awful in New York; it was the centre of the pandemic and the wailing of ambulance sirens was nonstop. Funeral homes were storing bodies in U-Haul trucks; there was a morgue in Central Park. Watering the plants, cultivating life, was a much-needed distraction from death. … [Read more...] about How was lockdown living with my partner? So good I missed her when she went to the balcony
Airline pilot centre
So what are you and your team at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport doing to reassure the arts community and provide a concrete plan of action? Well so far you have come up with a five-phase roadmap for the performing arts that is worse than useless. Sam Goldwyn said that “a verbal agreement isn’t worth the paper it’s written on” and a roadmap that offers no clue as to how to get to one’s destination is positively insulting. What’s most alarming is that it reveals a total incomprehension as to how the arts actually work. A Phase 1 stage of “rehearsal and training” supposedly leads to a Phase 4 and 5 stage of outdoor and indoor performance. But how can any theatre start rehearsing a production when it has no guarantee of financial support nor any idea whether it will even exist in a few weeks’ time? Wouldn’t that be the height of irresponsibility? … [Read more...] about Dear Oliver Dowden, have you even begun to grasp the scale of our arts crisis?
Fourth, theatres need to be at the centre of civic regeneration as post-lockdown Britain becomes more community-minded. Local councils should be incentivised to support ways in which theatre can bring benefits to education, community trusts, hospitals and prisons. Broadcasters should be galvanised to showcase more work from the theatre which supplies them with so much of their talent. The Department for Education could be encouraged to restore creative subjects to every school curriculum. … [Read more...] about The government’s plan for UK theatre is vague and demoralising – here’s what we need
The half-price meal offer appears to have benefited retailers, which have also been hit hard by the pandemic. The number of people visiting high streets and shopping malls surged last week, especially during the evenings, according to the retail analysts Springboard. … [Read more...] about Eat out to help out used 10.5m times in scheme’s first week
Advertisers love agglomeration because it fuels an urban buzz they can seize upon to grow demand. But as land and property values increase, local people are often priced out of areas and urban culture is eroded. Instead of vibrant high streets with a diversity of local businesses, we get areas with multiple franchises of the same chains. Against a backdrop of loosened municipal planning policies and low corporation tax, city centres become little more than places for wealth to be extracted and funnelled into the bank accounts of global investment companies and their shareholders. … [Read more...] about UK cities should work for the people who live in them, not for distant shareholders