The shipyard painter, political activist and razor-sharp cartoonist Bob Starrett has just written a new book The Way I See It on his eventful life and times. Below we reprint one of his stories and review an essential read
ENO's production of La Boheme is a triumph,
Round up of an outstanding season of new work at a leading national dance centre
Characteristically, this year's Resolution 2013 gave the floor to some 81 premieres of dance works that rip up the rule book of convention for the sake of experimenting with new languages in dance.
Despite the increasing trend of incorporating the spoken word within dance - sometimes to the latter's detriment - it is the "pure" dance pieces, as ever, that provide the greatest thrill.
Ingrid Molinos's Besa Despres is a Catalan folklore-inspired ensemble work for eight dancers which offers a rollercoaster of sheer joy embellished with elements of fast and lyrical movement, beautiful tableaux, a touch of narrative between lovers and techniques drawn from ballet.
Typifying the physical endurance required by the piece dancer Amy Louise Thake's agility and Suzie Birchwood's eye-catching and captivating floor work lead on to a series of daring elevations from the latter's wheelchair which rivet the attention.
If technical excellence is a yardstick to measure excitement, there is no finer example than Paolo Mangiola and Benjamin Ord's remarkably touching Take Me Home And Make Me Like It in which Mangiola's powerful physical impact is offset by the elegant, linear positioning of Ord.
Sequences of association, revealing the usually unspoken points of affection and play in masculine friendship, feature an exquisite moment where both dancers merge as a single body, conjoined at the feet.
Resolution always has its mind-blowing moments and this is exactly what choreographer Jailianne Li achieves with In the Beginning for the eight-strong ensemble surFace. This mesmerising onslaught on the senses is a wild trip into abstraction.
With an elemental and searing score by Tommaso Perego and dancer Bolam Lee's energy and grace the work has a relentless power, offering a matrix of mutated and primordial body metaphors.
Performances incorporating the spoken word with a fair degree of success include Sometimes There's Light (Sometimes There's Dark) by Moving Dust (pictured) on the theme of death and Shelley Brettle and Rosannah Carrick's reductive celebrity-speak of a TV culture in decay in Jordan Massarella's The Visitors Present A Visitorial.
But the highlight among the works from the more accomplished creators is dancer and choreographer Natalia Garcia Huidobro's superb Cambiar De Piel, a contemporary dance with flamenco at its core with messages from the dancer's psyche beaten out in seriously loud and fast taconeo foot-and-heel work. Brilliant.