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,
GIVEN the glorious praises heaped on Borat by red tops and posh papers alike, allow me to break ranks. This is a one-joke film that runs out of funnies about 30 minutes into its routine.
THE page turner is the most anonymous person on stage at a classical concert. Last on, they sit quietly, occasionally rising to turn a sheet of music for the pianist. Yet, in that simple but skilful act, they have the power to make or destroy a concert.
DESPITE its suggestive title, Scenes of a Sexual Nature is about as shocking as a Radio Four stage play, featuring seven middle-class couples in a series of tableau-vivants filmed around Kenwood House on north London's Hampstead Heath.
SIXTY Six refers to 1966. Everyone's got World Cup football fever. Well, everyone except Bernie. As the bar mitzvah that he longs for clashes with the final, he's the only one in the country hoping that England get knocked out.
STARRING an excellent Kim Rossis Stuart, Michelle Placido's Crime Story seeks to establish sinister links between a group of gangsters, government and the Red Brigades responsible for the killing of Italian politician Aldo Moro.
FOLLOWING in the footsteps of his debut feature In The Bedroom, Todd Field has made another excursion into bourgeois US life in this film about an affair in a small-town community threatened by the release of a paedophile.
JEFF SAWTELL sees Russell Crowe come a cropper trying to play a dodgy banker in a film that celebrates the trappings of a wealthy life.
IN ALL The King's Men, the king in question is Willie Stark (Sean Penn), a small time local politician in 1950s Louisiana who is persuaded to run for governor after he is unable to stop a corrupt tender process leading to a poorly-built school burning down and causing the death of three children.
GIVEN current Big Brother fears provoked by this increasingly right-wing government, the opening shots of Red Road are very prescient - a woman watches the world through a series of CCTV cameras.