The importance of language structures

Recently I’ve been amusing myself by trying to understand other languages better, through the Duolingo app. Refreshing French, to conversational level; learning Spanish, and now some Dutch. I understand that if you want to learn a language fast, it’s best to concentrate on the grammar more than vocabulary. It got me thinking about the way that … Read more

Narrative arcs and Panto – “Alright you lot, shut up now and let’s get on with the story.”

I’m interested in theatre, and pantomime in particular, as storytelling in this post, and the implications of narrative as an agent of change.  In the discussions of an anthropology view of making theatre and performances,  a number of metaphors are used. Johannes Huzinga referred to ‘Homo ludens’ – the characteristic of being human is our … Read more


I just love this as a visual essay, combining some quite complex ideas: The Society of the Spectacle The Society of the Spectacle, Part Two

"The Craftsman"

I’ve just come back from a fascinating day at TAPRA, the Theatre and Performance Research Association, where we were discussing reaction to Richard Sennett’s analysis of aspects of material culture.  It was good to hear Richard’s reactions to ideas his book had stimulated, and to share in the erudition and humanity he brings to his … Read more

Patriarchy Gets Funky by Naomi Klein

Patriarchy Gets Funky by Naomi Klein. This excerpt makes a useful contribution to the issue of marketing and identity, that also applies to the world of theatre-making. Written in 2001, some of the issues already have been developed further; most notably on the identity side by the concept of “Superdiversity”, explored by Simon Fanshawe and … Read more

Schroedinger's Catflap, and other unintended consequences

Having pondered for some time on this issue, I wondered whether the concept of Schrodinger’s catflap had any meaning.  The famous 1930’s thought experiment, designed to illustrate conceptual problems of particle physics, seems to have entered the popular imagination, at least in some circles.  After extensive research – well, I looked at a page on … Read more


Here’s a short bibliography, which might constitute a set of ‘memes’: Richard Florida, in The Creative Class, postulates that creative people are driving urban regeneration, and indeed the modern economy. Cultural diversity, rather than being a problem, is active ingredient in the ‘funkiness’ of an area; attracting the gay community adds to the number of … Read more

The power of a metaphor.

The power of a metaphor. There is tradition, in western thinking at least, of trying to put ideas into categories. Just as donkeys are different from horses, knowing the difference is useful if you’re trying to work out how to pull a cart; similarly, working out false logic is useful in the search for truth.  … Read more

My Bookshelf

While much of the time there’s a load of crud on my bookshelf, such as french atlases and camping directories, cookery books and playtexts, there are some books I can’t face putting up in the loft; either because they are too important or because I haven’t finished reading them yet. Here’s a selection of what … Read more