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  • Bowling at Columbine reviewed by Bob Biderman
    country where people shoot each other for no apparent reason What was good I think was Moore s analysis of the climate of fear which has made everyone there so jumpy and gun crazed For the most part it s provoked by a media that focuses on crime and violence as a way of drawing in viewers Fear sells Even the liberal TV producer of Cops whom he interviewed understands that if he s ruled by the marketplace then he has to produce shows that make people want to watch them and white police cuffing big scary looking black men as they lie helpless on the ground is a real winner But as aprofessor of media studies in LA pointed out even as real life incidents of violent crime fell the percentage of space taken up by the news for violent crime rose exponentially Fear is endemic and people distrustful of government anyway seek personal protection in the form of weapons of destruction Moore contrasted this ideology with Canada where people who for the most part come from a hunting culture are also armed to the teeth but keep their doors unlocked at home because they don t want to live in terror He interviewed several people who had been robbed but still keep their front doors unlocked anyway because to do otherwise would have been seen as a defeat for their live and let live culture What he effectively pointed out however by a clever interview with some truant kids who were hanging at some burger joint was that fear in Canada has been moderated by a program of subsidised health care and housing which attempts to give most people a decent social safety net This he contrasted with a tragic story of a young girl maybe seven or

    Original URL path: http://bobbiderman.com/columbine.htm (2016-04-30)
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  • Jonah Who Will Be 25 in the Year 2000, reviewed by Bob Biderman
    re copied video which is fraying at the seams jumping sputtering colours washed out still I was struck by the enduring quality This time when I saw it I was struck by the curious sexuality there s Madeline the Tartaric Yoga woman with fiery red hair who wants her lovers to hold back their semen there s Marguerite the truck farmer who likes to sleep with the immigrant labourers living

    Original URL path: http://bobbiderman.com/jonah.htm (2016-04-30)
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  • The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner reviewed by Bob Biderman
    the writer Alan Silltoe to discuss the film they made some 40 years back The film came out of a new trend in cinema very much influenced by French new wave directors like Goddard and Truffaut who were trying to make cinema more vital and more of a vehicle to discuss contemporary social issues Tony Richardson who directed and produced the film worked with a team who were in tune with this idea and they produced a series of films like Saturday Night and Sunday Morning A Taste of Honey and Loneliness all of which dealt with issues of class and region unlike the very mannered British films of before Sillitoe a working class writer from Newcastle was one of the bards who came out of those changing times and whose work fit right in to the new trends Listening to the crew speak about the making of the film I was struck by how committed they were to the idea of political media which didn t degrade the art They worked as a team under Richardson who it seems gave them the freedom to develop without imposing strict rules or regimens though he had very firm structural concepts the

    Original URL path: http://bobbiderman.com/runner.htm (2016-04-30)
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  • The Earth From Above reviewed by Bob Biderman
    garden For The Earth from Above project he had used every manner of airborne vehicle helicopters gliders light planes balloons which he had commandeered in the various countries where he was filming He had assembled a team of assistants committed to this exceptional project all of whom the ones who were interviewed at least displayed a salutary sense of humour a necessity I would think in a business where order is so delicately balanced with chaos Initially Arthus Bertrand hadn t intended to include texts with all his photos So at first some were exhibited alone without captions But after observing the reaction of people who came to the exhibitions he had found they concentrated more on the imagery when the photos were connected with a written narrative The words he decided gave the pictures added relevance For these weren t just any images chosen at random but ones that envisioned his concerns for humanity s survival in a shrinking world where resources were rapidly depleting through pillage and plunder And his realisation of the social and political imbalances this had created made him aware of how vital the text was in connecting these ecological issues with his photographs So he began insisting captions be included in all his exhibitions even when curators sometimes objected saying they detracted from the aesthetics I was impressed by this monumental project by the team Arthus Bertrand had built how well they related and worked together on the grandeur and the enormity of the events he produced which made people consider things they hadn t thought about before Or if they had thought about them hadn t visualised the consequences for the consequences go so far beyond one s passing reflections He had created a spectacle and the spectacle was enhanced by the enormous size of the imagery and the fact that the photographs were displayed outdoors which made them accessible to passers by who wouldn t have gone into the museum to see them but were drawn by the immensity of scale and the curiosity of having the display on the street not boxed up inside the institution Thinking about this project the man his adventure and the organisation around it I became even more fascinated For as a life s work it ranks amongst the most interesting and effective I ve come across in recent years Reading his short biography which I found on his website www yannarthusbertrand com I discovered he didn t start out as a photographer but as head of a nature reserve in France He later moved to Kenya to study animals in their natural habitat While he was in Africa he took his first balloon trip and suddenly his vision shifted Returning to France now in his thirties he decided to become a photojournalist Arthus Bertrand comes across as a man of enormous energy and vitality someone who gained a singular vision and was able to pursue it with boldness and determination But more than anything I

    Original URL path: http://bobbiderman.com/earth.htm (2016-04-30)
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  • The Scottsboro Boys reviewed by Bob Biderman
    is even more interesting as it set in motion so many competing forces and because of the period the depression the growing strength of the communist movement the rise of fascism the retrenchment of the South and the idea of the unfinished revolution After seeing the film I thought what a good novel it would make based around the conflicts that so inspired an era and yet the victims the

    Original URL path: http://bobbiderman.com/scottsboro.htm (2016-04-30)
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  • Guardian Obit, Gordon DeMarco by Bob Biderman
    of crime as his model He saw Chandler s writing as more of a social investigation than that of his formalised predecessor Chandler he felt had created a language which embodied the poetry of the urban malaise and he incorporated it seamlessly into his own writing When Pete Ayrton and Ronald Segal began their experimental New Crime series for Pluto Press in the early eighties they saw October Heat as a prototype It became the first book on their list and one of their biggest sellers Unfortunately the economic shift in publishing made little room for the likes of DeMarco After the demise of the Pluto crime list he returned to the niche he had made for himself in the small press world Born in the suburbs of Akron Ohio in what is now America s rust belt DeMarco was swept up in the romance of the sixties He took a history degree at the local university and a masters in political science from San Francisco State Collage He arrived just as the upsurge of 1968 was climaxing and co chaired the college s Students for a Democratic Society chapter I met him then and we became lifelong friends San Francisco became his spiritual home though in recent years he despaired of its yuppiedom He came to England in the mid eighties lived in London and then migrated north to what was to become his other great urban love Edinburgh He soon became part of the underground scene there actively producing little marvels for the festival such as Who s Afraid of Abbie Hoffman And later a rather melancholy pastiche Murder at the Fringe But Gordon was never totally comfortable as an expatriate For some reason I could never understand he preferred American TV and Sergeant Bilko remained a perennial

    Original URL path: http://bobbiderman.com/demarco02.html (2016-04-30)
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  • Sorley Macdonald
    he got it off his chest he seemed to relax a bit especially as I tried to tell him that it didn t matter that he should do what he thought was best Perhaps he thought he d let me down And now somehow I think I let him down by not pursuing it by not trying at least to make it clear that we were still friends and that nothing had really changed It was just another project that hadn t got off the ground and that was that Yet I had picked up certain vibes a certain rawness of emotion that seemed to me even more than I had come to expect from Sorely who could at the best of times be dour and slightly ill at ease but always with an overlay of humour There was something clawing at him that made him distant at times He was always on the move always rushing from here to there Delivering things that didn t need to be delivered And yet so many of us are like that aren t we We never peer into the depths of a fellow mortal s soul into the darkness and horror lest

    Original URL path: http://bobbiderman.com/sorley.html (2016-04-30)
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  • Jonah Who Will Be 25 in the Year 2000, reviewed by Bob Biderman
    do something he would do it with pleasure In short Jerome was someone Z could believe not least because Jerome had once also lived in the East End and had been looked upon as an other Not an other because of race but an other because he was different in his head And that Z felt was the biggest otherness of all Like Z Jerome was a dreamer You could see it in his eyes which sometimes would drift off into another land far away from the person sitting next to him Those who knew him well and few people did would comment on how grounded he seemed how self possessed And yet he himself didn t feel grounded at all Like many people with a strong inner life he had a curious sense that there were things he was bound to achieve that somehow in a vague and ill defined way he had a unique purpose and that there were even vaguer spirits there to guide him And yes there were times he felt he was playing out a pre determined role in the theatre of life something re enforced during his years as a vagabond actor with a touring company But probably the same things could have been said of the other young writers in their circle people like Doyle and Barrie sometimes Shaw and the blind poet Marsden They all were dreamers who had come up the hard way Nothing was given to them What they had they had earned through sweat and toil and having had the courage to follow their dreams and listen to their own inner voices Perhaps in a strange way they were fortunate to be living at that particular time which the Jubilee represented Though for them most of them anyway Kipling aside it was just a lot of misplaced pomp and circumstance A recently lettered public was emerging from the ill lit offices with worm eaten desks and the factories of some Dickensian Coke Town into the dawn of a new and more open age where a multitude of penny magazines stuffed the shelves of railway newsagents providing unlimited fodder for the recently contrived class of commuters who consumed them voraciously as a means of all too briefly escaping their rapidly encroaching drudgery some twenty minutes down the track Yes change was in the air You could smell it along with all the dung churned up by the soon to be outmoded omnibus but more especially by the new odours and sounds and sensations blaring at you from the walls the stalls and the pages of papers like the Pall Mall Gazette Suddenly well perhaps not so suddenly as all that the stereotypical image of the Victorian lady and gentleman prim and properly covering their piano legs with modesty socks was being ripped apart with the vengeance one feels about a lie that s been allowed to fester just too long The screen was being torn down to reveal a mirage

    Original URL path: http://bobbiderman.com/royal.htm (2016-04-30)
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