Archive for September, 2009

24
Sep
09

Is Lee Myung-bak naked?

President Lee Myung-bak announced on 21 September offering North Korea a ‘grand bargain’. An end to the failed step-by-step approaches. A ‘comprehensive package’ that would be agreed on by the countries involved in the six-party talks. The Marmot, seems to think this all sounds a bit dull. But this isn’t dull, it is vacuous and therefore wonderfully ridiculous.

South Koreans have often boasted that they understand North Korea better than anyone. They have more people whose job it is to watch and ponder on North Korea, its leader, its politics, and its economy. They have a deep personal interest in how things develop on the peninsula, arguably more so than others involved. South Korea has been involved in the six-party talks, they have been a key player in all that has gone on. And when it is time to step in with their own ideas on how to go forward they offer an unclear, undefinable, ultimately impractical, nebulous notion of a one-off swap? It is both disappointing and amusing at the same time.

Perhaps when the details come out it will suddenly become clear and amazingly insightful. For now, it isn’t clear how an exchange of security assurances, international aid, (and energy supplies) could be bargained in a one-off deal for full, verifiable dismantlement of North Korea’s nuclear program(s). And if Lee Myung-bak is referring to a deal on paper that would then be implemented over time, he hasn’t offered anything new. Talk of not being soft on North Korea anymore has absolutely no credibility.

After the Agreed Framework, the sunshine policy, Perry’s two path proposal (untested) and the six-party talks, I expected something with a little more substance. The previous ideas, though they have failed, have all clearly involved a lot of thought and led to a lot of discussion and, in earlier years, even a bit of hope. Are we truly out of ideas?

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03
Sep
09

Nagisa Oshima Film Series

The British Film Institute is currently hosting a series on Nagisa Oshima. I went to see the first of the movies which I will be watching in this series, Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence.

Mr. Lawrence is played by Tom Conti. So it was a great treat when Tom Conti arrived to give an introduction to the movie. I have long been a fan so it was a real thrill to see him. Add to that the fact that the movie fantastic and it made for a great evening. David Bowie was exceptional but when is he ever anything other than exceptional? Everything was great except for the miserable weather – pouring rain.

I was very excited on hearing about this series. Last year I purchased a book on East Asian film and was a little horrified to realise how ignorant I am. (I recenlty bought a similar book on anime and  was horrified anew). Nagisa Oshima is mentioned in my book including the movie “for which he is probably best known in the West”, In the Realm of the Senses. This movie is described by the BFI as “probably the most erotic film ever made”. Thats a big statement. I’ve got my ticket for next week.

I also have tickets to see Gohatto and Empire of Passion.

03
Sep
09

Bristol

We visited to Bristol at the end of the August – it really was month for travel. The weather was a bit windy and cold but Bristol itself seemed very nice. Banksy, the artist whose hometown is Bristol was holding an exhibition

We didn’t see the exhibition because the line was VERY VERY LONG. It sent out the museum and along the footpath, then in the next side street there were queue barriers up and down the street which were full and then more people going around the corner! For three days that we saw the line it was like that from morning to closing time. I took a picture of his street art instead.

There is a piece of Banksy’s work next to the bus stop near my office so I always get to enjoy his work.

We saw other stuff instead which was all very nice. Bristol Cathedral was lovely with an exceptional chapter house. The suspension bridge by Brunel was as impressive as everyone said it would be.

Clifton Suspension Bridge across Avon Gorge

Clifton Suspension Bridge across Avon Gorge

Bristol Cathedral

Bristol Cathedral

Art by Banksy

Art by Banksy

03
Sep
09

Rome

We went to Rome in August for a mini-break. It was my first time to Rome and to Italy for that matter. It was totally fabulous. We only had a couple of days but the weather was wonderfully hot and the beer was deliciously cold. I took a load of photos but rather than post them here I selected just a small sample.

Vatican City, Italy

Vatican City, Italy

Church of St Peter, Vatican City, Italy

Church of St Peter, Vatican City, Italy

Pantheon, Rome, Italy

Pantheon, Rome, Italy

The Ancient Forum, Rome, Italy

The Ancient Forum, Rome, Italy

The Colosseum, Rome, Italy

The Colosseum, Rome, Italy

Me in Rome, Italy

Me in Rome, Italy

03
Sep
09

Coventry

From August 14-17 we went to Coventry for a wedding. Coventry isn’t so great but it does have some pretty scenes.

Trinity Church, Coventry

Next to the Cathedral ruins, Coventry

One highlight was The Transport Museum which had lots of great vintage cars.




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