Monthly Archives: September 2013

Downton Abbey, past & present

As the gates open for another series, David Thomas can’t help noticing a paradox: Downton is presented as escapist fantasy. Yet its success coincides with the precise moment when the real world is reverting to the social order that the show … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized

Not quite in colour

“Do you have blacks, too?” Or so George W. Bush is supposed to have asked his Brazilian counterpart, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, when they met in the White House. (Did Dubya actually utter those words?, the urban myth encyclopaedia, is sceptical, … Continue reading

Posted in Brazil, Race

Jimmy G

My Sunday Times album reviews [£]: Welsh folk melodies from Alaw, folksy Fifties jazz from the late and much-missed Jimmy Giuffre, a master of the art of less-is-more. He’ll forever be remembered for his cameo in Bert Stern’s documentary, “Jazz … Continue reading

Posted in Film, Music


The most profound difference between the two countries, however, is probably a simple matter of numbers. In the United States, blacks were always a minority, and steps were taken to keep things that way. In colonial Brazil, blacks came close … Continue reading

Posted in Brazil, History, Notebook, Race

Al fresco

Watching Marcelo Machado’s documentary, “Tropicália”, outside the Igreja da Sé, MIMO festival, Olinda.

Posted in Film, Music, Photography


To help look after the baby, the Oppenheimers employed a nursemaid and, later, a governess. They also employed a cook, a chauffeur and three live-in maids to help Ella look after the apartment. There was no hint of decadence or … Continue reading

Posted in Class, Notebook