Flying to the conference tomorrow morning. Turns out my co-worker will also be coming to the meetup. (thought he was flying back Saturday but it's Sunday). Remember: as far as anyone knows, we're a nice, normal community.
Anyone who wants a photo to aid in identification send me a message.
What I'm Listening To
Finished Conservative Tradition by Patrick N. Allitt. 36 lectures on the history of conservative ideas in Britain and America, starting with Burke. Pretty thorough and informative. Allitt regards one of the key principles of conservatism as the idea that change should be slow and gradual, rather than sudden and revolutionary. So, he sees nothing inconsistent in the shifting responses to things like free markets, abolition of slavery, universal suffrage, women's suffrage; all ofwhich conservatives were originally against,but gradually came to accept.
Allitt is particularly good on the gradual change from opposing to favouring free market economics, and the unexpected embrace of Reform by Peel and Disraeli.
However, this is the first teaching company course I've done that felt a bit too long. Allitt is very comprehensive and goes through name after name of conservative writers, who all seem to blur into one after a while: their ideas seem pretty similar and they don't seem to do much except write. Would have been nice to ditch some of them and have at least brief discussions of conservatism on the Continent, or at least in Canada and Australia: he sticks very rigidly to the prescribed domain.
Also, as with his America course, there are irritating little errors of fact (for instance he attributes the "longest suicide note in history" gag to a Tory MP rather than Gerald Kaufman). In this case it doesn't change anything significant, but it makes you wonder how many other errors there are that I haven't managed to spot.
Overall, fairly interesting but not perfect.
Next up: Dead Sea Scrolls.
What I'm Watching
Saw "Bunny and the Bull" on DVD. Surreal comedy about an isolated neurotic reminiscing about a journey across Europe with his extroverted buddy Bunny. Very cleverly done, with stop-motion animation and low-fi model sets integrated with the characters, and some great transitions from the flat to the journey and back. It's directed by Darkplace and Mighty Boosh director Paul King, and seems to be aiming at a Mighty Boosh type of humour, with appearances from Julian Barratt and Noel Fielding.
So, I wanted to like it, but I don't think I chuckled or even smiled once all the way through. The actual jokes are tired, predictable and not very well executed. The characters are charmless and annoying: it really needed something to give you some sympathy for the endlessly whining Stephen.
Overall, not really recommended: great art direction doesn't really compensate for the poor script. The best way to watch it might be on fast-forward, slowing down for the groovier visuals.
Video. Biggest and best jumps
Politics. Cameron and the US right
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