Tuesday, 24th April 2018
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Crufts

If you have any sort of interest in dogs then this event is surely one of the televisual highlights of your year. While there are those who think that the way dogs are displayed and judged is inherently wrong there is still a lot to recommend this series of programmes centered around a celebration of all things canine. While the main event is undoubtedly all of the events leading up to the crowning of the top dog of the year there is also a lot going on outside the main arena that is of interest. There are the agility and flyball sessions where it is clear that the dogs involved absolutely love what they are doing. And then there is the demonstrations of all the ways in which dogs help mankind such as those that can detect cancer and also the other medical alert dogs which help many people.

No matter if you feel that Crufts is just an outdated beauty show for animals there is a sense in which dogs and everything that they do is being celebrated just for these short few days and that can only be a good thing.

Troy - Fall Of A City

It is amazing to think that a major new BBC series is being based on a story that is about 4,000 years old and that people are still interested in a piece of history that is nearly as old as time itself. The story revolves around the taking of Helen, Queen of Sparta, to the Kingdom of Troy by a prince of that city named Paris, known also as Alexander in Troy.

Unsurprisingly her husband is incensed by the shame that has been brought on him and wants her back and to that end mobilises all of the separate Greek kingdoms to help him. As you might expect with a force made up of disparate allies there are various different stories amongst the Greeks and they don't always get on well together to put it mildly. But then again neither do they get on so well in the besieged city of Troy either. There are those who don't think what Paris and Helen have done was the right thing and will only bring ruin down on the city. The fact that they have just had to introduce rationing for the mass of the subjects only reinforces that and their only chance to break the blockade has ended in disaster. Also the one way out of the war, a hand to hand combat featuring Paris has ended in disgrace with him running away to save to life. This is an interesting if at times perplexing drama.

There is plenty that is happening to keep your interest but at the same time everything seems to be of just the one note, things always seem too calm even when there is a lot happening. Things are just a little too placid and the actors seem reined in even at times of heightened tension. This is a well known story and everyone knows the end and what will happen. It's just a pity that there isn't more of a sense of urgency about the drama in the show.

Christopher And His Kind

This show is based on the Berlin set of novels by english author Christopher Isherwood and perhaps is a truer reflection of the life he lived there and the people he encountered than the more famous film covering the same period 'Cabaret'. As Isherwood is willing to admit the real reason he went to Berlin in the early thirties was because of the 'boys'. The city was famously liberal and although it was still illegal to be gay it was refreshingly tolerant of many different lifestyles. He went there on an invitation of another gay friend, a poet, but he spent most of his time hanging out with various rentboys that he met in various gaybars. Each of them was good looking and all of them available for a small price.

The one price that Isherwood didn't expect to pay was to fall in love with one of them called Caspar, a guy who just mooched off him and spent the money he got on women that he became involved with. In the end Caspar just drifted away and ultimately became involved with the Nazis. A dubious and strange choice to say the least for a former rentboy. It was at this same time that Isherwood became friends with one of the tenants of the lodging house where he was staying, an english singer and actress by the name of Jean Ross, later to be immortalised as Sally Bowles in Cabaret. She wasn't the most talented singer or actress but she didn't let that deter her and it was this spirit of self confidence as well as a lust for life that attracted Isherwood to her. They spent a lot of time together and became close friends but romantically Isherwood was involved with another young man who this time he really fell in love with and who fell in love with him in return.

But it was not the time with the rise of the Nazi's for it to blossom and develop into anytime long term even though Isherwood brought him to England with him for a number of weeks. The affair was not to last even though they met up post war in Berlin where the man asked him for help for him and his wife and son to emigrate.

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    Religious ToleranceAt a public meeting last week to discuss the plans for a new mosque in Kilkenny, it seemed that out of the crowd of approximately 200 that attended, the overwhelming majority were against the idea. While it was reported that most people were against the addition of the mosque to Kilkenny life due to logistical reasons, it was also reported, and quite prominently, that there were more than a few people who were vocally opposed to the whole idea of a any sort of mosque being built on rel …

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