The Holy Blood – Holy Grail – Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln (1982)

Holy Blood Holy Grail Cover
Written as a follow up to a BBC documentary, this is the book where the authors presented an ‘audacious’ and groundbreaking hypothesis : theories which of course have achieved notoriety in the shape of Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code. It’s funny – on the back cover ( it did cause a fair amount of hoo-ha when it was released) Newsweek said ‘ A brilliant thriller in the making’ – and of course, as we know, some people came along and did just that. Definitely worth a read. Of course for all Templar and Grail enthusiasts but nowadays anyone who wanted to know about where some of the ideas presented in the fictional Da Vinci Code had their roots ( and enough information and bibliography is presented in the text for people to take their own research further and draw their own conclusions about the subject matter) Again – they make it clear that theirs is a startling hypothesis and a set of speculations about historical events.

The Rule of Four – Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason


Great – I really enjoyed reading this – I admit i’m fascinated with ancient and mediaeval texts and a good mystery at the same time so this was right up my street. It’s focus is the mysterious, lengthy, erudite and anonymous Renaissance text – the Hypneromatochia Poliphili

“A mysterious coded manuscript, a violent Ivy League murder, and the secrets of a Renaissance prince collide in a labyrinth of betrayal, obsession, and genius..”

August 2nd 1990 – 16 years ago. Iraqi troops invade Kuwait – eventually leading to the Gulf War.

I remember that day far too clearly – I was 12 years old then. About 6 a.m. my dream was getting a bit loud and i woke up and found the noise was was real. a funny noise and the floor was somewhat shuddery.. I had these great big windows and i leaned out and what did i see..( well i don’t have my own pictures anymore so this will have to do to give you an idea)


We were supposed to be going on holiday at 10. a.m. Seeing as the airport was the first thing that was bombed – that obviously wasn’t going to happen. What was going on ? i remember the unreality feeling being the strongest during those early moments. is this really happening? this can’t be happening! we had to listen to the BBC and Voice of America broadcasts on the radio announcing that Iraq had invaded Kuwait before it started to sink in. Well it didn’t really sink in for a bit – not till later on in the day when we stepped outside to see lots of soldiers with rifles milling about, and later later on all the casualties of the morning’s shelling strewn about the highways and roads. of course there was no one left to clear up the wreckages. one of the things that most stuck in my mind was the image of a car wrapped around and melted into a traffic lampost, and you could see the hole where the bomb had landed. Years later obviously no car anymore but the warped lampost remained..

anyways. i hope never to wake up to something like that again – but you never know. taking safety for granted is something i try not to do anymore.

–There’s not much interest on the net about this day and memorials etc. – i did a google search to see if anyone else had noted that some of us might be marking this date – ha not much – everything is either about the Gulf War – or as is to be expected – stick in invasion and iraq and kuwait and the 2003 events come up) But hey. I know there are a lot of people out there – spread across the world ( Kuwait was and still is mostly full of ‘expatriates’) who went through this ( who’re still alive that is..) and whether or not they are sitting there consciously remembering this day 16 years ago – here’s to life.

I haven’t ever really written anything much about my experiences and I may do some day. There’s too much to go into here and now anyways. Later on in life when i read the Diary of Anne Frank a couple of things really resonated with me. The waiting the not knowing and Anne was writing about her 14th birthday in hiding, and that made me think about my 13th birthday. i’m a virgo so i turned 13 that September, still under ‘Occupation’. Some fun that was! Being a year younger than the others in my class had always made me eager to be a bit older. and as a 12 year old i couldn’t wait to become a teenager. all my mates’ had had their 13th birthday parties and i had been so looking forward to mine. Alas..
Still i’ve lived to tell my tale if i so choose but unfortunately Anne – and a million other people across the world in different conflicts – didn’t. So i’m pretty thankful and lucky.
On a lighter note : – in 1967 on this day the second Blackwall Tunnel opened in Greenwich.

Love/Death: The Tristan Project


Now showing for free – at two venues: Haunch of Venison Yard and St. Olaf’s College – Tooley St. ( or what used to be the College) [ Adjacent to Tower Bridge Rd, London, SE1 2JR – nearest tube is London Bridge]

The Love/Death: Tristan Project is a twelve piece collaborative project featuring the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. The exhibits range from large scale video projections with sound to small, silent flat screen panels.

Considered a pioneer in video art, Viola is represented by the James Cohan Gallery in New York, as well as Haunch of Venison in London.

His video installations at the SF MoMA ( San Francisco Museum of Modern Art) can be still found as online exhibition features here.

“Viola’s work looks at birth and death, time and human experience. He is said to draw elements of religion into his work and has studied mysticism, Sufism, Kabbalah and Zen Buddhism.”

Much of the work in this latest show comes from material produced for a recent production of the Wagner opera Tristan and Isolde.

The Haunch of Venison Group are an international art group representing contemporary art, based in Zurich.

The exhibition is running till the 2nd of September

Zadie Smith: On Beauty

Zadie Smith discusses her latest book ‘On Beauty’ at Wanstead Library this Saturday – 29th July.

book cover zadie smith

This is her third novel and was published in 2005, and won the 2006 Orange Prize for Fiction. It’s been referred to in a lot of reviews as a ‘homage to EM Forster’.

Starts at 7.00 p.m. and tickets are £3.


Wanstead Library is in the London Borough of Redbridge

Spratt Hall Road
E11 2RQ

Tel: 020 8708 7400

via Daniels Counter – ( Not in the news! Tel Aviv: Anti War protest)

peace demio

This was interesting – Daniel highlights the anti-war protests in Israel on Sunday 16th July – which the mainstream media hardly covered. Also on the 21st of July in Haifa.

“This featured in the Israeli papers Haaretz and Yediot Ahronot, but not on the BBC, Sky or even CNN.

Presumably the existence of a Zionist Peace and Anti War Movement movement in Israel is bad news as it does not fit not the image of ugly Zionism many have, or others who wish Israel to fight Islam for them (U.S.)?

Organizations mentioned :

Gush Shalom Israeli Peace Bloc
New Profile. Movement for the Civilization of Israel
Hadash (Wikipedia on Hadash)
Ta’ayush Israeli / Palestinian Partnership Group
Yesh Gvul (Organization for soldiers refusing to serve in Occupied territories)
The Women’s Coalition for Peace (Palestinian and Israeli)Mossawa, The Advocacy Center for Arab Citizens in Israel.

On 21st of July BBC worldservice for the first time reported on an Israeli Peace demonstration in Haifa the same day

View photos and write up on the Gush Shalom site here

Cross-posted to shorno.net and pickled politics 

one year on from last year’s awful attacks on the seventh of july – here in London. It will be marked by a two-minute silence at noon – to remember the victims, and presumably – more generally – mark the tragedy of loss of life. A public ceremony is also being held in the evening at Regent’s Park.

A terribly difficult time for anyone who lost a loved one in the attack.
And in a lesser way, for Londoners who will possibly be reminded how it could have been one of them – given the vagaries of the Tube, there’s no accounting for which line you have to hop on when. Overall, it’s relevant i think to highlight what such terrorist attacks have achieved: terror, reduction of civil liberties, mutually suspicious ‘communities’, about a million steps ‘back’ basically. What does the violence achieve – nothing. What does violence ever achieve – nothing? just further violence – a vicious cycle. in this kind of nightmarish world, it’s more important than ever to hang on to the notion of a universal human right to peace, which cannot be ‘protected’ and ‘furthered’ by violent action, but promoted through democracy and dialogue.

dove and peace

Undercover Surrealism


Undercover Surrealism explores the ’subversive climate’ of the dark undercurrent within Surrealism in the late 1920’s spearheaded by Georges Bataille. The exhibition draws together work by Picasso, Miro, Masson, Giacometti as well as imagery from the magazine Bataille edited from 1929 to 1930 called DOCUMENTS :

“..a shocking and bizarre juxtaposition of art, ethnography, archaeology and popular culture in such a way that overturned conventional notions of ‘primitive’ and ‘ideal’. Bataille described himself as Surrealism’s ‘enemy from within’… ”

The exhiition is running at the Hayward Gallery till the 30th July.

“Anything sharp or severe is called a Satyr” : Cocker’s English Dictionary 1704.

“..an exhibition of visual satire produced in and about London over three centuries. In this period the form of satire has changed radically, from popular individual engravings to newspaper cartoons and television.

Some images are produced by amateurs, others by leading artists such as Hogarth, Gillray and Rowlandson. Some are mildly humorous, others vitriolic. What links them is their depiction of the comic and their visual commentary on vice and folly, human foibles and unsociable behaviour.

A rare perspective on life in London from a street level perspective imbued with popular opinion.”

The exhibition runs from 1 April to 3 September 2006 at the Museum of London.

Print Print Two


Ring – Koji Suzuki 


Published in 1991 – the book behind the cult movie/s. Has been since translated into English and published by HarperCollins.

The guardian review referred to this as 'postmodern japanese terror' – well however you choose to phrase it – it was certainly that. Postmodern – perhaps because there are no gory scenes – certainly nothing to compare with the usual fare of the 'horror' genre (and suzuki has been referred to as the japanese 'Stephen King'..) – instead this i would say is coldly terrifying. Much more spine-chilling than the conventional gore-filled horror. There is something about the tightly written script that inspires dread and that prickling feeling .. Delicately ambiguous, fast-paced and tense, it grips you all the way to the shattering conclusion. The Ring is the first book in a trilogy that has been hugely succesful – Spiral and Loop are the others.

Read more here – Interview with author

Agitated Images: John Heartfield and German Photomontage 1920 – 1938 is currently exhibiting at the Getty Center. An illustration of the power of images and imagery. Heartfield worked in Germany and Czechoslovakia between the World Wars, using his medium to represent the chaos – social and political instability of the time.

The exhibition is running till June 25th.