Lincoln Drill Hall

Lincoln Drill Hall
Lincoln Drill Hall

Saturday, 1 February 2020

My sadness on ceasing to be a European citizen

I wake on 1 February 2020, with the same leaden feeling in my gut that I had on that dreadful morning of 24 June 2016.
Last night in Lincoln fireworks lit the sky above one of the city’s poorest estates. I truly hope that those people, who have invested so much hope in leaving the EU, will not be disappointed. For that has been at the heart of this whole debate, a great number of people have missed out on the prosperity the EU brought ; that was wrong. It is also ill conceived to think that unfair allocation can be put right by reducing our national income as a result of losing trade with EU countries.
My relationship with Europe is both deep and personal. I struggled to my French O Level, but, in my twenties as we were joining the EEC, I attended evening classes at L’Institute Francais in South Kensington. I used my hard won language skills as a young auditor with clients in Paris and Nice. I then took my Bar Exams and took European Law as my option. Maggie and I went to Brussels in 1979/1980, on the Price Waterhouse European exchange programme, with Sally as a toddler, visiting Germany, Holland, Luxembourg and France.
The European Union has given the priceless gift of peace since the end of WW2, but so much more.
I am and will always be European.
Graffiti from Moria Refugee camp in Lesvos
Some more thoughts from Ian McEwan

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Why Art Matters

The arts don’t exist in isolation. The study of music can make you a better mathematician. Anyone performing on a stage will grow in confidence.

But for me, it is all about story. Human beings have always told stories, from the time when we lived in caves. Stories help us to understand who we are, why we are here. They help us address the big questions; they have power to heal.

Just look at some of the earliest stories that have been passed down: those in the Hebrew Bible, the stories of Homer, the Odyssey and Iliad. These are all written by people trying to make some sort of sense of it all.

Stories come in all shapes and sizes. They can be oral, face to face; they can be in a book, but also in theatre, in pantomime, in musical. They can be in film, on television, in video and computer games. They don’t need to be in words; stories are there in paintings and music.

People tell me that anyone can write a book and that is true; but can everyone write a book, a play, a film script that will engage and communicate?

Telling stories well is a gift, but also a craft, an art that the demands the long hours. The result is massively worthwhile. It matters.

Saturday, 9 November 2019

Why the EU truly matters

The EU is the community of European nations that has prevented a war in Europe for 75 years. It is the community in which our children and grandchildren can thrive together and can together attempt to tackle the massive problems that now face us.

For those who have forgotten, the European Iron and Steel Community, as it was at the start,  combined the iron and steel industries of essentially France and Germany to prevent them making guns, tanks and battle ships to fight each other. Churchill was in favour but was too committed to his fading dream of Empire to join.

Over the years it grew into a broader economic community. It was Mrs Thatcher who pushed for free movement, of goods and people.

Huge issues face the world today and single nations are simply not equipped to tackle them. International cooperation is the only way, and it makes sense to base this on geographical groupings. In Europe we share a history, not always a happy one and that is a good thing. We understand what pressure can do to a nation.

Many of the issues are those which led to the Brexit vote and nationalism elsewhere. For many the world is a worse place, promises of growing affluence have prove hollow. We do not solve this by hiding in a bunker, but by working together.

For me, the purpose of the EU today is to be a large free trade/movement area, but, more so, the place where 28 nations with a common European heritage can together tackle the big issues and offer a better future to our children.

Monday, 28 October 2019

LibDems and Brexit

A great deal of rubbish is being banded about on social media on the LibDem suggestion of revoking Article 50, should they win a General Election.

There are some key points here:
  • This country would be better off Remaining in the EU.
  • The 2016 Referendum was advisory, it was beset by untrue promises and assertions, but above all it was ill-conceived. The question was and is far too complex to be settled by a Referendum; that it Parliament's job.
  • A People's Vote is better than crashing out, but would still be trying to settle a complex matter by an inevitably simplistic binary choice
Parliament is stuck with a government without a majority. It seems to me obvious that a new parliament is needed and, for that to happen, we need a General Election. Some people are arguing that we need a People's Vote before a General Election; my objection based on the complexity of the issue remains.

We need a government with a mandate to finish the business, one way or another.

Sunday, 22 September 2019

Drill Hall Raise the Roof Gala Night

What a night!

Very many thanks to the wonderful Julie Fox for being mad enough, brave enough and sufficiently determined to bring it all together.
It must have taken many hours of rehearsal by the wonderful young performers from the Lincoln Academy of Theatre Arts Theatre School to perform excerpts from CATS, Les Miserables and Phantom of the Opera. Thanks to them and the juniors, who were very simply a delight.
Thanks to Stephen John Davis and former LATA student, Alex Lodge, from coming up from West End productions to sing so wonderfully for us. And what about Jamie Marcus and his son, Harry: some serious talent.
Drama from Common Ground, and their forthcoming Waiting for Godot. A scene from the 2012 production of Calendar Girls was a total delight. But don't rest on your laurels, the FishTank performers have some wonderful promise.
Saturday Sessions are a vital part of the Drill Hall life and the two acts performing showed serious talent.
Performance poet Gemma Baker made us think about how we have power to keep this wonderful place. Together we can, so Be A Brick and Buy A Brick.
A delighted audience at the 2018 Lincoln Book Festival with thanks to Phil Crow

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

A sideways look at Victoriana

In this year’s  Lincoln Book Festival, we want to look at the Victorian period in a different way. So, we look first at its obsessions and then at its distractions. We examine crime and how fiction may have initiated the criminal act. We look at the people who met the Queen and what they thought.

The line-up features prize-winning authors and critically acclaimed new works of history writing and historical fiction. Among the literary celebrations of Victoria and the Victorians, highlights include:

We celebrate John Ruskin and, the Brontes, and, through Lincoln’s wonderful archive, Tennyson.

Its not all Victoria. We open with a celebration of young persons writing with young adults author Melvin Burgess. We have Sarah Hogg with her novel set in her home at Kettlethorpe. We welcome back the wonderful Susan Fletcher with her House of Glass. We have letter writing, trains and food with Leaves from a Tuscan Kitchen

We have four great fringe events. David Starkey talking on a Monarchy of Misfits at Lincoln Drill Hall, The French Lieutenants Woman at the Venue and two pieces of short theatre at Lincoln’s Oxfam Bookshop

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Karu Limited Book Festival Sponsorship

The Lincoln Book Festival is massively grateful to Ruth and Kate of Karu Limited, who are sponsoring our launch event at Lincoln Drill Hall. Karu is ceasing training and the book festival sponsorship is 'the last hoorah of support that we are doing as our farewell'.