Fire in London, and a Tough Period for the UK

As I write this, a fire is blazing in Grenfell Tower, west London, with reports of multiple deaths.  My thoughts are with all those affected by this.

It’s a difficult time in the UK. Politically, in a mess, after the recent election, with terrorist great britainattacks, and civilian death, a monthly event in recent times. In this last period I’ve been working in Donbass, in what is still a warzone, more people, civilians, have been killed in the UK by terrorist attacks, than in Donbass by war. 

I see a sufficient quantity of anti-Britain comments. And, more than anyone, I accept that catastrophic political decisions, and foreign policy, with particular emphasis on the Tony Blair and post, period, have brought that upon us.  However, the Great Britain I am from, and know, is a friendly country, of great people, and it’s always in my heart.

I’ll be back there soon, and my thoughts with Great Britain, at this time.

London Terrorist Attack: Video Reportage, and a Tragic Update

Here is my video reportage from the March 22nd terrorist attack in London – 

Part 1: 

Part 2: 

After this, tragically, it was tragically confirmed there has been another victim of the attack, 31-year-old Romanian Andreea Cristea.

Another Victim of London 22nd March Attacks: Andreea Cristea

Very sad news, as it has been confirmed that Andreea Cristea, 31, the Romanian tourist thrown from Westminster Bridge into the Thames in the terrorist attack of March 22nd, has died in hospital.

Cristea’s life support machine was switched off by doctors St Bartholomew’s Hospital.  Cristea was struck on the day her boyfriend had planned to propose to her.

Cristea, an architect, was in a critical condition, fighting for her life for 2 weeks before succumbing to injuries. Her family have released a statement calling their loved one “beloved and irreplaceable, a wonderful daughter, sister, partner, dedicated friend and the most unique and life loving person you can imagine, who was cruelly and brutally ripped away from our lives in the most heartless and spiritless way….

She will always be remembered as our shining ray of light that will forever keep on shining in our hearts.

There are no words to even begin to describe the crushing pain and emptiness that is left in our hearts.”

RIP to her, on this extremely sad news.

For further details read here, here, and here.

New Video Reportage: London Attack, Special Reportage, part 1 of 2

I posted this reportage earlier today, and then a short time later, read of the horrific events in St Petersburg.  Thoughts with St Petersburg on this terrible day.

Anyone who was in London on July 7th, 2005 will know exactly what people in St Petersburg are experiencing, and not only. This, the first part of my two-part special reportage on the recent terrorist attack in London.

Video Reportage: My Day as a DPR Tourist in London

A couple of things to note about this recent reportage – I added a few of my favourite songs to accompany it, however due to YouTube policies, this means, for their own reasons, that the reportage isn’t playable on some devices, so, to be sure of watching it, best on a computer!

Also, just in case you fancied a break from my music, perhaps even adding your own, I left a few seconds quiet in the middle. Here’s the reportage! 

Review (and film): Dreams of a Life (2011)

Graham Phillips

There are few things I love more than a good documentary film. Recently, Dreams of a Life was recommended to me, I researched it online, and the fascinating story on which it is based. That story being the life, or rather death, of Joyce Vincent, the 38-year-old lady who lay dead in her own Wood Green (North London) flat for over 2 years before being discovered.

For such a thing to happen, in our times – this was 2006, when the grim discovery was made, is extraordinary. And the work that film-maker Carol Morley has put into it is equally extraordinary. Morley worked on this for five years, turning something which may have been left as a ‘bizarre’ style article in the press, into a major story, with serious ramifications.

All of which makes the final result all the more disappointing. That all the interviewees are in the same place, with the same backdrop makes it feel a bit static. Morley leaving in a part where one calls her a ‘clever girl‘ feels rather onanistic. The music is frequently overbearing. Yet there are more intrinsic problems – the interviewees are not given captions to explain who they are, or the nature of their relationship with Vincent. Meanwhile what they say about Joyce frequently contradicts each other leaving it ultimately entirely unclear, beyond the basics, as to who Joyce Vincent really was.

However, as the film progresses, you are ready to forgive a lot of this – it has a good structure, the reconstructions are impressive, Zawe Ashton excels with what she’s given, in the title role, even if some of the dramatisation really is a bit much at times.  The idea to use a storyboard, adding post-its, and photos, works very well. The photos of Vincent are similarly effectively spliced into the 90-minute film.

Yet what makes it all ultimately unforgivable is that it ends on such a whimper. Ok, ex-boyfriend Martin Lister (pictured), a sympathetic presence throughout, breaks down in tears, which is emotional. And yet, the message of it all ends up being kind of a vague ‘we should pay more attention to our acquaintances‘.

Also, while the interviews add (albeit contrasting) information about who Vincent (pictured) really was, there’s a lack of a backbone. Where’s the interview with someone from the housing association, explaining how a housing association tenant could have so spectacularly fallen through the cracks? Interviews with people who those who actually worked at the scene? The police (there’s some talk of foul play). And, ok, Morley clearly didn’t want to offend Vincent’s four sisters, after they refused to participate, but why are they untouchable? Why aren’t more questions asked of how four sisters could have let their own sister go unchecked for over 2 years?

This shouldn’t have been a studio-set, punch pulling, at times ‘A Smile is Just a Frown‘, Holly-Wood Green production. It should have been raw, visceral, a no holds study of an individual to whom this happened, and the society which let it happen.

But it’s none of this. Of course, credit to Carol Morley for finding this story, seeing the potential in it, doing something it it. But ultimately, it’s a shame she didn’t hand it over to someone who was able to do something more with it.

Watch the film online here.