Tuesday, 18th September 2018
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This documentary was probably only commissioned because Russia is hosting the World Cup and it's airing just a few days before the competition opened wasn't by chance either.  The programme was fronted by David Dimbelby who had travelled to Russia to try and get the low down on what the country was really like.  There is a lot in the media about Russia but people in the west very rarely get to see behind the scenes as to what the country is really like. You almost got the impression that you already knew what Dimbelby was going to find out before he actually went and spoke to people and by the end of the show you weren't disappointed.  He interviewed quite a number of people who were in support of Putin and they all seemed to be in agreement that what impressed them most about their President was that he was a strong ruler.  It has always been thus in Russia. They cited various legislation that has been enacted that shows what a strong leader Putin is and specifically they talked about how he stands up to the west.  When speaking to those who weren't fans of the President it seems that the same feelings came out, that Putin was a strong leader, too strong of a leader that didn't brook any opposition.  They also spoke about the levels of corruption that are endemic in Russia and how it is stifling economic growth.  The economy is one area that everyone agreed was performing badly under Putin at the moment citing the sanctions that the west had put in force after the annexation of the Crimea by Russia. The documentary was being filmed at the same time as the Presidential elections in Russia and instead of the economy being the main subject it was the whole Skripal affair, about the former spy and his daughter who were poisoned in England.  Putin's reaction to that and how he spun it into an us against them battle meant that he became hugely popular at the time of the elections and strode easily into power yet again.  Despite so much being wrong in Russia it seemed to Dimbelby that Putin was highly popular, a man with a political machine behind him that means that he probably will easily go on to win the next election as well.


The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition is one of the world's largest art fairs and this year is it's 250th Anniversary. 20,000 amateur artists sent in works in a chance to be hung in the exhibition's salon but only a thousand or so made it.  This show followed not only unknown artists but well known ones as well to see how they fared.  Grayson Perry, the Turner Prize winning transvestite potter, was this years invited curator and he gave over a large amount of his time in working to fulfill his job.  It was no mean feat but it does show that an unknown amateur artist from anywhere in the country could have their work hanging alongside some of the biggest names in the industry.   Of course there are those who are invited to come and exhibit their works and there are some big names including Hockney and Anish Kapoor.  On the whole the show was an interesting look behind the scenes of an event that is one of the highlights of the Season.


This film starring Jet Li and Jason Statham is perhaps more thoughtful and interesting then you might have thought at first if you sat down to watch a shoot them up thriller.  Statham and Li don't usually star in movies where you have to think somewhat about what is going on, usually it's easy to understand who the good and the bad guys are and what the whole set up is.  Not so in this movie.  You think that Statham as an FBI man is the good guy trying to stop a war between the Triads and the Yakuza and the same time try to avenge the death of his former colleague and his friend who was murdered.  It didn't turn out like that at all and there is a large switch at the end that turns the tables on what you thought was happening.  Maybe the film is a lesson in not being so lazy when it comes to watching movies.


Letters to the Editor

  • A Wonderful Harvest

    Even though the weather Gods didn’t exactly play ball over the weekend it doesn’t take away from the fact that this years Waterford Harvest Festival was yet again another wonderful success. It was great to see the streets of the centre of the city so beautifully and thoughtfully decked out. The various food stalls offering tastes from all over were great to wander around. The information and background that each of the stall holders were able to give on the provenance of their food was really interesting an …

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