Wordsworth’s White Wife – Review 1

Review by Frank Birbal Singh, Emeritus Professor of Post-Colonial Literature at York University, Toronto, Canada.

“Rosie’s documentary zeal in meticulously cataloguing social, cultural, and political aspects of her experience in Guyana, with a sense of wide-eyed wonder, in spite of frustration and grief, is nothing less than exemplary in Wordsworth’s White Wife. ” Continue reading

Wordsworth’s White Wife – Review 2

Cultures on the Cusp in 1970s Guyana – a review by Chris Cormack
in the Hastings Online Times   (http://hastingsonlinetimes.co.uk/arts-culture/literature/wordsworth-mcandrew)

A newly published book by author and Hastings resident, Rosie McAndrew, gives important insights into the nature of inter-racial relationships and an historically key period in the development of multi-culturalism, namely the 1960s/70s when old cultural props were de-stabilised and emerging nations were to develop a new cultural pride and identity,  writes Chris Cormack.

Rosie McAndrew’s memoir Wordsworth’s White Wife works on a number of planes; as a simple memoir of an extraordinary relationship with the odds set against it; as a historic memoir of two nations on the cusp, sixties’ Britain self-questioning of long held hierarchical and ethical codes of society and Guyana (formerly British Guiana) seeking its own new cultural identity after recent independence from Britain in a cultural ‘melting pot’ that reflected multi-racial Guyana. Given Rosie’s philological background (French and Spanish), it is also a fascinating exploration of linguistic melding and development, as creole language and culture is brought to prominence by a remarkable man for the cultural recognition that it undoubtedly deserves. Through the linguistic devices the reader is able to glean important insights into life and culture in 1970s Guyana. Continue reading

Wordsworth’s White Wife – Review 3

Review in the Hastings Independent by Christine Sanderson

When Wordsworth McAndrew died in 2008, he was hailed in his home country of Guyana as a ‘National Treasure’ and the voice of Guyanese folklore. But to Rosie McAndrew, who lives locally near to Ore village, he was her ex-husband and an influence that changed her life completely.

‘Mac’, as Rosie usually called him, was ten years older than her and already well-known in 1968 when the two first met. Both were attending courses at the BBC in London, his in connection with his job in broadcasting and hers to prepare her for Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) – in the same town, Georgetown, Guyana, working for Broadcasts for Schools (BS) her first real job as a young graduate. There was an instant attraction well before either knew much about the other. Continue reading

Darcus Howe & Tariq Ali re.Partition, Channel 4, 1987

August 20th, 1987

Tariq Ali & Darcus Howe,
Executive producers of ‘Partition’,
Channel Four TV

I am writing to congratulate you on the excellence of ‘Partition’; it was beautifully scripted, filmed, acted and directed – one of the most sensitively handled productions I have seen for a long time.

The composition of individual shots, whole scenes, and the relationship between them was extremely imaginative and thought-provoking; the pacing was courageously unhurried, and the cumulative image of the cruelty of partition was powerfully but unostentatiously portrayed.  Brilliant!

So please pass on my congratulations to the director and everyone else concerned with the production; when is your next one, and when can this be repeated?

Thank you again, and very best wishes for future productions.

 

In a Free State, by V S Naipaul

Soon after my return from 5 years in Guyana in the early 1970s, I submitted this piece as part of my bid to review for the TLS or the TES.   In response I was invited to define the areas I would like to specialise in, and foolishly uncertain which to suggest, delayed replying too long, and let the opportunity slip…

In a Free State, by V S Naipaul.  
This novel takes the form of variations on a theme.  It is written in five sections: a prologue, three separate narratives, and an epilogue – and while these sections are unconnected in terms of plot or character, they are all consistent with the theme of the isolation and insularity of expatriates. Continue reading

The Poetry of Alain Grandbois

I wrote this appreciation back in 1967,  in my final year at University, where as part of my degree in French and Drama I studied French Canadian Literature.  Some of Grandbois’ poetry can be found in the collection “Classiques Canadiens”, as chosen and  presented by Jacques Brault.

In much of his poetry, Alain Grandbois appears condemned to a restless journey through night, rain, endless streets marked by the impotent illumination of street lamps, exclusion from the existence of fellow men, and the gradual disintegration of contact with a loved woman – to a “périple”  of perpetual solitude. In this nightmare, place succeeding place in a filmic progression, as he makes a desperate, misunderstood, unanswered cry for contact – with another, or with an ideal that will justify the chaos:
“Une colonne d’allégresse”
– he is obsessed with the evanescence of life, and the ugly manifestations of death among the living, and of decay among the dead:
“…ces trop beaux visages détruits”. Continue reading

Hidden Figures – 10; La La Land – Nil

Apart from a Hollywood mutual congratulation exercise, can anyone explain to me why That Film got so many Oscar nominations – and awards?  OK, it was glitzy and colourful, but what was all the fuss about?

Story?  Uh uh;  Characters?  Uh uh;  Acting?  Uh uh.  Memorable songs? Uh uh

Whereas Hidden Figures was thought-provoking, shocking, gripping, moving, uplifting and life-enhancing – a story that needed to be told, and that was told brilliantly.

I rest my case!

Eurovision Dance Contest, 2008

Xenophobia – BBC’s new Mission Statement?  
       (Some names have been omitted to protect the guilty…)

In last night’s transmission of the Eurovision Dance Contest, the BBC sank to new levels of bad taste.
       Over the years the various TV channels have bludgeoned us into expecting, if not accepting, the manifestation of some bizarre belief that the general public is incapable of enjoying anything that is not formulaic, snappy, glitzy, sexy, jokey and smiley.  I might therefore have been prepared for the inanities of the two presenters.  Even so, could someone (a highly-paid BBC producer, perhaps?) not have explained to the gentleman in question (presumably astronomically paid?) that the time delay in receiving transmissions from elsewhere in Europe means that to follow his scripted opening questions with poorly timed colloquial drivel served no purpose other than to make each of the foreign presenters look congenitally stupid? Continue reading

“Pinter’s People” – Review

This was my response to “Pinter’s People”,
as performed at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket, London, 2007 

What an opportunity…
                                                  ….missed!

As a lifelong fan of Pinter, and about to direct my fourth production of one of his plays – The Dwarfs (after Betrayal, The Caretaker and The Homecoming), I was keen to see Pinter’s People at the Haymarket last Saturday.  Especially as it was reputed to be bringing the humour of Pinter’s brilliant dialogue to life.  So what happened? Continue reading

Long Day’s Journey into Night – Review

Two of the online reviews of the  2012  production of this classic at the Apollo Theatre, London – one on ‘West End Whingers’, and another on ‘What’s on Stage’- were enthusiastic about its pace.  I replied to both of those, and then was delighted to find a less laudatory review on ‘londonist.com’.

This is my reply to them:

How gratifying to read your less than euphoric review! I do so agree with the points you make, and to focus on one more aspect, some of the rave reviews you mention at the end, praise the production, among other things, for its pace..  Ay, ay ay! Continue reading