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First Tuesday current affairs discussion - Tuesday 5 December 7:00pm start

Tuesday 5th Dec: First Tuesday Current Affairs discussion

We'll discuss two topical subjects

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Manchester reviewed
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Manchester theatre reviews

Mogadishu

Mogadishu at The Royal Exchange Theatre

Written by Vivienne Franzmann, directed by Matthew Dunster and designed by Tom Scutt.

Reviewed by Jane Turner January 2011

Manchester’s fantastic Royal Exchange Theatre brings its current season to a close with the world premiere of the Bruntwood prize-winning play MOGADISHU by Vivienne Franzmann. The play is called MOGADISHU says Franzmann "because this is a word that is synonymous with chaos" which is what this play depicts.

 

This new play, advertised as gripping and urgent was one of the four joint winners of the Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting and went on to win this year’s prestigious George Devine Award for new writing. It is the first play by author Vivienne Franzmann a former East London secondary school teacher.

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Manchester lifestyle reviews

Yesterday's Compositor

New media: the changing face of journalism

Article by Dave Porter January 2011

Journalism – and print media in particular – is in freefall. For most other people and most other professions the internet and the digital age has been a boon, for journalism it has presented its biggest challenge in nearly half a century.

 

Bigger certainly than the switch from hot metal to on-screen page design heralded by Eddie Shah and Murdoch’s Wapping fortress. The main casualties in that scuffle were the compositors – or comps – who had been used to enjoying bigger wages than many of the journalists whose papers they were in charge of printing.

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Manchester lifestyle reviews

Your Days Are Numbered

Your Days Are Numbered

To be reviewed by Emma Proctor

 

Cows kill 20 Americans every year. But you can halve your chance of dying of a heart attack by drinking 8 bottles of wine a week. You have a 0.000043% chance of dying during this show. You will at least die laughing.

 

Death's a funny thing, as stand-up mathematician Matt Parker (audience award, FameLab 2009) and Timandra Harkness ('a deadly wit' [Scotsman]) will prove - with the help of a mystery guest, a game show and the Grim Reaper. 

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Manchester film reviews

The King's Speech

The King's Speech at Cornerhouse

Director, Tom Hooper; with Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter, at various venues around Manchester including Cornerhouse.

Reviewed by Anne Ryan January 2011

'The King's Speech' is one of the first big films of the year and is already a hot tip for the Oscars – it's triumph is to make you forget that this is a British costume drama and appreciate it as the story of a profoundly damaged man, who achieves private happiness through his wife and children, and finally public success with the help of his first real friend.

 

British actors, trained in a theatrical tradition, are celebrated for their use of language – Colin Firth here is an actor and a man robbed of his voice.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Justin Moorhouse as Zachariah Munning in ZACK. Photo by Jonathan Keenan

Zack at the Royal Exchange

Comedian, Justin Moorhouse plays Zack in Harold (Hobson's Choice) Brighouses' funny, charming and perceptive tale about the things that make life worth living and how love can flower in unexpected places.

Reviewed by Fat Roland December 2010


When cousin Virginia arrives at the Munnings' to recuperate from an illness in Harold Brighouse's play Zack, she walks into several contradictions.

 

The first contradiction is a family stuck in its ways of seeing, summed up by an early comment from the family's number one son Paul that “you can't fight a prejudice. It's like fighting air.” And yet it's that prejudice that keeps the family's strongest asset, the bumbling younger son Zack, under wraps.

 

The contrast of the two brothers is the engine of the piece. Paul is a starchy tower of controlled anger clad in a brown tie and brown waistcoat. It’s a risk having such a dislikeable character – his zest to get what he wants stretches incredulity to breaking point – but Pearce Quigley plays him with charisma and knowing wit. Think Steve Coogan's cocky character Paul Calf transported back to 1910.

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Manchester book reviews

Not a Chimp

Defending human uniqueness in 'Not a Chimp'

by Jeremy Taylor

Simon Belt offered to publish a response to Iain Brassington’s review of my book “Not A Chimp: The Hunt To Find The Genes That Make Us Human”. I provide my response here without, hopefully, descending to the level of pomposity and gratuitous rudeness that attends his review. I shall restrict myself, at outset, to the observation that while Brassington has clearly picked up a smattering of philosophy during his career as a bioethicist, he has been less successful in his understanding of the relationship between genes and cognition and their relationship, in turn, to human culture, which has thrown up phenomena such as morals and the concept of rights.

 

Brassington calls my scholarship into question a number of times and so I feel I must respond, first, by pointing out precisely where he has mis-represented, or simply mis-read or mis-understood, what points I actually make in the book before I try to make clear as succinctly as possible precisely why I believe humans are unique in terms of their cognition and why I believe this explains and supports the idea that concepts of morality and rights should be unique to humans and are inappropriately extended to any other species.

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Manchester book reviews

Mullah Nasruddin in Marrakech

Mullah Nasruddin in Marrakech – by Mansoor Shah

Reviewed by Dave Porter December 2010

 

Despite only being published last month, this slim volume is already garnering attention from some highly-placed quarters. It has been picked up by the likes of the Lonely Planet and our own Asian News based here in Manchester.

 

Manchester author Mansoor Shah has had the clever idea of taking a popular historical figure from the Middle Ages and dropping him into the modern world to see how the two take to each other.

 

Like Don Quixote, Mullah Nasruddin is a comic mix of the absurd and the worldly-wise, his encounters with the people he meets on the streets of Marrakech providing fertile material for semi-philosophical musings.

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Manchester lifestyle reviews

Adnan Sawar (host), Sara Darwin, Mark Iddon, Paul Iddon - photograph by Ric Frankland

Do Stuff: Sustainability vs. Progress

North Tea Power Cafe - December 2010

Reviewed by Mark Iddon, panel member

Do Stuff is the initiative of Manchester architect, Ric Frankland, and aims to be a series of events on the subjects of design and sustainability with the intention to ‘listen - discuss - debate - Do!’ and will take place on a bi-monthly basis.

 

The first event took place in December 2010 at the North Tea Power café, Tib Street, in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, with a debate on the subject ‘Sustainability vs. Progress’.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Hamlet by The National at CornerhouseHamlet by The National Theatre at Cornerhouse

Filmed live in high definition from the National's Olivier Theatre and broadcast as part of National Theatre Live, directed by Nicholas Hytner.

Reviewed by Anne Ryan December 2010

For most of us the National Theatre is a building a couple of hundreds of miles away – despite the fact that our taxes support the institution, performances are restricted to Londoners and the odd 'provincial' tour. So three cheers for the screening at Cornerhouse and in cinemas worldwide – and why did it not happen a few decades ago?

 

Viewing a play in the cinema is a strange experience – I was never quite sure whether to clap or not! But this was a fascinating and rewarding night at the theatre/cinema.

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Manchester book reviews

Not a Chimp

'NOT A CHIMP: The hunt to find the genes that make us human'
by Jeremy Taylor (Oxford: Oxford UP, 2009) xiv+338pp

Reviewed by Iain Brassington

To what extent, if any, do nonhuman animals enjoy a moral status comparable to that of human animals?  Jeremy Taylor’s claim in Not a Chimp is that there is a clear and significant moral gulf between us and them; hence, whatever we may or may not do to nonhuman animals, this is not because they can make the same rights-claims as we.  The basic thrust of the case he makes – I was going to say “argument”, but stopped myself just in time – is simple: much weight has been carried by the idea that humans and their closest nonhuman relatives, chimpanzees, are separated by a mere 1.6% of their genome and that chimps at least should be recognised as having a comparable moral status on that basis; but the genetic story is more complicated than that; therefore the claim about moral status is unsound.

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