It's been a busy week of reviewing films - 13 of them - for the Independent. So a quick round-up of things you need to know:
1) Further to David Gentleman's New Penguin Shakespeare covers, the Guardian Review features an interview with him by Julian Bell, apropos his illustrations for a new edition of George Ewart Evans's Ask the Fellows Who Cut the Hay. The Shakespeares are only mention in passing; the most surprising revelation is Gentleman's claim that he invented the "Bliar" slogan, which did so much to enrich the debate over the Iraq war.
2) The LRB blog includes a short piece by me on the witchdoctors of old London town.
3) Nick Clegg's slightly mystifying surge of popularity (did he really say anything that interesting?) has at least riled the Murdoch empire to a rib-tickling degree. Yesterday's Sun devoted a page to bashing Clegg, including facts from his past:
THE son of a rich banker, he had a posh upbringing and an expensive private education. He went to elite Westminster school and Cambridge University.
Instead, the Sun urges you to vote for David Cameron, the working man's friend. Ian Jack in the Guardian a couple of weeks ago told you most of what you need to know. Short version:
The mantra prevails. Social class shouldn't matter in politics. "It's not who you are, it's what you believe." "George Orwell went to Eton, after all." "Britain has changed." "It's where you're going to and not where you've come from that should count." Simon Schama (Haberdashers' Aske's and Oxford) expressed it almost poetically to David Dimbleby (Charterhouse and Oxford) on Question Time this week [actually 7 April]. It was an old and honourable thing, he said, to "leave the circumstance of your pedigree and exchange it for a political philosophy".
David Miliband (Haverstock comprehensive and Oxford) agreed – no Eton-baiting for him. The faces of other panel members looked respectful. Nobody in the audience booed. Nobody pointed out that David Cameron's great grandfather, Sir William Mount, was the Conservative member for Newbury, or that his grandfather, another Sir William Mount, was high sheriff of Berkshire; or that both these gentlemen also went to Eton; or that, given this long chain of privilege and connection, Cameron's "political philosophy" surely derived from caste rather than intellectual conversion or conscience, parked at his bedside together with teddy and cocoa when his parents tiptoed in to kiss him goodnight.
4) That's all for now.