Mrs Slocombe

mollie sugden2.jpg


Mrs Slocombe lived with her cat tiddles after her husband walked out and became successful in property.


mollie sugden.jpg


Ding Dong- where has the Ding gone?

Here I am in Dilijan, looking out over the mountains of Armenia! It reminds me alot of Albania and, indeed, I came across a map today which seems to confuse the two places precisely: here it is-


The Dong with the Luminous Nose

In Lear’s poem, “the Dong with the Luminous nose”, I realise there is an interesting omission. Lear must have intended, in some way, a play on the doorbell-sound “ding dong” so the natural consort of the Dong must then by rights be the “Ding”.

Sadly, the Dong has other interests and pursues a Jumbly girl.

Lear by TIM 3

There is more to this though, because Kant would go on with expressions like “Ding an sich” the thing in itself, so Dong has a much deeper meaning in the Germanic/english world. Kant would talk about the thing in itself as opposed to its actual appearance, “Erscheinungen,” what we see with our senses, something Plato would no doubt regard with suspicion. Lear’s Dong has clearly lost its “Ding an sich” and the light on his augmented nose simply illuminates the physical world and fails to get to the nitty-gritty, the thing in itself, whether this be the Jumbly girl he seeks or the missing Ding he does not know he has lost. The Dong therefore, confused by his senses is doomed to wander forever, weeping into the night.

Lear by tim 4


For luminous nose, read “numinous lose” or numinous loss- where the numinous is the spiritual- so, the Dong has lost his soul. He cannot see beyond the end of his own nose. that is a theme that reappears in the original 1964 “Mary Poppins” and leads up to Disney’s beloved song, “Feed the Birds”.


Jane: An outing with father?

Mary Poppins: Yes.

Michael: I don’t believe it!

Jane: He’s never taken us on an outing before.

Michael: He’s never taken us anywhere!

Jane, Mary Poppins: However did you manage it?

Mary Poppins: Manage what?

Jane: You must have put the idea in his head somehow.

Mary Poppins: What an impertinent thing to say! Me, putting ideas into people’s heads? Really!

Jane: Where’s he taking us?

Mary Poppins: To the bank.

Jane: Oh Michael, the city! We’ll see all the sights and father can point them out to us!

Mary Poppins: Well, most things he can. Sometimes a person we love, through no fault of their own, can’t see past the end of his nose.

Mary Mary quite contrary

Quite apart from the fact that she is first seen floating around on a cloud, the imagery of Mary Poppins is loaded with intense Christian symbolism. I was awoken last night by the sudden thought that “Feed the Birds” is fundamentally religious and the centre of the film itself. It is a metaphor of hope and love and she is still on the steps of St Paul’s as Jack speeds past in the opening song of “Mary Poppins Returns”. Richard Sherman says “He [Walt Disney] loved that song and knew it was the heartbeat of the whole movie”. He adds that it was “deeply spiritual.”

It is a song set around the Cathedral of St Paul’s with reference to the “Saints and Apostles” as well as references to charity/agape/caritas. But the image of the bird is loaded with more significance than twitter: the bird is not only a symbol of peace in a troubled world, it is the Holy spirit, the paraclete or comforter who remains with us after the ascension.

To check the significance of the “feed the birds” scene, I listened to the score again today- the composers open the film with the tune and it is this tune that underscores the sunset reflection before the children, Bert and Mary descend from their vision of London. It is played also as Tomlinson walks towards the bank to be sacked. It is the thoughtful heart of “Mary Poppins”.

Here’s a quick summary of the main religious features of Poppins.

1) She is a Virgin Mary figure, equipped even with the same name. The imagery of “white witch” which Travers provides is all but excised by Disney.

2) Her divine arrival (and later ascension) by umbrella on the East wind (matthew 24:27), her simple costume and nun-like demeanor; her poverty (she carries her life in a carpet bag that is apparently empty); her magic acts which are there to reassure the children that their belief in her is worthy. (like miracles); she consorts with the working class (chimney sweeps); she is led by her heart rather than by considerations of money.

3) She is victimised by the father who accuses her without reason (like Judas or the High Priest if she represents Christ, but simply recalling the gossipers who worried about her speedy pregnancy and questioned the legitimacy of Christ’s birth.) She turns dirt into hope and takes the Children from the fireplace/chimney/hell? upwards to a vision of London- “the whole world at your feet.” There is even a moment of communion over spoons of magical medicine (a few years’ later, the Scaffold did a song about “medicinal compound- most efficacious in every way”).


4) She is not the prophet or the saviour- she points instead to others- in this case to the bird woman (Jane Darwell) who is surrounded by a nimbus on the steps of st pauls; but positive changes come over the whole household (beginning with the cook and maid)

5) She takes the children (and Bert) into an enriched vision of the world- an iconic landscape. A window into heaven, first in a chalk pavement picture and later in seeing reality transformed as the sun sets over the chimneys of London. Certainly enough for some serious thoughts about the theology of the icon as presented by St John of Damascus! When the children emerge from both ecstatic visions, they have a tendency to shake hands indiscriminately and use nonsense words – is this a reference to glossalalia?

Most importantly, the birds’ song recall the birds and lillies of Matthew 6:24-34

A great film about abuse


What tremendous animation for Day One from BBDO

animated by Lobo Creative Director Guilherme Marcondes

Lobo was started in 1994 by Nando Cohen and Mateus de Paula Santosin in Sao Paulo. they now have a second office in New York.

Produced by Aron Matschulat Aguiar

Animators: Andrea Delfino, Bruno Carias, Bruno Hamzagic, Daniel Alvite, Daniel Bahia, Daniel Vasconcellos, Janaina Bonacelli, Jorge Zagatto, Leonardo Cadaval, Marcelo Zanin, Marcio Nicolosi, Raphael Vinicius Seixas Silva, Renato Sena, Rodrigo Souza, Ronaldo Brito, Ste Kajimoto, Thiago Martins, Victor Fernandes

Animation supervisor: Marcio Nicolosi

3d modelling: Milton Dias, Frederico Martins, Diego Esteves, Eiti Sato, Daniel Adami, Felipe Bassi, Leo Rezende, Marcel Fukuwara

music: “Walking on Sunshine





Silence is not an option

Silence is not always Golden.

It is the result of repression are rightly resisted by feminism. In Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Philomela, who is part of the ruling family of Athens, is raped by her brother in law, Tereus. He tells her to be quiet, and when she refuses, he cuts out her tongue.

But her story lives on.


Silence is often about the brutality of authority.  That is why, when we witness abuse of any kind, we should speak up. The victims have suffered enough already. Glossectomy or rather Elinguation is rarely practiced today, but our rulers have other ways to enforce silence.

New Laws in Scotland in 2014 make it now illegal to march a brass band past a church. A military band can certainly go past (if there are no more than 6 people abreast) but it must do so silently. It is quite literally the beginning of a gagging order and very disturbing: it might well interfere with our right to free expression. It makes scenes, for instance, like the brass bands of Corfu and like the big number just before the Interval in Hello Dolly quite impossible to stage on the Royal Mile. It makes a nonsense of The Music Man! Then again, there is little information about Nicola Sturgeon’s reverence for Hollywood or for the Greek Church!

Here is another story of ELINGUATION:

Saint Vasilissa of Rome by TIM.jpg

Years ago, I was required to read texts like this, over breakfast to the assembled monks:

“15th April is the Anniversary of the Saints Vasilissa and Anastasia. These were natives of Rome, the capital; they were ladies distinguished by birth and wealth, and disciples of the Holy Apostles. When the Apostles were crowned with martyrdom, Basilissa and Anastasia had their holy relics collected and moved by night. For this the two women were denounced to the Emperor Nero, and were accordingly thrown into prison, and, when they remained steadfast in their profession of Christ, were brought forth again, hung up until their breasts, hands, feet, and tongues had been cut away; after which, they were both beheaded.” (de SS Martyrum Cruciatibus)

We may never quite know who killed Jamal Khashoggi. What we do know, however, because he reported it at the time, was that he was ordered in December 2016 by the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia to be silent. “He said, ‘You’re not allowed to tweet or write your column or give comments to foreign journalists,’” The following September, he went to Washington. Up to this point, Khashoggi had been, oddly, not unsupportive of the Prince. “He truly wants to make Saudi Arabia great again. But he is doing it the wrong way,” he told other journalists. But this was before MBS arrested and imprisoned Saudi journalists. Of course, the Prince is not alone in this part of the world in using an anti-corruption ticket to clean out his political rivals. But imprisoning or detaining people without trial, effectively silencing all opposition, is not a positive trait in any National leader.

We now know that MBS thought Khashoggi was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, by all accounts a dangerous group, and something his family firmly deny. Whether it is true or not remains to be seen, but surely that allegation alone suggests a motive? All very worrying.

muslim brotherhood by TIM.jpg

One final point- the death of Khashoggi and the pressure this now puts on the Saudi administration may well mean there is finally room to call for a credible ceasefire in Yemen. So far, our silence on this issue, particularly in the UN, is shameful. Once again, silence is not golden.