Baldwin’s Nigger / Twilight City

I must admit I twiffelled over this, since it was a late showing and I could have drunk beer instead. Luckily i went…

It was a twoparter, the first being Baldwin’s Nigger, which recorded James Baldwin and Dick Gregory speaking to a West Indian student society in London in 1968. This was superinteresting, Baldwin is a really good speaker and the questions after the talk were also great, dealing with still-burning issues like black identity, the place of white liberals in the movement and black power vs white power. Dick Gregory spoke briefly and also said some spot-on stuff. I had some critique of the black rebels programme, but this showing was awesome!

The second film was Twilight City, made by Reece Auguiste in 1989. The film has a strangely poetic feel, with the narrative formed by a letter from a daughter living in London to a mother thinking to move back there broken up by various talking heads. It’s always interesting to hear dissenting voices from the 1980s and also quite bittersweet to listen now from the perspective of the 2010s, when things are worse then anyone could have imagined. I mean they are talking about whether the Docklands development will be an expensive flop or not, now we live in the age of hypergentrification in which Calatrava is about to launch his latest nightmare in Greenwich…

wankytowers

Homi Bhaba made a great point about how when he moved to London his thoughts felt constrained by the narrow regimented street structure and further he missed the smells of a living city. Some people have lived in London for 50plus years! What must that have done to their poor brains?????

 

 

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