– Right, this one’s going to start a little bleak and, with any luck, get slightly more hopeful as we go on! To fit with the usual paradigm, I’ll start with the latest (of a great many) political blunders. Resident UKIP dickhead (up against stiff competition, pardon the pun) Godfrey Bloom has put his foot in it by using the term ‘bongo bongo land’ when referring to Britain’s foreign aid budget. Despite having an English Literature and Creative Writing degree, I really struggle to find the words to describe what a bigoted moron he is. So I won’t try.
– From one bunch of idiots to another, fracking has become somewhat of a talking point in the UK this week. Hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as ‘fracking’, involves blasting sedimentary rock with copious amounts of water, sand and chemicals to release shale gas. The UK government advisors also admitted a link between fracking in the UK and the freak Earthquakes the country experienced in 2011. Odd then, that they approved more fracking. Everybody has their price it would seem. Nevertheless, protests continue, particularly in Balcombe, Sussex – one of the prime spots for fracking. In Texas, fracking has lead to contaminated water, a drought, death of cattle and thirsty locals.
– On a more positive note, the literature world is bracing itself for a young female author, who has been referred to as ‘the next J.K. Rowling’. Don’t worry though, she doesn’t write as badly. She has, however, accepted a six figure sum from Bloomsbury, who are to publish ‘The Bone Season’ – the debut novel of Samantha Shannon, who is just 21 years old. Film rights have also been squabbled over, with the author opting to go with an independent film company. A wonderful show of integrity, if you ask me.
– I know this is supposed to be UK culture, but I’m going to ignore that brief for a while because this, to me, is pretty interesting. A so-called ‘important step’ has been made in discovering the real Mona Lisa. Silvano Vinceti and his team of researchers are attempting to uncover the body of Lisa Gherardini, whom is thought to be the model for Da Vinci’s famous portrait. Three skeletons have been discovered in the crypt thought to be the resting place of Gherardini and are now undergoing carbon dating tests. But what interests me particularly is this; supposing we could get a fairly accurate image of what the ‘real’ Mona Lisa looks like: does it really matter, and how will it change the way we look at and appreciate the fabulous work? Perhaps some things are better left unknown.