August 27th, 2011

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The Interrupters

This is a small arthouse film with a limited distribution in the UK. However, I saw this at a preview screening in mid July and I was really impressed with it. It gripped me. Given the recent riots in London and across the UK, the film is directly relevant.

The film is directed by Steve James, produced by Alex Kotlowitx and Steve James, and was released across the UK on 12 August 2011.

What struck me about the film was the following. It gave a stark portrait of communities in which young people expected to die of violence. Communities where grievances (eg arguments over a girl) were a justification for violence. Where death comes before dishonour. Where respect is paramount – earning it and having it. Where young people do not care about tomorrow – they cannot see beyond today. Where young people do not expect to live beyond 30 years of age. Where they have no future and no hope.

We need to give our young people hope and the chance of a better future. We need to give them jobs and a sense of self-worth. It is only by giving our young people education, employment and the hope of a better life, that we can break the destructive hold that gang leaders have on their peers and we can stop our young people being killed on the streets of London with guns and knives.

Cut and pasted from the briefing produced for the preview screening.

CeaseFire is an innovative organization. It was founded by an epidemiologist, Gary Slutkin, who has worked throughout America and the world, battling diseases such as cholera and AIDS. CeaseFire works on the principle that the spread of violence mimics that of infectious diseases, and so the treatment should be similar: go after the most infected, and stop the infection at its source.

One of the cornerstones of the organization is the “Violence Interrupters” program, created by Tio Hardiman, who heads the program and who describes the problem, simply, as “the madness”.

The Interrupters — who have credibility on the streets because of their own personal histories — intervene in conflicts before they explode into violence. The Interrupters have stories and histories of violence and gang activity. These “violence interrupters” (their job title) use their own personal experiences and street credibility to work in the communities, interjecting where violence is prone to erupting and working with families to stop the infection and spread. Their work and their insights are informed by their own journeys.

Chicago became a national symbol for gang violence in cities – it was besieged by high-profile incidents, most notably the brutal beating of Derrion Albert, a Chicago High School student, whose death was caught on videotape. Ceasefire and the Violence Interrupters program is operational in Chicago and is making a difference.

For more information, follow the link:
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Sherlock Holmes Society of London's Oxford Weekend

The SHSL are going to Oxford next weekend (Friday 2 to Sunday 4 September). I will be there and reporting back.

Cut and pasted from the SHSL website:

To celebrate the centenary of the famous paper that was a major contribution to starting the great Sherlock Holmes 'game', the Society's 2011 expedition will be to Oxford - believed by some to have been Holmes's own alma mater.

The paper was given by Ronald Knox and had two titles: The Mind and Art of Sherlock Holmes and – better known – Studies in the Literature of Sherlock Holmes. He presented it to members of the undergraduate Gryphon Club of Trinity College, Oxford, on 13th March 1911, although very recent research has shown that Knox read it to the Bodley Club at Merton College three days earlier.

For full details and to book a place on the trip follow the link:
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Sherlock Holmes' London - The Investigation (DVD)

Available here:

I promised to watch this and tell you what I thought. If you are never going to be able to get to London, then the DVD is definitely worth watching, as it gives you a tour around all the Sherlockian sites in London.

However, if you are able to get to London, I highly recommend that you give this DVD a miss and go and see all the sites for yourself - they are much better experienced in the the flesh as it were.

I would highly recommend that you do the "In the Footsteps of Sherlock Holmes" walk with London Walks. The Walk runs every Friday, starting at 2pm from Embankment Tube station.

Here is what I thought of the Walk:
Richard IV is an excellent guide - one of the best - he is superb. The Walk is excellent and I loved every minute of it. I have done a few London walks and have enjoyed each and every one and have recommended the company to friends and family. But Richard IV is the best guide I have had. He is knowledgeable, informed and entertaining.

More details about the Walk is available on the London Walks website. Follow the link:

The home page of the London Walks website is here for general information about the company and their Walks: