September 11th, 2011

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Benedict Cumberbatch Update

Photographer: Cambridge Jones
Photo credit:

In case you were all wondering, I know Benedict has been massively busy recently, winning awards and appearing on the TV etc. I have been neglecting him. I promise I will run some Benedict stories next week.

However, in the run-up to this weekend, there has only really been one story on my mind. That is the only story I am prepared to run today (Sunday). Everything will become apparent in the next hour or so!
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Goodbye to the Paintframe and Double Feature 1 and 2

Yesterday (Friday) and today (Saturday) I have been watching the closing performances at the Paintframe. In Double Feature 1 and 2 there were four new plays (world premieres). All four were outstanding. I think this is the best collection of new plays I have seen in a long long long (!) time. I decided that after seeing all four for the second time over two consecutive nights I was going to choose my favourite. It was a very very very (!) tough decision but I am going to plump for There is a War by Tom Basden (this was definitely my favourite, although The Swan by DC Moore gave it a very good run for its money!).

There is a War. For me, the play was about the futility of war, and all the stupidity that goes along with it. It focuses on a woman army doctor, and her struggle to do her job and stand up for what is right, in the midst of a civil war raging all around her. As a pacifist, the piece spoke to my heart. I really loved this play - it is one of the best new plays I have seen in a long time and I really connected with it. It is also directly relevant to the main feature I am running today which is 9/11.

These are the links to the three previous times I have talked about the Paintframe:
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9/11: 10 years on

This is really the only story I am prepared to run today.

Cut and pasted from Wikipedia:

The September 11 attacks (called September 11, September 11th or 9/11), were a series of four coordinated suicide attacks upon the United States in New York City and the Washington, D.C. area on September 11, 2001. On that morning, 19 terrorists from the Islamist militant group al-Qaeda hijacked four passenger jets. The hijackers intentionally crashed two planes into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City; both towers collapsed within two hours. Hijackers crashed a third plane into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. A fourth jet, United Airlines Flight 93, crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania before it could reach its intended target in Washington, D.C. after the passengers attempted to take control. Nearly 3,000 died in the attacks.

Suspicion quickly fell on al-Qaeda, and in 2004, the group's leader Osama bin Laden, who had initially denied involvement, claimed responsibility for the attacks. Al-Qaeda and bin Laden cited U.S. support of Israel, the presence of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia, and sanctions against Iraq as motives for the attacks. The United States responded to the attacks by launching the War on Terror, invading Afghanistan to depose the Taliban, who had harbored al-Qaeda members. Many countries strengthened their anti-terrorism legislation and expanded law enforcement powers. In May 2011, after years at large, bin Laden was found and killed.


Everyone remembers where they were when 9/11 occurred. At the time, I was working for PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). We were a global firm, with offices in New York. There has also always been a strong connection between London and New York, and England and the USA for historical, cultural and linguistic reasons.

9/11 is massively important to me, from a personal and professional point of view. It was the start of the War on Terror, which led to war with Afghanistan and Iraq, British troops being killed and maimed, the slaughter of innocent Afghan and Iraqi civilians, and the stand-off between Christianity and Islam. On a personal level, it signalled my break with the Labour Party, the fulfillment of my total disillusion with Tony Blair, the start of my involvement with the Stop The War campaign, and my induction into direct action. Four years later, the horror of 9/11 surfaced in London, right on my doorstep, as 7/7. In the run up to 7/7, on 7/7 and following 7/7, professionally I was working on race and faith issues and I was working in partnership with Muslim communities, and other faith communities, to stop the radicalisation of young Muslims.

Anyway, today is a day when we should all stop and remember all those who lost their lives in 9/11 and 7/7, and also all those on all sides (soldiers and civilians) killed or injured in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

9/11 was, and remains, the defining moment and the defining event of this century to date.

Cut and pasted from the Evening Standard:

Millions to remember 9/11 victims

Millions around the world will be remembering the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks tomorrow, a decade after fanatical extremists used hijacked US airliners to murder nearly 3,000 people.

Follow the link for more details: