Mini Reviews

Film review: Soul

What is the meaning of life? Soul, a new animated film from the Pixar Animation Studios explores this hefty question through the journey and experiences of the central protagonist Joe Gardner, a jazz musician from an African American background. Soul is the first Pixar film to feature an African American lead character. The film is co-written and directed by Pete Docter (Up and Inside Out) and Kemp…

Exhibition review: Evgenia Arbugaeva: Hyperborea - Stories from the Russian Arctic

As winter approaches and the days get shorter spare a thought for the individuals featured in Hyberborea: Stories from the Russian Arctic, a series of photographs by Evgenia Arbugaeva currently on exhibition at the Photographers’ Gallery. Of the subjects, some are indigenous to the remote and harsh environment (winter temperatures reaching -28 degrees Celsius) while others have moved to the Russian…

Review: Mrs America

TV miniseries, Mrs America created by Dahvi Waller for FX on Hulu productions, depicts real events that take place in 1971 when Richard Nixon was president of the United States. It focuses on Republican author and activist Phyllis Schlafly who from 1971 to 1982 coordinated a robust opposition to the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) championed by the Women’s Liberation Movement.

The…

Talk: Doris Derby at The Photographers' Gallery

A fortnight before “lockdown” people gathered for an event at The Photographers’ Gallery to hear photographer, teacher and activist Doris Derby talk about her life and work to artist Hannah Collins. Little did we know how much our world was about to change in the weeks to come: in hindsight the event was unique and well-timed. Derby’s pictures are part of the “We Will Walk: Art and Resistance in…

Theatre review: My Brilliant Friend

Elena Ferrante’s addictive Neapolitan Quartet novels have been adapted for the stage. The two part play at the Olivier Theatre takes its title from the first book in the series: My Brilliant Friend Part One covers the first two novels while Part Two looks at the last two. Together both parts run for five and half hours encompassing a timespan of sixty years. Sounds hectic? It is. But the story is…

We studied journalism at Birkbeck and meet regularly to share our writing and ideas. Inspired by London’s 4th Plinth we set up our blog as a cultural exchange with reviews, stories, analysis and viewpoints.

Click on the tabs to see what we’ve been doing lately. 

We hope you like it. Let us know.

The 5th Plinthers

Janet Murray. An obituary for my friend and tutor

An obituary of the journalist and lecturer Janet (Jan) Murray who dies at the Marie Curie Hospice in London on the 1st of July 2016

Review: The Trouble with Scott Capurro at The Bill Murray @CamdenFringe

“They’re just jokes – I’m not even gay!”

Scott Capurro greets “all my imaginary friends in the front row” as he skips onstage at The Bill Murray. The front row is conspicuously empty – who after all would be so foolish as to sit there? But there’s no escape later in the set when he begins to interact with members of the audience. Before long a man who came out at the age of 30 is describing…

Committee a Musical at the Donmar Theatre

Committee A Musical is the Donmar’s new play based on a Parliamentary Inquiry into the high profile childrens charity Kids Company. 

Book review: The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste

Maaza Mengiste’s novel The Shadow King, shortlisted for the 2020 Booker prize reclaims a piece of Ethiopian history. In 1935 war is looming and Mussolini’s forces have crossed the Mareb River in the 2nd Italian invasion of Ethiopia. The Ethiopians launched a counterattack and surprisingly, women, including Mengiste’s own grandmother, also fought in the conflict.

The story begins in 1974…

Book review: Golden Hill by Francis Spufford

Pacey and fizzily plotted, Francis Spufford’s Golden Hill is a breathless romp of a novel. The year is 1746, and Mr Smith, a glib tongued and amiable English charmer, is newly pitched up in Manhattan with an order for one thousand pounds in his pocket.

Trump’s First Year and the Foreign Media

Has the foreign press done enough in terms of holding Donald Trump to account in his first year as US president? Trump’s approval ratings have remained static despite the FBI investigation into Russian collusion in the 2016 election, sleaze allegations and his generally unpresidential conduct. Even the publication of Michael Wolff’s book ‘Fire and Fury’ hasn’t fazed him. This topic was central to…