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Sutcliffe, Thomas


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4 articles of this author have been cited in the European Press Review so far.


The Independent - United Kingdom | 06/03/2007

Thomas Sutcliffe on cultural diplomacy

The British Council recently announced a 30 % reduction in funding in Europe to free resources for a £20m programme in the Middle East. The journalist Thomas Sutcliffe responds: "However this was spun as a response to change in Europe, it was difficult not to see it as the redeployment of resources to a more critical front - the chafing interface between Islam and the West. ... I couldn't help wondering, though, what happens when the 'alienated' young on the other side don't think a bridge is a good idea in the first place. ... The best culture in Britain isn't always diplomatic. It's sometimes confrontational and uncomfortable. And sometimes, a clash of cultures isn't something regrettable to be smoothed away. It just marks the place at which your own values have come up against something they can neither adopt or adapt. Indeed, I'm tempted to say that if a British Council office doesn't get burned down from time to time, it is not doing its job, however awkward it might be diplomatically."

The Independent - United Kingdom | 14/11/2006

Thomas Sutcliffe on the limits imposed by religion on art

"I found myself wondering the other day whether the history of art wouldn't have been immeasurably improved by the absence of religion ", writes the journalist Thomas Sutcliffe. "The immediate provocation for this thought was the Royal Academy's new exhibition of Chola bronzes, a collection of about 40 sacred processional images of Hindu gods and avatars. ... It is sadly limited by its obedience to religious strictures. ... We can never know what Michael Angelo and his contemporaries would have painted if religious commissions had not monopolised their time. ... Imagine our cultural history without those endless depositions, annunciations and visitations. Would we lack images of childhood or tenderness or pity? I doubt it. The prevalence of religious themes in the great work isn't to the credit of religion, it's proof of its cramping power over the imagination."

The Independent - United Kingdom | 04/04/2006

Barenboim as much guru as maestro

The conductor and musician Daniel Barenboim is particularly famous for his commitment to promoting peace in the Middle East through classical music. He is delivering this year's Reith lectures on the BBC. Columnist Thomas Sutcliffe says that Barenboim's first lecture is more akin preaching than teaching. "Barenboim, a believer in the power of music to instruct us about life, rather than just distract us from it, is not so much giving lectures as delivering sermons. And the people best placed to judge the success of his entreprise are not going to be musicologists or neuroscientists but students of homiletics. Sutcliffe nevertheless urges us to lend an ear: "But either way you'll propably find yourself succombing to the charisma of the priest - the gnomic elusiveness of his aphorisms, the wit with which he sidesteps awkward paradoxes. He's as much guru as maestro."

The Independent - United Kingdom | 28/03/2006

Blooks versus books

"Read any good blooks lately?" asks columnist Thomas Sutcliffe, referring to the latest web-based literary phenomenon. "A blook, according to the self-publishing website lulu.com, is any book with content that was developed in a significant way from material originally presented on a website. So, 'Belle de Jour: The Intimate Adventures of a London Call Girl', is a blook, as is the rather less seductive 'Biodiesel Power' by Lyle Estill, which had its origins in a site devoted to greener kinds of fuel." Both are shortlisted for the '2006 Lulu Blooker Prize' for books based on blogs or websites. "But do all blogs dream of becoming a book? More to the point, can they properly be judged alongside them? The satisfactions of a great book include a sense of time distilled - and of a shape bestowed on the subject matter, so that the endlessly accumulating pile of facts and experiences is rescued from its own randomness."

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