London: the Modern Babylon (15)
Julien Temple's kaleidoscopic portrait of London since 1900 is sprawling and uneven, yet vibrant and humorous, rather like the city itself.
In its moving use of archive footage it stands as a kind of pendant to the recent BBC2 series The Secret History of Our Streets, tracing the London we know through the lineaments of its often troubled past.
Civil violence is a linking theme, from the suffragettes and the 1911 siege of Sidney Street, Mosley's Blackshirts of the 1930s and the race riots of Notting Hill, right through the Thatcher convulsions (Brixton, the poll tax) to the 7/7 bombings and last summer's riots. Temple begins his account with a marvellous 106-year-old Hackney woman named Hetty, reliving memories of Kitchener's hateful mug and her own part in the 1936 Battle of Cable Street. An old cockney geezer and a Caribbean wheeler-dealer also add their vivid twopenn'orth. A lot more of them and a bit less of Tony Benn and Michael Horovitz would have been welcome.
Musically, it covers the waterfront, from the music hall to punk and most stops in between (great to hear LKJ's "Inglan Is a Bitch"). A proper script might have pulled it together, lent it a shape beyond the chronological plod, but even in its raggedness there's much to absorb.
Music Why this music festival is still the place to spot the next big thing
Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 2 Watch: Man takes selfie every mile of 2,600 mile hike, creates amazing timelapse video
- 3 The day I starred in Only Fools and Horses
- 4 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
- 5 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers
Germanwings plane crash: Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz wanted to 'do something people would remember him for'
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew