Jan Svankmajer Discs Now Available!

The British Film Institute has just released its triple-DVD set of Jan Svankmajer: The Complete Short Films, and this is what Marina Warner has to say about it in tehgraun:

“26 extraordinary works so far, they unfold his artistry and his preoccupations with rare richness, and have been annotated by an admiring group of critics and film historians. So this set of short films is a marvellous and invaluable collection.”

Yes, indeed, yes indeed – Svankmajer’s Dimensions of Dialogue may be the best short animated film that there is, and many of the others are not bad at all – and there are special reasons at the Stoa for celebrating the release of the set:  it’s been assembled, put together, produced, hand-tooled (I’m not really sure what the appropriate verb is) by my brother Michael. So well done him.

Deputy Leadership

Stoa readers: who should I vote for in the Deputy Leadership contest?

The various candidates keep sending me email, which I delete; and Harriet Harman has written to me at home twice, because she got my initial initial wrong on her initial attempt, and I think both of those ended up in the bin, too; and publications I subscribe to have arrivied containing Peter Hain flyers, which go into the bin.

But now I have to cast a vote, and while the Fabian Society has sent me this morning a handy booklet called “Labour’s Choice” with stirring essays in it (“Building on Success”, by Hazel Blears, that kind of thing), but I’m not sure I can face reading it with the care it no doubt deserves all the way through.

But I will read the comments thread to this post before filling in my ballot paper, so if anyone does have anything to say, please fire away.

At the moment I’m hesitating between Hilary Benn and Jon Cruddas, because I can think of at least some nice things to say about those two, and I struggle in the case of the other four. (Though I also have a vague memory of Alan Johnson being one of the less bad ministers for higher education, and that should count for something.)

“British Values Day”

Oh dear. I’ve just heard Ruth Kelly on the Today Programme, which is even more effective at making me want to get out of bed than the wretched Thought for the Day. She was wittering about British Values, and thinks they should have their own Day.

But I can’t decide whether it should be held each year on 5 November, in an attempt to reinvigorate national traditions of anti-Catholic bigotry — or whether a more appropriate way of celebrating British Values would be to have British Values Day on any other day of the year, and then for us to ignore it?

Stoa-readers! How would you like to celebrate British Values? (I’ve already had “throwing up in the street and having sex with someone inappropriate” suggested to me.) And on which day of the year?