Mapping the world (and Manchester)

Maps and map-making have a fascination all their own. The need to know where we are touches an ancient nomadic nerve that anticipates later exploration and conquest. It’s a case of putting the cartography before the horse or car or ship, in which today’s GPS devices digitally transform parchment and compass. Continue reading Mapping the world (and Manchester)

Real truths about kidnapping, murder, and small miracles

The Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo is a human rights organisation whose aim is to find the babies stolen during the era of the Argentine dictatorship known as the “Dirty War” (1976-83). Its president is Estela Barnes de Carlotto, about whom an award-winning film has been released. Continue reading Real truths about kidnapping, murder, and small miracles

Tenochtitlán: City of the Aztecs

The city-state of Tenochtitlán was situated on an island in Lake Texcoco in the Valley of Mexico. Founded in 1325, it became the capital of the Aztec Empire in the 15th century, until destroyed by Hernán Cortés in an act of ideological and cultural vandalism. Continue reading Tenochtitlán: City of the Aztecs

Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem: The poetry is in the pity

Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem publicly challenged the notion that war is a necessary evil. Few major works of the 20th century have met with such unanimous and unambiguous praise from critics and audiences. Continue reading Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem: The poetry is in the pity