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The Guardian from London, Greater London, England • Page 26
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The Guardian from London, Greater London, England • Page 26

The Guardiani
London, Greater London, England
Issue Date:
Extracted Article Text (OCR)

THE GUARDIAN Tuesday September 20 1994 Cameras roll. It's intervention! of The Healer (BBC1). A doctor with 3 Nancy Banks-Smith ELL," as Toots Schorr, restaura teur better known for his lobster than his culture, said during an interval of Hamlet "I bet I'm the only son-of-a-bitch here who doesn't know how this thing comes out." Hamlet, in fact, comes out with everybody killing everybody else. Which is why CNN's open-ended coverage of Haiti, night after day; day after night, was so throat-gripping. You really didn't know how this thing was going to come out.

American reporters are not used to being excluded. Jim Clancy, our man with the moustache, and Christiane Amantour, with her blue black hair and British accent, stared ravenously at palaces all Sunday and wished themselves inside. And they were. "In the command HQ where we did our negotiations with the generals and colonels, there was a television set constantly tuned to CNN," said former President Carter. Time has bleached him since we remember him as presi- fs dent.

Age seems to have overtaken him in a stride. He talked for an hour emotionally, personally. How General Cedras's wife had said that she and her children wore prepared to die. Suddenly was filled helicopters runway with reporters and the air with and the was filled cameramen natural healing powers would be an intolerable embarrassment to a hos pital. Paul Rhys (who, oddly enough, looks and behaves like Roger Kees) played a young doctor who had an instantly soothing and therapeutic effect on animals, children and old ladies by the laying on of hands.

Or, as we say in the laity, touching. His effect on the consultants was more abrasive: "Stay away from my patients!" They did seem inclined to stay away from patients as a matter of policy. As the surgeon said when a porter collapsed: "Is he ul? Get him out!" There is a thread of messianic reference running through the story. The doctor's closest friends are called Mary and Martha and, when he wakes a child out of coma, this is how the dialogue goes: "I don't believe this!" "Hello, Thomas." Newman, you feel, is on the side of the angels. His doctor treats animals as if their suffering mattered too.

He doesn't prescribe drugs and he doesn't eat meat (nor, at Newman's insistence, did anyone on the set of The Healer). Any angel would agree that technology has no time for tenderness. The strength of the story is this ingenuous, gentle, threat-bare character with his easy empathy with little chil- dren, who say, confidently: "Kiss it But there is a second part tonight. The lightly lunatic X-Files (BBC2) has a hero called Fox Mulder "An Oxford educated psychologist, who wrote a monograph on serial killers and the occult. His nickname Spooky Mulder." Spooky is buried in the embarrassed bowels of the FBI where, among the flying saucers and skulls, he is joined by Dr Dana Scully.

"Her doctorate was Einstein's twin paradox, a new interpretation." they are both young, good looking and only wear specs occasionally. Thereafter we hung about graveyards in rather dreadful weather, unearthing the body of an ape with a grey metallic implant in its nasal cavity. I rather hoped you wouldn't ask. Something to do with youngsters being abducted by aliens in a forest. The X-Files, you feel, were exposed to the dangerous rays of Twin Peaks at an impressionable age.

"Time can't just disappear," cries Dr Scully at one fraught moment. It can if you watch the X-Files, There are 24 episodes. ROYAL SHAKESPEARE COMPANY Spomondby ALLIED-LYONS ioel Bogdanov A rejuvenated Glasgow, with much more to it and Mexican beer, makes a strong bid for the ULTDLTD SUTDSfl than Armani shops millennium spotlight D(dl How General HBBBBUH Powell had talked about the nature of true courage. How his team had struggled to contact the president on an open Haitian line. Bernard Shaw, CNN's anchorman, produced a transcript of a conversation between Carter on his home-bound plane and his aide in Haiti.

It had been picked up by a radio ham. "Now I see," said Carter, "what happened to Prince Charles." Suddenly the air was filled with helicopters like hornets and the runway was filled with reporters and cameramen. Lt Gen Shelton commander of the occupying forces "a big tall fellow with a big strong jaw" fought his way ashore through the press. A young sergeant, still catching his breath, said: "When we landed we saw a bunch of press, which was good. I assumed, if the press was here, the enemy probably wasn't." He was a very young sergeant.

There was a paradox at the heart ture but crack dens in housing estates the colour of porridge lost in the ex-urban wildernesses of Castle-inilk and Easterhouse. More seriously, they question the role of cultural prestige projects in bringing about a long-term economic revival. They have a point. The economic gap between south-east England and the urban parts of western Scotland has certainly narrowed, but Glasgow still has social problems serious enough for the police to enforce a curfew on the city's night clubs. The city centre is still losing population, and new industries have yet to fill the gaps left by old ones.

For all that, there is no doubt that the turnaround in Glasgow's fortunes is more than just a question of image, more than a 1980s flash-in-thepan. What was once the model industrial city, its prosperity built on engineering and ships, invested into a culture as rich as Vienna or Barcelona at the turn of the century, Deyan Sudjic VER since Glasgow finally managed to shod its time-expired image of a city of razor gangs and Rab Nesbitt lookalikes. when to general amazement it be came cultural capital of Europe for the year 1990, Britain has been divid ed into those who have tried to follow its example, and those who have written off the whole transformation of industrial slum into post-modern playground as some kind of slick confidence trick. While towns and cities from Croy don to Birmingham began investing in public art, "signature" architecture and conference centres, sceptics (not least from Glasgow) have busily been picking away at the glossy facade of Mexican beer and Armani shops to reveal what they maintain is the true picture. Not cul wont into a steep economic and physical decline in the 1960s.

Now there is Silicon Glen, and the city itself is emerging from a long dark winter of destruction and ill-conceived planning to reveal an exhilarating city with a remarkable wealth of architecture of the highest quality. Glasgow is not just Charles Ronnie Mackintosh, nor even just Alexander "Greek" Thompson. Street after sandstone street of its centre, built on a grid as dramatic as that of Manhattan and thrown into sharp relief by a rolling hillside landscape to rival San Francisco, is lined with buildings of quality, designed by less celebrated talents. A campaign of physical regeneration can start to tip the balance in a city's favour. The most hard-nosed of investors, find it easier to write cheques in a city that has good restaurants, serious hotels and museums and which feels good to live in.

BtetlWlJfenm I Directed by Mich A potent political cocktail Barbican Theatre, London September 21, 22 October 7, 8, 14, 15, 22, 24, 25 For tickets and your FREE season brochure 9071 638 8891.

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