And so my journey begins, almost 10 months before my first plane takes off in January 2018. It will be almost a year filled with forging links in the places I'll visit; talking to artists, curators and mental health professionals working in the field in the UK and making sure I can share what I witness in the USA and Japan when I return.
When looking at these things from a different perspective, everyone's favourite bulldog-like British prime minister seems a bit less of a hero and a bit more of a ruthless warmonger. Churchill is famed for saying history would judge him kindly because he intended to write it himself. It seems he was right.
The film Suffragette opening later in October has a Who's Who of a cast list. Meryl Streep as Emmeline Pankhurst; Helena Bonham Carter; and Carey Mulligan as the foot soldier at the heart of the story. Buried a long way down the list (above the uncredited Jujitsu Lady and Lower Class Boy, but below Epsom Groundsman and Mrs Pankhurst's bodyguard) comes Ray Burnet as 'Churchill, Cabinet Minister'. Winston Churchill, that would be...
Churchill's ability to capture the public imagination, his capacity to put the Hitler offensive into a grand historical perspective, and his qualities as a seer, each had something to do with his being, at heart, a writer. Yet ultimately it was his deep knowledge of Britain's military capacities, both its strengths and weaknesses, that informed the strategies which proved decisive in the war.
Like Pussy Riot, the Novorossiysk "twerk three" were charged with "hooliganism". But for what? Prosecutors apparently argued their twerk video was disrespectful to the memory of those who fought in the Second World War because it was filmed in front of the local war memorial... Like the Pussy Riot church video maybe not to everyone's taste, but a jailable offence?