franz kafka

To paraphrase Kafka's most famous line, one might almost say that one day the country of Israel awoke to discover it had been transformed into a gigantic security state which routinely sets aside basic human rights. Except that no such sudden metamorphosis has taken place. In truth Israel has been acting this way for a very long time.
It really pains me to say that, despite the best efforts of the magnificent Rory Kinnear, The Trial at the Young Vic is not one to remember.
Art costs wherever you go, yes, but a box costing £40 (CZK1,370) here in Prague at the State Opera House to watch Madame Butterfly compared to a ticket which costs roughly four times as much at Covent Garden's opera citadel here in London, has one asking the question: why the disparity in price?
Tinder is so 'hot right now' (unlike that phrase, unless you're Paris Hilton- the shame). Everyone is doing it and no one seems to be slowing down. The web is littered with people's opinions on the app, from where's best to do it, to how to get the best out of it. I can only hope this is just as useful.
Last night I ... tuned into the BBC's coverage of the House of Lords debate on the Justice and Security Bill via Democracy Live's excellent website. (Yeah, I know, online parliamentary debates are the new rock 'n' roll). Anyway, here's the short version of what happened: the government won, human rights lost.
Metamorphosis has been a hit throughout the world and as the cliché goes, it's easy to see why. Turning Kafka's short story into a piece which is part physical theatre, part simmering and charged domestic drama is no mean feat but it is accomplished with transfixing beauty, dark comedy and graceful tragedy.
In 1918, Kafka wrote about the early kibbutzim in Palestine, arguing there should be no legal courts - "Palestine needs earth (...) but it does not need lawyers". Until Israel realizes world Jewry and their cultural assets are not automatically property of the Jewish state, and removes its lawyers from this sorry tale - the world will continue to be starved of a true literary great's work.
As if losing Hitch on Thursday weren't awful enough, Havel and Kim Jong Il then hammered home the irrefutable fact of his passing by doing likewise, reminding us that Christopher's death means we'll never know precisely what he thinks of theirs.