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Proper Gander

Proper Gander: Music For The Masses

Proper Gander

The most oppressive regimes of the last century didn’t only use their military strength to maintain a hold over people. As the documentary Tunes For Tyrants: Music and Power with Suzy Klein (BBC4) shows, both the Russian and German states used music to reinforce compliance. The series’ three episodes cover the years between the end of the First World War and the end of the second, when both states were moving towards totalitarianism, reminding us of the similarities between the extreme left and right wings of capitalism. They endorsed and encouraged particular styles of music, but the styles they suppressed reveal just as much about politics and culture during this turbulent era. In the programme, alongside archive footage and performances by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Klein talks with experts and people who played music at the time.

Proper Gander: The Jihadis’ Tale

Proper Gander

Through the dramas he has written and directed for Channel 4, Peter Kosminsky has explored the impact which war has had on the people caught up in it. The Government Inspector (2005) dramatized UN weapons inspector Dr David Kelly’s role in undermining the government’s attempted justification for the Iraq War, while The Promise (2011) was set in Palestine, drawing links between the situation under the British mandate in the 1940s with that in the 2000s. His latest drama, The State, tells the stories of young, enthusiastic jihadis who travel from Britain to Syria to fight for ISIS. Over four episodes, we follow the characters from their arrival in an ISIS stronghold to when life under the regime brings disillusionment with what they have committed themselves to.

Proper Gander: From The UN To Anarchism

Proper Gander

In recent years, the BBC has developed an interesting sideline in polemics: broadcasters like Adam Curtis, Dominic Sandbrook and Simon Amstell have appeared on our screens presenting their original interpretations of society’s changing cultural and economic trends. Refreshing as it is to see thoughtful critiques of capitalism on the telly, alternatives are rarely discussed. So, it’s a nice surprise to see an anarchist get an hour of screen time to make his case, in Accidental Anarchist: Life Without Government, part of BBC4’s Storyville strand, as well as in one of Newsnight’s video podcasts.

Proper Gander: Home Truths

Proper Gander

Over 11 million people in Britain live in rented accommodation, mostly owned by private landlords, as opposed to Registered Social Landlords (councils and housing associations). The two kinds of landlord differ in the way their organisations are structured. RSLs don’t have shareholders to swallow up profits, so any surplus from rents collected is supposed to be re-invested into maintaining properties and building more social housing. The rents which RSLs charge are shaped by government, with the aim that they are more affordable to people on lower incomes. Private landlords are individuals who own the properties they rent, so they can choose the amount they charge and wait for the profits to land directly into their bank accounts. The terms of a tenancy agreement may or may not differ much between the private sector and social housing, depending on how closely the landlord sticks to the law and accepted practice.

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