• Revista Speak Up Digital
  • Revista Speak Up Digital


281 - Terrorist or victim?

Patty-Hearst As an accompaniment to our “Where Are They Now” feature on Patty Hearst, here is an interview with her on the “Larry King Live” show.

As an accompaniment to our feature on "Terrorist or victim?", here is a video.

Speaker: Patty Hearst and Larry King (American Accent)

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

282 - Disarming Britain

Since 2004 Britain has witnessed an increase in violent crime involving young people. And there has been a particular rise in the number of victims killed by knives.

As an accompaniment to our feature on "Disarming Britain", here is a video.

Speaker: Ann Oakes Odger (British Accent)

283 - Nowhere Boy

Nowhere Boy (Trailer)

Julia (Liverpool accent): I wonder if someone’s up there, on Mars or something, having a quick cigarette like me.
John (Liverpool accent): Where’s Dad? They’re called Dads, right? Most people I know have got one.
Julia: I don’t think…
John: Oh, don’t you, Mum? Well, I do. Think, think, think: that’s all I do. Where’s Daddy, Mummy? “Alf,” that’s his name, right? Well, where’s fucking Alf, then?
Julia: Please don’t swear, John!
John: Make you feel uncomfortable, does it? Well, try being me for the last 17 years! When everybody asks why your Auntie’s your Mum, now, that’s uncomfortable. (Julia starts crying) Oh, here we go! Who turned the taps on?
Julia: Please don’t be horrible to me, John!
John: No, me being horrible to you? Oh, I see: horrible John, naughty John, poor Julia! (Julia starts to walk back towards the house) No, no, no, no walking away. Look, I know you’re good at it, but not tonight.
Julia: John!
John: Where is he?
Julia: (she moans) Aaaah! New Zealand, maybe. I don’t know!
John: Not round the corner, like you?
Julia: He was in the Merchant Navy. No letters, no money. He abandoned us!
John: And you abandoned me!
Julia: It was a temporary thing: Mimi agreed!
John: Temporary? I’m still living with her!
Julia: I wanted you back, I always wanted you back!
John: Oh, I believe you, honest!
Julia: She never gave you back!
John: But, surely, I’m not Mimi’s to give! You’re my Mum!
Julia: She... she loves you so much!
John: Yeah, more than you.

284 - Ian Rankin’s Scotland

Ian Rankin is a highly successful Scottish author whose novels about the Edinburgh Detective Inspector, John Rebus, are international bestsellers. Yet here he acknowledges his debt to another Scottish writer, Alasdair Gray, whose 1981 novel Lanark inspired an entire generation:

Ian Rankin (Scottish accent)
Well, Lanark… Lanark was a huge influence on a whole generation of… of.. of young writers who were all growing up in the mid-to-late ‘70s because, you know, there didn’t seem to be any contemporary novels that had set the world on fire, and then along came Lanark, which was revolutionary, it was weird, it was a mixture of… of realism and science fiction, it was complex structurally and Alasdair Gray himself is a great eccentric: I saw him a few weeks ago at the Edinburgh Book Festival; he’s as eccentric as ever! And it was a big hit. It was a big hit with critics all over the world and so suddenly writers in Scotland thought, “Wow! We’re… allowed to write about that kind of Scotland and we’re allowed to be unusual, quirky, realistic, if we want to be naturalistic, and out of it came lots of writers, from Irvine Welsh, to Iain Banks, James Kelman. We’re all maybe not influenced by it, but its success opened doors to them and meant their work was taken more seriously than might otherwise have been the case.

Ian Rankin then talked about the town where he grew up:

Ian Rankin
Well, more of a village, I mean, it was called Cardenden, but Cardenden was basically an agglomeration of four villages, mining villages, coal mining. And this was in Fife, which is about 30, 40 kilometres north of Edinburgh. And it was like a tribe, you know, it was like a little tribe: we’d all … all the families had moved there in the early 20th century, from the west of Scotland, because coal had been discovered, and so lots of coal miners arrived, and my grandparents, my grandfather had been a coal miner, most of my uncles, my father’s brothers, were coal miners, and it was a very tightly knit community. So two doors away from us was an aunt and uncle, over the back wall, an aunt and uncle, just up the road, an aunt and uncle! And it could… it was quite smothering, quite suffocating as a young… as a child, because I felt different, you know… I was… I had to be chameleon-like and look as though I fitted in, so I would be sort of hanging around with the tough kids down… you know, when I was a teenager, be hanging around with the gangs, but then I’d be going home and writing poetry and song lyrics in my bedroom and not telling anybody that I was doing it, because I didn’t want to look different from the tribe. And it wasn’t really until I got to university that I could come out of my shell and actually say, “Actually, I want to be a writer and I am writing” and… and show people what I was writing. But it was a very safe place to grow up and it was… I mean, there were very good things about it. There were very good things about it , but I did feel a sense of release when I finally went to Edinburgh, to university.

And in conclusion we asked him for his thoughts on Scottish independence:

Ian Rankin
Well, the… the… Nationalist Party finally got into power, having been in existence for the… I don’t know, for the… I don’t know, for the best part of a century. They have a minority administration but they are in power in Scotland. This doesn’t seem to have increased people’s appetite for independence, interestingly. Before they got into power, if you… if you did a poll, you usually found that between 25 and 30 per cent of Scots were pro-independence: the latest polls show 25 to 30 per cent of Scots are in favour of independence! I mean, one big problem for the Nationalists was that they compared Scotland to countries like Ireland and Iceland: small nations which had become very successful. Well, of course, with the financial crash, the world financial crash, some of the biggest casualties were Ireland and Iceland. So… and Scotland, as an independent country, could not have afforded to save the Royal Bank of Scotland from bankruptcy, so the situation would have been chaotic. And so I think a lot of people are saying, “Well, independence for a small country is fine, as long as the financial outlook is secure, but we live in very unstable times, a very unstable world, and… and so maybe we should… you know, maybe it makes sense not to… to go it alone.” So, although people enjoy devolution, they enjoy having a certain level of… of… of… self-government, and they don’t seem to mind having the Nationalists in power, there doesn’t seem to be an appetite for independence. If there was an appetite for independence, then, you know, I would try and help it along, but I’m quite happy with the way things are at the moment.

(Ian Rankin was talking to Mark Worden)

284 - Money, money!


Mark Worden (Standard British accent):

Mark Wagner is an artist who moved to New York from his native Wisconsin a decade ago. He specialises in making collages from dollar bills, which he and his assistants divide into their component parts. They have, for example, just completed a 17-foot piece called “the Statute of Liberty,” which took a year, as they cut 1,121 dollar bills into 81,695 pieces. Mark Wagner explained why he chose the dollar for his work:

Mark Wagner (Standard American accent):
I had been doing collage with cigarette packages, the Camel cigarette package I used for a long time, and I realised that people liked the Camel cigarette package because they recognised it, you know, it’s something they saw on billboards, it’s something they saw on advertisements, if they smoked Camel cigarettes, then they tended to like the collages even better. So I tried to think of what were other like really popular pieces of paper, and the one-dollar bill, that’s something that goes through every American’s hand every day, and not just Americans, it’s used in other countries too, as their currency, practically. So I stick to the one, as opposed to other bills, because it’s cheaper! It costs one dollar for this piece of paper, instead of five dollars. I did cut up a 100-dollar bill once because I wanted Benjamin Franklin’s face, but, yeah, mostly it’s just one. And the one-dollar bill… that’s the cliché: you say, “the almighty dollar,” you don’t say “the almighty five dollars.” Also, the design of the bills, the design of the one-dollar bill, has been the same here for 60 or 70 years, but all of the other, larger denominations have been redesigned, like now the portraits are bigger, they look more modern, rather than classic, they’ve got less decoration on the other bills, but the one-dollar bill, it’s still got a lot of sort of more baroque details to it.

He was then asked to describe his favourite piece of art:

Mark Wagner:
I’d like the figures of George Washington the most, probably. He’s an interesting character, I like him historically, but I like that people don’t know all that much about him, specifically, so I’ll take his head and dress him up in different costumes, make him involved in different activities, oftentimes interacting with himself, other George Washingtons. I like to take… as the father of America, to sort of turn him into the everyman… as just a character that dresses up in a whole bunch of different ways, in different collages. So I’ve depicted him as gardners, and workers, depicted him on lunch breaks, as businessman carrying attachés, or reading the newspaper. I like that he can be sort of continuous, as a character from one collage to the next, but playing very different roles in different collages.

In conclusion, we asked Mark Wagner whether his work was ironic:

Mark Wagner:
Certainly, it’s ironic and I enjoy the irony in it, I like that I have to destroy money in order to make money, I like that I actually pay other people to cut up money for me, I like that destroying money is actually a cheap thing to do, like if I were to buy paints and paint these same images, I would easily be spending much more money on paint than I do on the money that I’m cutting up. I like that I’m destroying money and then selling the destroyed money to people who have a lot of money. I like the different shades of irony that are involved in it.

(Mark Wagner was talking to Lorenza Cerbini)