Boris hypocrisy in cultural provision and access?

Boris Johnson’s ‘Cultural Metropolis: The Mayor’s Priorities for Culture 2009 – 2012 (pdf link, front page showing one of those despicable central London cultural venues)’ states that:
“there are physical and sensory barriers that can reduce access for disabled and older people, as well as those with young children. There is real potential for cultural organisations to build new audiences by removing such barriers”
but at the same time he’s letting Transport for London “scrap an upgrade scheme to offer step-free access at South Kensington station”?
And if it’s so hard for ‘outer borough’ Londoners to get in to central London, how much harder would it be for outer Londoners on the other side of London to get to something held in an outer borough? Let alone for a tourist. So is he going to magically multiply the funding available so events can be held in the north, south, east and west, or do most people just miss out?
But hey, maybe it’s all part of his ‘donut’ strategy – suck up to London’s outer suburbs (the poor neglected waifs) and ignore the inner suburbs who were rude enough not to vote for him.
Yep, London still needs Boris Watch.

Maybe they were gay homosexuals

Saxon grave ‘couple’ may have been two men, says the Telegraph.

The amazing discovery shows the “couple” lying side by side in the grave with one’s arm across the other.
But the discovery has left experts with a 1,000-year-old mystery.
They know that the body pictured on the right is that of a man, over 6ft tall but they believe that the body on the left is also that of a man as well.
First they thought the couple were a man and wife united in death. But now they believe they could be two men who were ‘brothers in arms’, possibly warriors, who died together and were buried in the one grave.

“There were no artefacts buried with them to give us any clues. It is a bit of a mystery really.”

Is it really so difficult to countenance the idea that they might just have been a couple? Gay men aren’t an invention of the modern era. If they looked like lovers, maybe they were lovers.
I do love the bit where they say ‘They are exceptionally tall – both over 6ft. The one on the left has got some female traits to it but it does seem to be male’.

Women had power in ancient Greece, but you’d never know…

A very real and interesting example of the ways in which assumptions made by archaeologists determine how they view the evidence. The implications, if anyone ever had time (and the guts) to go back and review the documentary records from previous digs, could be huge.
DNA reveals sister power in Ancient Greece

University of Manchester researchers have revealed how women, as well as men, held positions of power in ancient Greece by right of birth.
Women were thought to have had little power in ancient Greece, unless they married a powerful man and were able to influence him. But a team of researchers testing ancient DNA from a high status, male-dominated cemetery at Mycenae in Greece believe they have identified a brother and sister buried together in a richly endowed grave, suggesting that she had as much power as him.

Professor Brown recalled: We were surprised to discover what appears to be a sister buried beside her brother in the high status, male-dominated grave circle. The implication is that she was buried in Grave Circle B not because of a marital connection but because she held a position of authority by right of birth.

DNA explodes Greek myth about women

British researchers have unearthed evidence that proves Helen was much more than a chattel
Women in Ancient Greece were major power brokers in their own right, researchers have discovered, and often played key roles in running affairs of state. Until now it was thought they were treated little better than servants.
The discovery is part of an investigation by Manchester researchers into the founders of Mycenae, Europe’s first great city-state and capital of King Agamemnon’s domains.
‘It was thought that in those days women were rated as little more than chattels in Ancient Greece,’ said Professor Terry Brown, of the faculty of life sciences at Manchester University. ‘Our work now suggests that notion is wrong.’

The critical point, he said, was that the woman was thought to have been buried in a richly endowed grave because she was the wife of a powerful man. That was in keeping with previous ideas about Ancient Greece – that women had little power and could only exert influence through their husbands.
‘But this discovery shows both the man and the woman were of equal status and had equal power,’ he said. ‘Women in Ancient Greece held positions of power by right of birth, it now appears.
‘The problem has been that up until recently our interpretation of life in Ancient Greece has been the work of a previous generations of archaeologists, then a male-oriented profession and who interpreted their findings in a male-oriented way. That is changing now and women in Ancient Greece are being seen in a new light.’

Boris arts spin – or does Boris have the ability to go back in time?

I was so annoyed and bemused by something I read in today’s Urban Junkies London newsletter that I wrote to them.

I am really curious about today’s mailout, which says “Boris has temporarily come to the rescue. His launch of “Lates “” – but UJ have been promoting Lates at various venues for months, so you must know that the Lates initiative was already up and running when Ken was mayor.
I’m really disappointed – I know spin is everything and the truth means little in politics these days but I didn’t expect to see it in Urban Junkies.

It’s hugely ironic because Boris is probably going to have a huge negative impact on the arts in London. How dare his office try to claim an existing and well-established program started by the previous mayor as “Boris’ Lates”?
I’ll take everything I read in Urban Junkies with a pinch of salt now. I already did, to an extent, because their editorial direction was so clearly influenced by their advertisers, but at least it was obvious – when there was a huge ad banner followed by a big push in the text, you knew how to read between the lines. And Urban Junkies ran Lates ad campaigns before Boris was mayor, so I don’t see how they could claim ignorance of the prior existence of the Lates program.

BBC: ‘Find of century’ for Egyptology

Egyptologists say they have identified the 3,000-year-old mummy of Hatshepsut, Egypt’s most powerful female ruler.

Hatshepsut was an important 18th Dynasty ruler in the 15th Century BC, having usurped her stepson, Thutmosis III.
She was known for dressing like a man and wearing a false beard, and was more powerful than either of her more famous female successors, Nefertiti and Cleopatra.
Hatshepsut’s funerary temple is one of the most visited monuments around the pharaonic necropolis of the Valley of the Kings in Upper Egypt.