Corin Redgrave 1939-2010

Scion of the theatrical dynasty dies at 70.

The actor Corin Redgrave, scion of the Redgrave theatrical dynasty, has died, his family announced today. Redgrave suffered a heart attack in 2005 and only returned to the stage last year, playing the Hollywood screenwriter Dalton Trumbo.

Redgrave was an occasional contributor to the New Statesman. And last year, he gave a short interview to the magazine, reproduced below.

 

Does art make a difference?

Yes. To me, most of the time. In fact, all of the time. It allows me to say what I feel, what I think. Everything that needs to be said. For some in oppressed or deprived countries, it is the only way they can express themselves.

Should politics and art mix?

Yes, they should. In fact, for me they always do. Of course, not all my work as an artist is political, but I think I am a political artist.

Is good art a product of inspiration or perspiration?

This is a good question. Not that I always feel inspired -- although I hope to be -- but when I work hard I do perspire!

Does money corrupt an artist?

In my career, unfortunately, I have never been paid sufficiently to imagine that I have been corrupted. I wish I had been. I should like to be, always.

Is your work for the many or for the few?

Both. I have done films and television which undoubtedly were seen by larger audiences. I have done plays which have been seen in tiny theatres by very small audiences or, for that matter, sometimes even in larger theatres.

Which artist do you most admire?

My sister, Vanessa. Because she always loves her work and puts herself completely into it.

Which artist do you least admire?

Myself. I don't think there is anything particularly admirable about my work.

What inspires you?

An artist whose work has changed the world and allowed us to understand it better.

Where do you work best?

In theatres such as the National Theatre.

If you weren't an artist, what would you be?

I would be a teacher, I think.

If you were world leader, what would be your first law?

Abolish all destructive weapons.

Who would be your top advisers?

My family, or just people I meet in the street every day, in pubs or restaurants.

What would you censor?

Nothing at all.

What would you legalise?

Anything that needed the help of the law to make it really disreputable.

Who would you banish?

Our present Prime Minister.

What are the rules that you live by?

I don't live by any rules but if there were one, it would be to enjoy myself. I should live by that.

What couldn't you live without?

Sex!

What would you like your legacy to be?

I would give a lot of money to help people enjoy themselves.

Do you love your country?

Yes, I do. But not, of course, more than any other country.

Are we all doomed?

No, not all of us. Not even myself.

Jonathan Derbyshire is Managing Editor of Prospect. He was formerly Culture Editor of the New Statesman.

Photo: Hunter Skipworth / Moment
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Cones and cocaine: the ice cream van's links with organised crime

A cold war is brewing to the tinkling of "Greensleeves".

Anyone who has spent a summer in this country will be familiar with the Pavlovian thrill the first tinny notes of “Greensleeves” stir within the stolid British breast.

The arrival of the ice cream van – usually at least two decades older than any other vehicle on the road, often painted with crude approximations of long-forgotten cartoon characters and always, without fail, exhorting fellow motorists to “Mind that child!” – still feels like a simple pleasure of the most innocent kind.

The mobile ice cream trade, though, has historical links with organised crime.

Not only have the best routes been the subject of many, often violent turf wars, but more than once lollies have served as cover for goods of a more illicit nature, most notoriously during the Glasgow “Ice Cream Wars” of the early 1980s, in which vans were used as a front for fencing stolen goods and dealing drugs, culminating in an arson attack that left six people dead.

Although the task force set up to tackle the problem was jokingly nicknamed the “Serious Chimes Squad” by the press, the reality was somewhat less amusing. According to Thomas “T C” Campbell, who served almost 20 years for the 1984 murders before having his conviction overturned in 2004, “A lot of my friends were killed . . . I’ve been caught with axes, I’ve been caught with swords, open razors, every conceivable weapon . . . meat cleavers . . . and it was all for nothing, no gain, nothing to it, just absolute madness.”

Tales of vans being robbed at gunpoint and smashed up with rocks abounded in the local media of the time and continue to pop up – a search for “ice cream van” on Google News throws up the story of a Limerick man convicted last month of supplying “wholesale quantities” of cocaine along with ice cream. There are also reports of the Mob shifting more than 40,000 oxycodone pills through a Lickety Split ice cream van on Staten Island between 2009 and 2010.

Even for those pushing nothing more sinister than a Strawberry Split, the ice cream business isn’t always light-hearted. BBC Radio 4 devoted an entire programme last year to the battle for supremacy between a local man who had been selling ice creams in Newbiggin-by-the-Sea since 1969 and an immigrant couple – variously described in the tabloids as Polish and Iraqi but who turned out to be Greek – who outbid him when the council put the contract out to tender. The word “outsiders” cropped up more than once.

This being Britain, the hostilities in Northumberland centred around some rather passive-aggressive parking – unlike in Salem, Oregon, where the rivalry from 2009 between an established local business and a new arrival from Mexico ended in a highish-speed chase (for an ice cream van) and a showdown in a car park next to a children’s playground. (“There’s no room for hate in ice cream,” one of the protagonists claimed after the event.) A Hollywood production company has since picked up the rights to the story – which, aptly, will be co-produced by the man behind American Sniper.

Thanks to competition from supermarkets (which effortlessly undercut Mister Softee and friends), stricter emission laws in big cities that have hit the UK’s ageing fleet particularly hard, and tighter regulations aimed at combating childhood obesity, the trade isn’t what it used to be. With margins under pressure and a customer base in decline, could this summer mark the start of a new cold war?

Felicity Cloake is the New Statesman’s food columnist. Her latest book is The A-Z of Eating: a Flavour Map for Adventurous Cooks.

This article first appeared in the 22 June 2017 issue of the New Statesman, The zombie PM

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