No more Queen’s English
Still, hear her now...
Want to hear the Queen’s English? Well, you can’t. Apparently it doesn’t exist anymore as the Queen herself has abandoned her famously posh cut-glass accent that became the gold standard by which others were judged. She now speaks more like her ordinary subjects, according to accent specialists.
The suspicion that she had “dumbed down” her accent was first raised after a study of her Christmas Day broadcasts a few years ago but it has now been confirmed by Helen Mirren whose portrayal of the Queen in a film of the same name won her an Oscar. She discovered the change in the monarch’s accent, while researching for her role in a new play The Audience about the Queen’s weekly meetings with Prime Ministers since Winston Churchill to the current incumbent of Downing Street, David Cameron.
Mirren, who depicts the Queen from the age of 25 to the present day, says that “Her Majesty” has developed an “estuary” twang to her accent over the years. “While she isn’t quite dropping the ends of her lines — though her grandsons do — there’s a tiny bit of estuary creeping in there. I can use all that to signify the age range and we’ll come up with other things,” she said in an interview.
She also noticed that the Queen’s voice had changed. But it would, wouldn’t it? She is 86 for heaven’s sake. Accent though is something else.
Killing wildlife, the touristy way
The elephants of Udawalawe are now spoilt for choice, thanks to the ignorant tourist
There is no better way to decimate wildlife than feed them. Every day, many tourists who travel to or through the many wildlife parks in Sri Lanka think that it is their duty to feed wildlife. So much so that the animals have got used to the concept and frequent the roads.
This is a picture from Udawalawe National Wildlife Park in Sri Lanka, about 200 km south east of Colombo. Recently, there were at least five groups of people, at different points along the road, feeding elephants. The elephants were behind an electric fence and the tourists went close, and threw bananas and other food at them. The animals picked up the food and waited for more. Of course, photographers from among the groups were clicking away furiously to record the moment to be later uploaded on to social networking sites.
A series of shops selling fruits has sprung up on the opposite side of the road along many points. There are also vendors on foot who sell fruits just to make it easy for the tourists. There have been instances of elephants turning violent when they do not get food from tourists. There are responsible tourists too. But the majority is the ignorant tourist who believes that he or she did a great thing by feeding an elephant.
Remembering Mokarrameh Qanbari
A Californian museum showcases works of an Iranian artist who painted on kitchen appliances
After conferring an Oscar to A Separation, America’s appreciation for Iranian art showed up once again when the Bowers Museum in California showcased the paintings of Mokarrameh Qanbari, the self-taught artist, whose extraordinary talent exploded only at the age of 63. Qanbari began to paint — not on canvas — but on kitchen appliances, doors and windows to relieve the sorrow, which had overwhelmed her when her son sold off her beloved cows. Painting provided the perfect catharsis, and led her to explore the medium passionately.
Soon Qanbari’s art became well-known for its bright colours, used with extraordinary flair for painting her placid village surroundings or bringing into life, tales from the Persian heritage. Fame for the elderly artist, who had lived most of her life in a village near the Caspian, came thick and fast. Her first exhibition, held in 1995 at Tehran’s Seyhun Gallery was a hit.
Ten other exhibitions followed in quick succession, resulting in the jury prize that she received at the Roshd Film Festival, Iran’s oldest. Another award followed at the Rural Artistic-Literary Festival. International recognition was to follow in 2001, when Qanbari was awarded an honorary certificate at the Conference of the Foundation of Iranian Women's Studies in Stockholm. The Swedish National Museum also honoured her as the “Female Painter of 2001”.
Inspired by Qanbari’s extraordinary story, Iranian filmmaker Ebrahim Mokhtari went ahead to make a documentary film titled: “Mokarrameh, Her Memories and Dreams.”
After a creative outburst that lasted for a decade and a half, Qanbari died at age 77 on October 24, 2005. Befittingly, the Bowers Museum exhibited a private collection of Qanbari’s paintings on September 22. Mokhtari’s documentary, and a panel discussion that followed with gender and peace activist Elaheh Amani as well as Maryam Seyhoun, well-known lawyer and curator, imparted sharper focus to the late artist’s works.