Three Billboards

Three Billboards

Perhaps Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri is the ultimate signposting movie ever made. It certainly doesn’t do much to alter any preconceptions about certain segments of American society, however it is a work a fiction, albeit with an alarming gritty realism. However, despite the gasps of shock within the audience at some utterly backwards attitudes. The most striking aspect about this film for me was the lack of any action.

In the film various characters are assaulted, verbally and physically, yet witnesses basically remain as bystanders, doing absolutely nothing, apart perhaps, from a disapproving “tut”. I comfort myself that this is fictional, it’s a movie, people don’t’ stand and gawp, doing nothing… do they? I mean I know we are all able to witness terrible scenes from around the world in a voyeuristic sense, but we aren’t right there on the spot, we are unable to immediately intervene… but if that happened within our own home, street or park, we would intervene right? To me, the lack of engagement or outrage was worse to witness than the racism or violence itself.

Engage with Other

It is surely our involvement and engagement, that provide us with a sense of our humanity. This was demonstrated in a CCTV clip that I saw this week of a person saving the life of a man about to throw himself in front of a train. Many do care and do get involved, but some seem to be happy to be mere bystanders in life. Maybe this is what the Director intended, given the politics of the day, perhaps this is a commentary on those that make claims about a President and turn a blind eye, frequently, to the continuous blatant hypocrisy. The movie certainly has the title and whiff of a “based on true events” tale. In short, I guess they could be, which is deeply worrying. Indeed, the very premise of the story is around the lack of action by the local police.

This is Hollywood, not Missouri… right?

As for the film itself, there are two very strong performances. The lead character Mildred (Frances McDormand 60) gives a very “real” depth to the characterisation and Sam Rockwell (49) nails his performance of Dixon, the cop you hope to never meet. There are some notable choices for the cast, Abbie Cornish (35) plays the wife of Police Chief Willoughby, (Woody Harrelson 56) she was 3 when he started his role in the bar sitcom “Cheers”. The white middle-aged men are hopefully too clichéd with Mildred’s former husband (wife/probably anyone-beating) Charlie, (John Hawkes 58) now with Penelope, (Samara Weaving 25) a woman considerably younger and more the age of their murdered daughter Angela (Kathryn Newton 20). Perhaps this too is deliberate characterisation of men unable to cope with ageing.

One of the talking points of the movie will likely be the actions of the Police Chief Willoughby, who takes a view on terminal illness and sets his mind to dealing with loose ends. His words to Dixon and the subsequent events seem unlikely and have caused controversy in various circles. However plausible, clearly each character is responding differently to stress, turning to their known and learned patterns from some rather poor parenting, at least that is what I assume it is.

Serious Stress Test

How we respond to stress when it arrives is hard to predict. However much we plan or prepare, the reality can be different. Life can provide us with unrelenting strain, serious illness, financial ruin, loss of a loved one – much of our ability to control these things is as fictional as the movies. Yet, we can plan, doing so in our more thoughtful moments, so that we can fall back on who we are, not what our surging biology deems us to be in the crucible of the furnace. It is easy to put off difficult things in life, we may get warning signs – even billboards, but sometimes even three at once isn’t enough in this modern twist on “don’t kill the messenger”.

So here I am…. have you got your stuff together?

Here’s the official trailer, the movie is tipped to do well in the award season, partly because it seems to reflect the moment in America today. Oh… and the language is certainly….. colourful.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

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Three Billboards2018-01-19T16:14:06+00:00

Loving and not so loving

Loving

Yet another example of how times have changed – thankfully. The new film “Loving” is the true story of Richard (Joel Edgerton) and Mildred Loving (Ruth Negga). White man falls in love with black woman and marry in 1958, but not recognised within their own state of Virginia. Hard to believe that it was not even 60 years ago, yet thankfully seems a lifetime and world away from where we are today.

Or not so loving…

This is an ordinary couple, with an ordinary story, except for their determination to fight for what they believe to be right. Their surname is, of course, perfect for their story and perfect backdrop for its opponent, the State of Virginia.

A lifetime ago

60 Years ago, not that long ago really is it. Of course it’s a lifetime ago. Certainly, in lifetime financial planning terms these days that would be the rough timeframe we use for clients in their 40’s. Lots of people will be celebrating their sixtieth birthdays this year, people like Jo Brand, Robin Cousins, Steve Davis, Fern Britton, Paul Merton, Jayne Torvill, Dawn French, Billy Bragg and Stephen Fry to name just a few. It may interest you to recall the BBC TV news programme called Nationwide, which aired its infamous April Fool joke about Spaghetti growing on trees… was aired in 1957. Fake news is clearly not new.

Tempus Fugit

In short, time passes quickly. You cannot really put your financial planning on pause. Life moves on, rules change, economically, socially and environmentally. Change is our constant and whilst often feared, is generally our friend – except when it comes to deteriorating health.

Not always happy, shiny people…

The problem I have with some financial planners and supposed gurus within our field is that whilst they mean well, the future is uncertain. However adept they are at cashflow planning and deep-diving on your personal values and goals, life isn’t always a neat straight-line. Sometimes, horrible stuff happens, like an uninvited thug turning up in your bedroom in the dead of night. Health can fade, as can memory and the real problem is if everything is as it is today. Now. It is in the darker moments that a great financial plan will be tested. Your concern is unlikely to be about your next holiday or where to moor your yacht.

A New Rising Star

At 35, Ruth Negga, was nominated at the BAFTAs for the 2017 Rising Star Award and is nominated for an OSCAR as leading actress for this film “Loving”. She is great in the movie, though will have tough competition with Isabelle Huppert, Emma Stone, Meryl Streep and Natalie Portman. Anyhow, if Ruth Negga were a client (do get in touch if you are keen), then we would likely consider a 65-year time horizon for her financial plan. That is a long time. So much can change. She’s a talented actress and I hope that she has plenty of opportunity to get some good roles (there are woefully few for women). Yet her future is no more or less certain than anyone else’s. This is precisely why it is vital to review your financial planning regularly – and clients know we do this annually. Checking our assumptions and progress towards the future you are creating. Little remains unchanged, which based on history, is a rather good thing.

Anyway, here is the trailer for Loving. I gave it 7/10, shot and acted beautifully, some great lines, but it felt a little slow.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

Loving and not so loving2017-02-20T17:27:28+00:00

Hidden Figures

Hidden Figures

Most of the work that I do for clients is behind the scenes… if you like our own hidden figures. Whether this is monitoring the performance of portfolios and reviewing asset allocations along with investment costs, these are aspects that fall into the “under the bonnet” category.

Getting the numbers accurate is something that we attempt in the knowledge that failure is almost certain. There are too many variables and too many unpredictable factors. We make assumptions, reasonable ones and review them – frequently. This is of course in relation to the future, not the present or indeed the past. Being precise is not an easy task, made ever harder when the rules are constantly and needlessly altered by the Government of the day… or week. Behind the scenes we are checking and reviewing, trying to ensure that your financial plan remains on track. We run test scenarios, but ultimately a plan is nothing without the risk of becoming a reality through implementation.

Inside NASA

I was intrigued initially by the title of the new film “Hidden Figures” and then realised that it was about mathematicians at NASA. In particular black, female mathematicians and their vital contribution to NASA space exploration and the moon landing.

We Three Queens

It is hard to comprehend the segregation that was widespread in America. Yet sadly, it has become increasingly apparent that America continues to struggle with an undercurrent of racism. Hidden Figures is a wonderful movie, telling the story of three women in particular, Katherine Johnson (Taraji Henson); Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae). Frankly, these three shame my own mathematical abilities, but I guess that at least financial planning isn’t rocket science. They were true pioneers and wonderful examples of determination, despite obstacles designed to deliberately impede, thwart and oppress.

Robo-Advice

There are messages within the story beyond that of challenging racist attitudes. These women faced the constant threat of being made redundant due to the advances in technology. Today the device that you are reading this from probably has more computing power than Apollo 11 enjoyed. The challenge of technology replacing people, is a real one. In every field there is the prospect of computers doing the work more effectively. In my field, we call it robo-advice. Some are very concerned for their future.

Being right, Being present, Being human

It seems to me, that most of us enjoy and appreciate the advantages of technology, yet still prefer to deal with a real person. Being right isn’t the same as being present, or being able to dialogue thoughtfully. The problems seem to arise when we treat each other as less than people, inhuman, something that Johnson, Vaughan and Jackson fought against with enormous courage and dignity.

Here is the trailer. I think it’s my favourite of this year’s short-list for Best Picture. The audience at the local Wimbledon Odeon cheered and clapped, not something that happens regularly. Perhaps because, for me, it reveals both the worst and the best of America.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

Hidden Figures2017-02-20T15:53:17+00:00

Dancing in the Moonlight

Moonlight

Imagine being unable to give voice to your dreams, let alone be permitted to live them. Doing so would result in physical violence, exclusion, prison and perhaps death. Moonlight. This is a sadly familiar story. Throughout history we have seen the cost of standing up for fairness, equality and dignity. Yet today, there are many countries where freedoms that most of us take for granted are prohibited.

However, even within more egalitarian countries, there are pockets of fear and suspicion, where freedoms are not as available as they might be.  You know the freedoms I’m talking about, for gender, ethnicity and sexuality. The movie “Moonlight” explores the taboo of homosexuality within American black culture. It is a powerful and moving story of one man’s struggle with his identity and is effort to build himself and find somewhere where he fits.

Being true to yourself

There is very little in the film that I can possibly hook onto for a financial planning angle. The best I can do is remind you that whoever you are, you have a story and as a financial planner my role also involves helping you to write and live the story you wish to be told of your life. This means being true to yourself, not simply accepting the social norms of what the majority expect from working life and a lengthy retirement. What others think is not as important as your own integrity and an authentic walk, which I concede is pretty easy for a white, English speaking, able-bodied, heterosexual, married male to say.

Freedom is more than spending power

I am utterly fed up with hearing negative pointed comments about feminism or political correctness. As far as I can tell, both simply seek fairness, respect and civility and anyone that thinks those are not worthy aspirations really does need to rethink their values. OK, so Moonlight won’t be for everyone, but the non-acceptance of difference should be a cause for concern to us all. British, Sri-Lankan comedian Romesh Ranganathan challenged me (and the audience) about this last night at a small cabaret near Victoria.  Much like the Lear’s Fool, he pulled no punches with some harsh truths about what we find offensive or normal, whilst wrapped in the the mirth of comedy.  It seems that the world is currently attempting to turn back time on the progressive changes that have been hard-won. Why people cannot live in peace is a mystery that I will never fathom. If money is meant to bring freedom, then some of the richest still have much to learn.

Here is the trailer for Moonlight.

and here is a short video of Romesh Ranganatham at the Royal Variety Show.

 

 

 

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

Dancing in the Moonlight2017-02-15T13:05:44+00:00

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

It is very easy to ridicule Donald Trump, whilst obviously being rich and a shrewd businessman, which for some seem the only important credentials, for most ordinary people, there is an obvious lack in his basic ability to lead, let alone act with any sense of compassionate understanding.

Thankfully, the US Presidential election is now just a little over three weeks away, with the votes being cast on Tuesday 8th November. Over the last few months I have met many Americans and all of them, without exception have felt the need to begin with an apology for how Donald Trump has even managed to make it this far. Yet in truth, despite the obvious inappropriateness of his presence at the Presidential election, our own politicians scarcely do much better.

It’s not as if these roles are unimportant. There are clearly enormous problems at home and abroad that require a collaborative approach to finding solutions. The most obvious being that of climate change, yet the US, now eclipsed by China as the world’s largest polluter, has a Senate that is significantly paid by fossil fuel companies to block any progress on climate change policy. Many of whom are deny the reality of climate change, supporting the 3% of scientists who take the same view. In 2016, some $20.7m went to Republican senators from the Oil and Gas industry ($2.9m went to Democrat Senators). This isn’t so much cash for questions, but cash for impediment. In fact, the entire energy and resource sector paid out $9,280m to Democrats and $38,904m to Republicans in 2016 (source: www.opensecrets.org).

Walk the talk…

There seems to be a chasm of difference at times. Many calling themselves “Christian” essentially expressing the view that difference is not simply unwelcome, but provides a legitimate reason to murder and annihilate (see the report from the conservative Republican newspaper in Arizona who for the first time in its history endorsed a Democrat rather than Donald Trump). What is jaw-dropping about this is simply the utter lack of self-awareness, humility, humanity and an inability to see that there is just about a gnat’s whisker of difference between some of them and other extremist zealots that we call terrorists. Yet this apparent contradiction between stated “faith” and personal actions seems completely lost.

The small but deeply misguided minority

Which brings me back to my point. Americans apologising. Well, for starters I know of nobody that thinks all Christians or all Muslims are extremist bigots, any more than anyone thinks all Americans are nuts. OK I don’t keep company with those that express such views, but my point is that whilst we are shocked by what can come out of the mouths of Donald Trump and his “supporters” we don’t really think all Americans are like this, not for a millisecond. In the same way that we don’t think all Christians or Muslims, Jews or anyone else are hell-bent on making life utterly miserable. Some do, most don’t. Generalism is decidedly unhelpful in the world of adult conversation, particularly when serious topics are being discussed.

Comment is free… but costly

We have our own rather ridiculous politicians, many of them leading the country, or attempting to be an opposition, we are all hoping that common sense will prevail – eventually, yet our own prejudices are fed on slime from virtually every angle. Social media provides a forum to air frustration and requires significant self-control to avoid being dragged into argument. There is a very good radio play called “Comment is Free” by James Fritz which addresses the collective problem (well worth a listen).

So as I, and perhaps you, mock Donald Trump – publicly or privately, it occurs to me that one good thing has come from all of this – that topics of importance are being raised and discussed in homes all around the world. So perhaps there is a silver lining after all, though I do feel as though I’m grasping at straws…

As for the impact on your investments whoever wins, sadly the truth is uncomfortable. Nobody knows. Most have an opinion, but nobody knows. However, there is nothing that I have seen or heard to date that offers a credible challenge to the long-term principles of investing.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

Donald Trump2017-01-06T14:39:13+00:00

Hell or High Water

Hell or High Water

A cursory glance of any media and it is hard not to conclude that there appears to be high degree of disappointment, disengagement and dislike of the way things are. One of the latest releases “Hell or High Water” exposes the cracked surface of the American dream and perhaps the end of the American empire.

Whilst, by no means a “revelation” we are shown the harsh reality of life in mid-Texas, of the small-towns that have reverted to outposts, now desolate from the financial collapse of 2008 and an obvious lack of opportunity. The only reassurance being the constant nodding oil pumps that imitate the heart monitors that reflect the State of being yet alluding to a deeper malaise.

To my mind the image of Texas already feels like an echo of the past. The gun-loving, property protecting, villain chasing, all seem like a throw-back to watching black and white cowboy films, (which were dated even then). Add a dash of more enlightened native American history, the mess of “How the West was Won” and men in cowboy hats look like pastiches of a past that was never terribly glorious… being a cowboy is of little appeal to a younger generation, who has almost as little “support” now as he did 200 years ago. This is of course, cultural and one of those many moments that someone from Britain is left with the sense of something  got lost in translation – we sound similar enough, but there clearly are profound differences, which can only presumably explain the rise of Donald Trump and his call to “Make America Great Again”… I wonder when he has in mind and for whom.

Cops and Robbers…

Hell or High Water is set in the context of 2016, but it could be 1816 or 1916. Bank robbers, chased by a local law-man (Jeff Bridges) and posse and just for good measure an Indian guide (Gil Birmingham). Perhaps the writer (Taylor Sheridan – who also wrote Sicario) is pointing to the fact that little appears to have changed (for some). There is still the same degree of desperation and whilst the land was once that of the native Indians and taken from them by white people, now the Banks have taken the land from the white people. All of course within the law, written by those it serves.

Justice is just this…

So it is with some degree of poetic justice that the central character Toby (Chris Pine) decides to rob the very banks that are trying to repossess his late mother’s ranch, in essence, trying to repay the outstanding money with the banks “own” money. To cover his tracks, he even elects to appoint the same Bank to act as the investment adviser to the resulting Trust, a perfect “stick it to the man” using their own systems against them. He enlists the help of Tanner, his elder brother (Ben Foster) who has a deep disregard for anything different, yet clearly yearns for a something much different.

It is possible to simply see this movie as yet another in the chase genre, but my sense is that this is rather more profound, reflecting the desperation in the State of the Nation, which has seen the supposed freedoms that wealth can bring, merely usher in another form of slavery and clusters of circled wagons, requiring ample supplies of guns.

As for a financial planning angle – beware of banks offering umbrellas when the sun is shining, invariably they want them back when it starts to rain. In short, debt in any form needs to be mastered and repaid, the account always needs to be settled…. oh and I guess, have a plan with the end in mind… which includes how your estate is handled.

As for the movie, I really enjoyed it, wonderfully directed by British, David Mackenzie. Here is the trailer.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

Hell or High Water2017-02-02T13:27:21+00:00

Don’t Panic! Captain Mainwaring… don’t panic!

Don’t Panic Captain Mainwaring

I find it increasingly difficult to resist the temptation to comment on the world stock markets. The media is constantly moving from positions of fear or greed, buy or sell. This serves their purpose of having something to say and of course becomes something that they then have to continue to say for fear of not providing “the news”. Of course panic is contagious and whenever I see it, I tend to think of Corporal Jones from Dad’s Army – don’t panic Captain Mainwaring.

So what is happening? The price of oil has fallen dramatically. The Chinese economy is not growing as quickly as it was. There is nervousness about the UK leaving the EU, the possibility of a thug winning the US presidential election, perhaps forcing a showdown with anyone with different opinion. Europe has little idea about what to do with thousands fleeing war in Syria or their own ravaged economies offering few prospects of employment. Our own austerity is causing our public services significant stress and of course there is the recurring fears about viruses, war, the environment and terrorism which all play into the narrative of “its bleak”.

Fear and Greed

Shares are part, ownership of businesses. The value of which is based in part on its actual physical assets (premises, stock etc.) and part on future revenue streams (forward orders, based on data from historic orders). There is also the matter of market share, industry sector and general perception of the company. The price of shares is therefore in part objective maths, part subjective opinion.

The problem with sudden shifts in price are invariably linked to a herd mentality – playing inevitably into two camps – fear or greed.

We know this when we invest. It is not new news, but it is certainly hard to live with, particularly when the noise is very loud and the doom-sayers are everywhere.

Any real changes?

If you have genuinely altered your long-term goals and do not wish to invest ever again, you probably should rethink your entire strategy, perhaps investing is not for you. I am being serious.

However if your long term goals remain roughly the same, then the key question is has anything really changed?

Diversification

Your portfolio is split across a variety of asset classes, shares, bonds, cash and commodities. There is a global spread. You have a diversified portfolio. We have established tried and tested evidence based analysis to check that you have the right “mix” of holdings to suit your attitude to risk. To date, whilst the markets have been “disappointing” (understatement) since April 2015, the degree of “shock” is within your tolerance, but it is of course deeply unnerving, very unsatisfying and frustrating.

Time in the market not timing the market

However we are holding to the long-term principles of disciplined investing, which have been proven successful over time. This is simply part of the investment experience, albeit “painful”.

It is very tempting to think that getting out of the market now (or 12 months ago) would provide some solidity. However this is based on the notion of being able to time the market and determine opportune points to get in and out of the market (and which market). This is really therefore a double decision, when to sell and then when to buy again.

Historically, investors (professional and private) get this very wrong. Invariably they panic and sell towards or at the bottom of a market, and then decide to invest again once they are confident in the recovery (which has already happened by the time they get back “in”). This leads to further frustration and doing the exact opposite of what we all know investing is about – sell at the top, buy at the bottom. Selling holdings is the only actual way to make a loss real.

Reserve Levels

Any discussion about your financial plan has involved thinking about an appropriate amount of cash to hold on deposit – your emergency fund. You may have used some of this, you may not. It is there as a buffer, and is designed to mean that you don’t have to take money from investments when they are suffering. Perhaps some adjustments may be prudent, but this is your choice, money should serve you, not the other way around.

I am not pretending that the market turmoil is not scary. This is a normal, understandable reaction to headline news. I know of nobody that likes to lose money. Everyone wants high rewards for low risk. However, unless your circumstances have really changed, if you are at the end of your tether with the concept of “investing”, then stick to the course, taking the life-long perspective.

Pain is part of growth, falls are part of average annual returns, finance is not magic and doesn’t provide any real account of who or what you are.

We remain vigilant, we continue to work in your interests but yes, your funds have reduced in value, but we have no good reason to believe that this will be a permanent status. We do not have a crystal ball and cannot predict the future with certainty, nobody can (despite inferences by others). We are doing our best in an imperfect world. Thankfully, this is 2016 and we are not on rations or at war with the world and whilst not dismissing our troubles (which are very real) perhaps some old school laughter might help.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

Don’t Panic! Captain Mainwaring… don’t panic!2017-01-27T11:00:44+00:00

Wrong Place at the Wrong Time

Solomons-financial-advisor-wimbledon-blogger

Wrong Place at the Wrong Time

A timely new (2010) musical “Scottsboro Boys” has returned to London, currently playing at The Garrick off Leicester Square. It is the story of 9 black men… well youths really, aged 13-19. Who were in the wrong place (Alabama) at the wrong time (25 March 1931). You may know the story, which is also reminiscent of the Harper Lee novel “To Kill a Mocking Bird”.  I didn’t know this particular story, but sadly it is all too familiar… a lynching and swift carriage of gross injustice. It is a depressing tale about stupidity, bigotry and racism in a world that one would hope was consigned to history, but is clearly alive and fuelled by the same misplaced and misinformed fears.

As you might imagine, its a provocative piece, which has some interesting ideas. TScottsboro Boyshe juxtaposition of black men playing white men (and women) in a parody of Minstrel Shows, further revealing how misguided and disrespectful such things were/are and culminating in a particularly disturbing “blacked up” segment. The creators draw on ideas from Cabaret and Chicago, using song and dance harmonies to hide but reveal the discord. A criticism I would have is that the show isn’t very energetic, rather “sedate” but then perhaps this is quite deliberate, given the restrictions of prison and a hot box… and the final scene of powerful protest.

The Truth Will Set You Free

This is not a hopeful story, in fact it wasn’t until 2013 that the Governor of Alabama, Robert Bentley signed the Scottsboro Boys Act, which exonerated all nine of them. Today America, the “land of the free” is still a tinderbox with unresolved racial issues and it is little wonder that so many are concerned about what seems to be systemic racism, where it would still appear that white lives are worth more than black lives. Whilst it is now nearly 84 years since the original incident, I am left to reflect on a phrase that I use daily – tempus fugit. Time flies… well, whilst it certainly seems to, I guess in practice, it will be a matter of perspective. Whilst I enjoy freedom, without too much genuine concern that it could be curtailed, for those that live with daily prejudice and injustice, I doubt that time moves quickly at all… and if the current state of global politics is anything to measure, it would seem that attitudes certainly do not change quickly. A lifetime of injustice must make time “feel” rather different. A museum, which often acts like a time travelling device, is a reminder of the past, to their credit Alabama have opened a museum to this history. The hope that I take from this is that it takes a brave community to be honest about its past…as it does for us all. Truth is something that I uphold as a virtue and something I bring to my work with clients, but perhaps the greater truth is that truth sometimes takes a very long time to be exposed, sometimes too long is far too late and may not, in fact set you free.

Scottsboro Boys runs until 21 February 2015 at The Garrick, London.

Dominic Thomas

Wrong Place at the Wrong Time2017-01-06T14:39:32+00:00
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