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Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Africa, Midsomer Murders and the Tsunami

Proving that often it's what you don't show that matters is this exhibition of African maps from the Royal Geographical Society.

There are trade maps, tribal maps, cultural maps and colonial maps, the empty spaces of the latter showing an unpopulated land ripe for exploitation - a very different view to the tribal map also shown.

Listen to this fascinating audio slideshow here (Thanks Marta).

But what you show and what you don't show help create their own mythology. What is being shown and not shown (or told) in the Japanese tsunami?

In the UK, what is the relationship between English Landscape photography and the nation's idealised vision of its own countryside - a vision in the news this week as it emerges that not one black character has appeared in the English detective series, Midsomer Murders. Not one! Because there are no black people in the English countryside - they don't visit, they don't live there, they don't pass through. Or do they? And to have any would spoil the series. Or would it?

"We just don’t have ethnic minorities involved," said the drama’s producer and co-creator Brian True-May, in an outburst that has seen him suspended from his role, pending an investigation."It wouldn’t be the English village with them. It just wouldn’t work. Suddenly we might be in Slough."Should he find himself looking |for a new job, an Operation Trident officer in his own fictional Midsomer would be a particularly cushy number. There have been 222 murders in the supposedly sleepy county since it came to ITV in 1997, every one of them white-on-white. "We’re the last bastion of Englishness," he said. "I want to keep it that way." 


Several of the small market town’s residents have played extras in the long-running series. But Mohammed Shah Zillur Rahman, manager of the local Indian-Bangladeshi restaurant, hasn’t. Neither has any of his staff. Nor those at the nearby Wallingford Tandoori, nor the Turkish kebab shop, the two Chinese restaurants and the Portuguese family who run the chippy.

Read the whole story here.

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