Ribbon of Memes

It's been over a century and a quarter since the first moving picture was committed to celluloid - the "ribbon of dreams", as Orson Welles mellifluously intoned.

And so, welcome, one and all, to Ribbon of Memes, a new podcast in which Roger Bell_West and Nick Marsh supply grateful listeners hot takes about films considered masterpieces by critics or filmgoers in general.

The rules: we choose one "masterpiece" from every year from the earliest days of cinema to our dreadful modern dystopia. Do we agree these films are classics? Are we entertained? Did we even understand what the film was trying to say? The questions are endless!*

We start in 1973 (for reasons explained in the first podcast) and progress vaguely chronologically (unless we think of another film that makes an interesting comparison to the one we have just seen, or are otherwise distracted by shiny new things).

Yes, that's right, we decided that what the world really needed was two more uninformed middle-aged white guys telling the world about media largely produced by similar people. Find out whether we were right or not herein!

*Actually, no, that's most of them.

We're also on iTunes, Spotify and Google Podcasts.

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The Man Who Would Be King (1975) 31 July 2021

Roger and Nick discuss The Man Who Would Be King.


  1. Posted by J Michael Cule at 07:07pm on 07 August 2021

    Re Kipling and racism/imperialism.

    As far as I can tell Kipling is a casual racist rather than a racist out of conviction. There's a line in one of the Stalky stories where one of the teachers called Carthage "a kind of nigger Manchester", an insult where I find it hard to decide whether to be outraged for the niggers or the Mancunians. He doesn't believe that the niggers or any of the other peoples in the world are worse than the British. He does believe that all the British are better than all the foreigners. (I know this doesn't make much sense.)

    He is a convinced imperialist. He glories (as Chesterton said about him) in the great, competent, achieving organisations like armies and corporations and the British Empire was the biggest and best of all great forces in the world. He loved it and wanted to believe it would last forever.

    But he couldn't actually bring himself to believe that. He knew, somewhere in his poet's soul, that the great time was coming to its end. "Far called, our armies melt away..." And he didn't believe in the Empire's moral superiority. For him the thing that makes the Empire isn't Christianity or Civilization. It's men like Carnehan and Dravot or, in a different social sphere, Stalky. Brave men, yes, competent men, yes. But also great con-artists, telling the tale and weaving the illusion that is the Empire.

    And Kipling knew, in his storyteller's soul, that the game was nearly up, that the illusion was about to unravel and the story come to an end.

  2. Posted by Nick Marsh at 10:58pm on 07 August 2021

    Thank you, Michael. That’s the impression I’d developed of Kipling over my limited reading but goodness me you out it very eloquently and humanely. You also inspired me to learn more about the man and read more of his works. Thank you again!

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