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West End Extra - THE XTRA DIARY
Published: 30 October 2009
Fun project: The Lego set and, below, Dave Rowntree inset, and a snapshot of the new computer gameFun project: The Lego set and, below, Dave Rowntree inset, and a snapshot of the new computer game
Game for a political battle

THESE days you’re more likely to find David Rowntree in a sober shade of grey than banging the drums in a serotonin-induced sweat.
The Blur drummer is now an upstanding Labour parliamentary candidate for the Cities of London and Westminster constituency.
And he might just have a trick up his sleeve to oust the Tories and Mark Field.
This week Rowntree will put a smile on the faces of 20 and 30-somethings who should know better when he is turned into a Lego character for a new computer game called Lego Rock Bands.
Players will be able to sing along with Rowntree and his bandmates while enjoying a throwback to the days of 2x4’s and knobs.
Could gamers really swing the seat red?
Rowntree certainly hopes so. Commenting on his foray into three-dimensional Lego, he said: “This has been a fun project and I’m happy to have been a part of it. It is great to be linked with fantastic artists such as David Bowie and Queen.
“This type of game has inspired a whole generation to learn a musical instrument. However it is a shame that Warner Brothers didn’t run with the idea of putting a red Labour rosette on my character.”

Eloquent protesters on show

ELOQUENT Protest returns to the West End on Remembrance Sunday (8th) at the Duchess Theatre.
Tony Benn hosts the night with dozens of leading performers due, including Janie Dee, Robert Powell, Wire star Sam West, Jason Isaacs and Clive Rowe.
All artists are giving their time free for the anti-war theatre event fusing music, drama and poetry.
Caroline Clegg, director of the Not About Heroes, said: “Seventy years since the end of World War II and we are no closer to finding peaceful resolutions to conflict.
“As a theatre director, I seized the opportunity to bring together the artistic eloquent protesters of today.”

Chomsky: still hopeful – after all these years

TO the exultant cry of “There he is!”, a faltering, grey-haired figure walked slowly across the stage to the wild applause of a packed audience in a Holborn hall.
He is a rock star of the political and literary world – Noam Chomsky whose appearance on a London platform is guaranteed to be a sell-out.
Every one of the 700 seats at the Logan Hall for his talk, organised by the School of Oriental and African Studies, on the world’s “unipolar moment” – the role of the world’s only power, the United States – was booked a fortnight ago.
Chomsky is a man of the reasoning Left whose books on linguistics and power politics have fed the appetite of scholars and politicos since the 1970s.
A critic of the US, Chomsky saw it as a “global sovereign” that acts on the “Mafia principle” and has been prepared since the 1960s to act “savagely” against any possible “contagion of a virus”. Today, the “virus” was found in Iraq and Afghanistan where US interests were threatened.
Perhaps controversially, he traced the beginning of the Cold War not to the 1940s but to 1917 when the Russian Revolution “challenged” the US political and economic system.
He also criticised the “intellectual class” and the “media” in the US for their failure to challenge the power structure that dominated their country.
Was he pessimistic about the future of a world faced with global warming and the political interests of the US?
He denied this, though he quoted Thucydides, who had said the powerful use their power and the weak must suffer.
He ended his hour-long talk with another quote, from Italian socialist Antonio Gramsci, who had said one should have pessimism of the intellect, and optimism of the will.
This drew thunderous cheers and Chomsky walked slowly off the stage.

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