Robert Kennedy Junior - The Next President of the United States

Dear Luminary reader, this month's March What's Hot Column is a thrilling and informative cornucopia of cultural treasures and slow ideas for you to delight in and try out. In this column, I range in a very free range, organic way across film, politics, slow chocolate, theatre and science, foraged from burning the candle, watching the restored one-of-a-kind whimsical British film masterpieces of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger and watching one of my favourite British film and theatre Dames, Wendy Hiller - a fearlessly brilliant, spirited and authentic heroine of British films from the thirties to the seventies in films I Know Where I Am Going, Pygmalion and Major Barbara. Watching films from the Golden Age is the best escapism and medicine I know. The wonderful thing about the films of Powell and Pressburger is that they are so daring and inventive and they feel modern and relevant in the 21st Century. Watch or buy the films of Powell and Pressburger at ITVX or The Criterion Collection.

For sheer inspiration, hope and social and cultural restoration, I am following RFK Junior's brave and captivating bid to become the next President of the USA with his campaign We the People at Kennedy 24 and sharing some of the ideas that are helping me to recover from the trauma of vaccine injury, including the science of neuroplasticity and the pioneering work of scientist Ashok Gupta at The Gupta Program. Nor have I forgotten Easter, and I would like to share Chantal Coady OBE's wonderful new slow chocolate venture, The Chocolate Detective, for slow, artisanal chocolate with provenance, deliciousness and rare, pretty embellishments as part of her odyssey in real chocolate and supporting the farmers who grow the magical cacao beans to be transformed into handmade chocolate works of art from broken slabs embellished with golden salt, fennel and cardomon to gold leaf and miniature Easter Eggs fit for a King. Chantal is also the founder and creative director of Rococo Chocolate. Rumour has it that her late majesty, Queen Elizabeth 11 was a fan of Rococo Chocolates and used to keep a secret stash in a locked cupboard. I'm with the Queen. So tell me, do you hide your chocolate, or do you let everyone help themselves until there is none left?

So let's go.

Robert Kennedy Junior and the New Camelot

I'm riveted and inspired by Robert Kennedy Jnr's spectacularly audacious We the People Revolution grassroots campaign to be the next president of the United States. I have never been this excited about politics and I live in the UK. Ignore the censorship, lies and nonsense written and talked about this man. None of it is true. At last, we have an individual who is worthy of the office of President. RFK Junior has the intelligence, dynamism, honesty and charisma to succeed. RFK has entered politics to stop a cabal of billionaires who have watched too many James Bond movies from acting out their plan to run and control everything. It's The Hunger Games made real and it won't be nice. If anyone can stop them, it is a super smart legal eagle like Bobby Kennedy. Kennedy makes politics fun and he is warm, compassionate and full of energy and ideas to heal and transform America. I hope his people-powered campaign will catch on in the UK, Europe and around the globe.

RFK Junior Sets Out His Vision to Become President of the USA in 2024

Bobbie Kennedy is a master falconer, skis like a champion and tries his wife's patience with an animal menagerie at home, including a frisky pet ostrich. He's married to Cheryl Hines from Curb Your Enthusiasm. Just imagine his tenure as commander-in-chief in the Oval Office. Bobbie Kennedy has been fighting dirty corporations in court for 40 years as a restlessly brilliant and effective environmental lawyer. Now he is taking that fight to the White House to restore middle-class America, create an organic and regenerative farming revolution, stop the war machine, transform people's health, and restore self-determination and power to the individual, which is about restoring the American Dream and sticking to the founding constitution. If I was a US citizen, I would be volunteering to help get RFK elected. We all need this man in the White House.

Kennedy 24

I Know Where I Am Going and Dame Wendy Hiller

Discover the extraordinary British actress Dame Wendy Hiller. I have never forgotten Wendy Hiller's powerful performance as the wife of Sir Thomas Moore in the film A Man for All Seasons. She delivered a performance of rare humanity, warmth and humour. She was the perfect consort for Paul Schofield. Now, as a result of the restoration of Powell and Pressburger's marvellously clever and original British film masterpieces from the late thirties and forties, you can see Wendy as a leading lady in I Know Where I am Going, steaming on ITV and The Criterion Collection - a joyful and deliciously eccentric love film parable about a feisty, leopard pill box, hat-wearing heroine, who calls her father darling and sets her cap at the richest man in England, only to fall madly in love with Roger Livesey as Torquil Maclean, a handsome, enigmatic laird and naval officer on leave from the war who sets out to quietly tame Joan wondering if it won't be harder than taming a golden eagle, given that she is hellbent on risking her life to marry for money! The scenes of Scottish life on Mull from a thunderous ceilidh to the impoverished gentry living simply off the land, because 'money isn't everything', is a treatise on nature, community, survival, cultural identity and an escape from the deprivations and brutality of WW2. It's intoxicating stuff. To find out what happens watch the film and don't miss Wendy as the original and rather brilliant Eliza Doolittle opposite Leslie Howard, in the more authentic version of Pygmalion from 1938 here where Hiller is transformed from a guttersnipe to a duchess dressed in Worth and Shiaparelli and in another Powell and Pressburger film, Major Barbara, where Hiller plays another fearless and idealistic woman, trying to make amends for a father who makes millions from manufacturing arms for the war machine. You can also catch her in All Passion Spent on BBC iPlayer - a delicious three-part drama based on Vita Sackville West's book about the widow of the Viceroy of India throwing off the constraints of society and squabbling venal children. She dares to set up home alone in the deepest, leafy Hampstead, throwing tea parties for her gentlemen friends and being left artworks worth millions by an ardent admirer and scandalising society at the age of 85!

Powell and Pressburger Films on ITV and As Part of The Criterion Collection. All Passion Spent on BBCiPlayer

Artist Angelica Kauffman at The Royal Academy

In March, artist Angelica Kauffman comes under the spotlight at The Royal Academy, Piccadilly, London, in a new exhibition which examines the life and work of the child prodigy turned acclaimed 18th-century painter. Kauffman was also a founding member of The Royal Academy. Thirty works will be on show including history paintings, portraits, notable self-portraits and major works on loan that have never been shown in the UK before.

Angelica Kauffman at The Royal Academy

March 1st to June 30th 2024
Opening Times - Tues to Sundays 10 - 6 pm
Fridays - 10 am to 9 pm

Royal Academy

Slow Fashion and Craft is All the Rage

Hayley Menzies Instarsia Wave Pointelle Dress - One of Only 49 Made

At last slow fashion, organic fabrics, natural fibres, work of art fashion and hand craftsmanship are gaining the attention they deserve and they are something to marvel and delight in and show off. Three very different slow luxe fashion houses that espouse these values are N Peal, the cashmere house founded in 1936, which offers its exquisite, forever cashmere staples from sublime, form-fitting ribbed dresses to film-star beautiful capes and jackets in an artisan story from Mongolian goat to your wardrobe in fully traceable organic cashmere. Then there is Hayley Menzies, the designer who is dreaming up the new It Girl vintage of the future, in natural fibres from wool to silk and organic cotton. Get set for wondrously pretty silk maxi dresses with frills and bows in whimsical treasure trove prints with exquisite attention to detail, charismatic cat prints on jeans to flaunt and her cult cardigans and duster coats in cotton and Merino wool in a riot of extrovert prints from tigers running rampant to delicate chinoiserie and charismatic clouds. Hayley Menzies is the antidote to fashion by numbers. She is a maximalist following her dream of slow fashion.

Organic Cashmere Black Ribbed Maxi Dress by N Peal

The third slow fashion house is Brora - founded by Victoria Stapleton thirty years ago and based around timeless, luxurious, colourful knitwear translated in bold, paintbox Scottish cashmere treasures from pretty cardigans and twinsets in dreamy Grace Kelly hues to eclectic, colourful fairisle and folk patterns, delicate garlands of flower power intarsia and colour block to divinely luxurious boyfriend sweaters and luxe cable knits in jewel colours.

The house also injects glamour and pizzazz into its collections with recent collaborations with the heirs of Laura Ashley, Joanna Lumley and Georgia May Jagger modelled highlights from the 30th birthday Anniversary collection. Brora also excels at boho, fluttery silk tea dresses, ditzy skirts and ladylike, tailored Harris Tweed coats and jackets that will last a lifetime. Hot tip! Brora also makes the most amazing lace tights with a dash of cashmere.

N Peal Cashmere

Hayley Menzies


Neuroplasticity, The Gupta Programme and Healing the Brain from Trauma

Alison Jane, The Editor of The Luminaries Magazine, Relaxing in a Favourite Bookshop Armchair

Scientists are discovering just how adaptable the human brain can be and neuroplasticity is proving that the brain can recover from trauma and learn to calm down with the aid of repetitive meditation, deep breathing, positive affirmations and lots of love, encouragement, support and realisation that you are not alone. The Gupta Programme founded by scientist Ashok Gupta offers online neuroplasticity training. The programme is attracting support from leading doctors for conditions such as - Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Pain Syndromes, POTS, Vaccine Injury, MCS, Fibromyalgia, Sibo and Lyme.

Note from the editor. At the height of my vaccine injury and the overwhelming lack of support from the current government, the NHS or my GP service, I discovered The Gupta Programme and it has profoundly helped in my recovery from severe, life-threatening autoimmunity and the mental trauma of being seriously injured and having to pay for life-saving medical treatment, which is ongoing. I use the Gupta Program for guided meditation and deep breathing every day.

Gupta Programme

The Best Slow Artisan and Organic Chocolate for Easter

Chantal Coady OBE, The Queen of Slow Chocolate

The Chocolate Detective is Chantal Coady's thrilling new adventure in real chocolate where the Queen of slow and organic chocolate and the founder of Rococo Chocolate takes her magnifying glass to ensure the very best slow chocolate experience with delightfully curious ingredients, minimal additives and processing and regeneratively farmed cacao that champions the farmers who grow the beans in Granada and Ecuador.

Chocolate Detective Easter Eggs, Embellished with Gold Leaf

Highlights include an array of exquisite single-estate chocolate featuring curious foraged ingredients from fennel to blackthorn and golden salt. Make a beeline for your slow Easter chocolate treats including the beloved, authentic bird's eggs with praline and salted caramel to dainty, broken slabs of fruitful, creamy dark chocolate with tart whole sour cherries, the editor's favourite, or spicy crystallised ginger.

The Chocolate Detective

National Theatre Summer Highlights

Lyttelton theatre

The National is revisiting some very exciting and timely stories about society and what humans need to thrive and more than survive.

Frank Galati's Tony Award-winning adaptation of John Steinbeck’s masterpiece, The Grapes of Wrath is directed by Carrie Cracknell (Julie, The Deep Blue Sea). Forced to travel west in search of a promised land, the Joad family embark on an epic journey across America in the hope of finding work and a new life in California. The cast includes Cherry Jones as Ma Joad with further casting TBC.

Olivier Theatre

Forty years after Alan Bleasdale’s ground-breaking and greatly loved television series, and following its run at Liverpool’s Royal Court, James Graham’s (Dear England) a thrilling new adaptation of Boys from the Blackstuff comes to the South Bank for a limited run, directed by Kate Wasserberg (Artistic Director, Theatr Clwyd) in her National Theatre debut. In 1980s Liverpool, life is tough as Chrissie, Loggo, George, Dixie and Yosser play the game. There is no work to be had and no money. What are they supposed to do? Find jobs, avoid the ‘sniffers’, work harder, work longer, buy cheaper, spend less? The story of the Liverpool boys is told with laughter, candour and warmheartedness along the way. The cast includes George Caple, Dominic Carter, Helen Carter, Aron Julius, Nathan McMullen, Lauren O’Neil, Barry Sloane and Mark Womack with further casting to be announced.

Tickets for all shows are on sale at -

Copyright Alison Jane Reid/The Luminaries Magazine February 2024. All rights reserved. No copying in any format whatsoever.

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