20th March 2009 at 00:00

Flash of genius

In photography, timing is everything. As the celebrated Henri Cartier- Bresson said: "You must know with intuition when to click the camera. Oop! The moment! Once you miss it, it is gone forever."

With the Learning and Skills Council's sense of timing, the snapper would probably trip over his shoelaces and take a close-up of his own forehead. How else to explain the masterstroke of organising a photography competition to celebrate the new building programme just as colleges are wondering if they will ever get the funding to move out of their temporary structures?

With luck, students will come up with some passionate photojournalism, much as Robert Capa documented the Spanish Civil War: the huddled masses; a small child playing in the dirt beside a motionless cement mixer while his tearful mother looks on; the college finance director alone in his office, staring at a revolver and a tumbler of whisky.

"A celebration of the transformation of further education colleges," in the words of Sion Simon, the FE minister.

A hard man to like

The world surely needs more actors pronouncing on events of public importance. So thank goodness Tom Hardy has weighed in on whether armed robber and serial hostage-taker Charles Bronson should be released.

Hardy plays the title role in the film of Bronson's life that opened last week, and told reporters: "I would like to see him out . I found him warm, articulate, kind, intelligent, funny and charismatic."

Among the people who have found Bronson somewhat less kind is a former prison teacher, Phil Danielson, who said he was traumatised by the experience of being threatened at knifepoint by Bronson in a 44-hour hostage ordeal 10 years ago.

No wonder the University and College Union objected to the publicity for the film, which included cheery fake Charles Bronson moustaches handed out to guests at the premiere. Classy.

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