April 2007 Archives

RIP Dejere Kebede-Tulu

Surely one of the saddest stories to hit the news: an inquest has recorded an open verdict on the death of the brilliant Ethiopian athlete Dejere Kebede-Tulu. He fled to England from Ethiopia following his father's murder, then endured three years of living on £53 a week because he wasn't allowed to work in the UK. Through all this, he continued to train, helped out by philanthropic sports scientist Ceri Diss. Finally, he gained citizenship last year, and was tipped to win a medal for Britain at the 2008 Olympics. No sooner than his citizenship problems had been solved, he died in poverty in his flat in Holloway in June last year aged just 25, discovered only days afterward by a friend, by which time his body had decomposed too much to determine the cause of death.

The story is told movingly in today's Telegraph, and also reported in The Independent, and last week's Islington Gazette.

See also: Helen Bamber Foundation, which cares for victims of gross human rights violations.

Chelsea Reach

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john_ravera_small.jpgAs a teenager, one of my passions as a pianist was the music of John Ireland, passed on to me by my teacher, Trissie Cox, who introduced me to a piece called Chelsea Reach. Many of Ireland's pieces had such evocative titles - Soho Afternoons, Amberley Wild Brooks, Autumn Equinox, Sarnia, The Island Spell - and his music created the image of these places in my head far more strongly than a photograph or a map could have done.

There's nothing superficially Chelsea-like about Chelsea Reach, and it was written in 1917-1920 so it would be a very different Chelsea anyway - or so you'd think. But in fact, the stretch of river in Battersea where I work, immortalized by Whistler & Turner, sometimes seems no different to the way that it must have been 100 or even 200 years ago.

Especially when I see the light at sunset and twilight over the river in spring, the old houseboats and the seagulls waddling through the gold-leaved mud, Ireland's music feels just right. It was probably a bit old-fashioned when it was written; nostalgic, pensive, idealistic - but I expect there was an old-fashionedness about this part of London even then, and I suspect that's what Ireland was trying to evoke.

Swimathon - the Movie

Picture of Daniel Jones & video camera, taken in Nando's after the eventDaniel Jones has made & posted a 7 minute documentary video podcast about my Swimathon to his weblog. Not everyday you get a film of this quality made about your exploits, so I'm really chuffed! View it here. Free admission, but you can donate the cost of a cinema ticket to my Swimathon fund, or to Dan's bank account.
Alternatively: Click here to view the video on YouTube

Another top-drawer entry from Dancerdance: an in-depth interview with Barry Wordsworth (hitherto mainly unpublished material) one of the greats of the ballet conducting world who has recently been appointed Music Director of The Royal Ballet, Covent Garden (see news on Ballet.co).

Lots of interesting insights, and a nice change to see someone daring to express an opinion or six about ballet, music and ballet companies in print. For example, here's Wordsworth commenting on the perhaps overwhelming legacy of Constant Lambert:

...there have been other conductors since him [Lambert] who have been equally good. I think of Robert Irving, who got so distressed with the way things were at the Royal Ballet because of this whole thing of” Oh it will ever be as good as it was when Constant was here” so he went off to New York. He found himself a job as a music director. [...]I think that a lot of the frustration that musicians find when working for ballet companies, is this total lack of support from ballet managements. That is why a great many good conductors do not want to touch it with a bargepole."

Buy A Class

buyaclass.jpgI get quite a few people sending me links to add to my Dance Links page. Most of them haven't taken time to read the bit where I say what kind of links I'm looking for, so they just end up in the trash can.

But in the 7 years that I've had that links page, Buy A Class is quite definitely the most interesting, innovative, and future-hugging site I've seen, and I've very grateful for the tip-off to Gunleik Groven who's behind it. It's got everything I love about Web 2.0 and the professional dance world rolled into one, and I wish them every success with it.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from April 2007 listed from newest to oldest.

March 2007 is the previous archive.

May 2007 is the next archive.

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