July 2007 Archives

Prague 2007

DSC02575.JPGIt's that time of year again, and I'm no less surprised by the joy of waking up to the view on the left from my appartment window in Prague. I'm here for the 5th year running for the fantastic International Ballet Masterclasses in Prague. My next door neighbours are Maina Gielgud on one side and Sofiane Sylve on the other, so I guess I'd better behave myself.

Enjoying lots of books while I'm here. I finished Kate Atkinson's One Good Turn in a day and half, and feel like I could devour everything she ever wrote - it's the best book I've read in years. Nice to have time to mull slowly through the newly published Cambridge Companion to Ballet, not such a page-turner, but does what it says on the tin - a good companion. It's the appalling irony of academic books, that the target audience usually only has time to skim-read them (and it's an accepted mode of academic life to do so these days, even for students), whereas if they're good, it ought to be illegal not to take a week off on a Greek island to do them justice. Still wish I'd bought another Kate Atkinson, all the same.

Get Charley Out

getcharley_out.jpgFor a bit of fun, go to Federal Drugs Administration's myspace page and select their song 'Charley', written & performed in honour of BB's (surely) most awful housemate yet. There's a lot of 'Get Charlie Out!' in the song, and some choice placing of Brian-like 'SHUT UP!' noises, amongst other things.

Stan: Tackling My Demons

stan.jpgJust finished reading Stan Collymore's autobiography, Stan: Tackling My Demons. I was interested because of an interview with him that I'd read a couple of years ago in which he talked very articulately about his struggle with clinical depression. He came across as open and intelligent, and it made me want to read the full story.

I'm glad I did. However much we want to pretend that we're not interested in celebrity culture, we can't escape it. My mind is filled with as much tabloid pulp as the next person's, it's unavoidable. So reading this book filled in an awful lot of background on people and events that I thought I knew about and understood, and made me realise that there's a lot to be said for taking the trouble to get behind the headlines, precisely to give some depth to the shallows.

As an avid Davina McCall fan (never more so than when she handled Nicky's friday night eviction with so much humanity and grace) I was delighted to find that Davina comes out of Stan's autobiography as a complete angel, a wonderfully humane, intelligent, non-judgemental and supportive person who was at the end of a phone during the worst moment's of Stan's depressions & spats with the tabloids.

At the end of the book, you feel as if the pair of them have paid an enormous price to know how to become a real three-dimensional human in a fake two-dimensional world, and that's a lesson worth reading about.

Article 19

article19.jpgAlthough it's not a site I read regularly, I've always rather admired the contemporary dance focused Article 19 for being maverick and edgy. On a day like today when I'm updating links on my dance links page I look to see what they're up to.

I'm heartened to see that they haven't lost their nerve. The site keeps growing and uses shiny technology. Their authors speak their mind on arts issues: they've got it in for ACE in particular, and reading between the lines, have annoyed a few people there and other places by refusing to shut up and be pleasant. I don't agree with all the content or style of argument, but there's also plenty that I think desperately needs saying, and they say it loud and clear. Article 19 hits hard, and often below the belt, which might be dangerous and ill-advised, but it's a damned sight more interesting to read, politically engaged and of-the-moment than most dance journalism (to see what they think of some other sites, see Danger Danger Danger).

Their responses to some of the letters to the editor won't make them any friends, but some made me laugh, particularly one to the ACE Arts Debate website, a representative of which invited Article 19 to go and post stuff on their forums. Article 19's response?
"Just by writing the piece Article19 is contributing to supporting the arts along with the several hundred other pages that this particular website has published over the years supporting dance. If you want to have a real debate you know where to find us." (Full letter/response here)

Latitude Festival

de_small.jpgJust back from the Latitude Festival in Suffolk. Great to get out of London, great to spend the weekend listening to live music with 20,000+ others, great to see old friends Alice & Andrew & their children, and refreshing to sleep in the great outdoors. My favourite event of all was Dickon Edwards DJ-ing for The Beautiful & Damned in the cabaret tent on Saturday. I hope the pics in my Latitude gallery will give you a taste of what it was like.

Playing for Mark Morris

Just back from what's turned out to be an annual stint for the last three years, playing for The Mark Morris Dance Group company classes on their flying visits to London. As always, it's the nearest thing I know to music & dance heaven. What a great company. What nice people. What a genius. And how nice to be appreciated - thanks, guys, & looking forward to the next time.

For more on why I love working with Mark Morris, see my old advent calendar entries for 2005 & 2006.

TFL Departure boards

morden.jpgOK, so it's a bit nerdy, but I'm rather thrilled by the discovery that you can view live departure boards for the tube at the TFL site. Very handy for those days when you wonder whether to risk leaving less than three hours to get somewhere just in case all the tube is functioning as it should. So far, I haven't seen an instance of the message that spells misery to seasoned travellers - the silent, unchanging caption "NORTHERN LINE" in orange dot matrix letters. It means 'We haven't got a clue what's going on. So here's a reminder of which line you're on, as if you didn't know.'

July hailstorms

No kidding, I have never, ever, seen weather like the hailstorm that hit Battersea at about 5.15 yesterday afternoon. In the picture below, that sea of white you can see is the amount of rain and hail that fell in about 5 minutes. Great clumps of hail like frozen cottage cheese were all over the pavements.

More images: 1 2

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

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