Saturday, February 02, 2008

Arts and Craft

I just realised the last blog was written during London Fashion Week in September and today we are 2 weeks away from LFW A/W 08. I stopped writing here, as it had become impossible to be honest about my feelings about certain people and situations without there being some unpleasant repercussions. I suppose I should heed the advice of Josh and Josh and try to avoid using it as an online personal journal. That is a bit frustrating as that is exactly what I wanted this to be. Hmmm.

The other thing is pretty much everyone I know has deserted MySpace for the joys of Facebook. I am not a total convert. I don't like the way Facebook notifies everyone on your friends list of your every move, but because you can only access profiles of people who are actually your friends you can't do the snooping and eavesdropping that makes MySpace so much fun.

I finally brought a cd lazer cleaner which seems to have fixed the tempermental stereo system, and it is playing cds again first time. The cleaner cost 6 quid and so I think I have saved about £194 as it was getting to the stage where I was going to chuck it out and buy a new one. You may also be intersted to know that I broke the leg on the coffee table. I have ordered a new one, which will be sent to me in....May!! I tried using selotape to stick the old one on, but it hasn't worked, so 4 paper backs are standing in for the moment. Fortunately you can onky see them if you are on the balcony and I doubt anyone will be out there before May, so keep quiet! I also picked up a new ironing board cover, but the clip for the strings was missing so I have knotted them and hopefully it will stay in place.

Performance wise I have been a bit lazy. In January I was lucky enough to see The Feeling play through the new album in front of a live audience for the first time. It was at Porchester Hall and the accoustics are not brilliant but the guys put on a good show and I can't wait to get hold of the album this month. I also managed to catch the London run of Mary Poppins before it goes on tour. It is a fantastic show. A wonderful feel good musical, great performances, fun songs and spectacular sets and effects. I was only sad I hadn't seen it earlier in the run because I would have dragged everyone to see it. If you get the chance do try and catch the tour, although how they are going to achieve some of the effects in regional theatres is beyond me.

My friend Baylen took me to see a show that formed part of the London Mime Festival. A Korean company had reworked Woyzeck, the story of a German soldier, who becomes mentally disturbed as a result of his treatment in the army and kills his lover. Something nice and light for a Saturday afternoon! The company use only their own bodies and wooden chairs to create the scenery. They conjure up a graveyard, a medical torture chamber, a bustling market, a crowded and rowdy bar in the most surprising ways. The ability to tell such a complex and dark story without words astounded me. I loved it.

Last night I was at Sadlers Wells for La La La Human Steps performance of Amjad. The Quebec based company are renowned for their athleticism, and at times the performance was hair raising. The press release summarises the show thus: Amjad draws on the most famous of romantic ballets, Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty. On stage a quartet of piano, cello and violins play a score by Gavin Bryars, who adapts and rearranges Tchaikovsky's original score with gorgeous results. Against a projected film montage of forests and pearls, nine dancers perform with impressive precision, demonstrating graceful, classical movement - but at twice the normal speed.

I think to really enjoy this piece it helps to be familiar with the classical versions of Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty . The choreographer Lock plays with the traditional form and produces some devastating results. However at 1 hour 45 minutes wth no interval and no linear form to speak of I did think it was a little too long. The opening Pas De Deux was possibly my favourite and one of the most spectacular, you could sense the audience really sitting up and thinking, "what is this?" There is also a PDD with both the boy and girl en pointe. I was really struck by the effect pointe shoes have on a dancer's proportions. I am used to seeing ballerinas with long limbs, but to see a man in trousers with distended legs was a bit of a shock. The dancer was still very masculine, but his body seemed so much shorter in proportion to his legs. Interesting.

Earlier in the week I saw Tom Baxter play The Shepherd's Bush Empire. Tom is really hard to define. I suppose it's a sort of Folk/Rock. He reminds me of Jeff Buckley. His band consists of drums, keyboards, guitar, three violins, a cello and a double bass and the sound was brilliant. If you get the chance do go and see him, I think he is going to be huge.