Friday, November 30, 2007

Seeing Debussy, Hearing Monet

Went to this gig at the Barbican tonight: music/event-detail.asp?ID=5621. Slightly more pedagogic than I expected, but after an initial alarmingly elementary introduction to the concept of the tonic and dominant, the verbal exposition of the similarities and analogies between Monet's painting and Debussy's orchestral works was actually both eloquent and illuminating.

... in the first minute of the piece, Debussy mischievously throws in a bar of complete silence, giving the listener the opportunity to explore the musical quality of negative space within a gentle flowing river of sound. [...]

Most notable was the explanation of the sheer simplicity of the musical motifs or devices which Debussy employed to lend a (minimal) structure or self-coherence to his works; even something as simple as a semi-tone shift could be transformed by Debussy's masterful technique into a memorable shrift of melody.

My alma mater in the news

My school hit the headlines this week. Excellent exam results? Success at sport? Radical teaching? No: Get pregnant to get benefits, teenage orphan is told

A promising A-level pupil whose parents died within months of each other has been told the only way to get benefits to continue her education is to have a baby.

Just why didn't the school sort this out before it got to the press?!?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Once in a while

Saw this film with Ms B last week. I had ignored it, as the movie poster looks rather fromagé, but in fact it was surprisingly rewarding, and not soppy at all.

Even though initially they were only to write the songs for ‘Once’, Carney decided to go with the two musicians in the main roles instead of professional actors.

Aside from the "redemption through music" theme, and welcome lack of corny sex shots, an inspiring sequence was the singing jam session, where those present had to sing or get out!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Wealth has many arms

Doctors in India who completed a gruelling 24-hour separation procedure today on a two-year-old girl born with four arms and four legs have declared it a success.
[ story/0,,2206597,00.html]

What struck me as interesting here is that here is a naturally-occurring precendent for (here, Indian) mythology: Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, has four arms. Given that developmental abnormalities are more common in areas or societies with greater in-breeding and greater local pollution, the source of many of the more fantastical mythological beings is likely to have been based on actual experience of unusual births.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Living in the past

Before switching to O2, I didn't expect something like SMS delivery reports to be unavailable: Pisspoor!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Dragon on Bishopsgate

Dragon Walking back from lunch today, I spotted this dragon emerging from a pile of sand by some roadworks on Bishopsgate. The navvies had already removed her arms, but she is a rather fine specimen of, I believe, Welsh Red variety.

Loads of new photos in Urban (Flickr)