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Southbank is such a lovely place to spend warm summer nights at. The pitchers of watermelon caipirinha and passion fruit mojito are all over the place and practically impossible to resist. I was there last night to see Moby play at the Royal Festival Hall and it was pure magic. The man is a complete and utter genius. He played an awful lot of songs, both proper old school and from his latest album, but it was all over much too soon (compared to the support act whose three songs went on for what felt like an eternity. Exploring vibrations and acoustics with a tuba is apparently not my cup of tea). I was expecting a rather relaxed a chilled out concert as we were at a concert hall but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Half of the time everyone was standing up and rocking it out. When I say everyone, I mean everyone except Mr. Stoneface next to me who, at the very most, showed enthusiasm by tapping his index finger against his elbow. His loss really, I had the time of my life.

He played his first single and when he said it was from -91 I first thought well how very nice. I easily find comforting nostalgic value in all things nineties; doc martens, fanny packs, super mario and walkmans… Then I quickly added up the years and OMFG, it was almost twenty years ago. I’m seriously not OK with this, the years are moving way too fast. So while I’m off now to have some sort of  nervous breakdown, here is Moby and GO from nineteen-ninety-freaking-one.

Am so psyched about this. It’s been Wolverine, Star Trek, Terminator and now Transformers, all on top of each other. Feels like my brain is slowly deteriorating. Nice.

“I wanted to be with the men I admired rather than the Scottish Art Council crowd, so I spent a lot of time in graveyards. You get less trouble from the dead.”

Scottish sculptor Alexander Stoddart is my new idol, after reading an interview in the Guardian’s Review yesterday;

“…Stoddart, who will happily attack the National Galleries of Scotland for ‘whoring’ because they have staged an exhibition with Tracey Emin (‘the high priestess of societal decline’), as well as depict British contemporary art generally as the product of ‘an epoch of false money allied with false culture’.”

This is so true, both of the state of art (not just in Britain to be honest) and of Tracey Emin. Not because I necassarily have anything aginst her, how could I? I barley know her work. Which is exactly the point. I feel more familiar with Tracey Emin than even Damien Hirst, but couldn’t name a single thing that she has done. I just know her as YBA / socialiser / (supposed) style icon / disorderly drunk rather than just skilled artist. Sothank you Stoddart, for saying (and very elegantly put as well) what not so many people dare to say, or even think, because it’s considered old school and reactionary.

And speaking of the Donmar, I saw A Doll’s House there the other night and am now seriously considering to go and see it again. Not because it was superb or mind-blowing or anything extraordinary; it was good, no more, no less. But what struck me as as I was watching it, was how timely this new version of the play arrived onto the London stage. The setting is moved to early 20th century London and the bank is replaced by the British Cabinet, raising the stakes considerably when it comes to the characters of Torvald and Krogstad (or Thomas and Kelman as they have been re-named). This new story coincides so extremely well with these recent expenses scandals surrounding the MP’s that the whole thing seemed rather like a parody of current ministerial  fuck-ups. I don’t know how else to explain why people laughed at such heart-wrenching moments like when Nora is told the children will take after her moral baseness.  It’ just not on. Although, much of my annoyance with the adaptation was probably aimed more at myself over the fact that I couldn’t really point out when or how much the dialogue deviated from the original. So now I have a copy of Zinnie Harris’ play script to compare with Ibsen’s (geek-warning here, but to my defense it has to do with my dissertation. I think. ).

I had been a little scared about having Nora played by Gillian Anderson, as I thought I would (at the best) sit through most of the performance, hyperventilating, thinking ‘it’s Scully, it’s Scully, it’s Scully’. Unfounded fears it turns out as she was absolutely brilliant and I did not think Scully for one second, not even Gillian Anderson, only N o r a. I guess that’s why they call it acting.

I had similar doubts about Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart in Waiting for Godot. Also unnecessary it turns out for two reasons; firstly, I was sitting so far away I could barely make out who was who anyway. Secondly, thinking ‘it’s Gandalf, it’s Gandalf’ was kind of the only thing that I could focus on as the whole Beckett experience had been lost along the way of production. Perhaps somewhere in the process of making flashy websites and pulling mainstream audience with the promise of the two X-men actors on stage together. I’m not saying it was bad acting, it was just bad Beckett.

Anyway, this was how pretty Thomas and Nora Vaughan looked. Velvet and mesh..me like.

a doll's house

Toby Stephen and Gillian Anderson in A Doll’s House (picture from BBC).

waterhouse_a_tale_from_the_decameron

Time to change that header now huh? A Tale from the Decameron by J.W Waterhouse, painted in 1916.

 

I expanded my vocabulary today:

Taxidermy is “the art of preparing and preserving the skins of animals and of stuffing and mounting them in lifelike form.” In other words, a fancy way of talking about stuffed animals.  And the fancy ways are always good to know.

In my old high school, all science classes were taught in a near-ancient building that, for some obscure reason, was called Siberia. On teh second floor of Siberia there was a biological museum filled with stuffed animals and jars with nasty pickled things. Mostly birds and fishes but also the more exciting ones that you can see in the picture. My personal favorite was the polar bear, which I think is the little white, fluffy thing behind the moose. But the most impressing piece of the whole collection was the elephant head. It was mounted on the wall to the left and came with some anecdotal myth about how it had ended up in the museum. A story which I have obviously forgotten by now, as with everything else I was ever taught in Siberia. I think it was more of an escaped-animals-from-a-traveling-circus-story than a killed-by-Roosevelt-on-safari-in-the-deepest-and-darkest-Africa-story. But still impressive. I also want to remember a human foetus in one of the jars but that sounds a bit too unorthodox to be true, it was probably a monkey, or thinking about it, it might have been a X-files episode.

karro museum

 

I have finally managed to get my ass down to the cinema to see Star Trek and absolutely loved every single second of it. Sci-fi at its very best and I would almost go as far as saying it is one of the best films I have ever seen.  OK, I know I’m exaggerating slightly, but there has been way too little action involving aliens and spacecrafts in my recent life due to the complete absence of a TV for the past year. And in my vain attempts to discover high culture, I seemed to have neglected the things that truly matters in life, like V and Quantum Leap. But seriously, all Trekkie-partiality aside, this film is good.  And more-over, as an origins-film, I think it managed to do what Wolverine did not; sufficiently develop the characters and their relationship with each other, and doing so without compromising the high paced action (fist fight, sword fight, phaser fight, exploding spacecraft, exploding planet, exploding solar system, etc. etc.).

Although I have to say I am a bit sceptic towards the way time-travelling is presented in the film (because I obviously know enough about black holes and worm holes and white holes to give a valid judgment, so would you after a few seasons with Stargate). And it does complicate the process of piecing the film together with the original story-line (which I guess is the point) but here is also where my sci-fi-TV-geek-knowledge fails me anyway. Because I have only watched reruns of Star Trek at random, I have never seen any of the series in sequence. It has been The Original Series, The Next Generation and Enterprise all jumbled up together. So I have no idea who succeeded who, how many years apart or how many different types of Enterprises there are.  One day Captain Kirk would be bravely jumping around an extremely dangerous, unknown planet made out of papier machiéwearing a velour jumper (fashion choice of sexy in the 60’s?) and the next day Captain Picard would celebrate with a nice cup of Earl Grey after having saved humanity from destruction wearing a practical jumpsuit (fashion choice of sexy in the 80’s). So for me, it doesn’t matter who is commander in chief or what Starfleet uniform he is wearing. As long as there is enough teleportation, phaser-action and spaceships going into warp drive, I’m happy.

Oh and also, as long as there is Spock; my suppressed Vulcan-crush has resurfaced. Isn’t he the most adorable half-alien you have ever seen? He looks a little bit like a cross between Dracula and Gargamel topped with a bad haircut.  Love it.

Long time no see. I’ve been busy. Sort of busy anyway. After finishing all my exams in Mid-May I have alternated between a state of total angst, contemplating different forms of hara-kiri and a state of total drunkenness, contemplating why I only like rum in form of a mojito. At first I drank to celebrate my return to the world of the living (as opposed to the world of dead poets), after a few days it became a way of easing the pains of post-exam depression. Not sure exactly what my problem with writing exams is but I think it has something to do with my nerves. They are weak and uncontrollable.

I have had a lot of bad dreams about school lately. Both waken dreams and nightmares. Last night I dreamt I was in class, being asked by Dr French to read something, not quite sure what but probably Rabelais or something equally pointless. The words were jumping all over the pages, bending, skipping, merging together and not behaving as letters should at all. After having stumbled through the pages for what felt like eternity my teacher asked me to leave the classroom. Can you imagine the shame I felt? Being kicked out of class…at university(!). I have not been kicked out since 8th grade biology class. Anyway, coming out of the classroom, I realized what was wrong with me. I’m dyslexic. Yes, that explains everything. Why, when I’m writing my exams the words I write don’t make any sense even though I just wrote them. It explains why I can remember everything about German Symbolist painters, opposing views of poetry in the 19th Century and meta-theatricality in Shakespeare but still manage to forget every single verb in the English language. I’m not stupid; I’m dyslexic and words are my enemy. Then I woke up, realized I’m not dyslexic at all, just really crap at dealing with any sort of pressure. Now I’m wondering how wrong it would be to have a vodka-redbull for lunch.