Sunday, 18 July 2010

We've moved

Blogger was lovely (well, free).

But we've moved to http//


Thursday, 11 March 2010

The Generation Gap

Went to the Bristol Old Vic last night and saw Tom Morris's "Juliet and her Romeo"

What's that line from Saint-Just, something about "Those who make revolution by halves only dig their own graves."

What the hell am I talking about?

I am talking about the production. The gimmick was that Romeo and Juliet - and Tybalt and Mercutio etc.- are all in old folk's homes. Instead of the inter-generational conflict being the middle-aged versus the young, it's the middle-aged versus the old.

But for that to work, surely R and J and T and M and t'others would have to be in their second childhood- you know, going all Lear-y. They'd have to be so soft in the head that their children would be seeking power of attorney etc etc. But then there would be the problem- how are they then supposed to do the long soliloquies and the word play and all the rest of it if they are gaga. And why would the Nurse and the Friar humour them?

I'm afraid "doing R and J as pensioners" is one of those ideas that you get- stunt casting and all- that seems great after a couple of beers, but when you wake up the following day realise should be left on the drawing board, UNLESS you are going to do a major revision and rewrite, which will offend the purists. Generally, you're not allowed to do mash-up on Shakespeare's words, Creative Commons 3.0 notwithstanding.

So, neither fish nor fowl, and not tragic in the least.

What's my learning? That I really really don't like Romeo and Juliet, mashed, minced or pureed. The Baz Luhrman movie is fine, but other than that, yecch..

Sunday, 28 February 2010

Learning from Las Vagueness

Have been reading and absorbing "The Evolving Self: Psychology for the Third Millennium"

Here's a couple of quotes-

Evolution has apparently provided us with an efficient mechanism to make us do what is good for us- the experience of pleasure. But to save effort (and evolution is always about saving effort, because entropy is so powerful and energy is so difficult to obtain), it did not provide a complementary mechanism for sensing a golden mean and avoiding excess. As Tiger (he Pursuit of Pleasure 1992) says, paraphrasing the historian Santayana, “Those who do not learn from prehistory are condemned to repeat its successes.” The brain wont' tell us when enough is enough.

This chimes with something someone put up on a powerpoint recently (who? where? when? it's all a blur. Possibly at the NWDA horrorshow), a George Bernard Shaw quote "The thing we learn from history is that noone learns from history"

So how do we get out of this mess?

The only way to avoid becoming dangerously dependent on pleasure is to use the mind. Only through conscious reflection can we determine how much of what seems good is actually good for us, and then adopt a discipline that makes it possible to stop at the threshold. This is precisely what religions have tried to do: provide cultural institutions for holding to the golden mean. For example, Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism, three of the oldest and most widespread faiths, all advocate very strongly the moderation of unchecked appetites. The seven deadly sins of Christianity warn against indulging in excessive pride, too many material possessions, inordinate sex, too much food and drink, anger, and laziness. Similarly, the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism state that (1) suffering is an essential part of existence, (2) the cause of suffering is desire for sensory pleasure, (3) release from suffering involves the elimination of desire, and (4) elimination of desire is achieved by following the Noble Eightfold Path- which in turn is a system of self-discipline whereby one learns to control the boundless cravings of the body. Religions, however, may no longer be able to impose the necessary limitations, so until credible new cultural instructions are discovered, each of us is left to find the golden mean that will prevent pleasure from taking over our lives.

Page 44-5 of the Evolving Self

Monday, 25 January 2010

Dancing with the guy with the scythe

Have a bit of an earworm at the mo'- a song by Frank Turner called "Long Live the Queen", which tells the tale of a dying friend who wants to rage against the dying of the light. It's got Turner's customary lyrical gusto, compassion and - dare I say - joie de vivre.

It makes a nice pair with a song by the Hoodoo Gurus called "It's time to go" (I can't find the song, so have mis-remembered the title. Will resolve this once I can get to my copy of the album in question, currently buried under a pile of books and folders...)
[27/1.2010: It's called "Night must Fall"]

Outside most of Leonard Cohen, who does good songs about checking out?

Oh, and look, Frank Turner is in Manchester on Weds March 17...

Sunday, 20 December 2009

The Sony also rises, the House Always Wins

OK, I like to rage against the machine as much as the next middle-class-warrior. And ain't it great to see Simon Cowell get a "bloody nose" (I bet he's too busy counting his money to give a monkey's). And there's the plucky facebook campaigners angle, which seems to make journos think they are Hip and Cutting Edge 2.0.

But clock this from the body of the BBC story

Rage Against The Machine are signed to Epic Records, which is part of Sony BMG, the same label as McElderry.

Also on this subject:
The FT's Ludovic Hunter-Tilney (yes, they have a double-barrelled pop correspondent. Go figure) reckons we're "raging against the wrong machine."

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

belated and tedious return. More to follow

Bloody hell,

three months since I posted anything. Busy. Doing what? Couldn't tell you.

Anyhow, Viz 190 popped through my slot a week or three back. A 30th birthday blow-out with Fat Slags, letters

"This morning on the Jeremy Kyle show, after giving one of the guests the bad news that their boyfriend had cheated on them, he said "This is the worst part of this job." And he kept a straight face! Fair play to the man."
Followed on page 11 by "Kyle Honoured with Cunt Status"- very very funny piece, but Kyle, he's laughing all the way to the bank.

Please leave my arse along pretty good, as is BNPea

Meddlesome Ratbag is approaching high art- just beautiful

Read and Loearn and Wonder and Look and Learn has an hilarious piece "Incredible Flying Machines".

Look, I am going to stop now. Viz. Is. Funny. Sits well alongside my London Review of Books subscription.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

My goodness, has it been three months?!

Seems so. Well, anyway, here I am, now 39.
Woke at 6am- uggh. Pottered, slept again. Cleared off a chunk of accumulated paper on the desk, and then walked my sick bike to "Bicycle Boutique". At the cash point around the corner bumped into a Permaculture guy and had a chat about writing an Alternative Action Plan and what should go in it etc. Bought an MEN and a Financial Times, before having a veggie burger breakfast at a non-greasy spoon. Brief chat with a couple of other people (Manchester is like that) before schlepping to the Friends Meeting House. Managed to book the main hall and an additional room for Saturday 10th October- more climate change stuff- and also a room for January 20th (for a Copenhagen 'what happened' meeting). Spoke to a guy I see around more and more, who recommended I get hold of a copy of "City of revolution: Restructuring Manchester." So, detoured to Waterstone's, and they had a copy. I also ordered "Guilty and Proud of it."
Bought more ink cartridges, shoes (they look ridiculous because me feet's so big), before bussing it home, via a paneer tikka kebab and the last twenty minutes of the original Taking of Pelham 123 (saw the remake on Sunday with my best mate). Then the gym- on the stepper with the FT- one of my favourite places.
Back here, some desultory work. Read some more Tom Hayden ("Reunion"- very good stuff indeed). Watched an episode of 'Outnumbered' and then did some more work/thinking about Call to Real Action etc.
A long and not-enormously productive ay, but there you are...