Thursday, 24 May 2012

Post Abstract Vorticism and the way forward.

A guest blog by Jan Nieupjur.

Editors note: As usual Jan and I don't see eye to eye and I don't really go along with this.

Thank god! We can wave a hearty good bye to hirstian 'Brit Art' posturing and Banksy 'psuedo street' commercialism. I have seen the future of Art and it is Post Abstract Vorticism. A style most perfectly demonstrated in the work of the young Lithuanian 'Smith'!

Caligula at the Coliseum. Madness, bonking madness but brilliant!

To the Coleseum this morning with Mr Pounce the barrister to see the dress rehearsal of the ENO production of Caligula.

Bloody hell!

Fantastic set, minimalist if you didn't count the 301 seats on the terrace facing the audience... But brilliant in that the action back stage happened up high and with equal importance (if you are up in the gods). An almost vertical stage in fact.

Mad music and mad libretto skittered around madness illustrated by multiple pinoccios, panda bears, dancing girls, gun toting yes men, the naked rendition of Caligulas dead sister, men in suits and bonkers, bonkers... well bonking or the product of bonkers bonking.

The music out of context would be impossible. Modern I suppose in that it wasn't waltzes and the like. You knew from the moment it started that no fat woman was going to be singing this one out.... It weren't going to be over until the dead woman sang and sang beautifully as Caligula strangled her.

Throughout the performance the ghost of the sister wanders naked around the place, Wagnarians would be disappointed; she is a slip of a lass. As far as naked wandering goes the girl has it all, she is a star, you could ditch the singers and the band completely and still have a show. In the second half she wandered naked whilst painted gold. Who said opera was boring... Loyd Webber could make a whole show out of the poor girl doomed to walk the stage of the Coliseum naked, night after night, without the offer of even a cardigan to keep the chill at bay.

Caligula died at the hands of a mob of hoodied thugs on the terraces after having dragged both Mr Pounce and myself through his madness.

It was interesting to note that, at the end, the non-singing, non talking, naked lass got the loudest applause...

I for one enjoyed the thing immensely.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Bianca Jagger 'assaulted' at the opera.

What a farce!

I nicked this photo from the guardian, if you squint hard you can make out the photo-credit in the text at the bottom.

Bianca Jagger was at the Barbican for a performance of Phillip Glass's bonkers five hour, abstract opera Einstein on the Beach. She took a couple of photographs during the curtain call which apparently pissed off some bloke called Mark Shenton (Sunday Express theatre critic) who then proceeded to cause a scene during which, according to Bianca, he assaulted her. Shame on him.

In the first place Ms Jagger (who not only had to put up with being married to the pop crooner Mick but also has worked tirelessly for human rights) should be allowed to do as she pleases, especially at the opera. Secondly, this Shenton character would probably have applauded her had she been photographing him for her scrap book of theatre 'greats'. He obviously was affected by the roar of the grease paint, the smell of the crowd and the heady  essence of modern opera, which to my way of thinking is probably a bit too rich for the likes of him and his down market rag.

Shenton is quoted in the guardian as saying: "There are clearly no rules anymore. There is clearly civil breakdown in the theatre."... For fuck's sake man! Lighten up. It's modern innit!

To my mind there is clearly a mental breakdown in that particular theatre.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Cheltenham Jazz Festival, Paloma Faith, Torrents of spring and John Gordons.

What are Bank holiday Mondays for if not for driving through torrential rain for two hours in order to trudge about a rain sodden field drinking expensive beer, eyeing up dodgy merchandise and fast food, listening to  seriously un-jazz, in the free music tent while waiting for a Paloma Faith gig in the circus big top!                                                                             

A hardy festival goer in the packed beer tent!

The Paloma Faith thing was sold out but I sat through the sound check which was interesting. I spent the rest of the evening drenched, looking around the town before stumbling into the high point of my day: a Cafe/bar/wine & spirit merchants called John Gordons... What a lovely little place it is too, just a few tables set in a fairly compact shop in Montpellier Arcade (utterly refreshing to find in a town now seemingly dedicated to the mediocre and in obvious thrall to the lowest common denominator) run by very friendly and helpful people. If you ever visit Cheltenham make sure you visit this place.

While enjoying a beer and buying a bottle of red for the muse I got chatting to a number of 'walk-outs' from the Paloma Faith thing. The general feeling was: 'What the hell did that have to do with Jazz?'

The answer to that of course is: 'Nothing'!

Love blossoms on Portobello Road.

The following cards were spotted in a corner shop window on Portobello Road. I am particularly taken by the honesty of the second one although it strikes me as being a little on the risky side!