Thursday, 31 January 2013

Britten: The Rape of Lucretia.

This is what Andrew Clements has to say in the Guardian:

Britten: The Rape of Lucretia – review

Kirschlager/Bostridge/Gritton/Purves/Coleman-Wright/Aldeburgh Festival Ensemble/Knussen
(Virgin Classics, two CDs)
5 out of 5
This remarkable recording is taken from concert performances in Snape Maltings during the 2011 Aldeburgh festival. The Rape of Lucretia seems to have been heard there more often than any of Britten's stage works in the last 10 years, almost as if its reputation as one of the most problematic of his operas has been the reason for its frequency, in the hope that familiarity will dilute the text's problems. Perhaps it could even make more palatable the awkward ending that Britten insisted upon, in which an epilogue preaching Christian forgiveness is grafted on to a drama that offers little scope for redemption.

There are no weaknesses there, either. The Male and Female Chorus, Ian Bostridge and Susan Gritton, set the standard in their introduction, each word ringingly clear, every shade of meaning registered. Their commentary is wonderfully objective and humane, just as the protagonists in the drama are presented in all their contradictions – from Angelika Kirschlager's Lucretia, by turns sensuously honeyed and harrowingly moving, Christopher Purves' assured Collatinus, and Peter Coleman-Wright's startlingly feral Tarquinius, to the equally well observed smaller roles of Benjamin Russell (Junius), Hilary Summers (Bianca) and Claire Booth (Lucia). If Britten's own Decca version, with Janet Baker as Lucretia, will always have a special place in the work's history on disc, as will those featuring the original cast from 1946 and 1947, then this performance is surely the best of recent times, redemptive in a way that the work itself can never be.
But what Oliver Knussen's reading shows above all is that the best possible justification for performing The Rape of Lucretia is the quality of the score, which emerges more pungent and fiercely dramatic than I've ever heard it before, bathed in the warmth of the Maltings acoustic and captured in every detail by the wonderfully vivid recording. All the instrumentalists in the Aldeburgh Festival Ensemble are identified in the credits, and that's just as it should be, for Knussen sees to it that the contribution of every one is as just as significant as those of the singers.

The Salt Ghost.

Going through Jan Nieupjur's papers the other day I came across this old photograph. There was nothing to tell me who or where.

I showed Jan the image and asked about it... He sighed and whispered the words: 'The salt ghost'. He went on to tell me that he only knew the woman standing on the left by the initial 'M' but that she was known throughout eastern Europe during the last war as the snow ghost.

He went on to tell me that 'M' spent the entire war with a band of renegades hindering the enemy (quite who the enemy was is a mystery) by scattering salt on ice-bound canals that were being used as roads in the winters and over salting their food in daring night time raids on military canteens. She disappeared shortly after hostilities ceased.

I asked where she was now.

'Don't know'. said Jan. 'She could be in south America or fifty yards down the road'.

'But I bet she's still got a lot of salt!

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

There is gold in dog turds.

It started like this: I read in the Guardian that a blind man had been given an on the spot fine for allowing his dog to crap in the park. The blind man's argument that he was blind and did not see his dog crap was not good enough for the park jobsworth who served him with the fine anyway. Are these park nazis paid pro rata on number of turds spotted or do they do it for fun?

It ended happily after many bureaucratic movements with the blind guy providing written evidence of his handicap, however, the nazi jobsworth did not have to provide proof of his stupidity. I guess that goes with the job.

Descartes once said (but didn't write down): 'I didn't see it poo therefore it didn't'!

This made me think! The government is missing a job creation wheeze here; what every seeing eye dog needs is a seeing turd companion to pick up the stuff. there are 5,000 seeing eye dogs in the UK, therefore we need an equal number of 'seeing turds' to keep our park nazis happy. No qualifications would be needed meaning that it would suit the average state school leaver who didn't make the tertiary education criteria. It would also suit redundant bankers who are well used to handling shit. the up-side of this job in the winter months is that the dog creates little hand warmers for the collector.

And then a horrible truth hit me... There are 10.5 million dogs in the UK producing over 33 tons of crap a day.  The man who finds something to do with dog turds will make a fortune.

Alan Sugar springs to mind... He seems to be able to make money out of shit wherever he goes.

Murray Lachlan Young on the radio.

Murray has a regular spot on Radio 4 this week. Catch it HERE

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Tesco introducing Naggis for Burns night!

I have hear that after the publicity gained from the horse burger scandal Tescos is to introduce it's own take on haggis with the 'Naggis'*.

My only concern is that due to the size of a horses bladder it will be unsuitable for small Burns night gatherings.

I am currently working on my 'Address to a Naggis' and will post it in due course.

*Naggis: a horses bladder stuffed with equine odds and ends mixed with oats.

Horse looking for mum in Tescos

I don't know what all the fuss is about... Surely eating horse is no different from eating cow or pig. In fact I think I would rather eat a horse than a pig, horses don't eat shit!

Monday, 14 January 2013

30 something skateboard dude.

You see him under the west way
you see him in the park
he hangs out in Meanwhile Gardens
and in the Piazza after dark

He clatters down the pavement
clack clack clack clack clack
i pod and spare hoodie
bijou back packed on his back

He likes Zep and AC/DC
plays bass in a garage band
dreams of St Moritz snow
and black Hawaiian sand

He talks of ramps and half pipes
his half pipes all half full
of verts and nailed 360's
and all that kind of bull

He lives at home with mum and dad
works in the video store
doesn't have a social life
so he can skateboard more

He's the 30 something skateboard dude
the medieval slacker
the ever moving obstacle
the clack clack clack clack clack clack clack clack clack
clack clack clack clack clacker

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

The Dutch are coming! Ramsey Nasr.

My aged guru Jan Nieupjur alerted me to this event. It should be interesting. Included in the line up is dutch Poet Ramsey Nasr alongside numerous other members of the Low Countries literati. Details of the Tabernacle event which hosts the final event: HERE

Orlando Seale & the Swell + Tom Robinson at the Tabernacle.

Orlando and his band are great! Here is a chance to catch him in Notting Hill along with Tom Robinson.

Details HERE

Saturday, 5 January 2013

The sink is where the Harpist is!

Or is that "the Harpist where the homist".

Postcards from Portobello No: 432 Kieth. Angry Keith?

I found this written in chalk underneath the Westway at Portobello Green. Kieth looks angry... Maybe because whoever done it can't even spell his name right.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

The Kindle scam.

Amazon are a nasty bunch. They are selling kindles like hot cakes to the masses and the masses are buying them thinking that it is in order to read books on them. But the facility to download literature is not what the Kindle is about. It is far more nasty than that!

When reading the following bear in mind that Kindles are being given, as presents, to very, very young children on the assumption that it will encourage reading:

 Christmas day; little Pete opens his present from granny, whoopee! A Kindle. But what's this? First he must register with amazon which requires an email address. Okay, lets open an email account for the darling little five year old then register with Amazon. Okay done let's now have a look at what Kindle will do....  Oooooh look mummy I can play games on my new present, can I download 'Angry birds'?

Uncle Dave gave little Pete a £25 voucher from Amazon which is credited to his account. Little Pete blows £23.45 on game downloads without the thought of a book. Little Pete is a little too young to read a book let alone realise that he is being conditioned by Amazon!

Uncle Dave looks for books that may be borrowed from the Kindle library (one of the selling points of the thing) but finds he must activate a free trial to the 'Prime' club thing before little Pete can borrow a book. He must provide credit card details among other things in order to take up the free months 'trial' membership. At the end of the month he must remember to terminate the membership otherwise Amazon will be stripping out of the card account nearly £50.00 per annum which is the actual cost of being allowed to borrow 1 book per month. that is not borrowing. That is hiring a book a month at the cost of £4.00 per book. Little Pete and his family are being fleeced.

Meanwhile little Pete, without a single book being downloaded, is playing games like there is no tomorrow and while he is playing games he is being bombarded with pop up ads from Amazon. Ads for all sorts of things useful to Pete such as motorcars and insurance.

This brings us to the central purpose of the Kindle: It is an Amazon shop in your home, marketing amazon products constantly and as they have your card details every purchase is just a click away. It is like living with a pushy salesman 24 hours a day!

By the 1st of January little Pete is doing 8 hours of game playing on his Kindle, Mummy is delighted that he is occupied while she gets pissed on baileys and watches re-runs of sex in the city. She tells Gran: 'It's like having a free nanny'! All the while she is conning herself that little Pete is doing something EDUCATIONAL rather than rapidly acquiring behavioral problems, obesity and long term damage to his hands and wrists.

QUESTION: Why can I not remove  Amazons  'Silk' and 'IMDb' apps from the Kindle thereby making it safe for children?

QUESTION: Why are amazon allowed to push unsuitable products on small children in this way. Why  are they not obliged to market a product designed for kids without the advertising and without the need to register with card details?

Parents, you are paying large sums of money for nothing more than the packaging. The Kindle is the IT equivalent of an empty cornflakes packet which can be filled in future by subscription only.

'SUCKERS' is probably the most frequently used term at Amazon HQ!