No more mobile?

Just to warn my regular readers that I am seriously contemplating the bold step of jettisoning my mobile phone. That’s right, I’m going ‘to throw it overboard’ (from the dictionary definition of ‘jettison’), and not just because it is too heavy or too expensive!

If McCluhan is right and the medium is the message, then mobile phones say something about friendship and communication that I find a bit troubling.

Furthermore, our technologies shape the way we live. And I feel I have become too dependent on mine.

Watch this space to find out what happens next…

A Co-operative Manifesto

I was thinking the other day, in my usual megalomaniac way, that I am still eligible to stand for the US presidency. Even though I am finally British now, I was born in the USA…

In many ways, I would be the perfect president: I speak more than one European language, I have a green and co-operative agenda, and I have also dabbled in pacifism.

So I’m wondering what I should put in my manifesto.

Any ideas?

Das Parfum

Slowly making my way through this novel, which of course is better than the film. I particularly enjoyed the conversation between Pater Terrier and the wet-nurse in chapter 2:

‘”Gut riecht er”, sagte die Amme.
“Was heisst ‘gut’?” bruellte Terrier sie an. “Gut riecht vieles. Ein Bund Lavendel riecht gut. Suppenfleisch riecht gut. Die Gaerten von Arabien riechen gut. Wie riecht ein Saeugling, will ich wissen?”‘

Even though most of his characters don’t hang around for very long, Sueskind does a good job giving us a sense of who they are. There is also a surprising amount of humour!

Breathing Space

We jumped in the car and drove down to Bristol on Saturday 10th March, for Breathing Space, a day of what we affectionately call ‘Live Arse’ (Live Art). The event was a co-commission of Arnolfini’s,
which was the venue in Bristol we were headed for. It’s been recently refurbished, and is a great chunk of a building right on the dock side, with lots of very swish (if a little sterile) exhibition spaces. The staff were all very warm, helpful and smiley though, which made up for the clean whiteness of the place.

Here are the shows we caught:

Duncan Speakman – Sounds from Above the Ground
An audio walk around Bristol. In a group of 6 we follow a lone walker, who keeps his back to us, through the streets of the city. He speaks into a microphone, and we all pick up the radio signal on our headphones. Somehow he also mixes in soundscape, and repeats and mixes in live sounds. The story is intruiging, about him standing in the middle of the city and shouting last night, so that physical marks are left for us to find today. It doesn’t really go anywhere though, and to be honest I’m pretty distracted by the sunny weather, and all the artsy markets we’re walking through. I think we must look like a bunch of cyborgs: we’re all wearing earpieces, walking together without ever looking at each other or speaking to each other, and we all happen to be wearing smart suitish jackets.

Until Thursday – It’s a Question of Taste
This sounded a bit dire and totally inscrutable in the blurb on the flyer, but we booked anyway.
It took place in the theatre auditorium, and was actually rather wonderful. Clever, funny, political, silly, it was well performed and well received. It was presented in a lecture style, using a powerpoint presentation of occasional headings and loads of photos (mostly rubbish shots of horrible looking meals). The premise was that the 2 performers were contracted by a restaurant review website to visit New York and Brussels and write reviews on the food they ate there (hence the photos of meals). In actuality, this formed a small part of the show, with more of the emphasis on the pair’s relationship with each other, reflections on their travels, comment on America and its foreign policy, and a description of their visit to Ground Zero (which they both describe as “boring – there was nothing there, not even a candyfloss stall”).
It inspired me and Jane to think that we might be able to use some of the material we collected from our Helsinki overground trip to make a show. We’d considered this before, but I hadn’t thought of using it as a jumping off point for making larger observations on ourselves/the countries we travelled through/politics etc.

Grace Surman
This was a video piece, animation. Quite surrealist.

Yara El-Sherbini – Pub Quiz
A themed quiz, with questions about other cultures, ethnic minorities, and their relationship with British culture.
Was a more interesting quiz than the ones I usually play (less about football and 80s one hit wonders), but didn’t seem to have anything particularly ‘performative’ about it. To be fair, we didn’t stay till the end, so maybe we missed something.

A good day overall. We really liked the Arnolfini, and were pleasantly surprised by the work we saw.

New activity! Professional development project posts

I’ve found a new reason to blog. As part of a programme of professional development for myself and Jane (as Artistic Directors of The Other Way Works) funded by Arts Council England, we’re off to see some theatre performances.

We’ll be travelling the country, and having one foray into europe, to see some hopefully inspiring performances.

I’ll be blogging about what we see here, and what I thought.