Tuesday, May 31, 2005

friday night dance

With the bank holiday and everything, Friday night seems ages ago, but here is what I remember.

The first piece was I Infinite, a solo in which 'a character trapped in a finite world flirts with the infinite' (according to my memeory of what the programme said.) I've got to admit that I found interpreting what was going on hard. It's not the sort of dance where each action corresponds to a meaning, as in classical ballet mime, nor are there linear stories being told. Sometimes I think the exploration of themes is happening mostly in the performer or choreographer's head and it can be harder for the audience to grasp. Leaving aside the interpretation, the thing was visually stunning. The main light source was from computer animation projected from the front of the stage to the back wall. This made triangular areas of shadow from the front to the sides where at times the dancer moved along half in and half out of light, making shapes and sometimes seeming to dance with himself. And the dancing! He had incredible balance, using the whole of his foot, sometimes supporting himself on one foot with a bent knee as the rest of his body moved around him. The movements combined moonwalking, the fake walking of a mime and the kind of minutely precise footwork you get in Indian classical dance. Sequences of movements repeated. The effect, combined with his white make-up and clothes was semi-robotic.

The second piece, Dual, took some of the movements from the first and developed them, using four dancers, two in red, two in white. The animations changed, alternating white and grey drifting shapes with red rectangles that appeared over dancers like doorways or red lines that travelled up, down or across like a scanner. The programme describes characters reacting to natural and artificial stimuli. I wasn't sure whether red and white corresponded to artificial and natural or whether the animation itself represented artificial and the dancers were natural. Or perhaps something else. Anyway, the dancing was technically amazing. There were sequences in which three dancers moved around each other, flailing arms and legs so fast and near each other they seemed about to hit one another. The shadows on the back wall echoed and enhanced the shapes the dancers made as some sat still while others moved around them. Again, the shadows sometimes seemed to be additional characters in the dance. (They also looked like an particularly avant-garde i-pod ad).

Overall, I'm not sure I understood the pieces, but they were fascinating to watch.

Friday, May 27, 2005


I discovered today that there's a graveyard in the middle of my place of work. A very neat and well tended graveyard with fences and smalls trees around the outside. I wonder who's buried in it.

The weather is warm and too good to waste, so I've been sitting by the canal. Beside my spot on the bank sat a placid coot on a nest. On the other side of the canal people were putting up posters with noisy sellotape and staples. Suddenly the coot began to make a call like the sound of the staple gun. After a while, the coot settled down again.

I wonder when the eggs will hatch.


Skye sky
Originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.
Somehow, it's suddenly summer. Last week it was less than warm and occasionally wet, now it's hot and sunny and I'm wearing sandals. And it's a bank holiday weekend. Hoorah! Just got to survive another day in my baking hot office first.

Tonight I'm going to follow up on my resolve and go and see some dance. Dual/I infinite by subba rossa at The Place. I'll let you know what it's like.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005


It's not been a good day and I'm feeling a little delicate. For some reason this site is making me feel sad. It's the sale of the entire contents of a science centre in Scotland. It wasn't open very long and it wasn't a success. Some of the interactives look gorgeous.

I think I should go home before I cry or something.

Monday, May 23, 2005

sunshine on monday

mile end bridge
Originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.
It's monday, I'm at work, the sun is shining. This is distracting. As is blogging. Now what is it I get paid for? Oh yes, I remember. Better get on with it.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Where is it always winter, but never Christmas?


bicycle bicycle

Since I started this job I've been working on cycling to work. I'm not up to the whole distance yet, but I'm gradually increasing the ratio of bike time to tube time and I'm beginning to enjoy it. I used to cycle a lot at university, but Oxford's a lot smaller and flatter than London and there are plenty of cyclists there so drivers know to look out for them. London is rather more scary. You have to put up with buses that seem to want to push you off the road (why? Aren't we on the same side?), people who park across cycle lanes, drivers who don't see you, pedestrians who walk along cycle lanes and the odd misplaced pigeon. But apart from that, it's great. At least the area I live in has cycle lanes, lots of places don't. The best bits are whizzing past lines of stationary traffic at traffic lights and seeing how fast I can get coasting down my road on the way home.

Having said that, I've got admit it was pouring with rain this morning, so I caught the bus. But when it's not raining, I'll take the bike anytime.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Look out world

My little sister has passed her driving test. At the 4th attempt (only one more than me). Well done HP!

ikea pigs

ikea pigs
Originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.
I think these pigs, like Ikea, are poised to take over the world.

Like most people, I have a sort of love/hate relationship with Ikea. Since they opened a store just up the road in Edmonton, I've been there more times in a few weeks than ever before in my life. Mostly because the chest of drawers I bought turned out to have pieces missing and other superfluous bits and it took several trips to sort it out. But eventually I finished building it and it's rather a lovely bit of furniture, with drawers which slide smoothly on rollers. I just miss it was possible to buy stuff there without being filtered past ranks and ranks of things you didn't know you needed.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

last night's play

In an all too rare bit of cultural activity, I went to see a play at the the Barbican last night, Astronaut by Theatre O. It was just my sort of thing. Physical theatre with a cast of three, in a mixture of English and Spanish. It told the story of what happens to an ordinary man and his family, when the father is picked to be part of a European Space Agency mission to Mars. Most of the action took place in the family's apartment, created partly through sparse furniture, but mostly through the dance/mime actions of the actors. I love the way in which dance can communicate so much about characters and their relationships. I was one of those kids who did ballet and loved it, but too often classical ballet seems to be more about creating intricate patterns and filling time with clever dances than about meaning and character. More modern dance can be like that too. Obviously, as in other media, dance doesn't have to be about story or character. Abstract is beautiful too. But there's something about the wordless communication of emotions that is more immediate, less analytical, less cold perhaps. It demonstrates just how powerful body language can be and makes it explicit, rather than unconcious as it is in everyday experience.

Sometimes dance is just take-your-breath-away beautiful. I really should remember that and go and see performances more often.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

do doo do doo doo da doo da doo

I have the sig tune to Call My Bluff stuck in my head.


Apparently these days it has Rod Liddle and Fiona Bruce on it. No Sandi Toksvig, but still Alan Coren. It's obviously been a while since I was a student or otherwise at a loose end during the day to watch it. Which makes it even more mysterious that the theme tune should be stuck in my head.

Oh well.