Thursday, 24 February 2011

Sunday, 13 February 2011

An Eye on London -

Mother of Parliaments
Home of Democracy:
In the picture I took it seems small
On the river-bank
Shrunk by the opposite Eye.
The river wide-angles and tapers
Out to the narrow horizon.
The great wheel's only outsized by the broad empty silver-blue sky.
Some boats nudge beneath;
Commons and Lords lie down in the bright weekend sun.

The hundreds (or thousands?) seem far from here
Calling for freedom and waving their flags within Nelson's Trafalgar.
Red black and green and a symbol
And cheering
A banner
And waving.
Silence for those killed in Egypt by bullets or beatings.

Slowly the wheel-pods turn to the sky or down river again.
The crowds drift on by.

In the square, celebrations and dusk.

Freedom and Change: Trafalgar Square 12th Feb 2011

Amnesty International's Day of Support for the Egyptian demonstrators in Tahrir Square, Cairo. There were gatherings across the world: this was in London. Three of us from the Central Birmingham Amnesty group (see our Blog for group info).
This was a very moving and positive occasion, many there were from Egypt and other North African or Middle Eastern countries aspiring to freedoms and democratic rights so long denied.
Let's hope, pray and support movements for change where so many long for change.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

When Jazz gets too loud!

"Uri Caine's Gustav Mahler - Primal Light is a modern masterpiece," went the blurb from on the flyer for the concert "Uri Caine meets Mahler", at the Town Hall, Brum, 5th Feb.
Indeed, the first half - including this reworking of themes from Mahler's 5th Symphony - was intriguing, impressive, energetic. Plenty of enjoyable Jewish-folk-tune flourishes, and not too many bursts of 'jazz noise' and odd sound-effects from the turntablist accompanying the band (bass, trumpet/clarinet, drums (and then some), violinist, pianist (Uri Caine himself)).
The second half: well, I wish I'd have left by then. Where in the first half, drums and sound-effects were kept within reason to keep the band together and add some (albeit odd) extra colour, after the interval they dominated, driving the instrumentals to the margins and drawing the trumpeter to painful, screeching solos more like the sound of fingernails scraping on metal - amplified beyond the bearable - than anything offering aural pleasure.
If you want to catch this ensemble, take your ear-plugs. Or just leave at the interval.