Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Media Art

Live concert broadcasts have been with us for some time.
I'm enjoying Mozart symphonies as I write this, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Simon Rattle. I was pleased when I still managed to catch part of the CBSO's Beethoven series which I could have gone to, it's local after all, but hadn't booked for.
The Proms are an annual staple on Radio 3 with some on BBC TV too.
The other week I went to the National Theatre live (or at least, I think it was live ... It may have been recorded from a live evening performance which was shown in the week). We all gathered at the local arts cinema in the MAC (Midlands Arts Centre) and spectated the play, with extra camera angles and the slightly odd feeling of being involved but at one more remove, especially when the audience at the National itself applauded and laughed (the play was a Victorian farce - they were meant to laugh): for a moment I thought the laughter was from the rest of the cinema, till I listened to the audio system.
I still enjoyed the play. Any problems were with the actual piece, not the fact of being in a cinema. This way, too, you get to have a cinema trip which includes an interval, something that's gone missing from films even when they last well over two hours, as they often do.
The Berlin Philharmonic can be heard and experienced via TV or the internet on a subscription deal.
So do we need to go anywhere? Could music and theatre be reduced to a core of properly-funded orchestras, acting troupes, all having their work sent out on live broadcasts and web streams, to TV and Radio, cinemas and websites?
Is multi-media endangering support for local performers? Or will it be a showcase that will draw us to live-in-the-flesh events?
Hard to say. All are interesting developments, and do give some a chance to experience concerts and plays they may otherwise have missed.
What technology makes possible will happen at some stage, and that doesn't have to be a bad thing.


Sunday, 27 January 2013

Saturday, 5 January 2013

London passing

The manypeopled mass merging dissipating colliding halting wondering what to do next or where to go or not to go anywhere at all!
The homeless man who comes asking if he can have those chips you left from your pub meal.
Waiting in the station café franchise outlet plenty of time better that way because it'd be a hectic rush otherwise and worse much worse you'd be in trouble with your other half!
For all the variety and possibilities, there really are simply too many people in London. But then, how would it be in Tokyo, Beijing (or one of the new Chinese megacities), Rio, Mexico City et al?
As we all rush past and into each other and some survive, others don't, some keep going and others burn out, and all must come to an end sometime, then it's fair to ask, what is it all about?
A swelling gene pool, interactions, groups and couples, individuals, rushing in search of distraction or a break, of entertainment or even fulfilment, though enlightenment seems as unlikely at Euston as it is at New Street, who knows. The sense of teeming life, of abundance, but not far from fragility or the temporal as everyone in a tourist city station is passing through and even those who work here will be travelling some way to get home when they're done.
Is the sense to think, somehow, of the others? Not just to be sealed into your little freezer bag pocketed away from everyone else, even when they're next to you?
All the people will be different in the café or the fast food outlet in a few hours, let alone days, months, years (when all the outlets will be different if they're here at all). Nothing here that's worth keeping, hard to believe that any of this will be in somewhere like a history or archaeological museum in centuries to come.
Things seem more temporary than ever somehow, with polar caps melting and crazy weather across countries and continents. Life will always be short, but the rush of our lifestyles now seems to make this simple fact ever more obvious and harder for us to step aside for a moment to contemplate.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013



A mad rush of people crushing on the tubes, and queuing in the rain for an exhibition at the Natural History Museum, but it's still worth visiting the capital.
Saw: Viennese concert at St Martin's in the Fields, one of the best smaller venues, excellent acoustics and an appreciative audience.
Museum of London Docklands for a feel of how people lived and worked, not just political leaders.
Royal Academy's reliable exhibition of English landscapes.
The Wildlife Photographer of the Year at the Nat Hist, not so busy as the rest of the museum with so many families on a wet holiday day!
The British Library, now near King's Cross and Euston, manages to feel like a secluded corner and nicely removed from the hustle and bustle just outside. An exhibition of illustrations and books from Mughal India this time.
St Paul's Cathedral's stunning roof decoration, even though the sound got lost in the expanse of some poor acoustics.  God in the midst of mammon in the city, or where God and mammon meet to pray?