Tuesday, 24 February 2009

stetson and stethoscopes - alaaaf!

yes, of course, anke, we are going back to the ranch again, very soon, but maybe you want to dress as a doctor again for work until summer? maybe your patients are getting a little nervous if you draw your pistols instead of your stethoscope?

Friday, 20 February 2009

into the little hill


an interesting double bill by the opera group at the royal opera house / linbury studio with "down by the greenwood side" by birtwistle and "into the little hill" by our very own king's college professor on composition, george benjamin, on wednesday night that gave us plenty to discuss the music, staging and directing.

birtwistles composition is interesting, and the juxtaposition of music and half sung, half spoken text creates a degree of suspension. but wheras it was lovely to have our friend julian in the production who gave a fine performance of doctor blood, we found the staging, directing and set, clumsy and conventional, and in our view the production couldn't find it's position, being gloomy, satirical, violent and tragic on one hand and commenting happily in a post-brechtian way on the other without ever bringing these elements together (or telling us why not either). so we really ended up watching doc blood's fab dance steps more than we should have and found his talents somewhat wasted.

the same unfortunate setting was used for the tale of the pied piper (rattenfänger von hameln) and the gloom and doom became even more boring with the orchestra moved far away from the audience and partly screened off by a large gauze. But the singing was suberb and the fantastic london sinfonietta gave a great performance (conducted by benjamin himself) that made us want to see the musicians even more. a great piece, intellectually stimulating and full of surprises, it sits high on our want list now to go over the music again and again. 

see here for more qualified reviews:
the guardian @ opéra bastille
guardian @ roh linbury studio
independent @ roh linbury studio
telegraph @ roh linbury studio
telegraph @ pacific road arts centre
new york times @ gerald w. lynch theater
and this very good blog entry at
intermezzo with several pictures

george benjamin on messiaen

Friday, 13 February 2009

zur nedden only uk reading


Brockley Gazette - West End Final

Top German Writer Secured by London University
by the editor
One of Britains top universities in the centre of London has been able to secure a reading slot for the sell-out autumn tour of a major German author, the Brockley Gazette has learned.

Writer Dietrich zur Nedden will read from his highly original novelle
"Strafplanet Erde" (losely translated as 'penal colony earth') (Wehrhahn Verlag) hopefully to packed audiences.

This is not the first time zur Nedden, who also writes regularly for a
newspaper, hits the UK with his poetry. "It's probably 10 years by now" zur Nedden recalls, "I landed in a lovely little art college in south east London, Goldsmiths, with a small but captive audience. You know, to paraphrase a great German artist, 'I like London and London likes me". 

Well, this time might be more of a challenge with the reputation of German literature being shattered once more by the country's current eclectic taste for sub-erotic writing like the bestseller 'feuchtgebiete' ('Wetlands', published in the UK by Fourth Estate Ltd) zur Nedden will have to assure the UK that not all German writers are smelly. "I'll do my best so that everything's coming up roses " he promises. The audience at King's College will be the judge...

Monday, 2 February 2009

snow in london

it snowed all night and around midnight a low yellow sky reflected a bizzare white landscape

this rare moment of beauty lasted almost all day and it was just tonight that some patches of snow started to melt away

no transport, trains, buses, tube all cancelled, schools and college closed, no riding either

the cats flabbergasted and the kids delighted

lot's of traces in the back garden later: foxes, squirrels, cats, birds but no sight of toad feet

and after a massive snowball fight and two cute snowman time for a hot chocolate

with lot's of cream on top - or was that snow again??

Sunday, 1 February 2009

goldilocks and the three bährs - still going strong

more news from the old land where in an attempt to bring more fun to nature the bears have been introduced back into the woods of southern bavaria (we all remember 'bruno the problem bear') and were we know a bähr family rather closer to hannover than the black forest who just around christmas sent us this lovely picture.

whereas is seems like we saw them yesterday instead of eight or nine years ago given the way they look - it is the kids of course who give it away: daughter bähr has fled the baer cave to pursue a career in biology and sonny bähr has an affection for the state of washington and is just about finishing high school. father bähr we learn is into boats and that might actually be where the picture is taken i.e. in a boat house but we still are a little mystified...maybe they're just feeding a bunch of crocodiles.

cristal clear on the other hand is that they look fab and that we are very happy indeed to hear so many good news about them and that the chances are good to catch up with them in march. therefore: more to come later...