Friday, 28 March 2014

Kneehigh Theatre's Asylum Play for 2014: Dead Dog in a Suitcase

Kneehigh Theatre's new Asylum production this year will be at the Lost Gardens of Heligan near Mevagissey. It's a reworking of John Gay's "Beggars Opera" re-written by Carl Grose and with music by Charles Hazlewood. It's called "Dead Dog in a Suitcase: and other love songs". It's on 30th August to 28th September 2014 at 7.45pm. Booking is open now (via Hall For Cornwall) with an Early Bird price offer until May 1st.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Mrs D Has Plans For Me...

... and I ain't sure I like them.
The other day she do lay me down... in an undignified manner... and do draw round me. Then she do fetch out a great big metal ruler and do proceed to measure me up. Does she know something I do not?

I know I'm a bit tired now. There was that time me head fell off..... and I lost a finger I think. And things don't bend like they should. The hair's a bit dull but... hey... I am an elder person. The way she do treat me I do feel like she be making me ready for that wicker coffin.

Next thing I know I am forced to look at a headless wire monster and to stand (or lie) next to it.

No. I do not like this at all.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Spring And Stuff

Definitely spring has come... although the rain do fall as usual today. But the other day.. which be sunny... we lift up the dustsheet which we had spread out on the decking.. (the dustsheet we do block the back door with when the wind do drive in the rain). Underneath the sheet is a fully grown slow worm... bronze and sleek... still slow moving until I leaped indoors to get me camera... when it skidaddled toot sweet.... fast as a flash.
There are also some yellowhammers visiting the bird feeding area. They look wonderful and unbelievable. Like yellow bright canaries sitting in the plum tree in the feeding queue. Both slow worms and yellowhammers were thin on the ground last year. So I be very pleased to see them.

Ourselves? We do have a new baby. It sits in the corner and we do stare at it lovingly.
"Isn't it clean," say we.
"Isn't it quiet," agree we.
A brand new washing machine. Spring and spring-cleaning has arrived.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Animated Discussions: Kijek/Adamski - Shugo Tokumaru Music Video

Shugo Tokumaru / Katachi from Kijek / Adamski on Vimeo.

From Polish animators Kijek / Adamski. If my previous animation post sampled the impromptu, "simple" end of things.... this music video is a pearl of the more complicated kind. (Quote from their Cargo page: "...made with approx. 2000 silhouettes extracted from PVC plates using computer-controlled cutter.")

Monday, 17 March 2014

Re-Reading a Favourite Book: "Borderliners" by Peter Hoeg

Remember I posted about Library Thing and the book groups you can join there?

As part of one group's subject challenge... to read around the theme of "education".... I've just finished re-reading a favourite of mine from the 1990s: Borderliners by Danish writer Peter Hoeg.

Set in Denmark in the early 1970s, the story is narrated from the viewpoint of one of the "borderline" children of the title: three damaged adolescents placed in an elite boarding school as part of a secret experiment in social integration by the Danish Education department. Peter and Katarina, the elder pair, try to look after the third and youngest - August - who is deeply damaged from a life of abuse at the hands of his own parents. Not knowing that they are the subjects of a social experiment, they observe their teachers and those in authority with feral detail in their efforts to interpret a survival pattern for themselves as individuals and as some kind of distorted family group. Their paranoia (if you like) also drives them deep into esoteric theories concerning time. It is a concern that stays with the narrator into adulthood and life in the "laboratory".... his term for everyday life and domesticity. These aspects make the book difficult to read. Some reviews love this complexity and originality... some see it as affectation. Whatever... I found reading Borderliners still to be an intense and moving experience. The book remains a favourite of mine and its denouement is both tragic and triumphant.

I also loved Hoeg's previous novel - Miss Smilla's Feeling For Snow which is the book that brought Heog to the attention of the popular reading public. And which I now realise heralded my passion for Scandi-Noir as it falls more easily into the category of crime fiction. But each book Hoeg writes is different. In Borderliners he seems perhaps to have been at the forefront in writing about the damage wrought by institutional abuse (a subject now all too familiar to the contemporary reader) and in writing from the point of view of the psychological outsider. (If you enjoyed Stieg Larsson's Girl With The Dragon Tattoo you may realise how it's anti-hero Lisbeth Salander became who she was... after Hoeg's account of childrens homes, schools and psychological and physical abuse.)

Borderliners is currently "out of print" as I write this. But it is available - either secondhand or as a "print on demand" item - from various sellers via AbeBooks.

Friday, 14 March 2014

A Night At The Opera: Paul Bunyan

I am happy to tell you that the evening spent with the English Touring Opera's production of Britten and Auden's "Paul Bunyan" was very enjoyable. The opera itself is light, accessible and enjoyable. The performances are good and wholehearted.... and the production design.... with the challenge of being on a small "touring" scale... is ingenious.
I find I am still singing bits to meself several days later....

The only blow was to find the theatre half empty. (What no student groups from Truro College, or the Dartington contingent at Tremough? Not to mention any local school specialising in the arts? Shame.)

And then the audience what be there... us included... do seem to manage an average age of 70. An awful lot of sticks, frames and slow processing. And there be a splendid gentleman who re-enters in the nick of time for curtain-up, loudly and clearly regaling us with the news that he has "found his glasses". Then - when he eventually arrives at his seat - he proceeds to thank us all as he settles in. Even the conductor.... arms outstretched in the pit... do manage a smile.
But....Blimey... I do feel old.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Spring: Red In Tooth And Claw

At last we have sun. Greenery showing. Hellebores, primroses, daffodils and camellias.
I need to get on and sow some vegetable seeds... the early peas and broad beans. The early potatoes are chitted and ready... just got to get their bed ready for planting.
Yesterday watched a pair of magpies building a nest in a spindly conifer down the way... they've lost nesting sites with trees coming down and people have cut down quite a lot of conifers round here. Anyway they do bury themselves into the branches, trailing long, uncooperative twigs and chucking at each other. Towards evening The Old Man watched a stand-off between them and a rook or a crow... he couldn't make out which. The bigger crow saw them off. But later I saw the magpies collecting again. Sure enough they were back in the spindly-tree... building again. Last year the pair tried three times to nest in this site. At least twice their nest was destroyed by rooks or crows...

This morning The Old Man is greeted by half a rabbit on the front path. Later I do bury the fluffy, grisly remains. Things is hotting up on the nature front.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Coming Soon: A Night Out At The Opera: English Touring Opera's "Paul Bunyan" at Hall For Cornwall in Truro

Don't look now... The Old Man do promise me a night out.
Will I know how to function somewhere outside my own house? In the evening as well? Not sure.
The choice of entertainment be The Old Man's, mind. For some reason he is absolutely determined to see English Touring Opera's "Paul Bunyan" - a Britten opera with libretto by Auden.
It's a one-night only performance and it's on next Tuesday 11th March 2014 at the Hall for Cornwall in Truro. (Monday is "Magic Flute"... so "touring" be the operative word here, I think.)
I am not sure about this choice and do screw me face up a bit. Though I have come round to liking Britten, I admit. Anyway, The Old Man have limbered up by dredging out an old boxed set of the opera (vinyl.. not dvds) and bombarding me with it...
....and the trailer looks good.
Maybe I could quite like it after all.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Finding The Drowned Forest At Wherry Town

Down on the beach at Wherry Town in Penzance the storms have exposed the remains of an ancient forest.... down west of the Jubilee Pool....

 .....We do go to see the ancient trunks of pine and so on... shown for first time in nearly half a century.

 A fine day for such an outing... lunch at Archie Brown's first though.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Animated Discussions: TAMTAM Objekten Theater at The Kroller Muller Museum 2013

A link from Stopmotion Pro cheers Mrs D considerably. It leads to a video of a public-participation live stop-motion event at the Kroller Muller Museum, Holland in 2013 where the public hand over found objects and the TAMTAM Objekten Theater team incorporate them into short animations using Stopmotion Pro software. You can watch a YouTube video of the actual event here.

It goes to show how simple it is to use anything to hand... together with a willing imagination and some animation skill... to create a stop-motion animation.
Problem for Mrs D is... her imagination ain't very willing at the moment.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

In The Dark Again or How To Make Toast Without A Toaster Or a Grill

Yesterday the power did go again. About 8.30. Left our neighbour standing in the dark in her powerless shower... all nicely covered in soap...
The Old Man have got wise to that trick and did not trust the power supply for some reason. (Well the wind doth blow mightily again.) And so did not step into the shower until he could see what's what. Which was Poof! Powercut. Of course we do have that traditional stove top kettle what we bought last time the power went. So we do manage our washing and breakfast.
Now I am a toast addict. But we use an electric toaster or the electric grill. What to do? The Old Man suggests a kind of dry frying on a pan. So I do get the pan out... put it on the gas ring and do press down a slice of bread onto its surface... turn the slice over... and it do kind of work.
We have tea and we have toast. What more do you want?... Hey don't open the fridge... you'll let the cold out!