Archive for May, 2010

Griller, 1 Catford Broadway SE6

May 11, 2010

So, on passing this place for the umpteenth time, it occurred to me to wonder what the Arabic lettering in the cartouche signified.  Here it is again:

Clearly, if you think about it, the obvious meaning is ‘halal’,  and indeed it turns out to be حلال meaning ‘halal’;  interesting Wikipedia article here.  And Piri piri, Pili pili or Peri peri is the name used in Mozambique and Angola to describe the African bird’s-eye chili; article here–I thought it was Portuguese…

Lewisham: A land without Tories?

May 8, 2010

Well, it seems that way at the moment, pending a recount in Grove Park ward.  And one of my predictions was proved wrong as Labour supporters turned out in some numbers to avert the horror of a Conservative Government.

Rise like Lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number,
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you –
Ye are many – they are few.

Overall, I managed 1/4, about the same level as my Indo-European homework in Leiden.  What about that Lib Dem in Crofton Park then?  Bizarre…Strange that the polls were right, about the Tories and Labour anyway.

Doing all right so far...

More predictions

What will Clegg do now?

When the capital by the Thames
Forgetting her greatness
Like a drunken prostitute
Does not know who will next have her.

His party won’t allow a coalition with the Tories without PR, which Cameron isn’t going to give him.  And anyway it was a coalition with the Tories in the National Government of 1931 that did for the Liberals originally.  The problem with a Lib/Lab or Lib/Lab/PC/SNP/Green coalition is that they were all losers in the election (with the possible exception of the Greens) and so the arrangement wouldn’t have much legitimacy.

As far as I can see, he has two possible options:

i)   convene a meeting of the parties’ economics teams (as he suggested in one of the TV debates) with the stated aim  of agreeing a programme to tackle the deficit, in the hope of gathering some credit and fishing successfully  in muddy waters;

ii) offer guarded  support to a Tory (or Tory/Unionist) Government from a ‘safe’ distance.  The main thing would be to somehow prevent Cameron from calling a General Election when it suited him…

Update 11 May:  in fact, there are now 2 Tories left in Grove Park.

Il Giasone (Cavalli), Royal Academy of Music, 06 May

May 7, 2010


It's the Golden Fleece, innit

On Wednesday I heard this being plugged on In Tune, and it sounded interesting so I looked on the RAM website and there was one seat remaining!

On Thursday evening, there were quite a few empty seats to be seen, and once again the audience was made up of Conservative voters of advanced age.  Many of them slept soundly, no doubt exhausted by the day’s labours in the service of democracy, while the absentees had surely been quite overcome by their efforts.

All of which was a pity, because they missed a highly enjoyable evening.  I don’t understand the musicological-textual details in the programme, but the opera dates from 1649 and relates what is basically something like the story of Jason and Medea with numerous additions, many of a comic nature.

The best passages were certainly the duets for Medea (Kate Symonds-Joy) and Giasone (Roderick Morris), and the finale–in fact, the places where people got to sing at the same time and so unleashed true opera power.   The recitative did give you the chance to hear the same musical phrase very many times–but whatever.

Equestrienne Medea (with whip) from whatsonstage

The clear and resourceful staging featured a steeply raked stage with a curtain-cum-sail at the back and the enigmatic appearance of stuffed birds and mammals at various points of the action.

And it was very well done–the whole thing was unexpected, enjoyable, and unexpectedly enjoyable.

Paul Nash Exhibition, Dulwich Picture Gallery 6 May

May 7, 2010

The Conservative Party Is Building A New World

This exhibition was pretty packed on a Thursday afternoon towards the end of its run, and I still had my mind on politics.  All of my fellow attendees looked like Tory voters to me (with the exception of a couple of young women).  They divided into those who (like me) could only see the paintings with their glasses and those who couldn’t see them at all.

The rooms they use for exhibitions at DPG are really rather small if you get any number of people in.  This one wasn’t as crowded as the Canaletto one anyway, and people didn’t feel the same need to point out interesting details to their friends.

The paintings were bloody good!  I admired the nonchalance of the spirits wafting around in the one above, while in the one below the sun and moon satisfyingly echo each other and complement the in-my-end-is-my-beginning-ness of a landscape Nash had painted at the beginning of his career.

Polling Day 2010

May 6, 2010

Massive security, and blue netting to show you the way

And this is what I came up with:

Lewisham Deptford

Labour–what this area needs is public spending, and lots of it, added to which Joan Ruddock is by a very long way the most competent of the candidatesPrediction: Labour.

Lewisham Mayor (Alternative Vote)

1.  Green  2.  Lib Dem.  Lewisham Council clearly needs a change.  Prediction: Lib Dem (likely to get in on the second preferences).

Crofton Park Ward

3x Green.  Green councillors have done a good job in neighbouring wards, and there hasn’t been much sign of action from our Labour incumbents.  Prediction: 3x Labour, possibly 3 x Green.

Overall Predictions

A Conservative Government with an overall majority in single figures.  You tend to get the most Tory-friendly outcome that is consistent with the polling evidence or, which is the same thing, the British electorate (those who actually vote) is basically conservative and will vote Conservative if it possibly can.

And given the amount of stuff they’ve put through my door, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Lib Dems in court for exceeding their spending limit.

I still think the best point made in the local campaign is the following from Gemma Townsend (Conservative) on Brockley Central:

4. What will your top priority for Lewisham Deptford be and what are you going to do about it?

Education. I want parents to stay in Lewisham as their family grows and not feel that moving is the only option for decent secondary education.

Although it doesn’t affect me, that’s certainly something I’ve wondered about over the 13 years I’ve lived here.

More Greek Drama in London 2010

May 3, 2010

Picture of Euripides

I’ve come across the following items in updating my bookmarks.

The White Bear in Kennington will be performing Euripides’ Hippolytus from 18 May to 13 June; details here.  Interestingly enough, the Blue Elephant in Camberwell, which is about a mile away, also did Hippolytus a year or so ago. And that was strangely reminiscent of a production of Mikhail Bulgakov’s ‘Heart of a Dog’ in the same venue (under a different name) fifteen years previously.  Maybe this means that compulsive celibacy is of urgent interest for us inhabitants of South London.

The Bridewell will be doing a kind-of-Medea from 29 August to 4 September; they certainly did a Japanesey Medea of it 3 or 4 years ago, and there may have been others in the interim.

The Young Vic are advertising a free Elektra from 23 June to 3 July; perhaps free Elektra  means that Anne Carson, who is supposed to be doing the translation, has disappeared into the Canadian backwoods with her fee.

Theatro Technis are advertising a series of workshops on Greek theatre (see left-hand column) from 13 June to 8 August.  But maybe that was last year!  I’ve now had an email from them saying:

The workshops have now finished. We are at present concetrating on the 5 plays on the Oedipus saga. We presented Seven Against Thebes by Aeschylus ain April nd we are now auditioning for The Phoenician Women by Euripides to be performed at the end of June.

An Ideal Husband (Greenwich Playhouse) 01 May 2010

May 1, 2010


A highly successful performance of Wilde’s ‘An Ideal Husband’ from CandyKing Theatre sent a highly appreciative audience away in very good spirits to face the cold and rain of a Saturday night in Greenwich.  Perhaps the standout performance was that of Kath Perry as the grande dame Lady Markby, while Peter Rae was also very impressive as Lord Goring and Judith Quin obviously had a very good time–and gave the audience one–as the adventuress Mrs Cheveley.  At times I couldn’t hear what Kate Sandison (Lady Chiltern) was saying–which may be in part due to the long, narrow shape of the space–while she did generally seem to be underplaying.

At the interval I spoke to a couple of my fellow audience members and none of use could work out how Wilde was going to rescue Sir Robert Chiltern from the clutches of Mrs Cheveley, but manage it he did, with a device worthy of Shakespeare for sheer dottiness.  And for long periods the play was bathed in a Shakespearean glow (it was really that good) before ending with a Shakespearean moral about needing to take people for the fallible creatures they are.

Women are not meant to judge us, but to forgive us when we need forgiveness. Pardon, not punishment, is their mission. Why should you scourge him with rods for a sin done in his youth, before he knew you, before he knew himself? A man’s life is of more value than a woman’s. It has larger issues, wider scope, greater ambitions. A woman’s life revolves in curves of emotions. It is upon lines of intellect that a man’s life progresses. Don’t make any terrible mistake, Lady Chiltern. A woman who can keep a man’s love, and love him in return, has done all the world wants of women, or should want of them.

Well, up to a point Mr Wilde.  Strange that while you often see rather strained claims of contemporary relevance made for a staging of a classic, in this case the conjunction of a General Election in real life with the play’s political scandal, places in the Cabinet at stake, Liberal Women’s Association and so on passed unremarked.