Archive for January, 2015

Berenice, The Space, 1500 24 January

January 24, 2015

****

A publicity photo suggesting the black-and-white romantic difficulties of attractive young people

A publicity photo suggesting the black-and-white romantic difficulties of attractive young people

This adaptation of the tragedy by Racine was really very good.  The basis of the story is that having become Emperor on the death of his father Vespasian Titus feels he has to send away his beloved, the Queen Berenice, for fear of rousing the anger of the populace by marrying a monarch and a foreigner.  Meanwhile, Antiochus, friend and ally of Titus, has for five long years been hiding his own love for Berenice.  In this adaptation, the action is set in an alternate future 2050, as explained in a trailer here.

But for me what really worked was the whole In der Beschränkung zeigt sich erst der Meister thing, with the subsidiary characters conflated into Phenice as a spin doctor and the characters all dressed in black, apart from Berenice who had a red dress.  The one artistic decision I would quarrel with would be emphasising Berenice’s Jewishness, visually at least–she has a Greek name after all.  The direction was wonderfully effective in suggesting the characters struggling and failing to break free of their allotted roles.

I also enjoyed the translation by director Fay Lomas, while also trying to work out whether it was isosyllabic, in sprung rhythm, or what.  In fact, she produced some very effective lines by making something more concrete (and so English) out of the Racinian:

Que le jour recommence, et que le jour finisse,
Sans que jamais Titus puisse voir Bérénice,
Sans que de tout le jour je puisse voir Titus?

and

Je sais que tant d’amour n’en peut être effacée;
Que ma douleur présente et ma bonté passée,
Mon sang, qu’en ce palais je veux même verser,
Sont autant d’ennemis que je vais vous laisser;
Et, sans me repentir de ma persévérance,
J e me remets sur eux de toute ma vengeance.

Among the actors, I especially appreciated Ally Manson as Antiochus, bent this way and that by a cruel fate, while I felt that our Berenice could usefully have shown more reaction on first hearing of her dismissal, stood up straighter and generally given the impression of someone (a queen or an actress) used to living with the eyes of the public on her–but she was also very touching in many of the later scenes.

A pity that this didn’t have a longer run!

 

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VISIT TO PERM, RUSSIA in SEPTEMBER 2015

January 20, 2015

Karen Hewitt writes:

The Russian and Eurasian Studies Centre [of St Antony’s College, Oxford] together with the University’s Department for Continuing Education is arranging for a group of eight people to visit Perm as guests of the Perm State University. They will live in families with at least one English speaker and will have many opportunities to observe real Russian life. The visit is part of an exchange scheme in which the payment made by you supports the visit of a Perm teacher to Oxford.

 The visit is open to anyone but we give preference to people in Oxfordshire or with an Oxford connection such as attendance at OUDCE summer schools. The programme of the fortnight can vary according to individual interests. As guests of Perm University you will be asked to talk to University students, while your activities can include: visits around the city, and to the Urals countryside; canoeing along the Silva river; professional and specialist contacts with economists, lawyers, local politicians, (and lectures if you are willing and able); visits to art galleries, concerts, ballet; studying the work of the city council and local voluntary groups; taking part in family life with your hosts and their friends. Previous visitors on this scheme have seized all sorts of opportunities to see how Russian society works. Several have returned for a second visit.

 A knowledge of Russian is not necessary since interpreters will be provided, but obviously you will learn more if you know a little Russian. Participants should be physically fit and willing to walk reasonable distances. Many of our hosts do not have cars, and walking, climbing flights of stairs and public transport are normal. And you should be adaptable…

DATES: Saturday 5th September to Sunday 20th September 2015 (Fifteen nights) The journey is by British Airways scheduled flight to Moscow. You will travel from Moscow to Perm by train – about 900 miles and the first day of the Trans-Siberian route. You will have a few hours in Moscow on the return journey.

 COST: £990 This includes air fares, train fares, other travel in Russia, accommodation with a family, breakfast and many other meals, a programme of activities including two visits to the opera or ballet, and two full day tours. It does not include visas, insurance, and some meals. We will arrange your visas and inform you in June of the cost. Currently official visas are £50 plus admin and special delivery postage – in total about £80. Commercial visas are less hassle and about twice as much. All this will be explained.

 NOTE: The group will be limited to seven or eight people, so if you are interested, PLEASE FILL IN THE FORM OVERLEAF AND SEND IT TO PROMPTLY to Karen Hewitt (address overleaf), For specific enquiries, please ring 01865 515635. For more general information there will be a meeting in late June or early July for those going to Perm in which useful details of all kinds will be passed on.

Group Form

Experiences in 2012

‘On my hip I find there is no mole…’ (Larisa Dobrozorova)

January 11, 2015

On my hip I find there is no mole.
Everything is in its place when I wake
but that mustard-coloured flake…
Now, without distinguishing marks, I am whole.

Where is it? Did it flee? Was it kissed away?
Was it charmed away? Displaying your fidelity
at least to it, I suppose it’s likely that you may
not acknowledge in the public morgue a living me.

 

Просыпаюсь – а родинки нет
на бедре. Все на месте, а эта –
как снежинка, горчичного цвета…
Я теперь – без особых примет.

Где? Сбежала сама? Сцеловали?
Сколдовали? – Ей верность храня,
ты теперь опознаешь едва ли
в общем морге живую меня.

What does ‘The Information Capital’ have to do with South London?

January 3, 2015

infocap

This book presents 100 maps and graphics that will change the way you view the city.  Leaving aside Oliver Uberti’s…sketches…of some of the animals to be found in London Zoo, let’s have a look at some data and see what it means for South London.

South London--City Of Dreadful Night

South London–City Of Dreadful Night

The illustration above shows the locations where pictures posted on Flickr were taken.  Not South London it seems, apart from the Elephant, Walworth Road and Greenwich Park.  South Londoners are condemned to perpetual darkness, starved of the light of exposure on Flickr…

Concentrations of crime

Concentrations of violent crime

Here we see violent crime hotspots, which seem to pick out railway/Underground stations with unerring accuracy.  3 is Brixton, 8 the Elephant, 9 Peckham, 10 Croydon, 18 Woolwich.

IMG_1502

Deprivation

Above we see deprivation, coloured according to the scheme below:

IMG_1503

So, Lewisham varies between ‘Most deprived’ red and a yellow which has no label but probably means something neutral. If the green was instead blue on this map, one might begin to suspect some hidden agenda…

 

How we get to work...

How we get to work…

Here we have the most popular modes of transport for getting to work by home location, coded according to the scheme below.

IMG_1505

Cor, that’s found me out–when I lived in Peckham I used to get the bus to work, but now I get the train. Are those light blue types really driving to work or to the station say?

Occupational tree (or graph)

Occupational tree (or graph)

Now this would be really interesting if it was explained properly.  The idea is that wards are grouped together according to their concentrations of different job types; but we don’t learn what the distances or branching or angles mean.  My earliest memories are of Charlton 50 years ago and I’ve made it as far as Crofton Park, or travelled 3 nodes on this map.  Clearly I’ve not made very much progress at all, but it would be nice to know the details of my lack of achievement.

Cohabiting in Peckham

Cohabiting in Peckham

As for that love and romance thing, it is suggested that cohabiting is prevalent in Peckham (above) separation is noteworthy in New Cross (below).

Separated in New Cross

Separated in New Cross

Finally, we return to dodgy statistics on obesity.  The figure below shows obesity…

Obesity

Obesity

or rather, the boroughs expanded or contracted to reflect the percentage of 10-11 year olds there classified obese in 2012-13.  Which is a slightly strange measure to use–presumably those were the figures closest to hand.

So, Sarf London: a land of obesity and irregular liaisons, subsisting in obscurity (apart from Greenwich Park during the Olympics), lit only by the odd flare of crime…And no Tube either…