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Jan. 5th, 2017


Jan. 5th, 2017 07:42 am
tamaranth: me, in the sun (Default)
In the next few days I will be deleting my LiveJournal account.

I will no longer be crossposting reviews to LiveJournal: they will only be posted on Dreamwidth.

This is why:

Everything is already here on Dreamwidth (and frankly I am barely using either site any more): still, it feels like the end of an era.
2016/55: Daughter of Smoke and Bone -- Laini Taylor
In all the world, there was only one place humans could get wishes: Brimstone's shop. And there was only one currency he accepted. It wasn't gold, or riddles, or kindness, or any other fairy-tale nonsense, and no, it wasn't souls, either. It was weirder than any of that. It was teeth.[loc. 460]

Karou is a seventeen-year-old art student in Prague, smarting over the treachery of her ex-boyfriend Kaz and enjoying city life in the company of her friends. She is also errand-girl to Brimstone, a kindly monster who collects teeth -- or, rather, has Karou collect them for him -- and creates wishes out of them. Wishes aren't exactly magic, but they bestow powers: the more powerful the wish, the greater the chance that it might go awry. Brimstone, meanwhile, won't tell Karou anything about her origins, or about his own purpose: but he does give her a new language, wish-granted, every birthday.not spoilery review )
2016/56: The Villa in Italy -- Elizabeth Edmondson
It was odd how English people had reverted to their old habits of reserve and suspicion after the war. Conversations with strangers at bus stops and on trains, being invited in for a cup of tea by neighbours you had never spoken to before, the very unEnglish sense of camaraderie -- all of that had vanished. While queues and saving string and old envelopes had stayed.[loc. 698]

The mid-Fifties: long enough after the Second World War for wartime tragedies to lose their bite, and for a semblance of normality to return, but not long enough to heal every wound. Four people are summoned to the Villa Dante in Italy for the reading of Beatrice Malaspina's will. None of them knew Beatrice Malaspina: none of them have very much to lose. So five travellers -- Delia's best friend Jessica accompanies her -- make their way across post-war Europe to the beautiful, sunny Italian coast. non-spoilery review )
2016/57: A Little Familiar -- R. Cooper
That was one of the problems with dating ordinary humans; eventually it became necessary to either tell them the truth or break up with them. Relationships with them could be done, of course, with the right sort of person, the kind already inclined to gaze longingly at full moons, the ones who searched for fairies when they saw a circle of mushrooms, or ran toward breaking waves instead of away from them.[loc. 44]

spoilery, though predictably so given genre (romance) )
04-DEC-16: Tchaikovsky - excerpts from Eugene Onegin, Swan Lake, Nutcracker: RFH
Veronika Dzhioeva, soprano, has a fantastic loud clear voice that was perfectly audible from the cheap seats behind the orchestra. Tommi Hakala, as Onegin, slid and flowed through the orchestra to face her. Jac van Steen, conducting, clearly really enjoyed the Swan Lake excerpts, which were joyous though a bit heavy on the brass/percussion. I loved the Swan Lake finale especially, and still find the Nutcracker rather tedious.

05-DEC-16: Arrival, Greenwich Picture House
A late contender for my Best Film of Year. Beautiful, understated, intelligent. I need to see this again, as it took me a while to get to grips with the non-sequentiality.

09-DEC-16: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Greenwich Picture House.
That is: yes, great CGI; Redmayne rather sweet; Twenties New York (though oddly monoracial) nicely filmed; er; that's it. Did not engage me.

11-DEC-16: Status Quo, O2
Hurrah for my lovely employers and their box at the O2! We knew nearly all the songs; were surprised by the energy and enthusiasm of the band, who played for nearly 2 hours; were, for a change, among the younger members of the audience. A good night out.

15-DEC-16: Rogue One, Barbican Cinema
Need to see this again as I was suffering from a surfeit of boozy Christmas lunch. Definitely wasn't in the right mood -- and some scenes were far too close to the news footage from Aleppo that I'd been watching that morning.

20-DEC-16: The Three Kings -- The Sixteen, Cadogan Hall
A varied selection of seasonal songs, from Palestrina and Handl (not Handel) to popular carols. I think I'd have been happier if they'd stuck to the older, more classical songs -- I enjoyed the Palestrina most, either because of the Latin (not listening to words helps me focus on music) or because of the harmonies. Also, could have done with knowing the year of composition of each piece, to build up a relative chronology.

The Sixteen were on excellent form: the phrase 'ceasing never' in 'We Three Kings' felt like a doom in and of itself. Warlock's 'Bethlehem Down' had, for me, a distinctly modern feel, with sprung rhythm and grace-notes in the bass line. And Anerio's Magnificat -- written in 1614, apparently, so my note 'earlier than Bach?' is accurate -- was a delight: echoes of the Coventry Carol and of Pergolesi.

Farewell, 2016

Jan. 5th, 2017 10:28 am
tamaranth: me, in the sun (Default)
A quick review of my cultural outings in 2016. Everything is reviewed! (Sometimes rather cursorily.) Check out my monthlyculture tag.

I am not going to investigate the ticket box, so won't 'fess up to seeing anything more than once. Also, with the advent of e-ticketing, I don't have physical tickets for everything. Come the apocalypse and the demise of the internet, I will have to rely on actual memories. Eeep.

Bracketed figures show range over the last 13 years [eeep! see year-in-summary tag for my Cultural History for over a decade].

Film: 8 (4-20). Best three = Arrival, Captain America: Civil War, Hail Caesar.

Theatre: 15 (1-15). Best three = Queens of Syria, Callisto: A Queer Epic, Acedian Pirates

Concerts (classical): 11 (2-22). Best three = Haydn 'War and Peace'; Brahms Piano Concerto #1; Bach, Mass in B Minor

Opera: 6 (0-6). Best three = Don Giovanni, Eugene Onegin, Lucia di Lammermoor

Gigs: 6 (0-9) Best three = Fred's House, Mitch Benn, Status Quo

Books: See 'em all here; reviews here (ongoing: am behind on reviewing). Read 76; 55 by women, 21 by men; 9 rereads; 2 non-fiction.
2016/58: Fool's Run -- Patricia A. McKillip
"I learned something strange. When you run, you run backwards, you never reach the future. The past runs faster than you and waits for you to reach it. You have to walk out of danger, out of the past. Because you look back when you run, but you look to the future when you walk."[loc. 1737]

Reread: I absolutely adored this novel when I first read it, but haven't revisited it for years. Having recently read Kingfisher -- which reminded me of Fool's Run in its mythic resonance and its relatively sparse imagery -- I wanted to reread this and see if my memory had become rose-tinted.
non-spoilery review )