tamaranth: me, in the sun (Default)

October 2017

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05JUL17: Spiderman: Homecoming, Odeon Leicester Square

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16JUL17: 'The Death of Christopher Marlowe'
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19JUL17: blink-182, O2, Greenwich
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20JUL17: Alma-Tadema: At Home in Antiquity, Leighton House Museum
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21JUL17: Der Freischutz (Weber), Blackheath Community Opera, Blackheath Halls
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22JUL17: Adventures in Moominland, Royal Festival Hall
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27JUL17: Dunkirk, Barbican Cinema
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First came Nine Worlds: love the new venue (Hammersmith Novotel) and felt much less frazzled than in previous years. My Historical Headcanon (concerning Christopher Marlowe) seemed well-received and I was on a couple of interesting panels about historical fiction, fanfiction, writing, etc.

Then to Edinburgh to skew my monthly averages for various types of Culture. I like the shorter-than-usual performances (they averaged an hour): leaves plenty of time for climbing the hills of which Edinburgh is composed, and pausing for refreshment at each summit.
theatre, gigs, circus, literary stuff, opera, comedy )
- science and the occult have been almost completely equivalent as feedlines for stories
- science as an intellectual playground ("New Scientist is weirder than science fiction")
- you can write better fantasy if you understand science -- know the rules you're breaking
- on Heaven: "not really my kind of place ... all that marble and goldware sounds like a 1980s plasterer's bathroom"
- his current work-in-progress is over half a million words long: "longer than the Bible and, I hope, more socially instructive"
- he spoke about time as the fourth dimension and transience as an artifact: everything happens once, simultaneously, and is always happening. Quoting Einstein, 'the persistent illusion of transience'. (Unlike Nietzche, who thought that everything repeated eternally, AM thinks everything happens just once and we experience it repeatedly.)
- some entertaining anecdotes about loopholes in Scientology (sin is a terrestrial issue, therefore it doesn't count if you're in a plane. I feel a Dr Seuss poem coming on).
- all claims of magical experience are valid and reasonable as long as you accept that they are happening in the mind, rather than in objective 'reality' where science can see them.
- on religion: the etymology is rooted in 'bound together by a belief'; thus, he's quite content to be (probably) the sole worshipper of Glycon (a human-headed snake, probably operated by Alexander of Abnotichus a.k.a. Alexander the False Prophet). "I know it was a puppet," said Moore. "I'm eccentric, not stupid."
- Mr Moore has fabulous shoes.
Yesterday I went to a Cambridge Science Festival event: The Star-Crossed Stone - the Archaeology, Mythology and Folklore of Fossil Sea Urchins. I like fossil sea-urchins: they're beautiful, distinctive and ancient. I've picked up plenty over the years, and still have one or two.

[I almost didn't go: though free, booking was required, and my initial email request must've got lost. When I phoned the Sedgwick yesterday, they told me the event was fully-booked, 'but come along anyway at 6pm for a drink; oh, and can we take your name and number and let you know about future talks?'. About ten minutes later, Ken McNamara himself left me a voicemail to say that they'd moved the event to a larger venue and he hoped I could make it. Pleased at the personal touch, I did!]

This was a fascinating talk by an engaging speaker. Read more... )

The Star-Crossed Stone on Google Books

Times review

Originally uploaded by tamaranth
... THEN Art ...
Yesterday, via horrid traffic, to Milton Keynes International Festival, mostly for Le Manège Carré Sénart -- big square steampunk carousel by the people who did the Sultan's Elephant. The carousel was amazing -- incredible attention to detail, inventiveness, variety. And I loved the soundtrack -- French operetta, 60s TV themes, plenty of marches and overtures and carnival soundz. We probably enjoyed it more than most of the children riding ...

We also saw immersed ourselves in experienced Asleep at the Wheel, an installation by Janek Schaefer that involved abandoned cars (stereos each playing something different) in a disused Sainsbury's supermarket. Unsettling, weird, and switched on my critical faculties so that I enjoyed my second carousel ride considerably more than my first.

Photos and more appreciation over at Flickr.
Last Thurs, to Heffers with [ profile] anef for their Bodies in the Bookshop event in which a plethora of crime writers lurk near their books and leap out to sell them to you. (Some more fervently than others.) I was mainly there for Laurie R. King, though also got to say hello to Alison Bruce, whose Cambridge Blue I read recently(ish). Ms Bruce's next novel -- out now, I'd have bought it if it'd been paperback -- is set in and around Mill Rd Cemetery, which she reports is guitar-shaped when seen from above.

I squeed at Ms King (whom I was unsurprised to discover is tall): [ profile] anef helped with grown-up questions. LRK hates driving in Cambridge; is working on next Mary Russell novel, which is Pirates of Penzance territory; thought Robert Downey Jr very decorative in the recent Sherlock Holmes movie, and Jude Law surprisingly good as Dr Watson, but wasn't impressed with criminalisation of Irene Adler.

Anyway, we came away with a few books, including free ones. It was just like a convention, only smaller and with nicer wine.

In other news: too damned hot; more blood tests Thurs; still meepish post-juring; technology pretty much working though did not back up Palm properly pre-crash; have this morning been patronised by a 'Jobseeker's Session', where a nice DSS lady read out a Powerpoint presentation on the bleedin' obvious how to find a job. Personally I thought I'd look down the back of the sofa. Or possibly under the cat.
Stuff I've done and have been meaning to write up for a while ...

Some of these events were part of See Further: the festival of science + arts, at the South Bank Centre, celebrating 250 years of the Royal Society. There were furry pterosaurs! There were aerial jellyfish! There were a great many people ...

Beautiful Noise
RFH, 30th June
Panel discussion on the evolution and science of music: speakers were Dr Ian Cross (Faculty of Music, Cambridge), Prof Emily Doolittle, (Cornish College of the Arts), Prof Steven Mithen (Archaeology, Reading) and Prof Vincent Walsh (Cognitive Neuroscience, UCL).
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Icarus at the Edge of Time
RFH, 3rd July
event page
New work by Philip Glass, much more dynamic than many of his pieces. Read more... )

Ernesto Neto - The Edges of the World: The New Decor
Hayward Gallery, 4th July
Ernesto Neto
The New Decor
On the Sunday [ profile] ladymoonray and I went to the Hayward to do some Art, which involved a large paddling pool on one of the balconiesRead more... )

When It Changed
RFH, 4th July
When it Changed - ed. Ryman
Geoff Ryman, Sara Maitland, Michael Arditti, Dr Vinod Dhanak, Dr Matthew Cobb: panel discussion rooted in Mr Ryman's new anthology, which pairs scientists and writers in collaboration. Read more... )

The Railway Children
Waterloo Station, 7th July
event page
With real steam train! Yay! The play's staged in the old Eurostar terminal at WaterlooRead more... )

Beethoven choral stuff
Cadogan Hall, 8th July
event page
London Concert Choir and Counterpoint Players, cond. Mark Forkgen: Claire Seaton (sop), Arlene Rolph (mezzo), Adrian Thompson (tenor) & Giles Underwood (baritone).
Mass in C, A Calm Sea & A Prosperous Voyage, Leonore No. 3, Fidelio finale.
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I am not going to London again for a while ...

Originally uploaded by tamaranth

I was extremely impressed by everything at Archipelago, just off Tottenham Court Rd. The decor is fabulously baroque, the dessert menus are presented in altered books, they have some serious wine and they serve ... exotic meats.

A vegetarian wouldn't have a huge amount of choice, though several of their dishes have a vegetarian option. I don't eat mammal except a tiny morsel of my companion's for research purposes and had less choice of mains than I would have liked -- except that everything looked / sounded fantastic. (I had crocodile and fish. And two cups of coffee that made me almost quit coffee on the spot because coffee from anywhere else was going to be such a disappointment. Oh, and some wine.)

Their booking system is rather strict, requiring confirmation on the day, credit card number etc. And the restaurant is pretty small. But this is seriously one of the best eating-out experiences I've had in London, ever.

It's not cheap, but it's worth it.
Hilary Mantel in conversation: British Library, 27th May 2009

I've just read Hilary Mantel's latest novel, Wolf Hall, and enjoyed it very much: she makes Thomas Cromwell a sympathetic character despite his disinclination to talk about, or especially like, himself. This event saw her reading from the novel, and in conversation with Erica Wagner (Literary Editor of The Times), and historian Derek Wilson.

transcript of notes, not necessarily complete or coherent )