Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Mandy at The Pond

Mon 21 May
The Pond, Brighton

The last hour of Mandy Murray's Irish session at The Pond. Live music again, only half a mile up the road from the Dome, but a world away in every possible sense - musical genre, instrumentation, playing conventions, audience, locale, atmosphere. And Harveys. Wonderful!

Henry V - world premiere

Mon 21 May
Brighton Dome

Henry V as we've never seen it before. I saw Laurence Olivier's film in the school hall 50 years ago, and have never had the urge to see it again since; nor the play. But then it has never had 200 singers and musicians to help it along. Someone has found William Walton's full original score, someone else has blanked the music off the sound-track, and Brighton Festival has got Carl Davis and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, along with Brighton Festival Chorus and Brighton Festival Youth Choir to singalong-a-Shakespeare.

A stunning multimedia performance, even if the orchestra was sometimes not quite in synch with the on-screen action, and the actors' lips seemed never quite to be where they intended them to be; I even managed to miss "Once more unto the breach ..." ! I ask you - you wait 50 years to hear it again, and then it's drowned out by the RPO's brass section. The music is suitably rousing, and the choirs filled the Dome with sound - they really seemed to be enjoying themselves.

The film itself is intriguing. I was sure I remembered it as being in B&W, but here it was in the strangest pastel colours, throughout. It was made in 1944, just as the war was turning in the Allies' favour, and it is fascinating to see how Olivier handles Shakespeare's exploitation of English patriotism and national stereotypes, look you.

The sets are an absolute tour de force, and the film would be worth watching again just to see how Olivier overcomes wartime restrictions to achieve a coherent filmic interpretation of Shakespeare's play. Basically he makes a virtue out of necessity. In the opening scenes we are in Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, in the audience, onstage, and backstage, everywhere cramped. The film then moves out of the confines of the theatre, but all the locations retain a very strong sense of the limitations of theatre set construction and space. It looks as though it was all shot on Hampstead Heath. And the matchstick model of 16th century London is exquisite!

Sunday, 20 May 2007

Transformations in smoke

Sat 19 May
Open Houses, Brighton

Julian's exhibition - some of his Transformation series of smoke on paper - in one of the Open Houses at the Brighton Festival. A lot of interest, most sold already. One weekend left!

Saturday, 19 May 2007

Drift at the Oak

Fri 18 May
Royal Oak, Lewes

Ceilidh with Drift, playing a variety of English, French and Breton dances. Mel puts these small-scale evenings on once every 3 months or so - they are much appreciated, and the music is high-class!

Round and round in Circles

Tue 15 May
St Nicholas Church, Brighton

Jan's monthly Circle Dance session (usually 3rd Tuesday). This is the only group functioning in Brighton at the moment; there are also two regular sessions in Lewes, both at St Thomas a Becket Hall:

- 2nd Sunday, 7.00-9.00, with live music from Labyrinth
- every Monday, 8.00-10.00

Sunday, 13 May 2007

Up on the Downs

Sun 13 May
South Downs above Lewes

One of the joys of living here is that in 10 minutes you can be out in the big wide open, walking, breathing, seeing. You don't have to go far - out and back in an hour or so is enough. You might even meet some of the locals having a quiet lunch. Pictures from a couple of weeks ago (SE k800i).

Kocani Orkestar

Sat 12 May
Dome, Brighton

Macedonian magic from King Naat Veliov and the Kocani Orkestar. A raucous, rough-edged sound, 5 brass and 2 percussion, all portable. They all came down onto the stage
skirting for the last half-hour 'encore', which included a lengthy pasodoble and the Hava Nagila - nice to have a tune I could sing along to! The pictures (SE K800i) are from October, when they played at the Komedia - hot, sweaty and right close up. Papa wears his tuba with pride. See them on home territory in Emil Kusturica's 'Time of the Gypsies'.

Saturday, 12 May 2007

Village English

Fri 11 May
Second Life English

SL: English Village

At last! I've managed to get in to Kip Yellowjacket's Friday
Second Life English lesson. Teleporting problems meant we were a bit late starting, but it was fascinating to see how he is using the environment and the technology to set up learning situations. The class is free, and takes place at 19.30 BST (11.30 SLT) every Friday, on and around the beach at the English Village. Teachers (always welcome) or students interested in participating should IM Kip in-world (ie, in SL), and ask for a teleport.

Virtual worlds, real learning?

Thu 10 May
SL: Virtual Congress Centre on Eduserv Island

I got to the morning session, virtually, of the Eduserve Foundation's Symposium on Second Life. The video, audio & slideshow feeds all worked fine once everything had been set up. The talks were interesting, with lots to follow up (when?). Like at most conferences, it's the milling about in the breaks that counts. Plus the Conference Bag included a t-shirt, which I finally managed to put on after much trial & error at the back of the hall. I'll be wearing it for a bit because I can't remember how to take it off . . .

Friday, 11 May 2007

So this is eLearning?

Wed 9 May
SLN e-Learning Conference

Sussex Learning Network's introduction to their eLearning Project, including a guided tour round Cetlment Island in Second Life. Later I went to the Open University's Moonlight Knights on Rockport Island, for a surreal tour round the facilities, including playing Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata (what else?), disco dancing and barbershop singing. What next?

Thursday, 10 May 2007

Charivari Agréable

Mon 7 May
Brighton Festival

Esperar, sentir, morir
A concert of 17th century Spanish music by early music group Charivari Agréable. Some gorgeous stuff although I don't think I'd heard of any of it before. Lovely singing by Clara Sanabras & Rodrigo del Pozo, especially in their duets. Instruments included harp, which was nice, and theorbo, which is always good for a blank stare. St George's Church in Kemptown has good acoustics compared to some churches, but lousy sight-lines, like most churches - I suppose that's why the preacher gets a raised pulpit!

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Tesco Tesco, What's the time?

Mon 7 May

Six minutes past two, in fact . . .

Lewes Garland Day

Mon 7 May

Partly due to the wet & windy weather, we missed the Garland competition at the castle, and the ensuing procession through the town - I've not managed to see it yet.
May was then officially brought in by Chanctonbury Ring and the Knots of May at the Lewes Arms, and then the John Harvey Tavern, and rounded off by both sides clogging it for an hour outside the Dorset Arms. Notice anything about the venues? Yes, that's it - all 3 now do Harveys!

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

1-1 / To The Arsenal - yet again!

Sun 6 May
Arsenal 1 Chelsea 1

Another 1-1 draw. We were in the upper tier, about as far away as you can get - well, we could have been in Row 33, I suppose. A nice touch was the 'lap of appreciation' by the Boys in Red and White after the match - we appreciated them and they appreciated us back. A few more 1-0s next season would be even more appreciated . . .

Monday, 7 May 2007

Jack in the Green

Sat 5 May

Hastings dances in the summer with its 'Jack in the Green' festival. We managed to get to the dance with the Climax Ceilidh Band, good punchy music featuring 2 fiddles and Chris Walshaw, a man of much wind.

Saturday, 5 May 2007

Seagulls' droppings cover parties in sticky white stuff

Thu 3 May
District Council Elections

2 Greens, 2 Blues and a Red ended up directly below a rampaging Seagull in Lewes Bridge ward in Thursday's election - not a pretty sight. The Seagulls Party is campaigning in favour of the plan to build a community stadium for Brighton & Hove Albion football club at Falmer. They didn't manage to win any seats but did succeed in making a bit of a splash around the district. Falmer Parish Council are not convinced.

687 Votes (elected) DALY Jim Liberal Democrat
532 Votes (elected) MACCLEARY James Neville Liberal Democrat
402 Votes STOCKDALE John
262 Votes SOUTH Roz The Seagulls Party
249 Votes DENIS Johnny Huw Charles The Green Party
246 Votes SERRECCHIA Lorraine Elise The Green Party
203 Votes STRINGER Maureen Frances David Cameron's Conservatives
201 Votes LYONS Dominic Brian David Cameron's Conservatives
113 Votes HILLIARD Esme Sheelagh The Labour Party Candidate

Farmers' Market

Sat 5 May
Cliffe Precinct, Lewes

Lewes Farmers' Market - local produce, every first Saturday. Food, drink, household goods, music ... Sussex asparagus -
yum yum!

Sussex trugs! (Google for 'trug')

Sussex swing!

Bill's Sussex burgers!

Lewes' is one of the first Farmers' Markets in the country, set up in 1998 by Common Cause Co-operative, which "promotes environmentally sustainable development and supports the local economy by offering training, advice and networking for producers, running a Farmers' Market and supporting local food links".

Latest adventures in Second Life

I've just had another go at getting to the Friday evening class in the English Village. The SL network was down for 2 hours so I missed it again. Ah well! I did manage to have a stroll around the beach area where the class had taken place, as you can see from the postcard . . .