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Showing posts from June, 2012

Subterranean art: Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2012

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The Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2012 designed by Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei is described as an opportunity to inspire visitors to look beneath the surface of the park as well as back in time at the ghosts of the earlier structures. With its cork surfaces and dark corners what it really is is the ultimate children's playground. It will be hard to visit it without finding screaming children running about, hiding from each other in the dark corners and leaping over the uneven surfaces. There is place for a good coffee, but this year's pavilion is a cork dungeon for the children. The little buggers will love it... It is open until 14 October. 
Be sure to also catch the other free exhibition at the gallery itself - Yoko Ono's To the Light which runs until 9 September.

Pizza and beer for lunch... that sounds good...

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There appears to be a campaign afoot to tempt office workers of London out at lunchtime... For pizza and beer... Notwithstanding that it is an awful lot of carbs, it also sounds like an offer too good to be true. Birra Moretti is a very sensible beer to be drinking anytime of the day... And the video beautifully captures the grim reality of working lunches. Although I don't think I have ever picked up 12 inch sandwich thinking it was a phone handset... Keep an eye out for the experiment as they move across London via the Facebook page...

Returning satire: Yes, Prime Minister

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Yes, Prime Minister is back in the West End at Trafalgar Studios following two successful previous runs in the West End and a tour. It is probably good timing in the lead up to the Olympics as no doubt it will appeal to people with a spare night amongst all the other cultural offerings on at present and who have been inspired from walking up Whitehall past all the impressive Civil Service offices to pop on in... 

The original television series was a quintessential satire from the 1980s and ran from 1980 to 1984 as Yes, Minister, and then 1986 to 1988 as Yes, Prime Minister. It was purportedly one of Margaret Thatcher's favourite shows. So anyone keen to wonder what writers Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn would make of the modern political environment of spin, coalitions, European rules and global recession the answer is here. Sir Humphrey Appleby and Jim Hacker now find themselves dealing with a loan scandal involving illegal workers and sexual favours against a backdrop of global w…

Damp June Nights: Liza at the (Hampton Court) Palace

As more than one person noted after Thursday evening's downpour, there was not a dry seat in the house at the end of Liza Minnelli's concert at Hampton Court Palace. Opening the Hampton Court Festival, the steady rain or hour long wait for the train home did not deter fans from jumping to their feet even before she sang.

Minnelli being from the old school of singing yourself hoarse does not have much of a high register anymore. While she seems like she sometimes tries to coax some sound out using sheer bloody mindedness, her signature songs don't sound like they used to. Of course her fans probably can't hear like they used to either so that might explained the high ovation quotient from the audience... But it is a shame that she either feels she has to sing them or her fans demand them from her. What is more interesting about her voice now is her incredible lower range. And when she calmed things down and performed songs just with her regular music director Billy St…

Bits and pieces: World Naked Bike Ride London 2012

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Anyone in Piccadilly Circus Saturday afternoon would have found themselves stopping to appreciate the cheek of several hundred cyclists taking part in the annual World Naked Bike Ride. A clothing-optional event, it aims to promote more sustainable means of transport and a generally more body-positive culture. While the numbers seemed down this year (possibly due to the windy weather that made things a little chilly), they made up for being more colourful and noisier than years past. And there was some unexpected laughs as a family in a car somehow managed to get caught amongst the cyclists. The mother shouting abuse at naked cyclists while their children in the back seats with wide-open stares was an amusing diversion.

Of course, the event is so large nowadays that it is still possible for some cyclists to get caught amongst the traffic. Being naked in Piccadilly Circus with hoards of people and traffic around you surely must count as the stuff of worst nightmares, although these Braz…

Slaughterhouse theatre: Meat

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Meat is now playing at Theatre 503 in Battersea. It is part melodrama, part comedy and part lesson in slaughterhouse technique set in the industrial heartland of the north of England.

The story focusses on Vincent, a man who works in a meat processing factory. He has a run in with the local youth yoof and then things get a little messy. Soon as events spiral out of control it becomes a bit difficult to explain to his wife and daughter just what he has been doing working all that overtime. The abbatoir becomes a metaphor for a lot of the things that are going wrong in his town and in his life.

The performances by cast of four are vigorous and intense. Vincent, as played by Graham Turner is a shifty character and he keeps you wondering if the years of experience cutting the carotid artery of animals on an assembly line has given him other ideas about dealing with wild youth on an industrial scale. His wife Tracy Brabin (of the Sainsbury adverts fame) is locked in a power struggle of domes…

Art in mildly sadomasochistic times: Gérard Rancinan's Wonderful World

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The LondonNewcastle Project Space in Redchurch Street is home to a fabulously frothy and deliciously naughty exhibition of photographer Gerard Rancinan's work called Wonderful World. Rancinan is known for his dynamic and hyper-realistic pieces. Production of one of the pieces on exhibition is depicted in the video clip from French television. It is painstaking and eye-catching work, particularly with half naked models (even if they are wearing cartoon masks and put into positions that echo religious iconography).

Wonderful World is the concluding part of his Trilogy of the Moderns. The everyday meets the kinky, pop culture meets street culture and religious icons meet cartoon icons in a series of images that explore the search for happiness (real or drug induced) in a confused and odd sort of world. So naturally it all suits the Shoreditch area well.

Beautifully presented with fifteen large images surrounded by props, costumes and other features, it is a lot of fun and takes a f…

Quick tips and leaving London for the weekend

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I'm missing the Jubilee celebrations in favour of a trip to Italy so I will miss the the crowds as they pass (literally) outside my door. However there are plenty of tips for things to do on the weekend including:
A handy guide to wake the neighbours up with the Sex PistolsNudist street parties (well they did it for her 50th and look likely to do it again in E17)Scenes of a messy nature in Soho with various street parties around the gay bars... Of course if you do make it to the South Bank the entire area is heaving with bars and restaurants including the very sensible National Theatre Propstore that serves local beers and is made up of sets and bits from past productions... A nice spot if you can get served... Or grab a seat...