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Thank you all for reading me, these last few years. I've decided to close this version of the blog down and move over to Dreamwidth - specifically at http://myopedia.dreamwidth.org/ . I'll be republishing versions of my best posts from LJ over the next week or two, and then - shock, horror - there shall be new content!

Yours, peering through the looking glasses
It does not take a great deal of digging to work out that the works of Frederic Chopin are, even by concert piano standards, very hard to play to universal acclaim. Born two hundred years ago, and at the heart of the Romantic movement in Europe, he prized expressive and passionate playing above all. One feels, having listened to Britain's Andrew Wilde, that Chopin himself would have been well pleased - as is every modern critic I've been able to locate.

Wilde showed aplomb from the very beginning - thirty seconds into the recital, he stood up and asked the audience if they, too, could hear the horrible whine of feedback coming from the hall's hearing aid loop. A few minutes passed to gentle murmurings from the auditorium, and Wilde re-emerged, sat down, and started the Impromptu in F sharp (Op.36) as if nothing had happened, and did so masterfully.

We then heard a performance of Chopin's Sonata No. 2 in B flat minor, best known for its third movement - The Funeral March. It was strange to hear this piece, in its full context, without a sense of cliche. Forgive my pretensions, but the lento in the third movement is often a heavy and lurching thing. In Wilde's interpretation, there was a sense of hope and longing that I wasn't expecting at all. But then, there was a delicacy of touch, in this piece and throughout, that one rarely hears.

As I listened to Wilde tackling first drama in Scherzo No. 2 in B flat minor, and then the traditional Polish dance of Opus 56, Three Mazurkas, I found myself wondering what Wilde would do with jazz pieces. Upon researching this article, much to my surprise, I discovered that a signature element of Chopin's work is Tempo rubato, asking the performer to play "with expression and rhythmic freedom" which I've encountered most often in jazz. Here was I, thinking that my attention was wandering. Far from it.

The rest of the evening's entertainment went by in a blur. There comes a point (at least at the moment) when the ability to stand aloof and critical deserts you, and I had reached that point. This was borne out still further when, this morning, sat in my eyrie at Myopedia Towers, I began to research Chopin's work. There is something indefinably greater about live music, it's true, but every single recording I could find of the works that Wilde performed were simply inferior.

If you have the opportunity to go and hear this man play, do so. It's that simple.
My title? It's the Fibonacci Series – a mathematical sequence that starts off with small numbers and, very quickly, leads to much larger ones. It shows up in the strangest of places – financial trading strategies, the tuning of some musical instruments, and in the number of scales on a pine cone. And it also came to mind while I was at Manchester's Chinese Arts Centre, and looking at One Degree Of Separation, an installation created by Hong Kong artists specifically for display in the Northwest.Collapse )

One Degree of Separation will be on display at the Chinese Arts Centre, Market Buildings, Thomas Street, Manchester M4 1EU, until 9th January 2010.

24fps: TRANSFORMERS (2007)

So you have a childhood dream. Maybe it's about a car that talks. Maybe it's about being a mutant. Maybe it's about owning a pony. Maybe it's about these really cool robots, right, that can become everyday things like cars and jets and that. And then you grow up, and you recall that dream fondly but you don't worry about it too much. And then you see that someone you don't really like as a writer or director has got the rights to the merchandising machine that your dream came from, and you're worried he's about to poop all over it. Sound familiar?

Let me make one thing clear from before the cutCollapse )

24fps: SIN CITY

Imagine a pint of bitter that’s nine-tenths froth. Think of tasting a martini with the merest hint of gin. Try eating a cheeseburger that’s all bap, no meat and precious little cheese. Sit down and watch Sin City.The rest of the review's after the jumpCollapse )


As the timing on this post shows, it's difficult enough to review films one at a time. “Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead” makes things much harder, as it is essentially a film within a play within a play within a play. But don't let that put you off – while knowing “Hamlet” will mean you get more out of this film, if you've ever heard the phrase “To be, or not to be”, you will have a whale of a time watching it. Read more...Collapse )


So you go to a concert, and you listen to the warm-up act who you've never heard of. And they pull all manner of rabbits out of their hat - wow, flamenco-metal fusion, I didn't know you could do that - and they leave to rapturous applause. And then the main act comes on, someone you've been into for years. And somehow, despite all the talent accumulated on the stage, despite the clever guitar licks and the precise sax solo written to push the instrument to its limit, all you want to do is go to the bar. That's precisely how "Lost In Translation" left me feeling. Lost In Translation review under this cutCollapse )
24fps is Myopedia's film review section.

24fps: Baby's Got "Back To The Future"

Anyone who has visited the musty, twisted depths of the decaying Hampshire manor house which I grandly call "Myopedia Towers" is aware that the only thing harder than getting out of it is quantum physics. But my home's state of graceful decay has given me some problems in the area of getting out into the fresh air enough.

Imagine my joy and surprise, then, when I discovered that various agencies have begun, for a small fee, to allow those of us who have missed such classics as "Ernest Saves Christmas" to borrow some of their DVDs for short periods of time! Frankly I thought such home delivery services had gone out with a functioning National Health Service, but I am glad to be proven wrong.

So with a stout heart and narrow kidneys, I have cast my eyes over the list they offered. Here are the first five, which I intend to have seen by the end of January 2008. If you have any opinions, please feel free to chime in...

1) Lost In Translation; Bill Murray & Scarlet Johansen

This appears to be about the collision of two lost American souls in a foreign country, and how they deal with the small differences between themselves in the light of the enormous differences that Japan has with most of the western world. Murray can be prop-chewingly bad at times, so I hope he is able to hold it all in check.

2) Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead; it really doesn't matter

Especially because even in this piece's source text, Shakespeare's "Hamlet, Prince of Denmark", neither the audience or players can really tell the two characters apart. A post-modern look at what happens, or what doesn't happen, or what not-happens to spear-carriers when they're not actually carrying spears.

3) The Big Lebowski; Jeff Bridges

Apparently a stoned farce of sorts, with mistaken identities, gratuitous bowling references and someone urinating on someone else's carpet. A classic of its kind, and an indication of precisely why I'm doing this. I ought to damn well know this stuff by now.

4) Twelve Monkeys; Bruce Willis

I'm comforted to know that, while I am aware only that this SF epic involves time-travel, biotechnology and an insane asylum, most of the people who have seen this only once understand slightly less than that. Terry Gilliam directs, which is not always a mark of quality. But...Jabberwocky! I shall view it.

5) Y Tu Mama Tambien, directed Cuaron

How can I resist a film which has a title meaning "And Your Mother Too"? Beyond the fact that Cuaron is a director of style - should I be expecting to draw comparisons with Kubrick or Tarantino? - I know nothing else, except that the actors remain obscure in mainstream cinematic terms, and that the whole thing is subtitled. Rule 18: Myopedia insists on subtitles, not dubbing, ever since the terrible incident with Akira and Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles.

Am I barking up the right tree, or am I in the wrong forest? Only time will tell - but I would appreciate your input, best beloved reader.

Yours with his hand in the biscuit barrel
24fps is Myopedia's film review section.
Even if your mother is not a hamster, and you have never even seen an elderberry, the odds are good that you know about the legends of King Arthur's Court at Camelot, the Knights of the Round Table, and how everyone thought that Lancelot was knocking Queen Guinevere off on the side, the dirty French beggar. “Shadows Over Camelot” by Days of Wonder will allow you to take a brief but memorable step into that world of quests, chivalry, betrayal and decay.
Read More...Collapse )
PLAYER OF GAMES is Myopedia's hobbygaming and geektoys section.

Free Book! Yay!

Thanks to dmwcarol for pointing out the blag a free book page.

I've just signed up for this too. All you have to do is sign up on the website, read the book they send you for free, then post a review afterwards. Robert shall then become your father's brother.

I'm getting "Lock 14" by Georges Simenon, one of the Maigret Mysteries. I've not read any of them for years, so I'm really looking forward to it.

This is the link. I recommend it to you.