Tuesday, August 10, 2010

If you miss a beat, just find another.

Do I really have 25 posts on this blog?

I suppose I might. And yet I keep on letting it sink into oblivion, but once again, I'm going to try to pull it out.

This summer, I'm in London -- I've been here for 40 days; and I have about 35 left. I'm balancing between work on a research grant, dissertation work, spending time with my partner, and seeing wonderful art, theatre, and music. So far, this is what I've learned, or seen:

* Enron, Lucy Prebble's semi-musical about selling ideas and corporate collapse, only failed on Broadway because its satirical portrayals of corporate culture pale in comparison to the way that members of that corporate culture satirize themselves every day.

* The Tempest is a very hard play to do well when you are being traditionalist, as the Sam Mendes production at the Old Vic is. Christian Camargo's Ariel is intriguing enough, but the rest was such a lifeless fidelity to the script that I found myself genuinely fascinating by the lighting design.

* On the other hand, the same cast presented a stunningly good As You Like It, such that I forgot entirely that I was watching a play at all. And I think they are to be commended all the more for inhabiting the script so thoroughly while remaining so traditional.

* The V & A Small Spaces exhibit is as wonderful as you would expect it to be. I climbed in Ratatosk, thought that I could probably sleep very comfortably in the In-between architecture, and of course, climbed up through the space that has gotten the most attention, Rintala Eggertsson Architects' Ark, the "flat made entirely out of bookshelves." It's not really a flat, as there is hardly room to sleep anywhere, but it is a fascinating and restful space. Most fascinating, to me, anyways, was the fact that though it was chock full of books of all sorts, my eyes kept landing on books that were familiar to me, that I might have on my bookshelf. This could not have been simply a question of recognizing the spines, as many of the editions were not ones that I owned or had seen before. When I first entered, I spotted several Henning Mankell novels, and later on, found Marguerite Yourcenar, Harper Lee, John Betjeman, James Herriot, and Jean M. Auel. I even spotted a paperback edition of Harriet Walter's memoir, Other People's Shoes. I don't know if other people have the same experience, but it would be interesting to know if they did.


  1. I would wager to say that you've probably read more books than most people, and therefore have a higher likelihood of seeing titles you recognize :)

  2. Harriet Walter has a memoir? I want it. :-)

  3. Amy, that may be true, but this was positively eerie. I don't have that sort of experience when I'm browsing in bookshops.

    Martha -- yes! It's called Other People's Shoes. I'd never seen it in paperback before, which was why I thought it kind of weird that it jumped out at me...