Thursday, June 30, 2005


A quick post as things are manic at work. On Monday, I relaxed at home reading Coetzee's Disgrace and watching the third season DVD of the quirky and dark Six Feet Under. Television has rarely been this good. In fact, since Desperate Housewives ended I haven't switched on my TV except to watch DVDs. I missed the BBC's Doctor Who, so I am looking forward to seeing this on DVD soon.

Tuesday was another fun and lively evening with old (but not that old, in case any of them are reading this) Oxford friends -- one, who is lecturing in Cork, Ireland, I've not seen in years. We had drinks in my favourite Alphabet Bar in Soho, then a gluttonous dinner at Masala Zone off Carnaby Street. We gorged on saag aloo, lamb rogan josh, lamb korma, Goan prawns with coconut, spicy masala prawns, chapatis and rice. Over beer and wine, we chatted about work and children and, of course, caught up on all the gossip of mutual friends not there to defend themselves: who was going out with who, who had split up with who, who was pregnant, who, who who... We also compared gadgets: my lone digital Sony Walkman with their various iPods, for example. Lots of talk of politics, lobbying and passing bills through Parliament, as some of us work, in various guises, in this area.

On Wednesday, after drinks with work colleagues, sitting outside enjoying the warm weather, I headed into town to watch the rather good Batman Begins in perhaps the noisiest cinema I've ever been to (lots of crisp packets being rustled, whispering, people getting up to go to the loo, popcorn munching) -- the Marble Arch Odeon. I had never seen a Batman film, but much like my experience seeing my first ever Star Wars -- Star Wars 3 -- recently, I really enjoyed "discovering" how Bruce Wayne became Batman.

Tonight, I'm going to enjoy a rare night in. I think I'll spend it reading again. This week I bought lots of chick- and lad-lit from my local, very excellent charity shop: Jane Green, Tony Parsons -- lots of wonderful fluff to immerse myself in over the coming weekend when I will be busy working in the office on both Saturday and Sunday and so won't have much time or energy to both read anything complicated or go out.

I'm sorry -- to myself most of all -- that my posts always seem to be lists of things I've done. I wish I would make time to reflect more on what I've done and who I've done it with, but I'm always in a rush to get the posts out before I have to get on with my day (or get to sleep). When I used to keep a paper journal (since I was 11 all the way through to 2000), I always made time to think through the things I did and thought. I gave up journaling when a major illness made me realise that I spent far more time than was healthy for me self-analysing my life and not getting on with living life to its fullest. But now I've scuttled too far in the opposite direction.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Slices of life

The past few days have gone by in a glorious food- and art- and music-laden whirlwind. Our Oxford reunion dinner at a friend's house in Pimlico on Thursday night was alot of fun, catching up with all our lives -- something we do so rarely even though we're all based in London. The food was simple and delicious: a selection of salami and olives, gala melon and feta, roast vegetables and mozzarella, rye bread dipped in olive oil, nuts, chocolate, wine and iced tea.

Music was streamed in through the stereo from someone's iPod -- music I hadn't heard for years, such as Joni Mitchell, Gordon Lightfoot, Alison Krause and Creedence Clearwater Revival. The same thing has happened since I've bought my digital Walkman: I've loaded it with music I haven't listened to in a long while and with new-to-me music from MP3 blogs such as Tofu Hut and Moebius Rex.

Perfect food and music for the humid heat.

On Friday, I returned to the Urban Retreat spa in Aveda, Covent Garden, for a body treatment -- the Salt Glow. For an hour and a half, my body was exfoliated with Dead Sea salt minerals then covered with a herbal clay mask, after which I was left to fall asleep surrounded by candles and soothing music. After my shower, the therapist smothered my freshly-glowing skin with a customised moisturiser. Then I lingered over vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free, wheat-free, egg-free carrot cake -- moist and yummy -- and a ginger and peach herbal tea in the Aveda cafe.

The spa treatment was a wonderful treat from my partner, who I met for cocktails in low-lit, romantic The Player bar in Soho, where we drank Pisco Sour and a sublimely refreshing Grapefruit Julep made from grapefruit juice, vodka, honey and passionfruit juice. Then we ate a colourful dinner of Chinese broccoli and shitake stir-fry; scallops with baby squid, prawns, seaweed and red chillis; and a "jungle red curry" of chicken and aubergines in the excellent and heaving canteen-style Thai restaurant Busaba Eathai on Store Street.

We also visited the hypnotic, lush and passionate Frida Kahlo exhibition at the Tate Modern -- the first Kahlo exhibition in the UK. Kahlo was one of my earliest idols when I was a teenager (I discovered her via Madonna); one of my earliest means of imaginative escape whilst stuck in drab suburbia. More on this exhibition later.

On Saturday, we had a quick snack of dim sum and a Venezuelan beef sandwich at Camden Lock Market, then walked along the very spare stretch of Regent's Canal to London Fields, passing some interestingly-designed modern and old warehouse-style apartment blocks. We had planned to continue on along the canal to Limehouse, but got waylaid by the Turkish menu at the Cilicia cafe: tabbouleh, chicken wings, baked rice pudding and Turkish coffee. After a quick wander around the busy Farmers' Market on Broadway and a stroll through London Fields park, thinking what a great place this would be to live if it was better connected transport-wise (ie a Tube line and more buses), we took the bus back into town for a browse around the shops on Oxford Street and a recuperative berry smoothie and cucumber with orange juice at Leon off Carnaby Street.

In the evening, we made a spontaneous decision to listen to some music we had never heard before, on the strength of a Time Out piece. We cut through Soho and Charing Cross, crossing the River Thames to the Queen Elizabeth Hall to purchase tickets to a concert by Russian-Mongolian throat-singing punk rockers Yat-Kha and bluesy Saharan Touareg revolutionaries Tinariwen, as part of Patti Smith's Meltdown festival (she was singing -- with Flea and others -- the entire Horses album next door, but by the end of the evening I was glad we hadn't been able to get tickets months ago, as amazing as her performance must surely have been).

Not knowing what to expect as we took our seats, both bands were a revelation. Tinariwen were fighters in the Touareg insurgency against the Malian government and formed in 1982 in Colonel Ghadaffi's rebel camps. Their music is bluesy, spare and weathered, and underpinned with hard-hitting electric guitars, bass and drums.

But it was Yat-Kha that held me spellbound. The lead singer out-Waited Tom Waits, with a voice so deep and throaty that every hair on my head was electrified. Against a surging electric guitar, punchy bass, pounding drums and violin-like wail of a traditional Mongolian instrument, the lead singer's voice was a bone-shaking "subterranean rumble" that growled its way through a selection of covers including Motorhead's Orgasmatron and Hank William's Ramblin' Man. Their rendition of Joy Division's Love Will Tear Us Apart (MP3 file) was so haunting and disturbing that I nearly cried (the first time in years a live song has brought tears to my eyes).

The covers feature on their latest album, Re-Covers, and Yat-Kha recorded them as a tribute to the days when pop and rock music was illegal under Communism. As the singer, Albert Kuvezin, told a MOJO journalist over a meal of salty intestines and mayonnaise:

"At night, you could hear American or European radio stations, but it was really hard to get records this far from Moscow. Tuvan members of the Red Navy or students might come home with something. The first album I had was a double by Led Zeppelin from Japan. Eventually, you could go to yurts and find nomads and shepherds who had given the albums pride of place on a shelf next to a bust of Lenin. The only record label in the Soviet Union, Melodiya, released pop and jazz eventually, but only things the state approved of. The real interest [for us] was in the bootleg tapes and the home-made fanzines that explained what was happening outside."

Amazing stuff.

Listen to MP3s of Yat-Kha songs

Today, after a leisurely morning playing around on the internet, we headed out to the ICA for beer, cider and olives in the bar and then a viewing of the Japanese movie, Café Lumière. This homage to director Yasujiro Ozu is a meander through slices of life of twenty-something, pregnant Tokyoite, Yoko. Despite there being virtually no plot, the camera takes us through the minutiae of her daily life -- eating food, drinking milk in coffee bars, travelling around in trams and trains, chatting with her family and friends, having morning sickness -- with such fluidity and focus that, despite being rather sleepy at the end of the weekend, I was slowly drawn into the subtle and restrained narrative.

Then it was off for a dinner of broccoli and garlic, beef in black bean sauce, and deep-fried squid at Chinatown's rather good Hong Kong Diner.

Phew, what a weekend, what a long (my longest) post. Perhaps tomorrow I'll get back to reading Disgrace.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Lots more

Our work picnic in the park yesterday was lovely. Lots of good cooks so lots of delicious homemade goodies to eat such as lemony humous, asparagus and sundried-tomato quiche, mozzarella pizza, cucumber raita, vegetable samosas, baklava and flapjacks. Lots of wine, lots of beer, lots of sun and shade, lots of chilling.

Despite being very sleepy after our afternoon deep chill, I met a friend in a heaving and uncomfortable Leicester Square. We grabbed a salad and corn muffin from the cafe in the brightly-painted oasis Neal's Yard and then watched the movie We Don't Live Here Anymore, in which two couples commit adultery with each other with such dispassionate and intellectual coolness that the film ultimately makes for a rather bland and unengaging viewing. As Roger Ebert opines, "we yearn for more edge, cruelty, psychological wounding, slashing sarcasm, sadistic button-pushing". Afterwards, we ate ice-cream in Soho and caught up on each other's lives.

Tonight, more catching up will be had when a group of us who had all studied together at Oxford will gather for dinner. More wine, more beer, more food, more chilling. I love the Summer.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

On a roll

Yee-haw, I've found a book as absorbing as Auster's Oracle. Uninspired by all the books waiting for me to read them at my house, I wandered into a charity shop close to my work and found this book -- a first edition hardback for just £2 -- tucked away in a dark corner: J.M. Coetzee's Disgrace, which is about a professor from Cape Town accused of sexual harassment and forced to retreat to his daughter's isolated smallholding in the bush. I know something horrifyingly violent is about to take place in the plot and I'm just turning those pages. The trouble is, I'm already over halfway through it and the hunt for another rivetting read will resume, probably as early as tomorrow.

My partner gets through a book (or two, or three) a week and, on the strength of my sudden reading spurt, suggested -- only partially in jest I think -- a reading competition. My reading luck may not last, I fear, so perhaps I shouldn't jinx it.

What a glorious day. My work is taking this afternoon off for a picnic and sunbathe in the park. I might slink off to another part of the park to carry on reading.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005


This is something that happens so rarely that I have to write it down for posterity (or blogsterity at least).

I've been reading Auster's Oracle Night at every opportunity since Sunday.

I read during my lunch break at work yesterday, instead of working through; I saw a movie (the cheesy but incredibly sexy and surprisingly entertaining Mr and Mrs Smith with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie) and had an evening work meeting sitting outside a pub; I returned home and resumed reading; I awoke this morning and began reading. But now I'm in mourning because I've just finished the book. What the hell am I going to read now that is as good?

One thing's for sure, ever since I realised I perhaps have only 552 books left to read in my lifetime, I shall start but discard any book that doesn't grip me obsessively within the first 20 pages.

I came to the 552 figure on the basis of my appalling 1-book-a-month habit. But if I refuse to struggle through duller books then I should be able to at least double that figure.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Scorching oracle

This weekend's heatwave was completely wasted on me as I spent all of it inside:

Yesterday, I was in Birmingham on work business all day and didn't manage any time outside save for walking from my house to the Tube at 6:30 in the morning and walking to and from the work venue. When I returned to London in the evening, I ate inside at Ravi Shankar Indian restaurant when really we should have had a picnic dinner outside in Regent's Park.

So today, I resolved to loll around under a big tree in long grass reading the Saturday and Sunday newspapers and listening to the superlative BBC Radio 4 podcasts -- From Our Own Correspondent and In Our Time -- on my digital Walkman.

But then, from 9 o'clock in the morning, I began Paul Auster's latest novel Oracle Night, sitting in my apartment with a soft breeze and dappled sunlight streaming through the trees and in through my open window, and quickly found myself lost in Auster's world well into the evening.

The only breaks I had were for a delicious lunch of rice with lobster dressed with ginger, garlic and hot Ghanaian pepper made for me by a friend who had bought the sweet and meaty lobster -- live and £10 each -- from Billingsgate Fish Market at 5:30 yesterday morning; and another for a simple dinner of succulent red grapes and peppery Milano salami. But even these I ate with a fork in one hand and the book in the other.

Having started and failed to finish too many books to mention over this year, I can always count on an Auster plot -- more thrilling than any thriller I've ever read -- to carry me completely and obsessively through from beginning to end.

Comments alert: My dad has added his childhood memories of the monsoon season in India to my entry, below, on the start of the monsoons.

"I still remember the first day of the rains used to start with heavy noises from the sky as if God had declared war on humankind. We used to be so excited we ran outside, shouting, screaming and dancing and singing in the rain. ... We used to play truant from school. On return home we used to face our loving, caring but dictator Mum standing with a bamboo cane in her hand to give punishment for missing school and making ourselves wet. Then returning to school, we faced the angry teachers. We promised them and Mum that we would be very good boys from tomorrow. But come the next day, we repeated the same exciting game."

Happy Father's Day, Dad, I love you!

Friday, June 17, 2005

R 'n' R

Finished work early today for some R 'n' R (rest 'n' relaxation) at the hands of an Urban Retreat therapist at the Aveda skin and hair centre in Holborn. I'll spare you the gruesome details of my facial -- needless to say it involved a lot of extractions -- but the oils, creams, head and shoulder massages, candles and New Age music left me blissed out and chilled. Afterwards, I hung around the Aveda cafe, sipping freshly-squeezed carrot, orange and parsley juice as I dreamily perused the pages of a Lonely Planet guide in anticipation of our proposed trip to Thailand this August.

It's rare that I treat myself in this way and make the time to look after my skin and body. It's not very English to pay attention to the details of grooming -- skin polish, nails, hair texture -- but I'm trying to develop the habit. Because it feels so damn good.

In India, we always made the time to oil our hair and skin. My grandfather used to oil his body every morning before his morning bath. His skin was like a baby's to the day he died. My grandmother used to oil and brush her hair on the veranda of her house -- which is how my grandfather first spotted her. Those of us who could afford it visited the beauty parlour (yes, they were called that) too for regular skin and henna hair treatments. When my friend was preparing to get married, one of the first instructions she got from her aunt and other women of the family was how to maintain the condition of her skin with herbs such as turmeric. (She was also given other most useful advice!) I felt very feminine in India.

I was met at the cafe and we stuffed ourselves with plates of scampi and chips and rock and chips under baskets of geraniums hanging from trees outside The Rock and Sole Plaice chippy on Endell Street. Then we strolled down in the evening heat to the South Bank to experience another kind of R 'n' R (rock 'n' rai) courtesy of Algerian-French rock firebrand Rachid Taha at the Royal Festival Hall, as part of Patti Smith's Meltdown.

Since the 80s, Rachid Taha has careened through post-punk, reggae, rock, hip hop and rai to produce, tonight, a molotov cocktail of militant, edgy, raw, dangerous, furious and declamatory sound. Music with attitude, much like The Clash. In fact, Taha recently recorded a tribute to Joe Strummer, Rock el Kasbah, in which he seamlessly mixed the familiar Clash riffs with North African influences, and lo and behold Mick Jones and Patti Smith both joined Taha on stage tonight and rocked out to an explosive rendition.

A wonderful finale to an exhilerating evening, marred only by the fact that so many photo opportunities were lost because I had forgotten to bring my camera.

Thursday, June 16, 2005


The first time I ate Korean food was at Bi-Won last year. I loved the Korean emphasis on pickles and chilli, lightly-steamed vegetables and thin slivers of beef: a perfect blend of Chinese and Japanese foods, but without the cloying sauces of the former and overt simplicity of the latter. So I returned again and again, sometimes for lunch, sometimes for dinner.

But Time Out alerted me last night to another quality Korean restaurant tucked between Oxford Street and Tottenham Court Road on Rathbone Street. Koba is a brand-new barbeque restaurant, opened only a couple of weeks ago by a woman whose family already own several restaurants in South Korea. That's her on page 44 of this week's edition!

She's like the mother hen of a busy brood, tending to her customers with attention and care: serving our food (men first, by cultural habit, she laughed when she realised), cooking our bulgogi (marinated sliced beef sirloin) on the grill embedded in our table, placing them on our plate when they were done, showing us how to dip them in chilli sauce then roll them up in a lettuce leaf with plum sauce and spring onions. She also served us spinach lightly cooked with sesame seeds, kimchi (pickled cabbage), fat, glossy noodles and steaming leaf jasmine tea.

We took our time over the food as the decor was so soothingly minimalist: industrial-style metal pipes extracting the BBQ smoke away from each table and doubling as lights, muted brown wooden bar and tables, white tile flooring, glass ceiling, cream walls.

Can't wait to return.


The monsoons in Kolkata have started. Look at the jubilation expressed in that man's up-stretched arms!

Photo from The Hindu via Under the Fire Star.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Long lost music

"Zabriskie Point was to be Michelangelo Antonioni's greatest triumph, a crowning achievement in an already seminal body of work and a bold affirmation of his commercial ascendance in America. It was to be the Italian-born director's state-of-the-epoch address, a provocative document of the political injustice, civil warfare, and extreme moral and cultural polarities defining the end of the 1960s. Zabriskie Point was to be nothing less than Antonioni's portrait of the United States -- and by extension, Western society -- at war with itself. But just about everything that could go wrong with the project did go wrong, and Antonioni's great dream would prove to be his worst nightmare." Sci.Fi.

We saw this movie at the NFT last night and despite being visually stunning (the parched California desert with its wide open vistas and technicolour skies looks monumental) it was stilted and cliched. However, it did boast some wonderful music, including The Youngbloods' Sugar Babe, Roscoe Holcomb's I Wish I Was A Single Girl Again and Pink Floyd's Country Song.

Having finally bought my silver, teeny, tiny 20Gb Sony NW-HD5 MP3 player (and a pair of Sennheiser PX200 headphones) in the afternoon, I rushed home to rifle through my CD collection and transfer to my player some music I haven't listened to in years.

This may take a couple of months...

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Wandering into green

And so wander out into green I did. Yesterday I took the Tube to Putney Bridge and walked several miles along the south bank of the River Thames to Richmond. Apart from a deluge of power walkers, joggers and cyclers hurtling past me between Putney and Hammersmith, and despite being a Saturday, I was overwhelmingly and blissfully alone.

At the beginning of the journey, my mind was busy chattering away with itself. After an hour or so, however, its only awareness was the rhythm played out by the movement of my legs, the crunch of the earth as my feet pounded the dirt track, the singing conversations of birds, the rustle of the wind through leaves, and the green space and flowing water around me.

After several hours of movement and silence, I was in dire need of re-fuelling. And at Richmond I hopped back on the Tube for a deliciously meat-laden dinner at the excellent and very busy Turkish restaurant Antepilier on Green Lanes.

A wonderful day of restoration that has left me feeling incredibly chilled even into Sunday. I need to do that more often.

Links today:

+ Nuptials. The wonderful mating rituals of eels, cranes, lizards and wasp moths.
+ Dates in Star Wars. A chronology of the Star Wars world eg 3900 BBY -- The planet Naboo is colonized by settlers from Grizmalt.

Friday, June 10, 2005


The day's warm weather led us optmistically to eat dinner outside at Goya -- a teeny, tiny, teeming Spanish tapas bar tucked away in a nondescript sidestreet in Pimlico. Over conversation ranging from the varieties of HIV education in India to the varieties of committed relationships, we tucked into a very delicious meal of gambas al ajillo al pil pil (prawns in olive oil, garlic and chilli), sardinas a la plancha (grilled sardines), albondigas (meatballs) and fabada (sausage and bean casserole), mopped up with lots of crusty white bread and butter and robust Campo Viejo Rioja. But of course, being England, the weather turned very chilly and I was already calling it a night and legging it to the warmth of the Tube by 10pm. Shame on me.

I need...

The things I need right now are slow, soft kisses; long, gentle embraces; to be enveloped in the arms of damp, green trees and the scent of freshly-mown grass; to gaze out of the window, daydreaming of anything and nothing; to sit and watch the world go by with no need to engage; to wander aimlessly; to wonder aimlessly; to see and hear running river water; to trace the path of a trickle of rain down my window pane with my finger; to doodle without feeling guilty; time out; stillness; silence.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Like father, like daughter

Took the last few days off work to keep my father company as he accompanied my mother -- on a conference -- to London.

Poor man bore the full brunt of my bossy, short-tempered and easily-bored nature as I dragged him from one museum to the next in South Kensington: the photographic exhibit of Robert Scott's final expedition to the Antarctic at the Royal Geographical Society; the space, mathematics and computing exhibits plus the breathtaking Space Station 3D IMAX movie at the Science Museum; and the haunting Face to Face photography display of ape portraits at the Natural History Museum.

He got his bossy, short-tempered, easily-bored revenge yesterday, though, when he forced me to sit in Borders bookstore all morning helping him work through the exercises for the word processing course he is taking, and then dragged me all over Soho, where he used to work, to see his old haunts and murmuring -- sometimes appreciatively, sometimes sadly -- "London has changed, London has changed". [Update: when I called them just now to check whether they had arrived back to their home safely, my father took umbrage at me describing him dragging me around Soho: "But whenever I said, 'Go left', you turned right. Whenever I said 'Go right', you turned left!" The story of our relationship, I think.**]

In the evenings, my mother joined us and the three of us indulged in our love (craving, addiction, obsession) for food: a Chinese all-you-can eat buffet in the industrial wastelands of Park Royal, where my parents were staying; South Indian vegetarian at Ravi Shankar near Euston; and Turkish/Lebanese kebabs and tabbouleh at Shish in Bayswater.

In all, a lovely time was had. Though we have our familial ups and downs and each one of us are stubborn as hell, we're lucky to get on so well.


** A few instances when my father said "Turn left" and I turned right:

  • When I decided to study social science A levels rather than science. My father didn't talk to me for six weeks.

  • When I decided to take two consecutive gap years between my undergraduate and graduate degrees: one working as a checkout clerk in Sainsbury's supermarket, the other teaching high school in India.

  • When I turned my back on an academic career in favour of new media.

  • When he realised I have never dated a Bengali (not even an Indian) and may very well never marry one.

  • When he reads on Planethalder that I've been out all night again.

But he never fails to say "I'm proud of you", at least three or four times a week.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Little wonder

The new 20Gb Sony Walkman is out. I handled/caressed/fondled it in a store on Tottenham Court Road the other day and was smitten, but am waiting for the 30Gb version to come out in a few weeks before I buy one. Smaller, sleeker, lighter, longer-lasting than the ubiquitous, plasticy and frankly girly-looking iPod, I can't wait!

Related links:

+ Tech Digest description
+ Engadget's Sony and iPod size comparisons

Saturday, June 04, 2005


"Better never to lay eyes on a man, never to have seen one. Ever since I was a child, I've been frightened: the look of men, yoking up the oxen, picking up sacks of wheat, calling to each other, their thick voices, their thick boots. Every time I passed, fear of their hands, of their touch. God made me weak and ugly. It's his way of keeping them away."

After a lovely dinner on Friday night -- of smoked sausages, black beans and rice, plus chicken in tomato and red pepper sauce with rice -- sheltering from a torrential downpour at Canela in Covent Garden, we walked across the River Thames' roiling currents to the National Theatre to see David Hare's adaptation of Federico García Lorca's vivid and claustrophobic The House of Bernarda Alba.

The play is set under the oppressive shadow of Catholic morality and against the backdrop of the stifling rise of Franco's fascism in Spain in 1936. It focusses on the tortured relationships within an all-female household, between the newly-widowed and monstrous matriarch Bernarda Alba ("a twisted old gecko" whose housekeeper would "happily thread hot needles through her eyeballs with my own hand"), her two female servants and her five unmarried daughters: unattractive Angustias, assertive Magdalena, bookish Amelia, resentful Martirio, and flighty Adela. Each daughter is a prisoner of her own repressed sexual urges, fighting for the attentions of an unseen Pepe el Romano -- seemingly the only marriageable man in town -- whose masculine presence is the only means of quenching, in Adela's words, the "fire coursing through my legs".

Repressed love, thwarted passion, desperate yearning, torrid melodrama: my kind of soap opera, though the last third dragged a little as I got tired of the daughters' relentless histrionics and hysteria. My favourite characters by far were the decisive Bernarda and the forthright housekeeper.

I enjoy the theatre and should go more often. I really love Peter O'Toole's description of theatre as a living, ephemeral thing:

"Oh, it's painful seeing it all there on the [movie] screen, solidified, embalmed. Once a thing is solidified it stops being a living thing. That's why I love the theatre. It's the Art of the Moment. I'm in love with ephemera and I hate permanence. It's more than behaviorism, which is what you get in the movies... Chrissake, what are movies anyway? Just fucking moving photographs, that's all. But the theatre! Ah, there you have the impermanence that I love. It's a reflection of life somehow. It'' building a statue of snow...."

Related link:

+ Full text of the play in Spanish

Other links today:

+ BBC's Beethoven Experience. All 9 symphonies for download in MP3 format from Monday 6 June.

+ New Scientist's 11 steps to a better brain. All to do with eating Marmite on toast for breakfast and omelette and salad for lunch, getting enough sleep and positive thinking, apparently. Curiously bland article lacking in any concrete science.

+ The well-read life. "Never force yourself to read a book that you do not enjoy. There are so many good books in the world that it is foolish to waste time on one that does not give you pleasure and profit." The more books you discard half-finished, the more you will read fully.

Friday, June 03, 2005

All I want to do...

Have been busy, out and about after work: seeing films (the fabulous CGI world of video game, whoops sorry, movie Star Wars 3 -- my first ever Star Wars film, believe it or not -- on the truly wonderful Leicester Square Odeon screen, and the dreamy but distressing Mysterious Skin); eating good food (Korean at my favourite Bi-Won and Chinese at the cheap and tasty Cafe De Hong Kong); seeing art (Peter Doig, Luc Tuymans and Marlene Dumas shine in an otherwise bland The Triumph of Painting show at the dark and oppressive Saatchi Gallery); going for walks (along the South Bank). But when I come home to write about it, all I want to do is read (the gripping Every Dead Thing by John Connolly) or sleep. Still haven't got round to seeing the last two episodes of Desperate Housewives yet, either. Tonight we're seeing Lorca's The House of Bernardo Alba, adapted by David Hare, at the National Theatre, but no doubt you'll not get to hear about it until next week.

Here are some links instead:

+ Green Cine's movie primers. The how-to, what-the-hell-is, best-of primer of all sort of movie genres from Adult to Anime via Bollywood and French New Wave.
+ The Omnivore: Learn to eat everything
+ Watching TV makes you smarter
+ Mindfulness over matter. Familiarity with things breeds liking, not contempt.
+ The BBC asks do blogs have anything to say. Mine certainly doesn't, but it serves as a useful reminder to myself of the things I do (rather than the things I feel).
+ How to become an early riser: Part 1 and Part 2.
+ Info-mania dents IQ more than marijuana, says the New Scientist.
+ Concentrating while studying