Category: dying


Why Woolf Works works

woolfworksIt might seem an odd notion to base a dance performance on three novels by Virginia Woolf, but Wayne McGregor is a choreographer who makes his own rules. He proves that great prose can inspire and captivate in the same way that the rhythmic flow of lyrical poetry can.

Woolf Works was premiered to huge acclaim in 2015 and is divided into three sections: ‘I Now, I Then’ is based on the themes in Mrs Dalloway; ‘Becomings’ takes its cues from the surreal wit & vitality of Orlando and ‘Tuesday’ is inspired by The Waves, Woolf’s most experimental novel.

This final section is also named after the heading to the suicide note Woolf left for her husband. This letter, which begins “I feel certain that I’m going mad again”, is beautifully read by Gillian Anderson as a preface to the profoundly moving conclusion.

The revival of these pieces was a hot ticket at The Royal Opera House but has now reached a wider audience thanks to a live worldwide broadcast in over 1,500 cinemas and more than 35 countries on February 8th 2017. Continue reading

amour“Death is no different whined about than withstood” wrote Philip Larkin in his desolate poem Aubade. In other words, whether we live paralysed by fear or accept it, the grim reaper will get us one day.

For obvious reasons many prefer not to think too much about the subject at all and regard those who broach the D-word without good cause as morbid (“Can’t we talk about something more cheerful?”).

In movies the topic is widely viewed as box office poison. People go to the cinema to be entertained not to be reminded of their mortality.

This is why many will studiously avoid Michael Haneke’s ‘Amour’ like the plague. Haneke is known for turning a unflinching eye on ‘difficult’ subjects. In Funny Games we are forced to watch two sadistic psychopaths on a murderous mission, in Caché he exposes the guilty secrets that tear apart a well-heeled couple.

In ‘Amour’, the Austrian director presents the story of a woman who suffers a stroke which partially paralyses her and then another which takes away her ability to move or speak. Despite this trauma, it could be construed as a love story, hence the title, because of the way the stricken woman’s husband cares for her and tries to comfort her. Continue reading

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Mark Fisher – 11th July 1968 – 13th January 2017

Today is Blue Monday according to the depression experts. Apparently, if you’re going to feel low any time this year, today’s the day.

I never set great store by such notions, more often than not such stories amount to nothing more than clickbait.

But the post festive gloom descended heavily upon me this morning when I woke to the sad and shocking news that music critic and modern culture guru Mark Fisher has passed at the ridiculously young age of 48. Continue reading

MAMbowieI was frustrated to miss the V & A Museum ‘Bowie Is’ exhibition in London three years ago so was delighted that it has been temporarily relocated to a city to my home in Emilia-Romagna. It is on at Bologna’s MAMbo until 13th November 2016.

Of course, the death of David Bowie earlier this year casts a black star over the event but this also puts into true perspective the enormous contribution he made to the fields of music, fashion and art. Continue reading

Jo_CoxThis is a blog post in defence of a tweet I wrote this morning which read as follows:  “In honour of Jo Cox & in opposition to the haters & racists, Brits must vote remain on 23/6″

In an excellent article in The Guardian, Polly Toynbee wrote of the “corrosive” anger aroused by the forthcoming referendum on whether Britain remains or leaves the EU.The venomous reaction to my tweet could be construed as evidence of this. Here are a sample of the numerous comments I received:

  • You really are despicable – exploiting her death for political gain
  • Your comment is absolutely disgraceful and shames the Remain campaign
  • You are a heartless, opportunistic ghoul.
  • Shit for brains.

I stand by what I wrote but feel motivated to explain / defend myself beyond the 140 character limit. Continue reading

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