Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Last night I dreamt

that I was diving somewhere in SE Asia, under a jetty in some godforsaken isolated outpost frequented only by hardcore divers.

Underwater, amongst the wooden pylons, there were schools of fusiliers and frogfish hidden amongst the fronds of soft coral. In quick succession, I saw:
- a movement out of the corner of my eye; it is a whole school of fusiliers streaking upwards to the surface. Followed by the most enormous barracuda ever, some kind of 1.5 m monster, sleek and predatory and full of big shiny teeth and silver and gorgeous. I'm not sure if barracuda in real life do herd fish to the surface, but this one did so very impressively.
- another monster of a giant moray lurking under the jetty, which upon noticing me actually came out of his hole and hovered, snake-charmer like, upright in the open, tail curled upon the ground. Now, I'm pretty sure morays don't actually ever do this, but in dreams all things pander to you..
- heading out to the blue beyond the dropoff, there was some kind of crazy baitball of who knows what, and sharks of all kinds circling in and out of them, primordial and savage and so ridiculously, gracefully beautiful. It was very Blue Planet.

I think from this dream one can tell two things:
1. Perhaps I am ultimately a fan of the Big and Impressive when diving rather than macro. Galapagos, here I come.
2. I really, really miss the sea.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Marylebone High Street

A perfect middle aged Sunday. Upon waking it is miraculously sunny and beautiful and a wonderful change from an endlessly drizzly Saturday. Wander up Marylebone High Street to Le Fromagerie for my usual Sunday morning breakfast of coffee and two happy organic half boiled eggs with soldiers for an exorbitant amount of money. Miraculously am there before it opens at 10am, this has never happened to me on a Sunday morning before. So a quick stroll through the farmer's market whilst waiting, admiring the quiches and huge bunches of lavender. After walking D up to Baker St tube past the mystifyingly huge hordes of tourists waiting to see the waxworks I very directionlessly wander back down the high street, past more happy Sunday brunchers.

Daunt Books beckons with its lure of travel to exotic far flung destinations (you know, like the ones I hail from), but I stick to the fiction section and end up with a rather handsome slim volume of T.S. Eliot poetry. I always bemoan my lack of poetry reading so I am at last attempting to make some amends. I am only a few poems in so far but thoroughly enjoying them...

Farther down the street I nip back into the farmer's market for two oysters, freshly shucked, one with tabasco and lemon, one plain and tasting perfectly of the sea. Gorgeous. I share words of delight with the man next to me at the table, busy eating his half dozen. Yet farther down I veer off the the west and end up in Selfridges. It is something of a magnet, particularly its chocolate section by the food hall. I fail to resist both chocolate and a couple of cheap tops on sale, and eventually munch on a salt beef sandwich from the Brass Rail for lunch.

Head up to Angel for Matthew Bourne's Dorian Gray. Really enjoy it; there is much to be said for his brand of hugely accessible dance theatre that draws enormous lay audiences. Dorian Gray appeals much more to me than his usual formula (family friendly comedy-shtick modern reworkings of big fairytale ballets) because it is Bourne for adults -- sexy, dark, dealing with all the usual themes of the novel very cleverly updated to the modern world obsessed with celebrity and fashion and that fragile outer surface. Some electrifying moments, particularly in the pas de deux between Dorian and Basil (turned into a fashion photographer). I particularly enjoyed the references to MacMillan's Romeo and Juliet -- the Sibyl in Bourne's version (typically for Bourne turned into Romeo rather than Juliet), dying of a drug overdose, struggles masochistically way across the stage and up and over the central bed in direct echo of Juliet's final death in MacMillan's ballet. Dance theatre like this I can certainly applaud and enjoy (I often struggle with the more avant-garde dance theatre which seems to abound in dance colleges). If you're going to make a piece of theatre about physical beauty, using a caste of limber sexy physically articulate dancers is certainly not a bad way to go about it. A very stimulating afternoon -- but I did miss slightly the moments of heart in mouth beauty that (I continue to believe) is the reason why we all go to the theatre. For that I am guessing Morphoses (Chris Wheeldon's company) will provide amply come their autumn season at Sadler's.

Monday, July 06, 2009


First evening to myself in what feels like forever. I'd forgotten the simple pleasures of not doing anything much, on my own time. Left work about 7pm, although with the 16 hour summer days it felt like much earlier. For the first time in maybe months I revisited my old favourite activity, sitting about in Borders reading dance magazines and the Economist over a hot drink. Then a rather pleasant evening making meatballs for a steamboat tomorrow (hurray for dinner parties Malaysian style) and cooking enough sausage casserole to feed a small African village (or just me for the rest of the week).

A bit too much intense verbiage at work recently. Writing, writing, writing -- on Sunday afternoon I was sitting there falling asleep over my laptop, thinking "must.. keep.. typing". Over 24 hours later I still haven't the foggiest whether any of those words, one in front of the other, actually make any sense. But still, I'm making progress (I hope). I suddenly feel very much back in the thick of it, after the strangeness of June which despite one's best efforts always gets lost to May week mayhem and other such diverting pleasures. But it will be nice, in a bit, to have a break from writing -- I foresee having to do a bit of statistics for the next chunk of work. Who knew that one day I would look forward to statistics! I'm trying to go full steam ahead for the next couple of months as I'll be away for much of September, choreographing G+S in Cornwall. Something to work towards!

Notables over the past 1.5 months... spent my birthday weekend in Seville, drunk on Andalusian sunshine and oranges and tapas and breathtaking flamenco and endless cheap cerveza and good coffee everywhere and chanced-upon salsa parties in the street and gorgeous Mudejar palaces. It made us feel rather self-congratulatory. Trinity May Ball, my fourth, felt a little like it was suffering from the credit crunch and various organisational hiccups, but had an absolutely fantastic time nonetheless. Highlights perhaps the silent disco (very hilarious being in one when you don't have your headphones on, watching people bop about to nothing), an enormous helter skelter, duck confit, and that old standby the 4am ceilidh. Night whizzed by and it was 6am survivors before we knew it. Theatre experiences -- my usual raft of dance shows, the standout probably Sylvie Guillem and Russell Maliphant in Push. The piece that stood out for me was Russell's solo. A master class in choreographic minimalism. They could take you anywhere, those two. Also, a very very pleasant sunny afternoon at Glyndebourne with family and friends. Falstaff, black tie, picnicking, Pimms and bubbly, arguing over whether white blobs in next field were sheep or cows! I sat next to a very nice gentleman whom I discovered had read Classics in Cambridge back in his day, and whose grandfather sang Henry Ford in the very first English performance of Falstaff in 1896. All one could want Glyndebourne to be: surreal, English, very wonderful. Also trying to make the best of this wonderful summer, the first real one we've had for three years. Cycling down to Grantchester for evening drinks and dinner (peanut butter parfait perfection) at the Rupert Brooke; punting on a silent river at 10pm under the Bridge of Sighs experiencing a city view uniquely unchanged for centuries; listening to the punt guides tell tall stories to tourists from the banks of the Cam; long moments watching the waxing moon from Trinity bridge in the long magical summer dusk. Good for whatever soul I may have.

Busy also producing my own little bits of 'art' -- Cambridge Contemporary Dance restaged much of our Dante performance in late June. Slightly stressful working in a non-theatre venue but pulled it off in the end, we're not sure where all these Dante dance aficionados turned up from but they certainly came. Also now getting very excited about our next big project, a big evening of new work in December which will be performed in a venue no less august and unique and scary and wonderful as the university Senate House, that 280 year old neo classical edifice of imposing beauty which I walk past every day, now with an added frisson of excitement. Can we do site specific contemporary dance in it to celebrate the University's 800th Anniversary, we asked the Vice-Chancellor's office. They said yes! Who knew.

No wonder I don't seem to have achieved an awful lot of work over the past few weeks. Must embrace the verbiage (third year PhD student hat), the producing and planning (dance company co director hat), the creativity (various choreographing commitments hat), the dinners and teas and punting trips (the being-a-friend hat), the girliness and more planning (bridesmaid hat!) and the general happiness (the being-me hat).