Thursday, October 29, 2009

True to the tagline

Watching: In the midst of a slightly overenthusiastic series of Saturday trips to Sadler's Wells to make the most of their brilliant autumn season. Highlights so far include an absolutely magical new solo by Russell Maliphant with an animated light projection by Michael Hulls that spilled light organically across the floor, leading and following the dancer as he swirled, Nijinsky-like, in a beanie and sweats. Understatement gets me every time. Also saw Morphoses' new season -- despite enjoying Christopher Wheeldon's latest, in a way slightly disappointed as it did not seem to have the utter compelling genius of Fool's Paradise or Commedia. Oddly, highlight of the evening was neither of the Wheeldon ballets, but instead Lightfoot and Leon's Softly As I Leave You, wonderfully danced by Drew Jacoby and Rubinald Pronk. In true NDT style, gorgeous and technical yet with an immense emotional depth and complexity. There is no other company that does this with quite the same finesse. A few more midnight train journeys back to Cambridge to come yet -- am particularly looking forward to Rambert this year. Their "Comedy of Change" is meant to be about Darwinism and bird behaviour, scientifically advised by one of the zoology/psychology professors here in Cambridge who lectured me way back when. My science and dance worlds have absolutely collided recently and although it is a bit of a shock to the system (being used to living a somewhat double life), I am absolutely thrilled by it all.

Making: The company is now in full swing rehearsing for our December's Senate House performance, having casually swung and leapt our way across the ADC stage sometime last week with what a reviewer called "aplomb" (ha!). We've just started rehearsals for a couple of our professionally choreographed pieces and I am really enjoying the process and keen to see what will emerge over the next few weeks. It is really nice to see the art emerging from all that planning! I started rehearsals for my own short piece a little ahead of everyone else, so I've actually just finished it and am not unpleased, in a radical departure from epic aggressive jazzed up fish hierarchies it appears to be a pretty brief amalgation of all those Maliphant and Wheeldon influences, and not complex at all, but I hope it will suit the Senate House and that the audience will enjoy it. Sometimes you don't have to try to say too much (I tell myself). Production work is something of an ever-stressful nightmare, but between the three of us core admin slaves and our ever growing production team, we take it in turns to mildly panic, and that means that the whole thing drives forward continually. for more!

No time to read. Am slowly working my way through Dubliners. Really enjoying most of it, it is such a pleasure after grappling with and being defeated by Ulysses.

No time for this either. In my first coffee break in weeks yesterday I sat in my favourite cafe Benet's with a mug of goodness, but I was reading about the integration of cooperative breeding work and cooperation theory, so although pleasant it was not exactly chill out time.

Chugging along. I am slightly worried that the dance company is trouncing my ability to actually finish writing this thesis, but I am making inch-by-inch (word-by-word) progress, and thesis.doc actually exists now which is more than could be said the last time I blogged. The aim is still January, argh, should I put this in the public domain in case I don't make it? I think I should, as the embarrassment of overunning much longer than that will perhaps be motivation to just write the damn thing. I am just about to submit about 20,000 words to a college to see if they want to give me some money in order to enable me to pursue more fish watching in coming years, so it is nice to see that I actually have 20,000 words, although of what dubious quality, I wonder?! Words are very much my work life at the moment, and I miss the actual fish very much, but to this end I have put a large picture of a chevroned barracuda on my computer desktop, which is cheering in a rather melancholic sort of way.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Harold et al

Meet Harold the Venusian slug, Kylie the slightly radioactive cat, E7_2+ the bicolor angelfish, and Jerome the Neptunian bigfoot:

Because of course I have nothing better to do with my borrowed overunning 4th year PhD time than to make FIMO animals. So much evening fun. I must admit to dropping Harold shortly after he came out of the oven to the loss of his left eye, but I've superglued him back together and he is as good as new:

Other unusual pursuits of last week involved an evening's sloe picking on the path between Coton and Hardwick (really beautiful and the sunset was something to be seen), followed by another evening of painstakingly pricking each sloe berry with a needle and dropping them into a gin bottle with sugar. Come this Christmas I should have some sloe gin to celebrate the festive season/drown my thesis sorrows.

Rehearsal madness shortly oncoming, so I am trying to make the most of this pre-term lull. Yesterday we cycled out to Anglesey Abbey and wandered amongst the glorious parkland full of Austen-esque statuary and rose gardens and sweeping vistas of chestnut tree avenues and beautiful autumnal colours. Then we came back to Cambridge and went straight to chavland (the Grafton) where I had a Crunchie milkshake (well deserved after the cycle back from the Abbey straight into the wind), watched a kiddie film, and then had dinner at Shanghai Ren Jia along with a whole restaurant full of people celebrating Mid Autumn Festival, winding up finally at The Free Press for a pint. The spice of life.