leonato: (Default)
Cead mile failte an Aird Govhair!

Hmm I seem to run a civil rights lovefest, how interesting.


Sep. 30th, 2003 10:21 pm
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I went flying in a light aircraft for the first time today! I was kindly offered a trip by a fellow bass in LSM choir who is an amateur pilot, so off I went to Cambridge airport.

Now when I fly I like it to be in a big aircraft with lots of crew and preferably lots of free gin and tonic, so I was not reassured when this turned out to be more like an airborne mini.

It was all very exciting once we were up in the air (even if it was pretty windy). Cambridge looks really small from 2000 feet, really small in all that vast fenland (apart from King's chapel, which strangely looked bigger from above). Its quite scary to think that where I spend most of my life can seem so insignificant...

And the fens look very, very flat from up there, this sounds stupid I know but you really can't see a hill for 50 miles of more. God I miss mountains.

I also got to fly the plane! OK so were were going in a straight line due north so all I really had to do was nothing at all, but hey, I flew a plane! *bounce*


Sep. 28th, 2003 07:24 pm
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Being, as I occasionally am, bored of Cambridge on a dull Saturday, I took myself off to London for a cultural day out.

I decided to visit the Saatchi gallery. I did this with some trepidation as I wondered - would I actually like Britart up close and personal? The answer, slightly to my surprise, was yes. I think to appreciate Damien Hirst or Tracy Emin you have to see it in the flesh - a shark or sheep in Formaldehyde is strangely moving when it's right there in front of you - and even Emin's unmade bed is impressive.

Of course there is a lot of bad art there, some dull paintings, and some very poor photography. Why do conceptual artists take poorly composed and badly lit photos of themselves? To sooth their massive egos I suppose. Two things, though, impressed me. The decision not to rope off works, so it felt like you could tidy up Emin's bed, or touch the scarily lifelike sculptures; and placing it in the formal surroundings of County Hall, with all its dark panelling and pillars.

On to another impressive building - the Natural History museum - with its elegant neo-romanesque style and multicoloured bricks, like some vast italian cathedral. Unfortunately the inside doesn't match the outside. They've gone for an "experience" style, with lots of push buttons and artists impressions of dinosaurs, great for kids, but oddly patronising for adults. They cram so much in you can hardly see the building, which is a shame as all the walls I could see are covered in carvings of fish and plants, but they're all hidden behind hoarding and scaffolding. You're forced to walk round in a fixed path so I spent most of my time trying to get out of each gallery.

I escaped as soon as I could to the V&A across the road. What a contrast! The V&A is an old-style "glass cases" place, and it's wonderful, partly because it was almost deserted. It is amazingly eclectic, I was looking at tomb effigies of English kings, turned the corner into a gallery for modern architecture, and on to 20th century furniture (including the dining table from my old college room, Corpus haven't changed their furniture since 1950). From 17th century clavichords you segue to 1970's dresses by Ossie Clarke.

It's fabulous, and deserves to be better known, but that might spoil it of course


Sep. 27th, 2003 12:09 am
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Autumn has well and truly come to Cambridge.

Bugger! I thought as I dashed across a rain lashed Christ's Pieces on my (late) way to choir practise - that means weeks of drizzly rain, cold wind and dark evenings. I was not happy.

But as I left practise the rain stopped and a thick mist descended, making King's look even more dramatically Gothic than usual, and the Senate House looked rather fine through the gloom. I thought that perhaps Cambridge is at its best, at its most Cambridgey in the Autumn, maybe its because its near the start of term, or perhaps the cold suggests "go make a cup of hot tea, find a spot in a library and do some work, that's what you're here for".

Perhaps then there will be something to enjoy in all the drizzly rain, cold winds and dark evenings.

I came home drank some whisky and now all is right with the world.

A whinge?

Sep. 23rd, 2003 08:31 pm
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This may turn into a long Anglican whinge so bear with me..

I've been thinking a bit lately about attitudes in the Church. It all started on Saturday when I was singing in the parish choirs service in King's chapel. A number of local church choirs get together to sing in a kind of festival of church music. It was a shame the choice of music was so poor. A bad piece by Archer, an appalling hymn whose idea of harmony was having eight bars of middle C for the basses etc. Of the few decent pieces the conductor murdered If Ye Love Me. [ or If ye love me ( gasping breath!) keep my comman-DUH-munts as he would have it].

Then I realised that for most of the choir this was the height of church music, many had been practising for weeks, which made me feel guilty about turning up 2 hours before the service to sight-read my way through it. This was also fairly high church (cassock and surplice all round). So of course the great church music of the cathedral / chapel tradition which I am used to is very much the exception and not the rule. It seem a great shame that one of the great cornerstones and achievements of the Anglican church is being almost willfully ignored by most of its members, and perhaps are ignoring what the church was is (and should be?).

In a similar vein I discovered the website of Cambridge City church here. This is a super-charismatic evangelical church here in Cambridge. Among the gems on their site:

"Brickfields [the name of their building] is situated on the right hand side, between the Mazda garage and the shed factory."

Their "prophetic picture" of their church is an image of King's chapel, clearly they secretly long to be Gothic high Anglicans...

and their justification for the absolute truth of the bible:

We know that because it says so in the Bible. Now you may say, 'hang on, isn't that a circular argument?' But in fact, any argument for an absolute authority on truth will always be circular - for example, we might say: 'I use logic to work out what is true, because any other method would be illogical'.

[A circular argument is still a circular argument, we don't use logic to find what is true, only what is true given certain assumptions are accepted. The statement on logic is actually illogical, and a tautology, in itself.]

When will evangelicals realise that their acceptance of the absolute truth of the bible is a belief, and not a necessary part of Christian faith, and certainly not a certainty.

I may have fun poking fun at evangelicals, but then I read a sermon on Genesis 1 on the Stag website here. Yes its the old God created Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve argument. Sometimes I think the sooner the church schisms over the gay bishop debate the better...

I'm back

Sep. 12th, 2003 04:45 pm
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It has been a long time since I updated this journal hasn't it?

I have a (reasonably) good excuse in that I was on holiday with the lovely pembroke choir on our annual tour in Spain. All the best Pembroke tour traditions of faffage*, drinkage and imbibation were retained and of course the concerts and masses rather took second place to eating lots of food, drinking lots of drink by the beach in a thunderstorm and getting sent to the wrong church in Barcelona (thanks to the Dean).

All in all much fun was had, although i now need another holiday to recover from my holiday.

See many of you tomorrow chez [livejournal.com profile] the_alchemist . I might say more on this topic at another time, but my home internet connection has gone down (again!) so i can only update sneakily at work..

* from the verb "to faff" meaning to hang around trying to decide what to do and not actually doing anything. The larger the group the greater the faff, and choirs are particularly good at it.
leonato: (Default)
A belated Happy Birthday to [livejournal.com profile] mirabehn

Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] mirabehn and [livejournal.com profile] evil_nick for the party on Sunday, it's always nice to get of of stuffy Cambridge for a day.

Thanks also to [livejournal.com profile] ixwin and [livejournal.com profile] vectorious for a longer than expected lift through the home counties!

[Thanks to Mum and Dad, I am proud to accept this Oscar/Bafta...]
leonato: (Default)
I've finally got round to changing my picture to a shot from Midsummer Night's Dream.

As you can see my Lysander was more than a little camply thespian...
leonato: (Default)
My LiveJournal Sitcom
Being leonato (UPN, 2:30): leonato (Jon Voight) and purplepiano (Gene Kelly) try out for a volleyball team. Later, randomchris (Joshua Jackson)'s new friend alienates mirabehn (Scott Bakula). Also, gnimmel (John Turturro) teaches andrewwyld (Soleil Moon Frye) about pacifism. Later that day, the_alchemist (Bill Paxton) takes evil_nick (David Cassidy)'s brother on a date and ends up necking. Crazy results follow.
What's Your LiveJournal Sitcom? (by rfreebern)

i quite like the idea of being Jon Voight, but [livejournal.com profile] mirabehn really isn't Scott Bakula.


Aug. 22nd, 2003 10:34 am
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There are no trains running to Reading directly this weekend! This is going to make getting to [livejournal.com profile] mirabehn's party a bit tricky.

Does anyone have any plans as to how they are going to get there? or are people just going to risk it?
leonato: (Default)
Haven't updated for a few days because:
1: my home computer got infected with the horrible Blaster worm which took ages to clear up.
2: much more pleasantly I've been playing the tourist while I've been up north.

I've been wandering round the Black Isle, a spooky name for a not very spooky and very attractive area on the other side of the Moray Firth from here. Failed to spot any of the local dolphins.
I've also been wandering round the local whisky distilleries (there's only 50 or so in a 20 mile radius!) and been getting the hard sell and the hard stuff at Glenfiddich, Glen Grant, Glenlivet, Glen wherever... (hic!)

Aah for the easy life, and the cows are back.

An Alba

Aug. 9th, 2003 03:52 pm
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After a hot, overcrowded and repeatedly delayed train journey yesterday, with lashings of drunk Doncastrians and mad rushes across Edinburgh Waverly to make a connection, I made it up to Elgin last night.
Planning to spend a week up here with the parents away from the heat and bustle of Cambridge life. Unfortunately the heat came with me and I'm wilting in just about the hottest day Morayshire has ever known.
There's also a distinct lack of the usual cows in the fields outside the house, where have they gone?
leonato: (Default)
Thank God for the Arts Cinema! Just as I thought the summer was going to be one long drought of bad big-budget blockbusters along come two great films: Buffalo Soldiers and Goodbye Lenin! to cheer me up.

Both are fantastic and hilarious (go see 'um!), of course me going to see them had nothing to do with their respective stars, Joaquin Phoenix and Daniel Bruhl being very good looking, oh no not at all, ahem, ahem, cough.

[drooling quietly]
leonato: (Default)
Well I'm back from the marathon LOTR readthrough and I'm almost conscious again.

First hugh thanks to [personal profile] merrythebard and [profile] evil_nick for arranging it all, spending all that time writing and preparing, not to mention letting us sleep all over their floor and eat all their food!

I think it went really well, and everyone was really good in their various parts ,particularly [profile] andrewwyld
's sound effects and sheep noises.

Having been the irrepressibly good and noble Aragorn for twelve solid hours I feel a serious need to be evil and nasty, no wonder Viggo Mortgensen apparently went a bit crazy during the LOTR filming..

Hugs to all, now I must go and do some work, but I feel like I need to sleep for days.
leonato: (Default)
Not a productive day, went a departmental joly outing for pub lunch, then our computers crashed, so a typical phd student day of no work really.

Speaking of nothing to do... having been in some cast or other since October, and having done 4 plays in 2 months, I now find myself with no play to do and at a bit of a loose end.

Luckily [personal profile] merrythebard's readthrough of LOTR will keep me in thespy mode for the weekend. I've just noticed I need to do two rustic accents, should i go for Somerset [ooh aarh] or Yorkshire [ey ooop], and can I do either? With enough alcohol I tend to slip into my native Cumbrian, but since we will be alcohol free, and as Cumbrian sounds like Geordie to moist people this isn't an option. Oh well...
leonato: (Default)
Well here I am with a Live Journal at last, with suitably Shakespearean handle. No more posting anonymous messages, or secret LJ voyeurism!

Not sure what I'll write here yet, I fear it will either consume all my limited free time, or I will never post again. We shall see....


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