High Society and Evolving English
The Wellcome Collection and The British Library, 3rd January 2011 A look at the use of drugs for recreational purposes since Victorian times, High Society had its moments. Images of Victorian opium dens, strange drug-taking paraphernalia and a timeline of the price and purity of cocaine at each of its stages of production were fascinating. But other exhibits, mainly the ones that concentrated on...
Arsenal 3 Chelsea 1
The Emirates, Premier League, 28th December 2010 The feeling walking to the game was of lambs to the slaughter. Our record against top teams, and Chelsea in particular, so poor that a beating seemed inevitable. But it wasn’t to be. Wenger made changes and every player worked themselves to the bone and, apart from one minor lapse for their goal, remained focussed on the job in hand for 90...
The Ministry of Food and Holocaust Exhibitions
Imperial War Museum, 27th December 2010 Whilst it may not sound too exciting, the Imperial War Museum’s exhibition on the rationing of food during the war was actually very entertaining. It gave you a good understanding of the amount of effort that was put in to making sure Britons ate the right foods, generated minimum waste, ate healthily and used our own resources as much as possible. It...
The Tate Modern, 05/12/10 I admit, I knew next to nothing of Gaugin before this exhibition. And if at first his paintings don’t suggest an interesting person, he, like his work, is deceptive. Often you’d look at a picture without too much of a reaction before realising something strange, dark or obscene in the background or detail. Intriguing.
Though not Mike Leigh’s best work - every single character seems to be a bit too much, and it’s all so unglamorously 90s - Career Girls is still a decent enough way to spend an evening. It’s a little film that packs soft punches, most notably through Andy Serkis’ weirdo turned bitter character.
Arsenal 2 Wigan 0
The Emirates, Carling Cup q/f, 30/11/10 We’ll remember this one for a while. When Wigan’s Stam came on for McManaman (just like the 90s)? When that pitch-invading boy never quite made it to the pitch? When the Mexican Yawn went round on 72 minutes? The ‘attendance’ of ‘59,000’? Oh, the match. Arsenal won without switching on the engine, let alone thinking about...
The National Gallery, 28/11/10 Bridget Riley has been making paintings that make your eyes wobble since the 60s. This exhibition was a collection of new and older work, limited to only 8 pieces, none of which were particularly exciting. The film, The Artist’s Eye, though, was fascinating. Plummy British accents speaking about the ‘shape of colour’ and stuff to throbbing,...
The Social, 24/11/10 Set of knob-twiddling by Luke Abbott at a crowded Social. Superb, warm synth sounds and beats much more punishing than expected. Dancing happened. It looked like he was doing stuff up there on stage, but I have my suspicions he may have been doing nothing at all.
Soho Theatre, 20/11/10 Superior character comedy. Dark, extremely twisted, you never know which corner it’s turning next. Sometimes just plain odd. Is it supposed to be funny? Ultimately great fun. Like entering a Victorian freakshow, it messes with your mind.
Caribou, Four Tet, Nathan Fake and James Holden
The Coronet, Elephant & Castle, 19/11/10 Amazing theatre venue with balcony and red velvet trimmings. Nathan Fake twiddled knobs, we sat in the seats. Caribou played, it was rammed. They were excellent as ever. I managed to get fully consumed, totally lost in the sound. Four Tet twiddled knobs and James Holden DJed, both excellent, had a big dance.
Spectrals - A Spectrals Extended Play
Sometimes you can’t explain why a record grabs you. This sounds like The Coral. On occasion, it dirges. The frontman drawls semi-interested, arrogantly. But those lyrics. The brilliant, roomy 60s production. The whistlable tunes. It’s mysterious, elevated.
Worried this might have been just another Mike Leigh film, I was prepared to be disappointed. Another Year is just another Mike Leigh film. Totally involving, completely absorbing, horribly emotional and a great performance from Lesley Manville.
Islet, Gyratory System and H Hawkline
Cafe Oto, 11/11/10 H Hawkline chuck kraut, folk, 60s Garage psych and pop into a blender. Occasionally ramshackle, always fun, with the odd deliciously sticky tune. Their debut album is out now. Gyratory System – One man on a tiny keyboard and two on brass through a multitude of effects. The synth backing is spazzy, Dan Deacon-like, the effects make the brass sound wronger than wrong. The...