Artist envy

I think most office-bound workers have a desire, sometimes at least, to get out there and do something, well, a little more creative. If it weren’t for my lack of skills in these departments, I would love to do something similar, in spirit, to these two friends:

Klaus Thymann went with his camera and photographed these talented parkour artists / refugee camp athletes in the unlikeliest of destinations, war torn Gaza. Have a look at the magnificent photos, beautifully merging politics, athleticism and aesthetics, on the New York Times Style Magazine website.

Mateus Alves is a humble physicist turned double bass player and composer, studying at London’s Royal College of Music. His work, the Two Seasons of Brazil’s Northeast, merges conventional and Brazilian rhythms to create something that is greater than the sum of its parts.

Go you!

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In search of the perfect movement

Inasmuch as I hate musicals, I have a soft spot for certain forms of dance. Watching a performance by La La La Human Steps some years ago certainly helped this appreciation come about.

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I believe in chaos theory

Due to an unforeseen train of events including someone losing their car keys in the Scottish Highlands and a fast courier, I am ‘forced’ to make my way down to London this evening for the First Night of the Proms in the Royal Albert Hall.

There are worse ways to start the weekend, especially since the concept of free time has been somewhat diluted recently.

[Update] Off to a thunderous start indeed; we sat right next to the 9997-pipe organ, which is the size of a small country. You can see the concert on the BBC iPlayer.

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If talent had a name it would be Portishead

Arguably, the band with the most distinctive sound ever to come out of the 90s, Portishead, has recently released its third studio album, Third. I will never grow tired of Beth Gibbons’ mourning vocals and the dreamy backdrop of slightly melancholic beats and samples.

You can listen to the single, Hunter, on JewTube.

This album is darker than dark, bringing back memories of Tricky’s Angels with Dirty Faces, although it comes across as slightly more polished.

Regardless of the fact that it received and, no doubt, will receive raving reviews, you want to own this album.

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Dimitri’s Barber Shop

At Dimitri's, the barber

Hidden somewhere at the feet of the towering skyscrapers in San Francisco’s financial district, there remains a well-preserved pocket of culture from the 1950s, Dimitri’s Barber Shop.

Dimitri, who is either from Macedonia or Greece, is the perfect antidote to the glittering temples of dullness aka Vidal Sassoon, Toni & Guy, etc. While there is not enough customers passing through to justify the two cutting stations, one now serves as a permanent seat for Dimitri’s clarinet.

If you ask him nicely, he will take you on a musical journey that outweighs by far any barbershop experience, pun intended, you may have enjoyed previously.

Click on the picture to see more shots.

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Music that makes you cry

I am delighted once again to be able to see one of my absolute favourite bands perform live.

Underworld taught my generation that electronic music can be just as beautiful as music created using ‘conventional’ instruments, if not better. For many people they provided a path to a completely new world, and some of us chose to stay in that neck of the woods happily ever after.

With so many personal feelings vested, it will surely feel like going back in time; back to an era that is now deceptively covered in a layer of innocence. Ah, how we used to live…

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