Monday, November 09, 2009

Fire Works!

Level of conviction in own genius: 7.5
Amount of creative activity achieved in last 24 hours: 0
Watching: The marvellous, if hilariously over-animated, Andrew Marr's 'The Making of Modern Britain'
Hair Day: fashioning new occasional trademark hairstyle of two little plaits from fringe going over like a hairband. YES!

juice did possibly their most intimate gig ever in Thursday, gracing the extremely bijou preserved drawing room of the Handel House Museum. Trust me, if you've craved the experience of real juice-spit in your eye and the deafening screech of our herding calls actually making your inner ear spin like a top in a hurricane, you missed a treat! But it was a very evocative experience, singing in the ultra-crisp acoustic of the tiny wood-panelled chamber, though hopefully the setting didn't confuse any juice virgins in the audience into thinking we were going to trill pretty Baroque shingalings - our slightly more contemporary fare, guttural gruntings et al, are a leetle more 21st-century than early 18th...

Had a rather lovely weekend of Londonness, first of all at the Kingdom of The Fireworks, the Tower Hamlets Borough Council's annual all-out extravaganza, which they must surely blow most of their budget on ('Recycling? Fresh road markings? Pah, we'll just send a load of mega-rockets into the air!'). But it does draw the hugest and most beautifully mixed crowd of multi-ethnic families and East London Coolios to Victoria Park, and every year the show is sensational. They seem to have forgone the attempts at a pre-fireworks narrative (though their near life-size recreation of a burning Houses of Parliament, the crowd baying for more as it fell apart, lives long in the memory) now, and this year's show, entitled 'Great Balls of Fire' simply combined huge flaming jets which licked the sky with a preposterously over-the-top display, all set to '50s and '60s conflagration-themed tunes. Kudos for the heart-shaped bursts and the perfectly-timed halos to Johnny Cash's 'Ring of Fire'! The whole neck-craning affair is like a VJ-ed mash-up of the end-of-2001: A Space Odyssey and the Death Star explosion, with a load of kids waving triumphant plastic lightsabres for good measure. Fabulous.

On Sunday, Andy and I walked the grey, drizzly North Bank of the Thames before visiting the Ed Rushca exhibition at the Hayward Gallery. This retrospective of a 50-year career merging graphic design, American typography and abstract/not-so-abstract painting was a robust affair, fascinating in its exploration of words as images. I grappled with the ideas of words having no size, of trying (and failing) to extrapolate a word from its meaning, of how the typography is as inherently iconic as the meaning of the word it's wearing. His later work was generally not so engaging, apart from strange, ghostly images of wolves and Midwest churches done only in black with spraycans. Then to the Curzon to see Andrea Arnold's Fish Tank, finally, which I've been desperate to see after catching her first feature, Red Road, in all its searingly thrilling glory. Her second film was no less blazing, a tenderly raw story of estate teen life laid bare, with little flares of beauty in the grime, and featuring a quite unsettlingly sexy turn from Michael Fassbender. Arnold is a massively talented writer-director, fiercely real and -I think - inherently female, and I can't wait to see what she does next. We finished off by stuffing our bellies full of heart-palpitatingly salty, oily pasta at our fave Italian, Ciao Bella in Bloomsbury, whilst the pianist played a jazz version of The Godfather theme just in case we thought were at a Japanese joint. Tee hee.

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