Archive | June, 2007

Madonna – Confessions Tour – Wembley Arena – August 16th 2006

28 Jun

 

I just found this little piece languishing in my drafts folder…

 


It was thrilling seeing Madge once more…but she kept us waiting for 1h and 10mins! But that is the problem with charismatic performers like her, you forget all about those kind of problems when she makes it on stage!

The show was really tightly choreographed and with a great playlist. It was slightly more special than the rest of the nights she played as it was her birthday. So we all got to sing happy birthday to her…and quickly escape to Wembley Park tube station!

 

 

You Thrill Me - Erotica Backdrop for Hung Up Jump Close up of stage at end of catwalk

Milton Court a monstrocity or a lost jewel on Barbican’s crown?

27 Jun
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was browsing today and was made aware that Milton Court, at the edge of The Barbican in London is about to be redeveloped.

Modernist architecture has had a very rough ride in the UK from most of last century. Especially in the aftermath of the dreadful social housing that used Modernist language without the philosophical and ideological background. 

Milton Court was built in 1965 as a support building to the main Barbican Centre. It was not listed unlike the Centre and a few years ago all leftover residents were bought out of their flats and it has been lying empty read to be redeveloped, here’s the proposed plan on the Corporation of London’s website: http://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/Corporation/media_centre/files2006/City+selects+preferred+Milton+Court+developer.htm

Here are some more links that relate to the campaign to save Milton Court on the debate about its architectural merit:

The BBC’s website:http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/6222792.stm

CABE’s website with an elevation plan: http://www.cabe.org.uk/default.aspx?contentitemid=1925&refid=0&sl=

Advocates of Milton Court have put together a website to try and save it: http://www.miltoncourt.org/  (website now defunct) and also the 20th Centrury Society is advocating the building: http://riskybuildings.c20society.org.uk/docs/08milton/index.html

 CABE seems not to be too impressed by the quality of the proposed development

“We do not think that the architecture in this case is of sufficient quality to make a positive contribution to its immediate and wider setting.” 

 The objections of CABE are higlighting a major problem when developers are brought in to built mixed use development for public bodies. On one hand they have to keep their clients happy by fullfilling the brief even in the expense of the design. And also trying to deliver it to a predetermined price point and make enough money for the architectural practise and the contractor. Unfortunately this kind of development very rarely produces good architecture. And in this instance the Corporation of London should be thinking more about how to make a interesting contribution to the London skyline than how to self-finance the new theatre for the Guildhall School of Music by selling the flats in the new development. 

Let’s hope that reason will prevail and maybe a sensitive redevelopment will incorporate the original building.

Addendum

The building was demolished in 2008, a great shame but developers have won once more.

(the also, ironically, now defunct) CABE approved the new design after three review panels

Some images of the site after demolition

and a PDF on the contractor’s website

The erected building has been named The Herron, here is their home page with all the sales patter.

Police brutality alla Greca

20 Jun
Was amazed yesterday going through my usual sources of Greek news to discover a video showing a couple of policemen abusing two immigrants in a police station in the very centre of Athens.
Once more it demonstrates how far Greece can really be from the civilized west.
The minister in charge seems not too be too bothered about the whole situation and clearly is not able to offer his resignation.
 
In my 18 years I spend in Athens I was witnessing from all sides the inability of the Greeks to deal with difference and change. And the logical conclusion of intolerance is racism and xenophobia.
Back in 1996 everyone seemed to be up in arms about the influx of Albanians in Greece and how it changed the traditional social strata of the country. What most people refused to acknowledge though was the very fact that all the cheap labour helped Greece though some rough times, when the economy was very unsteady and almost ruled it out of the single European currency. All the migrant workers were referred to as if they were inanimate objects, there just to please the Greeks.
 
I am deeply ashamed looking back at those years realising with hindsight that the times were, and still are, deeply racist and intolerant.
Everything in Greece has a veneer of "national pride" which legitimises the most abhorrent behaviour. And most people think that the country is owed special dispensation from accepted wisdom and mores because it was the historic cradle of civilization. I remember countless conversations and quarrels at school when I expressed any views that did not reflect this pseudo-patriotic given. Other students would call me names and that I was anti-patriotic. For them being a patriot equalled agreeing with all the policies the Greek government came up with without judging them in the slightest. If the government wanted to go to war over the sea borders with Turkey then we all had to agree that Turkey is automatically the force of evil and it had to be ring fenced. The very fact that Greece is most probably the only European country to use land mines to protect its borders always used to pass by all those "patriots".
 
I’m sure a number of people will quietly applaud the police officers in the leaked video for "keeping in check the foreigners". Police brutality is nothing new in Greece. The power of the police over the lives of the citizens is immense. They pretty much have every right to stop and search anyone whenever they fancy and of course all of them being armed you wouldn’t resist! That police state practically dates back to the dictatorship (1967-1974) when torturing the opposition became the norm. The country since then is pretty much run under a status quo of hatred, suspicion and fear. I just wish they would all wake up and realise that very much like ancient Greece built its success on huge numbers of slaves, modern Greece depends on human trafficking and bribery to keep itself going.
 
I will be watching the development of the story with huge interest and see if any politicians will take responsibility for the institutionally racist police force they have nurtured over the last 30 years.
 
The furore has not as yet made it to the UK media, here are a couple of links to the Athens News Agency in English:
and the link to the video on the Greek website that publishised it:
 
 
 

Organic and more organic

12 Jun
Have been buying organic products for the last few years…mainly on the basis of taste.
 
Today have ordered my first box of organic vegetables straight from the farm!
 
Hopefully it will put a stop to my all too frequent visits to Marks&Spencer on the way home! And is surely cheaper than Marks. Plus you get to try new veggies that most supermarkets would not bother to stock (wet garlic anyone?)
 
Will report back on the first delivery, this coming Thursday
 
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MTV Movie Awards 2007…and Paris

5 Jun
Oh dear I did watch the repeat of the MTV Movie Awards last night…and had a great laugh at the abuse thrown at Paris Hilton from the presenter!
 
One day before she was up to be locked up she chose to go to another red carpet bash. Poor Paris she doesn’t have a life away from the photographers flashes and her own camcorder 😉
 
Here is a link to the video on you tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OwkjeefUEes
I just love Jack Nicholson’s reaction! As for Paris’ sulky expression…oh well maybe she should have been more gracious and just smile back. But then she maybe was thinking of ingenious ways to suck on those bars without hurting her teeth!
 
You’ve got to love pointless celebs like her! They offer us hours of unadulterated escapism and fun
 
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