A Japanese living in London writes anything about everyday life in UK – cafe, restaurant, design, stores, politics, news, events, art/museums, films, food, fashion, travel etc. イギリス暮らしもかれこれ10年。カフェ、レストラン、デザイン、お店、政治、ニュース、イベント、アート／美術館、映画、食、ファッション、旅行等々、ロンドンでの日常生活や、英国に関する情報を思いつくままに綴ります。
「I am not Me, the Horse is not Mine」は、ケントリッジがデザインと演出を手がけた、ニューヨーク・メトロポリタン歌劇場の上演作品・ドミートリイ・ショスタコーヴィチのオペラ「 The Nose（鼻）」から派生した作品で、Tanksの1室のぐるりの壁に、1920〜30年代のソビエト連邦の映像やロシア・アヴァンギャルドの悲惨な結末など、ロシア・モダニズムをテーマにした8つのビデオ（各6分）を同時投影したもの。ロシア構成主義のグラフィックデザイナーの幾何学的抽象作品のパロディーである、切り絵風の人物を使ったアニメーションや、ロシア革命を含む1920〜30年代の写真・映像と、次から次へと変わっていくスクリーンは、見ていて楽しいけれど、正直意味不明。なのでテレグラフ紙の記事を読んでみたが、それでも分からない。意味を考えずに鑑賞するのが正解かも。
“I am not Me, the Horse is not Mine” started out as the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Dmitry Shostakovich’s opera, The Nose, which Kentridge designed and directed. It is an eight-channel video installation, projected simultaneously across the walls. Each 6-minute film is played on a continuous loop and contributes layers to a story that references Russian modernism, from Soviet film of the 1920s and 1930s to the calamitous end of the Russian avant-garde. The images change rapidly between animation featuring paper cutout of human figures, parodying the geometric abstraction of Russian Constructivist graphic designers, and old photos and films from the 1920s and 1930s, including of Russian Revolution. It was fun to look at, but I didn’t get what it means. I read the Telegraph article, and I still don’t get it…
The campaign was launched in January 2009, playing on the similarity between the words “Market” and “Meerkat” and with Orlov’s catchphrase ‘Simples’. It has achieved a great success since then and also has contributed to a commercial success for comparethemarket.com to become the UK’s 4th most visited insurance website, and the site’s overall sales doubled. By 2010 the site had increased its market share by 76%. As of today, Aleksandr has more than 800,000 Facebook fans and around 55,000 followers on Twitter, as well as his Flickr gallery for family portraits. The adverts are quite funny, so check out the videos on YouTube’s channel of comparethemeerkat.com.
The Open University is a distance learning and researchuniversity, founded in 1969 by Royal Charter in the UK and funded in part by the British Government, and it was the first successful distance teaching university in the world. The administration is based in Milton Keynes, but has regional centres in each of its thirteen regions around the country. With more than 250,000 students enrolled, including more than 50,000 overseas students in 75 countries,it is the largest academic institution in Europe by student number and one of the world’s largest universities.
「The History of English – in 10 minutes」, the photo above, is the first cross-platform commission for the Open University’s YouTube and iTunes U Channels. The total of 10 mini-episodes (1 minute each) explain 1,600-year history of English with animated illustrations and typical British humours. Starting from the arrival of Anglo-Saxons after Romans were gone, Christian missionaries brought some religious Latin words and Viking left about 2,000 words. Then 10,000 French words, mainly related to official businesses and culinary, were added after Norman Conquest in 1066. Shakespeare created massive 2,000 words and phrases such as puppy and eyeballs, and the King James Bible, completed in 1611, created terms of metaphor and morality. English of science was needed when science was advanced and the Royal Society set up in 1660. During the British Empire between 1583 – 1914, many local words were brought back, such as barbecue, canoe and boomerang, from British colonies worldwide. A Dictionaries of the English Language was published in 1765 after 9 years of work, and Oxford English Dictionary after 173 years of its predecessor came out in 1928 with astonishing 71 years of patient effort, and the proper spellings and meanings were established. American English has been developed with influences from Native Americans and immigrants from worldwide, and British English has been taking many words from it. In the recent decades, IT terms have been created after computer was invented, and English has become a global language and localised English such as Hinglish (Hindu English), Chinglish (Chinese English) and Singlish (Singapore English) exports some words to original English.
Narrations are quite fast but illustration gives us a good understanding. You can also learn a little bit of British history. After all, these are very cute and funny!
昨日、ボリス・ジョンソン市長とTransport for London （TFL）は、夏にスタートする市の自転車レンタルシステムを前に、自転車利用者の安全と事故減少を目指し、新しい「Cycle Safety campaign（自転車安全キャンペーン）」を発表した。このキャンペーンでは、ピーク時のトラック利用の自制や死角の少ないTrixi mirrorsのトラックへの取り付け等トラック業界との協力、パンフレットや講習等自転車利用者への啓蒙・教育活動、警察と協力しての違法行為の取り締まり、ロンドン検察局と共同での自転車事故の刑事訴追プロセスの強化、Cycle Superhighways（自転車専用ルート）の建設のほか、特に問題となっている、トラックが左折する際に直進する自転車との衝突（過去エントリー参照）を防ぐため、赤信号でも自転車が左折できるよう検討することなどが含まれている。上のビデオはTVや映画館で流されているキャンペーン広告。銀行強盗に成功した一団が、まさに車で逃亡しようというところで、自転車に気づかず事故を起こしてしまうという、なかなかインパクトがある広告で、ドライバーに運転の際は自転車に注意するよう呼びかけている。
Yesterday, London Mayor Boris Johnson and Transport for London (TFL) announced a new Cycle Safety campaign for improving cycle safety and reducing the number of serious cycling accidents, before the launch of the Cycle Hire Scheme this summer. This campaign includes additional funding for cycle training, working with the Police and the London Criminal Justice Board to tackle irresponsible behaviors on the road and to strengthen criminal justice procedures for dealing with cyclist deaths and serious injuries, distributing safety mirrors such as Trixi mirrors to fleet operators and working with the HGV industry to avoid deliveries at peak times, constructing Cycle Superhighways, and possibility of allowing cyclists to turn left at red traffic lights, particularly to avoid collisions with lorries and trucks (see also my past entry), which are responsible for more than half of London’s cyclist deaths each year. The video above is a campaign advert on TV and in cinemas across London, encouraging drivers to look out for cyclists on the roads. It is funny but shocking – a group of bank robbers fail to notice a cyclist as they escape in a car.
As a cyclist himself, the Mayor is a enthusiastic promoter of bicycle and safety of cyclists, spending a record £111 million in 2009/10 and promoting the controversial Cycle Hire Scheme, inspired by theft and vandal-ridden Paris’ Vélib. However, as a cyclist, I want the city to spend more money for making more bicycle lanes throughout the city, that are fully protected from obnoxious drivers, like the ones in northern European countries. I would think educational brochure and cycle training teaching us just common sense are more or less waste of money, except for children – many cyclists know the rules but just ignore them to travel faster. Planned Cycle Superhighways connect London and its suburb (see the routes), not within the city, and it is no use for me as a central London resident (well, at the edge of it). By the way, there are a lot of ‘crap’ bicycle lanes throughout the city and UK, and you can check those on photo-sharing Flickr group “the world’s worst cycle lanes,” organized by the Guardian,” as well as the book “Crap Cycle Lanes“.
The two photos below are the “Ghost Bikes” placed on the fatal accident locations across UK, paying tribute to dead cyclists. Two cyclists’ death by being hit by a truck, were reported in the last two days in London (article 1、article 2).
English National Opera（イングリッシュ・ナショナル・オペラ／ENO）で、ヘンデルのメサイア（Messiah）を観た。イエス・キリストの生涯を描いたオラトリオの名作・メサイアは、もともとオペラの楽曲ではないのだが、気鋭の演出家・Deborah Warner（デボラ・ワーナー）によって、現代社会を舞台に、ダンスを取り入れたユニークなオペラ作品に仕上がった。衣装も小物も現代風、時折舞台後方のスクリーンに宗教画が映されたり、キリスト教の儀式に使われる小道具が劇中に出てくる程度で、キリストの物語にも関わらず宗教色は強くない。ティーンエイジャーの妊娠はマリアの処女懐胎、天使が羊飼いにキリスト降誕を告げる場面は、お遊戯会で子供たちがその場面を演じる形に、キリストの磔刑シーンは、若者の喧嘩に変えるなど、原作と繋がりを持たせようとしているが、ちょっと無理があるかも。キリスト教の学校に行っていたので、ある程度の知識はあるのだが、舞台上で起こってることと音楽とどう繋がりがあるのか分からず、後でタイムズ紙のレビューを読んで、ああそういうことだったのかと得心した。
We saw Handel‘s Messiah at the English National Opera (ENO). Messiah was not written for opera, but the director Deborah Warner transforms this oratorio masterpiece into an unique opera work, setting in modern urban life and taking in dance elements. The opera seems to reduce religion to a minimum – costumes and stage sets are modern, except the religious arts occasionally projected on screens and some ceremonial objects used in some scenes. The director tries to make a connection between the original story and this opera, but the attempt unfortunately doesn’t not really work well and quite cheesy: the Virgin Birth becomes teenage pregnancy, the meeting of shepherds and angels is turned into a school nativity play, and Christ’s scourging and Crucifixion translate into a fight among youths. I went to a Protestant school and know a bit about the life of Jesus Christ, but I barely understood the relationship between the music and what was going on on the stage. I figured out the meaning of some scenes after I came back home and read the review by the Times.
The biggest problem for me was the kids in the opera – I know it is not their fault but it was just annoying. A 6 year-old boy was almost always on the stage, walking around, running or sitting down, and it was very distracting. The scene of school play was really irritating as well, except a song by a boy with beautiful clear voice: the kids jumped up and down and the parents took a pictures or filmed with camcorders. It is reported that the opera uses 44 extras other than singers, including dancers. Some people just stand up or lie down – is it really necessary to put useless people on the stage??
However I I like Handel and Baroque music and enjoyed the music a lot: the Handel specialist conductor Laurence Cummings led the orchestra beautifully and voices of the two female soprano and alto singers were truly graceful. The modern and simple stage sets designed by Tom Pye were interesting, such as video footage of modern society (people going up and down on an elevator, or silhouettes of moving cranes) and transparent coffins placed all over the stage at the final part. We got a ticket, original price of £71 for only £10 with Evening Standardpromotion – so it was really worth going. But I would be upset if I paid £71 for the opera…