Duomo La Spezia, Liguria Italy. (Cattedrale di Cristo Re.)


On our recent trip to Italy I was particularly taken by this fantastic brutalist (it’s actually rationalist or neo-rationalist) cathedral in La Spezia.

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The 12 support pillars represent the 12 apostles.

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It was built between the mid 1950’s and its consecration in 1975.

And the apostles names are carved into each pillar.

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The crucifix is 19th Century and is the only ‘old’ thing in the church (if you don’t count me).IMG_9397_2.jpg

It was designed by the rationalist architect Adalberto Libera.

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Above the crucifix is a stunning 50 metre stained glass cupola.

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Possibly the worst Mercury Prize Shortlist ever…


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Unbelievably mainstream.  Some genuinely rubbish records on it (Florence and the Machine).  Entirely lacking in class.

My vote is for Arctic Monkeys but the best act on the list is Nadine Shah.

  • Arctic Monkeys
  • Everything Everything
  • Richard Russell
  • Florence and the Machine
  • Jorja Smith
  • King Krule
  • Lily Allen
  • Nadine Shah
  • Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
  • Novelist
  • Sons of Kemet
  • Wolf Alice

No Young Fathers?  Fuck off.

No Jon Hopkins?  Fuck off.

No Gogo Penguin?  Fuck off.

Natural beauty.


I was struck by the image of this peasant girl in the aforementioned exhibition in Tuscany (Cortona to be precise).  She’s a peasant girl and the flowers are crap.  But her freckles make her stand out.  just one of many great photographs in an exhibition you’d have paid good money to see and be thankful.

It was free.

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Howard’s End.


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Our extremely good friends, Will and Ann, have lived in Howard Place for many years and last Saturday they had a leaving do that got a little bit, well, refreshed.

Anyway, as I left I kissed goodbye to Howard Place.

GGTTH.

 

Anna Meredith Opens the Proms tonight.


I first fell in love with Anna Meredith when she supported Anna Calvi at the, now defunct, The Caves in Glasgow.  It was a bonkers performance and I adored it.  I bought her SAY award winning Varmints soon after and saw her live at Leith Theatre last year opening Hidden Doors Festival.  The best gig I saw in 2017.

My appreciation of her was actually behind the curve because she had already established herself as a highly regarded composer in modern classical circles and that is one of the reasons she will open The Proms tonight and the Edinburgh Festival in August with a commissioned piece about WWI called 5 Telegrams.

Even though I consider myself a big fan nothing, NOTHING, could prepare me for this.  This awesome, really nothing short of awesome, performance in the Tiny Desk Concerts series.  I thought Penguin Cafe had kicked it out of the park a couple of years ago in this series but this kicks it out of the park next door too.

Sit back, relax and enjoy Nautilus (surely the greatest piece of music ever written for the tuba), Ribbons (she even sings, who knew?) and The Vapours.

19 minutes and 4 seconds of utter bliss.  Thank you Anna.

Edinburgh Festival and Fringe 2018: my top picks


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I’ve done a lot of research into the Fringe and Festival this year and have booked a lot of tickets – for 25 shows so far. All are based on strong recommendations from either myself, The Stage, What’s on Stage, The Independent or The Guardian. So to save you some research time you might want to look at what I’ve booked as a starter.
Top tip. Look at 1/2/3 August for cheap previews and 6/7 August as it’s 2 for 1 days. The restricted view seats at the Kings are not restricted and are a bargain too.
Festival
Five Telegrams – The free opening show featuring music of Anna Meredith
La Maladie De la Mort – theatre
Home – theatre
European Young Musicians 2018 Semi Final
Autobiography – dance
Love Chapter 2 – dance
Xenos – dance
Fringe
Goblin perform Suspiria (film and live music accompaniment – Sold out I think) – Summerhall
Sister Act – FCT
Guru Dudu’s Silent Disco Walking Tour
Ulster American – Traverse
Janis Joplin: Full Tilt – with Hannah Scott on 7/14/21 August
8 Songs
My Left/Right Foot – The Musical (NTS)
Vertical Influences – a canadian Ice skating show – participative
All We Ever Wanted Was Everything
Island Town – Summerhall
De Fuut – Big in Belgium at Summerhall
No Kids
Lights over Tesco Car Park
Carmen Funebre – outdoor spectacle
Killy Muck
Underground Railroad Game – Traverse
What Girls are Made of – Traverse
The Greatest Play in the History of the World – Traverse – with her from Corrie
Also on my list but not yet booked:
Jessie Cave
Our Country
Nele Needs a holiday – The musical
Insert slogan here
Giselle
The Moira Monologues

Now Jaguar Landrover say they will lose £1bn a year in the face of a hard Brexit. How long can this stupidity go on?


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Airbus has sent out loud warnings.  BMW is saying it will shift production from the UK. Nissan has already had the book thrown at it in terms of financial sops. Now the jewel in the UK’s automotive crown is making noises about the serious financial impacts of a hard Brexit.  Even the bastion of Brexit, The Daily Express, is leading on the Jaguar story with a warning.

Why?  straightforward really.  in the face of no European tariffs deal the cost of cars will go up and the cost of imported parts will increase.

This is not complicated economics to get one’s head around.  And yet, the government;  well, a few morons in the cabinet specifically, continues to be completely undecided about its Brexit strategy, never mind actually negotiating it.

This is all on the back of a wafer thin decision made by an electorate that has now largely woken up to the fact that the leavers voted on a belief that was founded on a bunch of lies.

£300+million extra a week for the NHS.  Does ANYONE now believe that?

We run an Air B’nB so have continental visitors day in day out.   Every single one of them, bar none, simply shake their heads in disbelief when conversation turns to Brexit.

We’re not in the Euro, so we face none off the risk that brings.  Our banks service trillions of £’s of European money with no strings.  We have no trade tariffs and anyone who thinks Europe will play it easy on that front should look at the Trump scenario.

We are in a brilliant position for trading with our biggest customer (and supplier).

A few sociopaths threaten the UK’s economic health through their mental health problems.

I still believe a second referendum is justified, fair and sensible.

No, not sensible.  Sane.