January 29th, 2004


Art, dreams and lies

Several things are going on in my life right now, while I wait for peer review on the movie book and generally quiver. Mostly nice things like getting to review the Andrew Davis/Christine Schafer 'Lulu' on DVD and discovering that my taste has changed yet again. Where once I thought of Alban Berg's second and last opera as a mighty work of intellect that I found impressive without entirely finding it congenial, and then got more and more used to it, now suddenly I am hearing it as a work of very late romanticism as much as one of high modernism. After all, Wedekind's play on which both the opera and the Louise Brooks film are based is full of late romantic decadence as much as of vaguely modernist gestures. In the end, it is about love and death, which is a theme with which late C19 and early C20 opera is so closely associated that small differences like serial composition change very little.

Suddenly it is a fiercely expressionist work with Mahlerian sweeping strings and love duets and dying falls and I can't believe I ever thought it was difficult. Now all I have to worry about is the intense misogyny of much of it, and the uneasy awareness on my part that the vocally brilliant Schafer (just as good in Mozart and Richard Strauss) is on the one hand very cute and on the other hand almost, save cuteness, a spitting image of Laura Beale in 'East Enders'.

So anyway Amazon are paying me to watch opera again after a hiatus of some months, and it looks as if I may have a new gig reviewing records, of which more anon.

I had a strange dream last night in which I had a long conversation with Charisma Carpenter about the recent 'Angel' spoilers. Dream CC was very cool about the situation, and drinks her coffee with lots of milk in it, I discovered.

As for the recent spoilers Collapse )
And I will finish 'Five Untrue Things' real soon now. Bits of the last section exist and katemonkey have skweed at them, but I've been moody and stressed. Doubtless having to listen to lots of shiny new CDs will calm me down.

And then there is Hutton, a vast and shameful stitch up in the way it is being used to trash the Beeb. There are issues, but not the ones Hutton picks on - the problem is the Birt organizational changes which by creating an internal market put the onus on journalists to come up with good stories and not on editors to stifle their enthusiasm with boring fact-checking. Gilligan was not essentially wrong, or essentially inventing things, but an editor needed to make him stiffen the factual side of the story more and this did not happen.

The irony is that this has strengthened the hand of the people who want more internal privatization when that is what caused the problem.

I don't even believe Blair is a liar - he is a self-deceiver who does not know what the truth is any more. My guess is that his desire to keep in with the cool kids in the White House and his genuine concern to stop bad people doing bad things came together as a convenient pairing in his head and he cast around for a good legal reason for signing up for the war. Absent a clear international mandate to breach sovereignty to stop oppression, genocide etc., he needed a pretext and WMD were a good one.

Except that, as it happened, they no longer existed and he is hoist by his own petard. (Cliche, but the right cliche.)
  • Current Music
    Natalie Dessay - Mad Scene from Thomas' Hamlet