October 2018

September is the month that sort of spans the last of the summer and the beginning of the winter – well, autumn at least.


A sure sign is the days getting shorter – the mornings colder, etc. Also, misty mornings where I am.





It is also the time of the Autumn Equinox where there is equal night and day – light and dark. Sunrise to mark the occasion:




In Wiccan terms, this is Mabob, which is the middle of the three harvest festivals; a time of celebration for the fruits and vegetables of the fields. Celebration and sharing are key principles in pleasing the pagan gods at this time.



Another sure sign, is the end of the Prom seasons. After my summer travels, I manage to get in three more concerts: Mahler 3rdsymphony, a Tango evening, and the Berlin Philharmonic under their new conductor playing Beethoven 7thSymphony. The last of these was magnificent.




Other music was Maya Youssef from Syria, playing the qanun – a seventy-eight string plucked zither. Despite the number of strings, it is only really two octaves as this musical tradition using quarter tones – so, four tones per note. Anyway, a fine concert including both traditional and self compositions taken from her new CD Syrian Dreams.  mayayoussef.com



A final ‘summer’ trip to Germany – near Limburg/ Frankfurt. A lovely week with temperatures in the 30s – and some nice wine tasting and food sampling. Also,  some visits to castles and abbeys/ churches. I found the area to be very civilized indeed.




Whilst there I also visited a rather fine exhibition of art taken from the early period of the Weimar Republic – so, a kind of magic realism in the light of European art of the period. Close associations with The Bridge, Blue Rider and indeed Bauhaus in terms of influence.




This show was somewhat complemented by another show later at the Tate Britain in London: Aftermath. The theme here was art from England, France and Germany in the aftermath of the First World War. It was a bit of a mish-mash, with an emphasis on depicting the tragedies of war itself. Nevertheless, some other indications of what was developing in the art world across Europe.



Then, a very fine production of Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra at the National Theatre, London. A long play – three and a half hours – but riveting. I remember doing it for my A-level English. The leads were top notch – Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo – and made a mesmerizing pair as they moved towards their final tragedies.



Lots of music going on. But, my favourite in later days is the new CD – after some 26 years – by Nile Rodgers and Chic. Classic Boogie to lift the spirits.




Reading wise, The Town, the first novel by Shaun Prescott, perplexed and intrigued me. Set, again for me, in Australia, it is about a town that is literally disappearing before your eyes. Part Beckett, part Kafka, and part Camus, it is both an elegiac read and somewhat of an allegory for contemporary socio-cultural (eco-political) experience.