Tuesday, 9 May 2017

An argument of apples

A smorgasbord of irrelevance below.

1. Ceci n'est pas un opéra

My son's Magritte themed opera was everything I had hoped for, ie. 100% incomprehensible. It was as if they had taken the tweets of the Magical Realism Bot and turned them into a mash-up of music, spoken word and dance. Pity my spouse and his parents who do not even have the barest rudiments of Dutch, and who must have just allowed the whole carnival of insanity to wash over them in a tidal wave of confusion. I understood ... some. It didn't actually help much. Favourite elements: 

- My son's hat, which I will not show you a picture of, because sadly he is 13 and has a right to a private life, but which was a royal blue bowler hat, topped with gigantic clouds and a space rocket. The guy next to him in the orchestra had one with a sort of orange dinosaur on it. All the orchestra members were wearing similar hats (you can see if you enlarge that photo) and really I would like all orchestras to wear something similar now. 

- A man playing the vastest contrabassoon type instrument I have ever seen, which itself was wearing a little hat (white plastic bucket) on which he had writted "ceci n'est pas un pot de crème fraîche" for no reason at all I could elicit. I could not even tell if the bucket was part of the normal kit for an enormous contrabassoon or its costume for the performance. Why would the contrabassoon not have its own hat, after all? 

- Some apples in sleep masks arguing with each other in a rather pass-agg manner (Apple 1 had gone to the seaside with some other friends but not Apple 2, and Apple 2 got secretly huffy about it, then Apple 1 got secretly huffy in turn and it was all very awkward. Fruit! Get your grievances out in the open!)

- 2 Magritte impersonators, one with a dog on wheels

- A giant crow

- Children zipped in suitcases like that MI5 man and dragged onstage, in total defiance of health and safety norms

- A unicorn playing the glockenspiel

I will not miss my frequent, epic public transport pilgrimages to Jette for the rehearsals for the Magritterama, except maybe I will? It was interesting to see a whole other part of the city. Jette is quite sleepy, like here, but has a completely different feel, like you're in a small town in Flanders suddenly. There is a station and a moustache themed friterie and a profusion of parks and a rather spectacular looking butchers and I had to go there on the train and I do like a little train journey. Anyway. No more Jette and no more of the hideous Koekelberg Basilica looming at you from all angles.


2. Priestdaddy

Seriously, don't bother with my reading list for now (even though, classy segue, I have now added April), just all go and get this. I haven't laughed this much since Love, Nina and have been banned from reading it in bed, due to full body shaking with hysteria. I want to give everyone I know a copy. It's amazing.

3. This is nice

I was so happy about this review. I still have Weird Feelings about the whole book thing, but this was more or less unambiguously positive and I find that I kind of want to cut it out and hide it in a drawer to look at. I have no idea when that picture was taken, my "hair" doesn't look anything like that now (not least because my current wig is going severely bald at the back).

4. We Need to Talk About Bake Off Crème de la Crème

I feel I need to engage with this more intensely than I have to date. Angus Deayton who seems to be trudging through a living nightmare of his own making and who has no interest whatsoever in sugarcraft. The intense, thorough, unsparing cruelty of both judges. The weirdly large number of teams meaning you can't really get attached to anyone. The French bloke's accent. The messed up final challenge where everyone produces something spectacularly horrible looking of which most elements aren't even edible. It all just feels a bit .. off (so obviously I love it). Unfortunately it  (i) clashes with Yorkshire Vet and (ii) is universally despised by everyone else in this house. They'd almost prefer to watch Peter cheerfully castrating something.

I must go, my children are home, disdaining my painstakingly prepared baked goods and being lumpenly insolent. They obviously require chastising with scorpions. How are you all?


Anna Maria said...

The Magritte opera sounds brilliantly bonkers, thanks for the vivid description.
I will definitely read Priestdaddy now. I loved Nina's books, and I am relieved you've found it so funny.
I heard/read so much about it, but was apprehensive, having grown up in a country, where many people are still rabidly Catholic, so I tend to steer clear of books featuring a Catholic pater familias

WOL said...

There is a picture of Rene and Georgette Magritte with their dog after the war, which Paul Simon used as a springboard for one of his relentlessly autobiographical songs with lyrics that are full of self referential in-jokes and thus pretty incomprehensible -- which is pretty Magritte-esque when you think about it. One wonders if Magritte with his dog was referring to the picture, or to the song, or not.

Waffle said...

WOL - If this opera was correct, Magritte had a dog called Lulu and when it died they replaced it with another dog that they also called Loulou et ainsi de suite. That might have been entirely made up though. Who could tell?

Catherine Ingleby ART said...

Just ordered Priestdaddy - even the excerpt had me sniggering. My best book of 2017 is The Brittle Star, a book you get truly lost in.

Waffle said...

NOTED, Catherine. Maybe I'll bring it donkey trekking later this month (YES I AM QUITE EXCITED)

LuLu Anna said...

Dear Emma, you always make me laugh. The Magritte opera sounds truly marvellous in the most bonkers of ways, but perhaps a little too try hard... (especially what with it being in Dutch as well- if I'd been in charge I think I would have written it in an imaginary language-perhaps Esperanto...or the one George Bernard Shaw invented)

The GBBO Patisserie show. Most of the food looks disgusting and seeing Benoit last night spitting some out confirmed my suspicions (was it me or has he started making unsavoury spitting noises even when not disgorging green croissants?) And the collapse of the chocolate centrepiece- that's one we've been waiting for all season. But why? What happens to the tonnes of chocolate wasted every week producing building blocks when the judges only taste the petits fours? Daughter and I are making the wedding cake for no1 son's forthcoming nuptials, but there will be none of that fancying about, I am glad to say- decoration to provided by florist, thankfully. Enjoy the donkey trekking (who wouldn't???)

Katie said...

Hello. Long time lurker here, that is the most perfect description of Creme de la Creme, though I must also add the induced craving for lots of pretty sweet food to watch it with. The opera sounds quite the experience, surely multiple bonus parenting points for sitting through that, though I am guessing perhaps the insolence suggests gratitude might be lacking xx

WOL said...

Magritte et al., with their pack of LouLou's must have subscribed to the same school as my maternal grossmutter. All her many dogs of both sexes over scores of years were (mostly) black and they were every last one named "Coaly" (as in coal-black). She saw no point in making life needlessly complicated. She never had to remember the neuer hund's name. Of course, it did get a little surreal for the rest of us (until we caught on). When you visited three years ago, Coaly was old and male and now he's young and has six puppies. . .

Anonymous said...

I was intrigued by the contrabasson's hat and, googling, found this ten-minute video in which the Philharmonis Orchestra's contrabassoonist talks about his instrument:
Five meters of tubing - who knew?! I am completely in awe of the breath support that must require: my dad recently gave me his A-clarinet, and even though it is only maybe two centimetres longer than my B-clarinet, it seems to require whole new reservoirs of support that I do not yet possess. So: five metres?! Wow. (No hat though.)

@WOL: Paul Simon's Heart and Bones album is probably my favorite of his albums, so I consider "relentlessly autobiographical" fighting words. How about "wonderfully and poetically evocative", eh? EH?

ellen kirkendall said...

That pet naming strategy would have saved a great deal of argument in my family. Maybe not; we would have relentless arguments over anything at all. Some still rage on 50 years later.

frau antje said...

Scorpions, should you be chastised with them, can be killed in under three minutes by (forced, obviously) exposure to extreme heat. Sorry, have been where Foucault had the time of his life on acid, and many other places, saying things like, "Trailhead? That doesn't sound good."

Anna Maria said...

Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas called all their dogs Basket, I believe.
Re. Behind Her Eyes, thank goodness I didn't spend money on it, I just listened to Radio 4 adaptation. I hated it. I don't read a lot of crime, so not sure what "is allowed" or not, but, again, glad I didn't buy it, and wouldn't recommend it.

Hoxton said...

YES! Exactly this about Creme de la Creme. Am baffled and slightly bored by the repetitive tasks but cannot tear myself away. Angus seems to alternate between scorn and pity (for himself as well as the contestants). And you never get a sense that any of the contestants is an absolute genius, it's hard to get involved with a more industrial/team process. But there's a little part of me that wishes I could instil the kind of downright terror Cherish inspires. Still, it's lacking a certain something for optimal maternity leave telly in the early hours. Maybe I should try the vet?

Waffle said...

Hoxton - CHERISH IS TERRIFYING. Also Benoît - such scorn, such disgust. Zero feel good. I'm addicted/repelled in equal measure.

Anonymous said...

Please bring the Magritte opera to Hackney, it would be an unqualified success and if we need anything right now it is a unicorn playing a saxophone.

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