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31st May 2003

Fierce Festival: Saw the excellent Room Service by Gob Squad at the Howard Johnson Hotel in West Bromwich.

29th May 2003

Fierce Festival: 20 Women Play the Drums Topless. With three titles, "The Withdrawal from Conversation", "The Return to the Oceanic" and "The Weight of the Breast" I kind of expected 3 seperate pieces. What we did get was 20 volunteers (paid \xA350 each) drumming behind full drum kits for about 30 minutes in the beautiful surroundings of the Grand Hotel ballroom on Colmore Row. As far as I could tell, only 3 of the participants had any drumming experience, and the result was an incredible cacophony! Occasionally, a rhythm would appear for a minute or so, then disappear as people improvised over the top of it. Most of the participants seemed to enjoy it, though some were much more enthusiatic drummers than others.

The audience consisted of a typical (known) arts-scene crowd, with not a dirty mac in sight.

Overall, the piece struck me as kind of Dada-ist. Certainly not a musical event, I think it was basically conceptual - the title "20 Woman Play the Drums Topless" is fantastic.

Ate at Henrys Cantonese in St Paul's Square. Food was good, I had the tofu with chinese mushrooms. The salmon and squid were reportedly very good. Main course + rice, veg etc worked out about \xA312 per head.

27th May 2003

Fierce Festival: Second Skin at St Pauls Gallery. In this project, 4 design students from the University Of Central England were hypnotised and taken to an imaginary space. They then drew the space which they saw and from this, designs and then models were produced. There was also a rather confused attempt to use Genetic Algorithms to combine the designs, but with no clear results or documentation of the selection methods or the parameters used.

A film combining footage of the hypnosis sessions, computer generated models and close ups of the physical models was shown. Then after a break, 5 volunteers were hypnotised by artist Marcos Lutyens and, after a period, drew their visions of space on a large UV-lit sheet on the gallery floor. The drawings were very disparate, ranging from what appeared to be abstract repetative scrawlings (defining the space of the volunteers kneeling body) to more easily interpreted and familiar objects.

24th May 2003

Went to Birmingham Pride - there was a great parade through the streets, with floats and people in carnival costumes. I even spotted a couple of people I knew and rode on a little bus - what that was doing there I've no idea!

"I'd rather that a bigot mistake me for a lesbian than that a lesbian mistake me for a bigot." (Misc Quotes)

22nd May 2003

Saw The Lodger at The MAC with live music from Cipher. It's a great film, I didn't realise that Alfred Hitchcock was around long enough ago to be making silent films. Ciper provided excellent music, with themes for characters and situation executed using both electronics and live sax/clarinet (or something). These MAC Cinema Phonic things are great!

20th May 2003

Fierce Festival: Saw Foot Face at the Warwick Arts Centre. Arriving just on time, we entered the auditorium, and were lead in groups of 3 or 4 to lie on a large blow-up mattress underneath a stage made of security grade polycarbonate - basically a see-through plastic stage. Small displays in the style of the film "Brazil" accompanied by a disembodied voice informed us of what was to come.

Above us, dance, lit from the side, so only the feet were visible, accompanied by props such as glowing squares or tomatoes, or fully lit so that the performers could be seen. The Tomato dance was definately the highlight, with the fruit glowing against the black of the ceiling and providing a visceral, organic link to the physical reality of the dance.

Also saw Western Deep, a film by Steve Mc Queen. Very atmospheric, the film takes us down the deepest mine in the world, a gold mine in South Africa known as Western Deep. We start by journeying down and down and down and down for minutes and minutes and minutes in a rickerty lift, with occasional jolting and less frequent bursts of light as we pass the various levels. A long, hot, dirty ride. We also see workers "medicals", as they are forced to step up and down, up and down onto benches, raising a sweat while others in white coats check the thermometers in the workers mouths. According to the BBC ( ) 250 people a year die in South Africa's mines. This is where your gold ring comes from.

19th May 2003

Went to the launch party of the Fierce Festival. Barbara Nice gave us a "nice" routine, paying particular attention to the bus routes of Birmingham (the No. 50 came out as the audience favourite). She also managed to perform one of her specialities - a great stage dive which saw her passed across the audience from one end of the long stage to the other. Ida Barr (Elizabethan Drag Songstress) also appeared, but had a couple of sound problems and didn't really grab me.

18th May 2003

Ate at The Crabmill in Preston Baggot ( ). The food was good, with lots of fish and basically I'd reccommend it. However, the Sardines, Fig and Prosciutto started was missing its Prosciutto, and someone felt very unwell after eating the Mussels! Hopefully this was just bad luck.

17th May 2003

Saw Lupa and Strange Fruits(?) at The Drum. Present in the audience were 2 members of The Beat, who were introduced and took a bow after their music was played during the interval. Mirror In The Bathroom, with its lyric "Can I take you to a restaurant that's got glass tables, you can watch yourself while you are eating" is probably their best known track.

15th May 2003

Saw Darwin In Malibu at The Rep - brilliant!

7th May 2003

Added to my page on the Spread Of Ideas And Belief Change

Nice Essay on Mithraism: http://.....(google cached version) " Mithraism was quite often noted by many historians for its many astonishing similarities to Christianity.

The faithful referred to Mithras as "the Light of the World", symbol of truth, justice, and loyalty. He was mediator between heaven and earth and was a member of a Holy Trinity. According to Persian mythology, Mithras was born of a virgin given the title 'Mother of God'. The god remained celibate throughout his life, and valued self-control, renunciation and resistance to sensuality among his worshippers. Mithras represented a system of ethics in which brotherhood was encouraged in order to unify against the forces of evil.

The worshippers of Mithras held strong beliefs in a celestial heaven and an infernal hell. They believed that the benevolent powers of the god would sympathize with their suffering and grant them the final justice of immortality and eternal salvation in the world to come. They looked forward to a final day of judgement in which the dead would resurrect, and to a final conflict that would destroy the existing order of all things to bring about the triumph of light over darkness.

Purification through a ritualistic baptism was required of the faithful, who also took part in a ceremony in which they drank wine and ate bread to symbolize the body and blood of the god. Sundays were held sacred, and the birth of the god was celebrated annually on December the 25th. After the earthly mission of this god had been accomplished, he took part in a Last Supper with his companions before ascending to heaven, to forever protect the faithful from above. "

6th May 2003

Saw Adam Bloom and Barbra Nice at the Gag Club which runs at The MAC. Adam was very animated and gave the impression that a lot of his material was off the cuff. Barbara gave an excellent performance, with plenty of songs, including audience sing-alongs. Particularly fun was "Doe a Deer" to the tune of "Jerusalem" smile

3rd May 2003

My web design style is pretty minimalist, but even I have to admit that this site ( ) has somethings special. Maybe it's the pink background, maybe it's the hearts, maybe it's the slow Midi music... I don't know, but it certainly cheered me up. There's also a great page on Angels, with poetry, midi music, and some beautiful pictures of, well, angels! -

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See Also: Web Changes for other recent updates, All Blog Pages for previous blogs

This is my blogchalk: United Kingdom, West Midlands, Birmingham
Topic revision: r7 - 18 Sep 2003, andyp
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