Mike Vickers' Blog

August 31, 2018

Jon Mccain – A Eulogy by Joe Biden

Filed under: History in the making, In Our Time, Personal, USA — derryvickers @ 8:59 pm

I keep being reminded this week of John McCain.
Joe Biden through the Eulogy reminds us, well me at any rate, that there is a deeply positive side to the US that McCain personified.

A side that the US is being subverted through the tweets of Trump.
Here is the eulogy in case you missed it:

https://video.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?fr=yhs-adk-adk_sbnt&hsimp=yhs-adk_sbnt&hspart=adk&p=johm+mccain+eulogy+joe+biden#id=4&vid=0ef4037ed3d76c9c612564d0a06f9ed9&action=view

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August 23, 2018

The Handlebards

Filed under: Edinburgh Festival, Music, Personal — derryvickers @ 6:57 pm

The Handlebards play this year at the Edinburgh Festival is Twelfth Night. If you have not come across them, they are four young men travelling the country on bikes performing Shakespeare (known as the Bard). They have been doing so for at least four years. They carry all their props, usually little more than a few costumes and a curtain to change behind which they do all the time, as the four of them play ALL the parts.

Their blurb states We are a troupe of cycling actors who carry all the set, props and costume needed to perform extremely energetic, charmingly chaotic and environmentally sustainable Shakespeare plays across the globe’. Their diction is perfect Shakespeare and they are word perfect.

To Twelfth Night it’s a silly comedy where twins Viola and Sebastian who get shipwrecked on a small island and are parted in the Storm (a typical Shakespeare theme). The sister dresses in men’s clothes so much so that they are indistinguishable and get involved in love affairs between the two important people on the island Duke Orsino and Countess Olivia. It all finishes with Viola pairing with Duke Orsino and Sebastian with Countess Olivia. But there is much fun and confusion in between.

As usual with Shakespeare there is a second plot with the servants Sir Toby, Sir Andrew, and Maria plan revenge on Malvolio, a pompous official, with a plan to persuade Malvolio that Olivia fancies him and wishes him to show his affection by dressing up in yellow including crossed garters; Maria knows that Olivia hate all these things. Malvolio takes the bate and speaks the famous quote “’Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them”. Suffice to say that when Malvolio appears before Olivia, she is bewildered and despatches Malvolio to an asylum.

For more on the play go to:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twelfth_Night

Sorry, this all seems a nonsense play which it is; but played out by the Handlebards it is hilarious and provides for good audience participation even to dragging members of the audience on stage. When Malvolio gives his famous quote, the whole audience chanted also. Throughout the four players were constantly changing garments and when Viola and Sebastian were finally both on stage of course they weren’t, only their hats that they had worn throughout were there held by their two final partners with the actual player dancing from one to the other changing his speaking genders accordingly.

They included in this show a significant number of Shakespeare’s lyrics.

For a flavour of the Handlebards try:

https://www.handlebards.com/press-resources/

But tghe only real way to appreciate sheer joie de vivre of the Handlebards is to see one of their shows

BTW There are now the Girls Handlebards

I despair of the UK’s current government

Filed under: Brexit, economics, Left Politics, Politics — derryvickers @ 4:31 pm

In an article in today’s Guadian I find

So why would they [Fox and co]want a no-deal? A group of hard-right Brexit economists has proposed the unilateral abolition of UK tariffs, which they openly admit would see the loss of our manufacturing base. They think this would be a good thing, and propel us into a new, service-based economy. That is why Fox and Dominic Raab and Boris Johnson and Michael Gove are not concerned about crashing out on to WTO rules – they believe it would enable them to turn Britain into a deregulated free-market economy like Singapore.”

Read the full article:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/aug/23/labour-tories-no-deal-brexit-brexiters-cliff-edge-vote?utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=Opinion+UK+connected&utm_term=284123&subid=29298&CMP=ema_opinionconnectuk

As I recall West Germany built its current enviable finance position by re-building its manufacturing after WW2

As I further recall the UK built its world standing position in the 19th century partly because of it Empire but the Empire provided it a preferential position to export its manufacturing.

August 10, 2018

The Edinburgh Festival

Filed under: Music, Painting, World Class — derryvickers @ 7:35 pm

Since the beginning of the international Festival we have been to:

  1. An exhibition of paintings by Emil Nolde. Nolde painted from 1900 to 1950. His paintings are full of color, but during the period he fell foul of the Nazis and his painting was ridiculed as degrading and were banished from the German galleries, though at one time he signed up as a national socialist. His paintings are now accepted, but his socialist national ties are still unfavourably remembered. The same is true, but less so of the composer Richard Strauss.
  2. Waiting for Godot by Irish playwright Samuel Beckett. The game is about two old abandoned living from day to day passing the time under a tree waiting for Godot that does not show, but a young boy reports every Night that Godot will ‘ arrive tomorrow ‘. Beckett spent most of his life in Paris and some of the language reminded me of Molière.
  3. The Barber of Seville, a work of Rossini. A cheerful work where everything finishes ‘ Happy ever After’. The opera was performed by the Theatre des Champs-Elysees.
  4. Last Wednesday we went to see the Siegfried Wagner Opera. The work is the third in the cycle The Ring of the Nibelungs: Das Rheingold, Die Walküre, Siegfried and Götterdämmerung. Siegfried is the hero who will save the world but is found wanting in Götterdämmerung; However the ring and gold are rescued by the maidens of the Rhein and the god Valhalla is burnt. Not quite ‘ happy ever after ‘. Wagner provided the libretto as well as the music and the operas were praised by the Nazis. Last night’s performance was given by the Halle Orchestra conducted by Mark Elder,  the music was dramatic and the singing was glorious, but five and a half hours needed attention to keep awake.
  5. Yesterday I went to Queens Hall for Leider. Ilker Arcayurek, tenor, and Simon Lepper, piano, singing Hugo Wolf and Schubert. The career of the tenor will go far.
  6. Finally, last night we went to the Usher Hall to hear a concert given by the BBC Symphony playing the music of Turbulent Landscapes of Thea Musgrave and Sea Symphony by Vaughan Williams. The first was good but the second reminded us of the last Night of the Proms.

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