Finished The Age of Consent by George Monbiot. I have a huge, half-finished writeup of it saved, but not sure how to write it up. I found the book to be the most insanely frustrating things I've read in ages. Basically, prominent "global justice" campaigner Monbiot has outraged some of his brethren by suggesting that capitalism and globalisation aren't necessarily entirely evil, and with radical limitations and modifications could be harnessed to help the world's poor. He makes specific, detailed policy proposals on how to do it, and seems to be having some success in getting support.
It sounds pretty good and is something I'd really like to see. The only problem is that almost everything he says is wrong. Even when I agree with the conclusions, I find the arguments ridiculous. More to come, hopefully: I've got 1,700 words in the writeup but not sure if I can make it intelligible.
What I'm Reading 2
Comics. Saw Superman: Infinite Crisis in the library, so thought I'd check it out. (Infinite Crisis is the big giant universe-changing crossover storyline that DC have been running for a year or so).
Seemed pretty awful actually. I'm not much of a die-hard comic fan, so hadn't really got a clue who half the characters were, or what the alternate universes were all about. Might have worked better as individual comics rather than a roundup, since this selection didn't make a lot of sense. There was some emoting by a parallel superman trying to break out of a parallel world; then we apparently jumped much further along the storyline after a lot of stuff had happened. Presumably this happened in one of the other comics, but it was hard to get up much interest in the denouement when you haven't had the build up.
There was a bit of dithering between a ruthless vigilante Superman and our own big softie Superman, but didn't really seem as deep as it was intended to be. Not recommended.
Saw Borat: Cultural Learnings of America For Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. Moderately funny: definitely a lot better than the disastrous Ali G movie. Watched it sober though, which is not ideal. Not as shocking as the hype suggested, especially the frat boys who seemed pretty much just typical.
Saw the Renoir landscapes exhibition at the National Gallery. Pretty good, some worthwhile things there. Renoir's not normally most renowned for his landscapes but they're interesting, in a similar style to his other paintings. They have a pretty loose interpretation of landscapes though: quite a lot of figurative paintings are sneaked in. Particularly interesting was two pictures of the same setting, one by Monet, one by Renoir, side by side.
Moderately crowded but not particularly bad. Low child count.
Saw Porgy and Bess at the Savoy. It seems to sit in an uneasy middle ground between Opera and Musical: this production veers towards the musical side, with lots of big dance numbers. They've extended forward the Savoy stage giving them a huge depth to work with. Impressed by the size of the production: there were over 40 people on stage at the curtain call, and that doesn't count the near-buried orchestra.
Presumably because of that, tickets are pretty steep: £30 to £60 and there don't seem to be the usual half-price discounts around. All the money is up there on stage though. Singing seemed opera quality as far as my meagre ears could detect: no microphones. Impressed by the intricate set, which folds rooms and buildings in and out quickly and quietly.
I'm not much of a fan of either opera or musicals, so it was also impressive that the second half held my attention. It's nearly 3 hours including a tiny interval though, and found my attention flagging a bit in the duller first half. Kept wishing they'd just tell us what's happening instead of spending ten minutes singing about how they're going to go fishing / gamble some money / go take a shit.
Might still try more opera though. If I put some more effort in I could probably appreciate it more. Found some of the contrapuntal stuff when two characters are singing at each other to be great.
More enviro-rape from me. Bought a coffee machine a while ago and wasn't happy. The glass jug broke the other day (accidentally turned the switch on for two minutes with the machine dry, and the heat seems to have cracked it.
So, rather than try to replace the jug, I'm binning it and going for a name brand this time: the Morphy Richards Graphite Complements Filter Coffee Maker. Haven't tried it yet, but don't worry guys: will Keep You Informed. Stay tuned!
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