Storm in a teacup
It’s interesting to hear about your rainy season – as I’m sure you know, in Britain we love banging on about the weather! Of course, that’s a stereotype, but it isn’t far from the truth. The climate is so unpredictable, it can be sunny one minute, raining the next, then suddenly windy and cold – I think this is why people talk about it, because you never know what’s coming next. It’s also a form of small talk. It’s an easy subject to talk about with strangers, nothing too personal. I hope the rain passes and you don’t get too many floods. A couple of years ago I worked at a summer school in Oxford. It was one of the worst summers on record, raining constantly and parts of the city and surrounding area were flooded. Thankfully, this year is looking better so far...
Your story about watching the floods when you were a nipper made me think of an event which happened when I was 9 years old. Near where I used to live in London, there is a grand old building called Alexandra Palace, or ‘Ally Pally’ to those who know it well. It was built in the 19th century and became famous as the location from which the first public television broadcast was made in 1936. Anyway, one night many years ago, the building went up in flames. My entire family walked up to a vantage point on a hill to watch the huge fire…… without me! They didn’t see fit to wake me up and let me come to see this momentous event with them but instead left me sleeping! Unbelievable! So, this is my story of what (didn’t) happen to me all those years ago.
Have you got an interesting anecdote from your childhood? Something funny or dramatic? I’d love to hear from you if you have.
to bang on (about sth) - to talk about sth all the time, without stopping
small talk - conversation about unimportant subjects (often between strangers)
nipper - child (informal)
a vantage point - a good place from which to watch something
see fit to - to think something is a good idea to do
momentous - of great importance or significance
anecdote- a short account of an interesting or funny event
On the subject of food… Here’s a picture I took at a restaurant in Seoul.
I think this is ‘bulgogi’. Is that right? Whatever it’s called, it was very nice.
I have a confession to make....I'm not a big fan of kimchi! I know many people can't live without it but I don't see what all the fuss is about! For me it's just a bunch of spicy, pickled vegetables...I was impressed by kimchi fridges though.
I loved reading all your comments about Antony Gormley's art project. There was a wide variety of different opinions, both positive and negative.
Here are some of them:
Leila argues that the lack of an element of surprise means that the performance doesn't work. As I look at the site now, there's a young woman wearing angel's wings throwing free sweets to the onlookers and blowing bubbles. It's not Leonardo da Vinci is it? Paulraj wondered if he would stand for an hour as a preacher or politician, or perhaps a social worker but in the end seemed undecided. Toni poured scorn on the idea, suggesting that it's just a way to make money. Benka reckons that the artists can learn something about themselves buts questions whether the public can learn anything - but she likes the idea of ordinary people being involved in an art project. Asma believes it's a waste of time and money and says she would take a good book if she was a plinther. Funnily enough, last time I checked the plinth there was a young woman sitting there reading a book, looking very calm and unconcerned with what was going on around her. Sook explains that we are trained only to accept framed art, artefacts or performances as art and I reckon she's got a point. Kuldeep compares the idea to some people who stand on one leg in India for a long period of time in order to pray. Ramilton sticks up for the project, writing that it makes us reflect about ourselves and the meaning of what the people do, while Ana Paula suggests that the plinthers should perform some music. Finally Naheed believes the plinth is a platform for common people who know something and want to show it to others. Does that sound a bit like this blog?
When all's said and done, does it really matter whether it is art or not? I suppose it's made us think about the question "What is art?" and it's given us a different topic to talk about, and in that sense, it has fulfilled an important role. I'll end this post with a quote from English novelist E.M.Forster: "To make us feel small in the right way is a function of art; men can only make us feel small in the wrong way."
* You might notice that I use a lot of 'reporting verbs' (suggest/point out/argue etc) in the comments section to describe what commenters said. It's a good idea to try to use a variety of words and expressions for reporting instead of just 'said' or 'wrote'.
to pour scorn on - to criticise something severely
reckon - an informal word for think or believe
to stick up for - to give your support to somebody or something
ps I hope my comment about kimchi doesn't provoke a 'storm in a teacup'!
Thanks for all your contributions. This blog has now closed and can no longer accept new comments.