Archive for the 'Signs' Category

Admiring the Pipes

Peter Brook, writing about opera in The Shifting Point: “You come to Mozart and find a perfect marriage between the artificial and something that’s fully alive — here’s an example of the rigid pipe and the water flowing through it. But gradually the attention begins to go more and more to the artificial until suddenly you’re into sclerosis. Suddenly that pipe is taking all the attention and less and less water is trickling through it. Finally you get a fundamentally unwell and crazy society in which people forget that pipes were put into buildings for the purpose of letting the water through, and they now consider them to be works of art. People knock the walls down and admire the piping and totally forget its original purpose and function. This is what has happened in many art forms, and opera is the clearest example.”

The anorexic aesthetic at some ballet companies is a fabulous example of admiring the pipes.

Why We Have A Union

More delicacies from the Oxford Book of Military Anecdotes:

I am reminded of the anecdote told by Wellington to his confidante, Mrs. Arbuthnot, on the methods Napoleon wished to employ in order to distract the Parisian public’s attention from the appalling losses in the Russian campaign then in progress. He ordered that the ballet dancers at the Opéra were to appear sans culotte [without underwear]. The order was given, but the dancers flatly refused to comply. ‘Wellington added’, says Mrs. Arbuthnot in her journal, ‘that if the women had consented he did not doubt but that it would have obliterated all recollection of the Russian losses. Wellington was categoric. “This anecdote,” he said, “he knew for a fact.” ’

Sylvester & Tweety, Meet Genghis Khan

Genghis Khan besieges the Tangut Chinese city of Volohai in 1207, but can’t break through the city’s heavily-defended fortifications. From the Oxford Book of Military Anecdotes, attributed to Gabriel Ronay:

He offered to withdraw if he was given by way of tribute one thousand cats and one thousand swallows. The startled Tangut complied. But instead of withdrawing Genghis set them alight and released them in one great rush of living fire. The hapless cats and birds set the city on fire in hundreds of places and, while the garrison fought the flames, the Mongols breached the walls.

Oh, Uncle Aldous, That’s Lovely

Aldous Huxley: “…there is no form of contemplation, even the most quietistic, which is without its ethical values. Half at least of all morality is negative and consists in keeping out of mischief.”

Left Brain, Meet Right Brain

Today’s recursive Google search: “plays featuring a ‘play-within-a-play'”. Thank you, Wikipedia.