Howard hitches a ride

18 September 2008

Ride em Cowboy! The new Lloyds HBOS logo perhaps? Courtesy of the FT’s blogs.

Still, what could possibly go wrong?

Crash, Bang?

16 September 2008

I found this rather amusing video this afternoon… how to make light of a ‘bad situation’ perhaps (although vaguely reminds me of the Will and Grace scene with Al Roker)

Still if we’re all doomed, at least it’s a better way to make light of the doom than others are doing:

While there is a tendency among the self-righteous to criticise individual short-sellers who make money out of the misfortune of others, the fact is that those playing the stockmarket in such a fashion are merely a product of the system, rather than the catalyst behind the so-called evil. Once upon a time, stockmarkets were there to provide companies with a means to raise capital from investors; today’s financial world is a vastly different beast.

Nowadays, there is as much incentive to kick a company while it’s down as there is to support it when it is in ruder health; short sellers hover around a dying stock like vultures anticipating a feast, and every financial institution is as guilty as the next when it comes to gorging on the remains. Lehman Brothers’ demise is a case in point, as too is AIG’s seemingly impending collapse.

Time for a new world order?

A Wilde Performance: Dorian Gray (Sadler’s Wells)

9 September 2008

I was talking to a couple of friends of mine a few months ago and they mentioned they were looking to get tickets to Matthew Bourne’s Dorian Gray at Sadler’s wells. I was dubious. Ballet’s not my thing. I don’t tend to cope well when there’s no words. But I’m very glad I went.

It’s been a long time since I tried to read Wilde’s book. I only gave up because the small font of my copy wasn’t conducive to the harsh lights of the Northern Line on my journey to work. But, at least after a synopsis, I could comprehend the story presented on stage in all it’s brash, gory and modernised detail.

The Aesthete, Lord Henry’s corrupting influence on Dorian leads him to believe that beauty is the only worthwhile aspect of life. The picture, or in Bourne’s production, photograph Basil Hallward paints of Dorian symbolises that. Dorian wishes it would grow old in his place. The story goes on to tell of his loves and desires, their ugliness, and his experiments with numerous vices. In the modernised version the cocaine, partying and homoerotic sex are portrayed as graphically as I’d imagine ballet would allow (indeed beyond what it would allow).

The show’s received mixed reviews:

The negative commentary on Dorian has been especially interesting because so much of it has focused on the fact that the choreography looks trashy and posey, despite the fact that the world of celebrity it’s portraying is itself trashy and posey. It raises the question of how deep a satire can go into its subject without taking on the qualities it criticises…

Personally I think that Bourne gets away with the limitations of the choreography (even the repetitive shagging and partying scenes) because of the credibility and detail with which he dramatises Dorian’s world.

The performance was incredible – although I admit I have not seen true ballet before. The dancers were beautiful – which was how they were portraying the ugly world of fashion, Dorian’s dismissive nature clearly apparent in the performance. The music has been much-criticised but it served a purpose – mainly to make you feel uncomfortable with what you’re seeing, even though what you’re seeing is ballet. I couldn’t tell after the show whether I wanted to look as good as the dancers, or whether the message of Wilde’s story about obsession with youth and beauty made me disgusted at the thought.

The Guardian has a gallery of photographs here.

world of work

1 September 2008

I was reading an amusing post today on the London Word – talking about callous world of work in a London advertising job:

When I accepted employment as an account manager at a London advertising agency my nearest and dearest patted me on the back and sent me off to the frontline… My first boss at the ad agency was a venomous blackguard with an IOU from God where her soul should be. She was a fully operating exoskeleton with a latex cover for reality. Callous, cold and heartless are the key words on her biog… other superhuman traits include heightened selfishness, talking through ass 24/7 and the ability not to care about ANYBODY; even their own wives and children…

Which got me thinking. Unlike the author, I am lucky enough to be doing a job I’ve wanted to do for a long time. Even the computers in the Careers Centre at school when I was a kid always chose my job in the top three of the “careers” they planned out for me… I guess though, working in the public sector (for now, at least) is quite different. Regardless of the political anxieties and pressures of the job at least I don’t have to put up with quite the same c*ntishness that the self-obsessed power-hungry son-of-Thatcher jobs London exudes. At least I’ve got a career that I enjoy and work somewhere I can be myself (singing in the office and all). I’m not one of the many lost souls in soulless or soul-destroying jobs earning a buck to keep myself in tins of beans. I’m lucky – I shouldn’t forget that.

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