Tuesday, August 18, 2009


I was in a taxi a while back and BBC World was on the radio. A report came on discussing the ban on minarets in Switzerland. I was incredulous. So was the taxi driver. Neither of us could believe a country could put a ban on minarets. Minarets?!

The taxi driver and I spoke at the same time – I said “you can’t ban an architectural style!” He said “They’re just puppets for god’s sake!”


B. Fleischmann is a lovely Austrian electronic music maker, and I was listening to his song 24.12. when I was writing the above lines. It's a beautiful song - the vocals especially. I was surprised when I brought up the clip for the track and found the following words scrawled across the top:

"When the marionettes started to pull the strings, they noticed that stoking fear helps to keep the strings hold tight. But I think: Angst is not a Weltanschauung!"


Angst is not a Weltanschauung.


Fleischmann puts the elan back into melancholy. Or melancholie.


On Sunday I caught Slava’s Snowshow. I wasn’t sure about going, as I had a sneaking suspicion that I’d actually seen it before. I get that with some of the Big International Shows – P. Genty’s stuff always brings on debilitating déjà vu, for instance. Turns out I hadn’t seen Snowshow.

Sitting behind me and one seat to my right was a kid of about 10. He really, really loved the show. I got the feeling he’d never been to The Theatre before. He was shrieking with pleasure (so were other kids around the auditorium) and would imitate the clownish nonsense-talking that occurred on stage. You could basically tell he’d be spending the next few weeks recalling his favourite bits and reenacting them at school for all his friends.

Maybe he doesn’t have any friends. I shouldn’t assume that.

His excitement was only matched by his parents’ (or guardians’) insistence that he sit down and shut up. They were volubly annoyed that he wasn’t acting like a proper audience member but was getting too involved, physically. They scolded him, repeatedly, almost incessantly.

At the end of the show, when the famous giant balloons flew out across the audience, he was exactly one row away from being able to touch them. They bounced off the balcony above him and he kept trying in vain to stretch out and bat one away. I left and gave him my seat, and he went nuts.


It is a theatre which escapes definition and the unequivocal understanding of its actions, as from attempts to usurp its freedom.

From “What Is My Kind of Theatre?” By Slava Polunin


The child in any audience is a minaret. The audience is not a weltanschauung!


I could continue this directionless ambling but I am one of those marionettes too and my strings only reach so far.

I guess I’ll

have to switch to Plan B which was to go shopping

and text a bunch of friends for no reason.


The Snow Man

One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;

And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter

Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,

Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place

For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.


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