So to Beethoven: I’m pacing myself. Thinking two symphonies – No 2 and No 3, “Eroica” – would be a manageable start, I went to Tuesday’s Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment concert conducted by Roger Norrington. Now in his mid-80s, Norrington was part of the revolution that changed Beethoven performance, re-evaluating tempi, instruments, phrasing, articulation. As he reminded us, that was 35 years ago. Now he conducts from an office-style swivel chair, spinning side to side, feet lifting off the ground, but energetic as ever, the double gunshot opening to the “Eroica”, and all that followed, as compelling as you could hope: porous, spontaneous, elegant, bizarre, revolutionary. What an amazing start to the anniversary. … [Read more...] about The week in classical: Igor Levit; BBC SO/ Saraste; OAE/ Norrington – review
On carriageway cycle lanes
The family, who do not own a car, now carefully plan every journey. They avoid main roads, the rush hour and busy bus stops wherever possible. But it is not easy. “There is only so much you can do when in a big city like this. To a certain extent, we have got to accept now that we are doing great damage to our children’s long-term health simply by living here.” … [Read more...] about London air pollution is poisoning my son, says campaigner
When I think of the so-called “summer of chillwave”, I remember sitting at a desk in a giant office in midtown Manhattan, shivering in the air conditioning and listening to songs about the beach. It was June 2009 – the summer after the sub-prime mortgage collapse had precipitated what was then the largest single-day point drop in Dow Jones history – and I was a recent graduate, working an entry-level temp job in the library of a corporate law firm. Whenever I wasn’t helping summer associates (or secretly updating my music blog), I was listening to Sun Was High (So Was I), a shoddily recorded love song full of fried guitar chords and easy-breezy rhymes by a little-known Los Angeles rock band called Best Coast fronted by stoner Bethany Cosentino. At a time when I couldn’t stop worrying about the future, its apparent effortlessness was soothing, like a blurred dispatch from an endless teenage beach hang where all you have to worry about is the sand … [Read more...] about Chillwave: a momentary microgenre that ushered in the age of nostalgia
We came from the ocean and we're going to end up underwater again at some point, so it seems like the best place to go back to. Paul Merton used to do a sketch with a submerged fish and chip shop, so if I knew for sure that it was all going to be over, I think I'd like to be down there, drinking Special Brew. I'd get there quick to beat the queues. … [Read more...] about The apocalypse is coming, how are you going to spend it?
Is it a holiday? Kind of. We get some sunshine, routine goes out of the window and we aren’t sleeping in our own beds. But in reality we are doing whatever it takes to keep our family ticking over. … [Read more...] about Peta Todd on the guilt she felt after being given unwanted parenting advice