April 2011


Brummy ballet

In sporting terms, the Royal Birmingham Ballet sent its second XI for its three performances at the Hall for Cornwall – a nicely balanced blend of old-hand experience and youthful enthusiasm.
With a program that extended neither performers nor audience, the dancers provided a highly enjoyable sampler of ballet’s delights – an easy-watching evening of excerpts from some of the artform’s best-known pieces.
It was a program to delight the young girls in the audience who see themselves as the next Fonteyn and also to enthuse those who have yet to fully embrace this arm of the arts.
With 40 minutes of intervals and 70 minutes of dance no one was in danger of suffering tedium or tired backsides.
The company’s principals were brought to the fore in showpieces such as the pas de deux from The Dream and The Sleeping Beauty while the entire company graced the stage with lively interpretations of Allegri diversi, Coppelia and the oldest ballet of them all, La Fille Mal Garde.
This latter offering was greatly enhanced by an Osbert Lancaster backdrop complete with diving cows and a hilarious clog dance from Rory Mackay.
All-in-all a pleasant and non-challenging evening that showcased all that is appealing about classical ballet.

Not so Smiley

An interesting insight into the writing life awaits readers of John Le Carre‘s forthcoming biography.
As he explained in a rare TV interview last year, his life had to be solitary in order to perform as a writer.
He also sees himself as a “bolter”, forever on the run from life’s trickier situations – from public school, from the burdens of bachelorhood, from the twilight world of British intelligence and then from marriage.
“And instinct simultaneously to engage in life and escape from it is not unusual in creative people, but I have it in spades.” he told one interviewer.
Reclusive he may be, but the life from which he claims to have run is the stuff of mystery, romance and intrigue – just like his books. The life of a loner obviously stimulates the creative juices.

Masher Matt

Pity the readers of Britain’s Daily Telegraph being confronted by a third-page picture in full colour of MasterChef bovver boy and relentless self-promoter Matt Preston tightly clasping the well-bosomed UK food writer Xanthe Clay.

After writing enthusastically about Melbourne foodie joints, Clay reveals her meeting with Preston was one of the less refined moments of her tour Down Under. Meeting the flabby one for coffee at Flinders St station she says he eyed her low-cut top and remarked, ‘Got the girls out today, I see.’
Ah, such class.

Obscure Oz

As the UK prepares to go to the polls to vote yea or nay to a change in the voting system, Prime Minister David Cameron has scorned those who want to change the existing first past the post of MP selection. The alternative, he says, “is so obscure that it is used by only three countries in the whole world – Australia, Fiji and Papua New Guinea”.
It added: “It is a system so unfair that the candidates that come second or third can end up winning.”
He likens it to the Olympics 100 metres with Usain Bolt breaking the tape and the gold medal going to the runner who finishes third.
And that’s why I don’t vote.