Sunday, February 25, 2007

Do you ever wake up in the morning and everything looks like a stage set? Those heavy black floor to ceiling curtains that cover the entire bedroom wall look like they're about to open up to a vast audience, ready to applaud at the sight of the artfully unmade bed, as if Nora or the Countess Almaviva or Prior Walter were about to enter stage right, from the doors of the study?

Actually, I didn't wake up feeling this way, it was probably the fact that I got up and started reading a book about illustrations and stage sets that got me thinking this way, that the bathroom at the end of the dim hall, the door ajar and the light on, looked so very carefully lit when I got up to take a piss.

And then sitting down at the piano, it felt like a performance and I played reasonably well to the imaginary public, because really the Goldberg Varations, well maybe two-thirds of them, aren't nearly as hard as you think they are. And my favorite, the final quodlibet, is positively easy.

Isn't that a great word, quodlibet? According to my dictionary, a quodlibet is "1. a subtle or elaborate argument or point of debate, usually on a theological or scholastic subject. 2. Music. a humorous composition consisting of two or more independent and harmonically complementary melodies, usually quotations of well-known tunes, played or sung together in a polyphonic arrangement."

And now, to leave you with some food for thought, a little Bush Administration slash fiction, courtesy of Anthony. I hope it doesn't upset your stomach.

The Swedish word for the day is scenen. It means the stage.

- by Francis S.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

On Sunday, we went to a small party for the release of a music video, with A., the TV producer and C., the fashion photographer and the sea captain and the children's book author.

I'm mostly a classical music kind of guy, but the video really tickled my fancy, it's so silly and little-kiddly.

And that's not the only way I'm going all pop culture. Like, uh, I'm following in my 13-year-old nephew's footsteps and I got me a myspace space. Even though as far as I can see, myspace is even more about just being popular than blogs are. And the layouts of myspace spaces give me a headache. And it's just extra work because I have another bloody blog there, as if I weren't being totally derelict in keeping this blog up. I don't really see the point of myspace, exactly.


I suspect that going all pop culture isn't what it's cracked up to be.

The Swedish phrase for the day is aj, mina ögon!. It means ouch, my eyes!

- by Francis S.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Last week, a woman was discovered to be keeping 11 swans in her 30-square-meter apartment in Stockholm. The neighbors had called to complain about the smell, and the police broke in to find what first appeared to be two swans and eventually turned out to be 11. The swans seemed to be in relatively good health, although several had been rather severely injured long ago. The woman just liked swans, apparently, despite their reputation for being vicious and strong.

The question all Stockholmers – well, at least all the editors in my section of the office – have been asking themselves, is: How the hell did she capture 11 swans and get them in her apartment without anyone noticing? Or without getting bitten? And what would you say if you encountered your 67-year-old widowed neighbor in the elevator with a snapping, sopping swan?

Tonight, we're going to Dansens Hus to see the Cullberg Ballet in a 40th anniversary performance. The company is perhaps most famous for its performances of Swan Lake, with both men and women as awkward muscular swans, and a few Oedipal moments that seem to be the signature of choreographer Mats Ek.

I wonder if someone would consider choreography for a Swan Apartment ballet for the Cullberg? I would pay good money to see that.

The Swedish word for the day is svanfångster. This word doesn't translate very well, I would use the phrase bagged swans, although apparently it refers more literally to a catch, in the fishing sense of the word. And no doubt someone will comment giving me a precise and obscure Swedish word that means "bagged swans," but hey, I'm doing the best I can.

- by Francis S.