Woes of Persia

I was interested to see this:

Iranians take offence at depiction of ancient Persians

While I sympathise with their annoyance, they allege that George Bush's 'Axis of Evil' ideology is behind the negative portrayal of the Persians - as decadent effeminates who covet Western lands, but who are destined to be repeatedly hacked apart by Europeans with sharper swords and better dress sense. And I can't agree with them there, because that's been the prevailing image of the Persians for the last two and a half millennia - the unfortunate legacy of fighting a series of wars against people who did a lot of writing in their spare time. There's a certain inevitability about being seen as barbarous when you're one of the cultures for whom the word barbaroi was invented.

None of which, of course, is likely to make them feel much better. An interesting question, though, is how much we can blame Herodotus and his successors (Greek and Roman) for the existence of the 'Axis of Evil' concept. Leaving North Korea aside, of course (as they did, for some reason), I'd say it's quite plausible that they contributed in some way.

Anyway - looking on the bright side, 300 appears to be doing very nicely at the box office, which should go some way to erasing the Hollywood memory of Alexander. Based on a comic or not, if this one had flopped, it could have taken Classical filmmaking down with it. We'd have had to wait another decade for the next Gladiator equivalent.

Music of tonight

One evening of Lloyd-Webber goodness later (thanks to mousey13 and co), I can now more fully understand what people are talking about when they discuss the merits of the parties in Phantom. Excellent. Onwards to Les Mis!


Ah, Krakow - old buildings, ancient legends, and generous portions of very cheap food. Brilliant place.

I spent my New Year being pushed back and forth by a boisterous crowd in the town square, listening to such old Polish folk songs as Sex Bomb, before two firework displays: the formal, spectacular and provided at government expense, and the informal, provided on a minute-by-minute basis by young Cracovians at considerable danger to themselves and those around them. I think it's my most enjoyable New Year celebration ever, though only the second most alarming.

I also managed to meet up with synergetic, proving yet again that the best way to meet people you know is to travel a thousand miles in any direction. We had a long and nostalgic chat (and excellent lunch). I also found time for various museum visits, trips to churches, and improving my bridge but not my chess. There was also a visit to Auschwitz, which was certainly food for thought.

And now I'm off to a Business Law tutorial. Ho hum. Nevertheless, it's good to be back.

Journey to the Poles

Right, I'm off to Krakow for the New Year. Apparently it's not all that cold at the moment, which is unfortunate in a way. Enjoy your various New Year celebrations, and I'll see you all back here, refreshed and ready, in 2007!

Barnes storming...

Hmm. I see that Peter Jackson is going to direct a remake of The Dam Busters. On the one hand, it doesn't seem a particularly necessary remake. On the other, the article reveals a dodged bullet:

Jackson asked his agent to inquire about the possibility of remaking the film at the same time as he was securing the rights to the Lord of the Rings trilogy in the 1990s.

"He came back and said that Icon had the rights and that Mel Gibson was going to direct and possibly act in it," Jackson said.

The mind boggles at the thought of Mel Gibson, the man who has essentially made a career out of killing English people on film, directing a Dam Busters remake. It would be fascinating to see how one could make an anti-English Dam Busters, but thankfully we'll be spared that in favour of one shot entirely on location in New Zealand. Well, perhaps.

Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensia, etc.

I haven't posted on LJ for a while, largely (or entirely) because I haven't been doing anything particularly interesting to post about. Playing tennis, catching up on my reading, all that kind of thing.

But I now have something interesting to report, having just got back from a trip to Germany! Inspired largely by the fact that I hadn't been before, I popped off with a friend from school to Berlin and then Cologne.

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Fight Historical, No.1

I can't remember the last time I went for 40 hours without sleep. Interestingly, it turns out that, after the first 24 or so, you pass through some kind of tiredness barrier and come out on the other side, so I didn't feel tired at all for most of the second day of the G&S marathon.

A very successful one, too. I'd been slightly worried beforehand that the graveyard shift would be sparsely populated enough to force me to sing the entirety of the male cast of Sorcerer, but that was never even slightly on the cards. Four of us, in some kind of bizarre suicide pact, were there for every operetta (and in fairness to Nic, he only missed out on a couple because he was performing in something else instead, so he didn't get any sleep either), ably supported by a healthy interchange of people - some well-known, some slightly-known, and some I was meeting for the first time - who were almost all very pleasant.

The setting - bright sunshine, a view overlooking Christchurch, the cathedral in the early glow of dawn (possibly the only time I've heard anyone be complimentary of it) - was also pleasant to the point of nostalgia overload, a sentiment to which I subjected a large number of people at different times over the two days.

It was also fun to play a variety of roles - Dr. Daly, Hildebrand, Captain Corcoran (twice), Celia (high bits tricky), the Colonel, Guiseppe, Sergeant Meryll, the Usher, Phantis, Robin/Ruthven and, in a return to my theatrical glory days, Bunthorne's Solicitor, A Gentleman of Japan, and A Bobbing Policeman.

Finally, I got to See People in large numbers. Yes, I know that I last Saw People only a week ago, but this time I not only Saw More People, but, what is a great deal better, Saw People More.

Anyway. A Good Thing in spades, by any measurement. Now...exams. Hahah.

Fairy tale ending. Read that whichever way you like...

I understand that Foggerty's Fairy is on this week. I'm therefore popping up to Oxford in my usual fashion to see it on Saturday, and hopefully as many people as possible. (If anyone has some convenient floor space for the night, that would be also be welcome.) Good luck to those who have exams in the meantime!

I also have an appeal. I have occasionally heard hushed whispers about the existence of a Yeomen DVD, owned only by select members of the Priory of Sion down the ages. If anyone has come into possession of one of these, and has it at hand in some loanable form, please let me know.

In other news: I also have exams at the moment. Don't ask. Seriously.