Archive for April, 2009

The Omniscient Mussel hasn’t lost the twitter #operaplot


I’d not seen this before but The Omniscient Mussel has just kicked off the second run of her competition to summarise opera plots into twitter tweets. That gives you 140 characters minus the obligatory #operaplot tag.

Danielle De Niese is a judge (hence the picture at the head of this post) and the prizes include a pair of top price tickets and a complimentary bottle of champagne to the first night of Glyndebourne’s iconic production of Guilio Cesare on May 22nd – featuring Sarah Connolly in the title role and Danielle De Niese as Cleopatra and 4 Box seats to a ENO’s new production of Cosi fan tutte directed by Abbas Kiarostami. How cool is that? I’ve made a start – jump in!

You can search recent ones here: and here are mine so far (sorry about the rude word in the Akhnaten synopsis) …

1) Ralph Vaughan Williams, Riders to the Sea.

5 of 6 sons drowned. Last son off to market in storm. Whoops, all 6 now drowned! Time to relax about the sea.

2) Benjamin Britten, Peter Grimes.

Sailor abuse; sea; sailor abuse; sea; teacher abuse; sea; child abuse; sea; death; sea

3) George Frideric Handel, Acis and Galatea

♀ ♥ shepherd. Shepherd ♥ ♀. Giant ♥ cherry lipped ♀. Giant kills shepherd. ♀ = divinity. God turns dead shepherd into fountain.

4) George Frideric Handel, Acis and Galatea, recent Royal Opera House production.

Stunning ♀ amazing voice has to wear rag-doll wig and perform next to lithe dancer in sheer bodystocking

5) Philip Glass, Akhnaten

Singer with gorgeous tits and loincloth builds new city to new god on sandpit stage. Off comes loincloth and there’s a willy too!

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And another …

6) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Così Fan Tutte

Women eh! You recon? You’re on. ‘Told ya.

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And another …

7) Antonín Dvořák, Rusalka

Fishy tale of bored teen seeking love. Čury mury fuk. Teen silenced, but her chatty lover lacks constancy. Watery graves for all.

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And another (trying to fit in with the current #operaplot craze for limericks) …

8 ) Georges Bizet, Carmen

Men are thinking of sin/as factory girl takes a spin/Love is all bull/the cave only half full/& she’s dead to the cheering within

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Last one, written after getting home from Sunday night’s final performance of the Cambridge Handel Opera Group’s production of

9 ) George Frideric Handel, Ariodante

Genevra loves and dad approves? Too happy for an #operaplot so much ado about nothing brings sadness and death before virtue triumphs again

Why I don’t like Facebook


Adult Female Phidippus Mystaceus” by Opo Terser on flickr

I like things that do one thing and do it well, but the history of the internet seems to pendulum between specialisation and generalisation, between divergence and convergence. I wasn’t around for the beginning but I do remember when even search and download was split between different niches (WAIS, Gopher, FTP, etc). Then as the internet was popularised some ISPs provided a walled garden so that all your internet needs might be provided by one site, the AOL (or other) portal. But as the usefulness of the web continued to grow that model was impossible. The web itself moved from and information sharing application to a platform and so called Web 2.0 saw lots of great social applications developed on the web. But this complexity seems to have baffled and people increasingly seem to use one portal, often Facebook, for everything. I can share photos on Facebook (though I prefer flickr) , I can publish my status on Facebook (though I prefer twitter), heck if me and the recipients are both on Facebook I can send email on Facebook (though I prefer Outlook). I do use Facebook; there are some friends I keep up with just that way, but I wish it wasn’t taking over so much.

If I’m right that this is a pendulum I shouldn’t have to wait long before a new bread of specialised applications break us out of the Facebook centric world. Bring it on.

Meet Spartacus



We’ve been pondering what will happen when Henry’s gone, and Kate and I both felt we’d want another dog. Then we thought, Why wait? Getting another dog now would be great companionship for Henry in his dotage and hopefully some of Henry’s calm personality would rub off on the new dog. We don’t have space for another big dog (plus Will and I like small dogs) and so we’ve been discussing it over-and-over whilst keeping an eye on dogs at the Wood Green Animal Rescue Centre near us. Well, on the way back from a long Easter Weekend of fishing and pampering at Eye Kettleby Lakes in Leicestershire over Easter, we popped into Wood Green and fell for a wonderful rescued stray dog called Sparky. We’ve visited three times now to test Henry and Sparky’s compatibility and it looks like they’ll let us have him, though there is one final hurdle, an interview about our suitability tomorrow morning. Wish us luck! We’ll probably change his name (I’m voting for Spartacus but Meg wants Teddy) if we do get him.