Friday, 25 March 2011

Dazed and Confused

Have you ever been to Bangaluru? No. Well I'm surprised to hear that. Evidently I have. Last night travelling on the tube to Stratford I noticed that my new watch had stopped. I was mighty hacked don't expect that these days; even a £5 watch from a market stall will keep good time...that's the wonder of modern technology isn't it? But then I noticed my mobile was telling me that it was five to midnight. A bit unfortunate as the event I was going to started at 6.45. But worse than that, it told me I was in Bangaluru. At least it was sunny and the temperature up at a very pleasing 26 degrees. I had to Google to find's the middle of India, and may be better known as Bangalore.

So the question is, what had happened? An unexpected power surge? A magnetic wave? I've no idea, but that doesn't stop me wondering about the trains which haul spent nuclear fuel through our soon to be beloved Olympic site at Stratford. I have just the tiniest inkling of what it must be like in Fukushima, wondering if they are being slowly, silently poisoned by radioactivity from the stricken plant. That must be horrendous....and perhaps worse than for the brave rescue workers who've been dowsing the damaged reactors almost certain that they will be receiving fatal doses.

Anyway, as it turns out I hadn't missed the performance of Frankenstein we had gone to see. It's this year's hottest theatre ticket and we hadn't been able to get any. Fortunately, the National Theatre is now showing some live performance at cinemas around the country. In fact around the world, although I'm not sure about Bangaluru. I really would wholeheartedly recommend you try the experience...we did the same with London Assurance last year (although we'd already seen it on stage too). It's a great way to experience some of the best theatre available, but without the expense of paying West End prices. I won't pretend that it's quite the same as sitting in the theatre. Bit it's close, and you can stuff your face with popcorn, which is always a bonus. Check out NT Live

As for Frankenstein itself. Well it's directed by Danny Boyle and the production is overwhelming..fantastically good. And Johnny Lee Miller as Frankenstein's Monster is a real tour de force. There were some oddities in the script, such as when The Monster is about to rape Frankenstein's bride, she says "We won't be having any of that in here". Not having been in that situation myself, it's hard for me to judge, but I doubt that's how it goes. And oddest of all, Benedict Cumberbatch as Frankenstein had a black father. Now I don't mind one way or the other, but that's a real leap of faith and quite confusing when you're working out who is who. If the justification was that he is a great actor, that would be fine, but he was easily the worst performer on the stage. By a mile. So why do this? Especially as the whole thing is set in 19th Century Switzerland. Completely confused.

Another thing that confuses me is Fitch, Standard and Poors, and Moody's. They are the credit rating agencies that effectively decide how much it costs sovereign nations to borrow money. They are powerful enough to bring countries to their knees as we have seen in Greece, Ireland and now Portugal. It seems an extraordinary that these organisations are given such influence. Particularly as they have blood on their hands with the collapse of the banking system. It was them, after all, that decided that those unrecoverable property loans that were the catalyst to the crisis were credit worthy. How have they got away with it? I don't know. But if it was me, I would close them down with no compensation and give the job to an international organisation funded and run by governments, but independent of them.

Have a lovely weekend.

Here's some music to get you going