Lollie M. as Matilda. She was wonderful singing “Naughty,” which reminded me of what a Billy Bragg song would sound like if it were made for the West End. The play amazed me, made me cry, and made me laugh with my belly. I’m not a fan of musicals, many times there’s too much spectacle and glitz that the book doesn’t warrant, but I’d place “Matilda” up there with “The Music Man” as reasons why we need musical theatre in our lives.
David Bellisario introduces a speaker from Here East.
Filed under: art, education, eutechnics, technology, thinking, Tourism, toys | Tags: London
Pollock’s toy museum has been a destination for us since we moved to London. How things make us think has been a hobby horse of mine for the past couple of years. So I was happy that Liz and I could take a short excursion to Central London and walk amidst the toys.
The museum is housed in, well, a house, or at least an “up and down” with not too many conversions. The downstairs holds the toy shop and the lobby, and the staircases and the upper floors display the dolls, dollhouses, games, etc.
I also found the war games interesting. Never too early to build a distaste for the kaiser.
If you ever want to get the imaginative juices flowing or at least cop some ideas for your doll house, I highly suggest it.
Filed under: business, education, math, mind, technology | Tags: London, museum of science, science
I saw this lava lamp display at the V&A’s Museum of Science. Honest to Pete, I think there should be a whole room devoted to a lava lamp display. Who doesn’t love lava lamps? That and oil and glycerin on a projector, the psychedelic “wet show.” Maybe some polka dots and mirrors like the Mattress Factory‘s Yayoi Kusama installation.
The trick would be to create a room that excited the senses but didn’t make you physically ill.
If there’s any problem I have with lava lamps, it’s that science gift shops devote so much shelf space to them. Many science museums’ gift shops concentrate on the “ooh, shiny” distractions rather than objects that indulge people’s (not just children’s) love of the methods of science. I have to admit that people who run museum gift shops know more about what sells and what sells the experience.
If you’re just out for a happy trip, you don’t want to be scolded into homework at the end. No one likes to take a trip and bring home a memento that reminds them that they are not expanding their minds enough. So I really can’t advocate for a gift pack of Euclid’s Elements — though there are some The Science Museum does have a great book section and a lomography section and Technology Will Save Us shelves. When I was there last, they had someone demonstrating paper gliders.
I don’t expect science museums to check their impulse to cater to their audience any time soon. I just hope they can do more to indulge people’s desire to think about things. I will now stop ranting and leave you with the instructions for making your own lava lamp.
Filed under: Uncategorized
Arcades were the original malls. That’s a heavy and probably unfair burden to bear. But they were created by retailers and developers to control the environment. You are free to do what you want as long as you are buying and not ruining the buying experience for anybody else.
But the arcade was the nursery of the aimless wanderer, the flaneur, the turtle-walker, the place where you were among, or rather you were, the crowd. The grip of commerce wouldn’t always hold. Your only obligation was to understand and comment on the passing scene.
Empathy is the nature of the intoxication to which the flâneur abandons himself in the crowd. He . . . enjoys the incomparable privilege of being himself and someone else as he sees fit. Like a roving soul in search of a body, he enters another person whenever he wishes. — Walter Benjamin
Now we have virtual arcades: Facebook, Twitter, and Tumbler. We can occupy other bodies. We can think and say and retract and sing our bodies electric. Like in the arcade, on the internet, we believe we are free. Our job, of course, as the ads on my WordPress pages reminds me, is to buy.
Thank goodness there is this wonderful chance to subvert it all: Subvert our tastes, our politics, our relationships, our bodies . . .
For now, at least.
That’s why I think I’ll go back to making things. When you make things you are obligated. You are obligated to do the best job you can, and you are obligated to live with the results.
By the way, isn’t the ceiling at the Camden Lock Markets fantastic?
After Thanksgiving dinner, we took a walk along Regent’s Canal. We saw a number of canal boats, but this is the one that seemed most self sufficient. I can give any number of reasons why living on a canal boat would be a very bad idea for me: my height, my poor marine maintenance skills, and my body’s reaction to cold wet weather among them. Still, this well-provisioned craft can help me dream properly.