scribbles tagged ‘one smile’

Fine art map

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011 | tags: , , , ,  |

Fine Art Map LostReading University fine art degree show 2011

Tucked behind a filing cabinet in the corridor, a departmental sign proclaimed “Fine art map”

The map didn’t embody my understanding of ‘fine art’. The skills and interests of departmental academic staff don’t emerge in this creation for public consumption. The title ‘Lost’ was apt not just geographically, but with the pieces displayed in the show. Final pieces were planted without context, no comment on the artists inspiration or journey. This often left me feeling lost and wishing the artists had put more effort into engaging me. Afterall, I am here as a¬†willing participant

Each piece was labelled with a title, the name of the artist, their course. Some large paintings of nude women were labelled “nudes”. Indeed, the title did convey the content in a stripped to the bare essentials way – like the paintings

I managed to find fun in some pieces. Especially when the artist had planned them to engage with action aswell as thought:

  • running through a waterfall
  • putting a post-it note to my friends in Seattle on a map of the world

I kept getting distracted from the show by the wonderful language of the building and social structure. Then labelled-stickytape, provided by one artist, kindly drew me back to the thoughtful work of the students in the building


Fine art map
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The Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance, by Paul Strathern

Monday, September 20th, 2010 | tags: , , ,  |

Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance, by Paul Strathern

Recommended for people who love reading history books or are fascinated by the Medici family.

ūüôā¬† one smile. Ratings explained

On the good side¬†the journey through the family’s history we meet Michelangello, Botticeli, Galileo, lots of Popes¬†and all sorts of kings and queens of France and Spain. Murders, double dealing, cunning plans galore. Lots of fascinating goings-on.

My brother started reading this book and gave up one third of the way through. Mumzie read it and loved it. I was determiend to get to the end, hoping it would get a bit more gripping and less like a History course text book.¬† Though other reviewers cite it’s strength as being the non-academic writting. Academic writing must be deadly tedious.¬†This book was a bit too dry given how fabulous the story actually is. I started reading this 400 page tome¬†in December 2008 and finally finished in August 2010. Way too long.

I have not seen the PBS TV production, I suspect it is probably a much more rewarding experience to watch this series than read the book.

The Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance, by Paul Strathern
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did you decide to stop reading that book?

Monday, April 23rd, 2007 | tags: , ,  |


Book:   Tis. A Memoir.   Frank McCourt

Franks use of plain language, provides a raw, powerful, funny and poignant walk through the experience of emigrating to America. ¬† ¬†It’s an impressive book. ¬† ¬† ¬†I’ve finally given up trying to read it ¬†half way through. ¬† I’ve no stamina, ¬† I got bored. ¬† The story simply wasn’t gripping enough to make me drool over what might be on the next page. ¬† ¬† The rest of this ¬†review is based on ¬†the first ¬†half of the book. ¬†


Ratings explained


In 1949 a nineteen year old boy, the ¬†author, ¬†from Limerick (Ireland) emmigrates to his dream city, ¬†New York. ¬† ¬† ¬†The book is a sequel to Angela’s ¬†Ashes that easily stands alone. ¬†

“that’s what you’re faced with when you come to America, one decision after another” p54


  • Immigrants: Everyone is American and something else laden with prejudices. ¬† Spicks, ¬† Mickeys, Polacks, Pueto Ricans, Natives, Greeks, Swedes, Chinks. ¬† Rather than an absence of prejudice the book paints ¬†a complex, explicit and diverse prejudices. ¬†
  • Poverty: ¬† America’s not like you expect it to be after watching films, ¬† there is poverty here too. ¬† The book makes explicit comparisions between poverty in Limerick, Ireland, and New York. ¬† ¬†
  • Health: nealry every character’s health is vividly ¬†described, ¬†conjunctivitus, ¬†arthritus, blood infections, ¬†alcoholism. ¬† How these conditions effect their ability to ¬†earn money and pay for ¬†health care ¬†et.
  • real Americans: ¬† just like you see ¬†in the movies. ¬† We see these ¬†people from a ¬†distance as they go to church or stay in hotels. ¬† These people go to college, ¬† have blond blue-eyed girlfirends, ¬† are healthy, smell clean have ¬†amazingly white aligned teeth, ¬† always ¬†have food available and warm homes:

“they can afford to smile because they all have teeth so dazzling if they dropped them in the snow they’d be lost forever” p59

did you decide to stop reading that book?
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Lily Allen: sassy-lassy, drugged-up, singing, swearing & smoking

Saturday, March 31st, 2007 | tags: ,  |

Lily Allen in concert   is Wendy-recommended for post-prubescent people who think swearing, mean-spirits and smoking on stage  are cool,  fans of ska music and fans of pretty white post-pubescent  girls.  


Ratings explained

Lily Allen is very pretty and vivacious. ¬† The music accompanying her songs is heavily ska influenced, ¬† upbeat fun. ¬† Musically the songs reminded me of early Morcheeba and the sound of Lilys voice at the time of the album Big Calm. ¬† The London accent sounded fake in the light of her private school education. ¬† The blatant bitchy malcontentness of the lyrical content was more reminiscent of The Sex Pistols. ¬† Inbetween songs Lily puctuated each sentence with an engaging girly giggle and words littered with profanities. ¬† This ¬†appeared to entertain the mainly male audience who shouted their ‘love’ for Lily. ¬† For me her between song talk provided ¬†a tired, unentertaining story that lacked talent depth or insight. ¬† Smoking cigarettes on stage while singing publically demonstrated a lack of respect for her singing voice. ¬† The ‘controversies’ section of the wikipedia article on Lily sums up her presence quite well.

Bopping around to the music and  enjoying the wit and passion of the lyrics and boyouncy of the music was good.    But I wont be buying her music until the girl matures a little assuming that age doesnt turn even  more sour.  

I could have gone to see James Morrison instead,   I definitely made the wrong decision.

Lily Allen: sassy-lassy, drugged-up, singing, swearing & smoking
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review ratings

Monday, September 25th, 2006 | tags: , , , , , , , , , ,  |

Ever wondered what Wendy review ratings really mean?   You need wonder no more.    Rating system explained:

:-(  :-(  :-(  :-(  :-(  

Don’t touch this, ¬† lest it be contagious or induce severe fits followed by sudden brain death

:-(  :-(  :-(  :-(  

No. ¬† It’s just wrong, ¬† so wrong. ¬† Turn around an walk away before anything valuable ¬†like sanity or toothbrush gets broken

:-(  :-(  :-(  

Thow the phone down.     Icky, icky, icky,   could prompt a minor tantrum involving  some small hand-held household item hitting the floor with a little more speed then naturally supplied by gravity    

:-(  :-(  

Wince making.   What were they thinking?   Walk away now  


Why? ¬† Even lashings of tea and biscuits couldn’t make this work ¬†


Mining required. ¬† Get your spade out, ¬† if you are ¬†prepared to put the effort into ¬†digging for it you’ll find some virtue buried somewhere in this ¬†

:-)   :-)  

Darn good.   Like a pint of well kept real Ale  from a cask in good company,   or a Sunday morning reading a broadsheet in bed with the  fluff-balls snoring nearby    

:-)   :-)   :-)  

Lovelly.   Simply world class talent.   Easily recommended and probably even remembered,   which given my scattiness is a major achievement      

:-)   :-)   :-)   :-)  

Gorgeous.   Oh!   that was good for me.    Expect this review to include a bit of gushing because  the work has  genius potential      

:-)   :-)   :-)   :-)   :-)  

Hero Worship. ¬† ¬† Realised genius, lets do it again, ¬† and again, ¬† and again. ¬† There’s a stong risk that Wendy’s planning a proposal.

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The Lucky Slevin

Sunday, April 30th, 2006 | tags: ,  |

The film is ok ūüėź

A well produced and acted, fast paced, thriller with one professionally executed theme. The cast quality held the film together. ¬† It’s a good film for people who want to walk in and out ¬†without having felt challenged or provoked to think. ¬† Just take a ride.

The theme I noticed:

  • Revenge. ¬† several different revenge plots. ¬† I guessed many plot ‘twists’ before they were explicitly revealed. ¬† This was due to a very streamlined ¬†script but it dampened the film’s impact as a thriller because ¬†it felt predictable despite some very novel scenes. ¬† The story structure is good quality but not innovative.

Other notable points

  • The opening credits were impressive because of the graphic effects and ¬†their ¬†relevance to the plot. ¬† You are taken straight into the movie while the credits are delivered. ¬†
  • Morgan Freeman’s velvet voice. ¬† Isn’t it always? ¬†
  • Ben Kingsly as an American Rabbi. Riveting performance. ¬† My main motivation for seeing the film was ¬†experiencing Ben Kingsly act with Morgan Freeman. ¬† There is one scene that contains both actors.
  • Lucy Liu is not playing a vamp. ¬†A pleasant suprise. ¬† Very adorable character, ¬† intellegent and cute without being a clutz. ¬† The sugar collection scenes that establish her character provided a film highlight. ¬† A credit to the scene scripting, ¬† acting and direction.
  • Bruce Willis is ¬†not stretched by his role. ¬† He had much more room to demonstrate his talent in 12 Monkeys, Sixth sense, Die Hard ¬†or even Pulp Fiction.
  • Lack of character development. ¬† None that I noticed. ¬† The boy and the girl fell in love. ¬† Some people ¬†discovered stuff they didn’t already know. ¬†Some people died. ¬† That’s not really character development.


The Lucky Slevin
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The Plato Papers. Peter Ackroyd

Saturday, January 7th, 2006 | tags: , ,  |
I will wander and wonder” p169
Set in a future, ¬† Plato, and orator tells stories of the different ages of the worlds’ existence. ¬† Ackroyd paints a picture of some of the ‘current’ world ¬†understandings. ¬† An ingenious possible world. ¬† We follow the character of Plato as he uses stories and rhetoric to encourage the inhabitants to question their own, current, understandings. ¬† To question their ‘truths’. ¬† We see the societal implications of his questioning the current dominant world view within this fictional future. ¬†
A quick, ¬† deeply entertaining read for people with a passing knowledge of greek mythology, ¬† philosophy, ¬† E A Poe, Charles Darwin, Charles Dickens, Sigmund Freud and London’s geography/districts. ¬† Without this knowledge the book is still brief and good with a little more proactive reflection on the readers part and lacking some of the referential humour and colourful decoration that this prior knowledge affords.
Excellent plot. ¬† Ackroyd creatively re-interprets history using deliberate misunderstandings based on inferences from incomplete information. ¬† For example, ¬† the only copy of ‘The origin of the species’ has the authors name partially destroyed, ¬† as Charles D…. ¬† ¬† They assume the author is Charles Dickens and read the book as if it is a Novel with colourful characters. ¬† “May I recommend ‘the origin of the species’ to you then, as a comic masterpiece“p10. ¬† ¬† ¬†
For the Plato  character there is clearly sign posted character development.
Despite my strong affection for Ackroyd’s previous works that I have read – ¬†Hawksmoor, Chatterton, ¬†and Dan leno and the Limehouse Golem ¬†the Plato papers reads as a self-consciously clever novel. ¬† That is A LOT more than most writers produce but not sufficient for me to recommend it as a generally good, ¬† entertaining, read. ¬† ¬†
To fully enjoy the book you need some cursory ¬†knowledge of ¬† British authors and London’s geography. ¬† ¬† The characters other than Plato appear merely instumental in telling the main plot; no character development. ¬† Some points are laboured, ¬† for example the glossary of ancient terms that Plato is writting serves its purposes of illustrating misunderstandings and the perspective of this future world well before Ackroyd finishes it. ¬†

The Plato Papers. Peter Ackroyd
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Lion, Witch and Wardrobe…

Wednesday, December 14th, 2005 | tags: , ,  |

Are all stunning,   scenery and animation are also top-notch.

But these excellent parts do not gestalt to  a good film.

The Disney Narnia ¬†film storyline didn’t really work for me. ¬† It covered the second book of seven in the Chronicals. ¬† Why not start at the beginning? ¬† ¬†

Tilda Swinton was ¬†outstanding as Queen Jadis. Jim Broadbent’s cameo role is also exquisite though not used effectively for plot development. ¬† Tilda’s performance held my interest in the film. ¬†The other female characters were stereotypical ‘healing’, ‘supportive’ and did all the blubbing in the film. ¬† Yuck. ¬† Somewhat uninspiring. ¬† Even the two lead ‘boy’ characters appeared shallow and poorly developed thoughout the film. ¬† James ¬†McAvoy ¬†who is ¬†often cast as a loveable rogue played a convincingly trustable Mr. Tumnus. ¬† The sets and graphics (snow, animals) ¬†were extremely impressive but didn’t sufficiently make up for the lack of good quality character development. ¬† Thankfully, these children do not feature in the other books. ¬† I haven’t seen the BBC version of 4 of the books.

I wouldn’t recommend this film. ¬† ¬†

Here’s a picture of my vintage (between 1 ¬†and 2 hundred years old) ¬†French Wardrobe instead. ¬† ¬†It’s cheaper and almost as entertaining. ¬† It slots together, no ‘screws’ and I can climb in it with both my kitties. ¬† It’s the only piece of furniture that I care about. ¬† ¬†Care about furniture? ¬† Not normally, ¬† but ¬†a wardrobe that once contained other people’s clothes, ¬† a doorway, ¬† Norman arches, ¬† Barley-twist, beautiful oak and quality craftsmanship. ¬† Golly gosh, ¬† it even SMELLS good! ¬† Must have a cup of tea before I get toooooooo excited about my wardrobe….

W Wardrobe-Worshiper

Lion, Witch and Wardrobe…
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