The best funeral in London

Weird! One is tempted to say, Only in England will you find an article about funeral directors in a leisure magazine like Time Out ...



On my recent London trip, I also went to see the Weapons of Mass Communication exhibition at the Imperial War Museum. This is a chronological display of propaganda posters from different countries for WW I & II, interwar Europe as well as for the cold war and the new world order. It is fascinating to compare the different countries' different approaches to the same thing, using an eerily appealing visual language. In fact, it's so fascinating that I got the book, too!

Speaking of books: walking past Waterstone's, I noticed that Ian Rankin's latest book, Exit Music, is already on half price sale there. So I bought it also. 

I ..... .. phone

Seriously! I didn't do it on purpose, but I broke my phone! Well, it's not entirely broken, yet. It just has a huge crack across the display, which gets bigger all the time. Nevertheless, I definitely need that iPhone now, although it's not even known when it comes to this peripheral market that is Switzerland. Probably I'll just get one during my next trip to the UK on 13 December, unless one of my resourceful readers happens to travel from the US to Switzerland before then, as the US version is considerably cheaper than the European edition ...


Enlightened romantics

That was fun! I am just coming back from The Night Shift, a concert of classical music with a difference, performed at the Royal Festival Hall. One of the key differences was that I felt distinctly old, seeing how the average age of the audience was probably below 30, and that with a programme of Schubert and Brahms! I am usually not that much into romantic music, but I was curious to hear the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment play. It was quite the experience. Nothing of the usual Germanic heavy-handedness and pathos, but transparent, precise and dynamic action that still transports the melancholy of Schubert's unfinished 8th symphony flawlessly. This is how I could find my way back to grand orchestral works, especially in such an informal setting as tonight. That'd be worth trying at home!


Intelligent Life no more

I am known to have advocated for Intelligent Life to become a regular periodical. That's why I have taken out a subscription when it did without double checking. Now that the first regular issue has been sitting around for some weeks (it's a quarterly magazine), I'm afraid I'll have to give it a serious thumbs down, especially in comparison with what it is deemed to be its direct competition, i.e. Monocle.

Whence the bad marks, you wonder? First, the layout is not particularly user-friendly. The following is probably not objectively true if you run the numbers, but the editorial content is somehow subjugated by advertisements. Then the typeface is overly artistic, with some of the titles written in a compressed font that is plain ugly. I think that even I could do better than that, and that's saying a lot! But what's worst is that the imaginative, novel content that I've been so fond of in the first two issues is simply no more. What happened to that, Mr Editor in Chief?? Admittedly, there's some good stuff, too. I was rather surprised at not having heard before of the great classical paino swindle perpetrated by the late Joyce Hatto in complicity with her husband William Barrington-Coupe. I could easily imagine this material to be turned into an entertaining feature film from the well written article alone. Also well done is the article about experimental cuisine I referred to earlier, even though you only realise what it's really about when you're already well into it - which is quite unfortunate when you're used to browsing. 

So, what to do? I'll give it a second chance, if only for the motto hedonism with its head on.


Panthera pardus

This is the first post written on my new iMac, running on Mac OS X 10.5, a.k.a. Leopard! I can happily report that it's a great experience - the new machine is extremely racy, and I certainly won't go back to the previous cat, either. Although the fact that I am already using Leopard is not exactly Apple's merit, as the Mac came with Tiger preinstalled. Ordering Leopard via the Up to date programme resulted in an ETA of 3 (three!) weeks! But luckily I have extremely understanding and helpful alternative sources to bridge over the transitory gap between felines ...