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Monday, 12 December 2005
Sesay Concert


Last weekend I went to see Pinkie perform in the South East Surrey Area Youth Orchestra (SESAY).  I managed to get up into the balcony to take this photograph.  I see that the concert was advertised on the Surrey 50+ site and not in many other places but this did not entirely represent the audience who turned up. There was a good cross-section of people in the audience from pensioners to 10 year old aspirant violinists, and everyone in-between.  The orchestra is conducted by Ms Leonie Anderson.

I didn’t blog yesterday as I was caught the wrong side of an oil depot in Hemel Hampstead until after 10pm.  One of the great things about Flickr, is the tagging system which allows you to see everyone’s amazing photos of the dramatic events there yesterday. For example here is a sample selection of the photos tagged oil depot. Here is a sample selection of the photos tagged hemel hampstead. These sets are displayed in order of interestingness. I am not sure of the exact criteria used to define what is interesting but I assume it is some combination of number of views, number of comments left, number of times the photo is marked as a favourite by other members, etc.

Posted by bigblue on 12/12/2005 at 11:49 PM
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Saturday, 10 December 2005
The Love of the Nightingale

Smisby sunrise
The morning after I got back from Dubai I woke up to the sight above. It was quite a contrast to see the snow and ice after the warm week in Dubai.

Tonight I went to see Bluemeanie in the play The Love of the Nightingale by Timberlake Wertenbaker. I really enjoyed the play, but as I said to Bluemeanie’s history teacher afterwards I was probably better prepared for the play having been told some of the themes beforehand, due to their disturbing nature.  Yes, I’m a sensitive soul grin.

The site I have linked to in the text above comments on Wertenbaker that:

Her feminist interest in non-conforming women also finds expression in her plays based in myth or fairytale: The Love of the Nightingale (1989), Dianeira and The Ash Girl. The first of these takes up the story of Sophocles’ lost tragedy Tereus from the point of view of Philomele, who is raped by Tereus, husband of her sister Procne.  In the stylized language and structure typical of her historical-mythological plays, Wertenbaker reveals the contradictory desires and forms of resistance of the two sisters.  Dianeira, a radio play about the wife of Heracles, is particularly notable for its complex layers of story-telling, with Wertenbaker herself and the modern Greek woman Irene assuming the narration at different points.  The Ash Girl, a new version of Cinderella, retains the happy ending of the original but also shows some sympathy for Cinderella’s stepmother and half-sisters, who are the victims of an idealised femininity.

In the programme handed out at the production tonight, Wertenbaker is quoted as saying that altough The Love of the Nightingale has been interpreted as being about women, she had actually been thinking about the violence that erupts in societies when they have been silenced for too long.  In other words the play works on a number of different levels.

Posted by bigblue on 10/12/2005 at 11:28 PM
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Friday, 09 December 2005
Go ask Alice


This evening Bluemeanie and I went to see Pinkie in Go Ask Alice, her school production.  According to the school website

This play is inspired by the Jefferson Airplane song (remember them, parents!) and is based on the real life diary of an American teenager drawn into the world of drugs. This production features many of our strongest actresses, and has been directed by 6th former Heidi Holmes, and produced by our Head of Drama John Groves.

It was a good production dealing with a rather uncomfortable subject matter.

I took the above photo in the grounds of Tonbridge Grammar School last week.  The animal in the photo is one of those nasty grey squirrels from the USA who are taking over the UK.

Posted by bigblue on 09/12/2005 at 10:47 PM
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Thursday, 08 December 2005
Gold Souq

gold souq

This is a view down the Gold Souq in Dubai. I wasn’t particularly impressed after all the hype in the guide book. The Economist says:

Souk is the Arabic word for market, and Dubai is littered with them. They are a legacy of Dubai’s status as a thriving port, dating back to the 19th century, when traders and smugglers docked by the banks of the Creek to do business. The city’s souks remain beside the famous waterway.

The most acclaimed is the Gold Souk, on the Deira side of town near the mouth of the Creek. It’s an impressive sight. Rows upon rows of windows filled with elaborate 24-carat gold necklaces, with throngs of Arab and Indian women clamouring for a better view.

This is no tourist trap. People come to stock up on the yellow metal, mainly from India, the world’s largest gold market. Dubai’s bullion market has tailed off since 1999, when India liberalised gold imports, but jewellery is still thriving (recent price hike notwithstanding).

Perhaps I was missing something. Perhaps it was because I wasn’t really interested in buying anything, let alone haggling.

Posted by bigblue on 08/12/2005 at 11:02 PM
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Wednesday, 07 December 2005
darling, the earth moved


As I lay on the Boushar Beachfront that night last week, watching the stars, waiting for this shot to expose, I thought of that poem by Keith Gottshalk:

True Confessions:
Who Really Gave Nic Copernicus The Idea
That Ptolemy & The Church
Got It All Wrong

one moonful evening
mrs. Copernicus whispered
darling, the earth moved

Posted by bigblue on 07/12/2005 at 09:13 PM
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Tuesday, 06 December 2005


So, I will see your exotic foodstuffs and raise you four ramboutan from The Chedi hotel in Muscat, Oman.

Posted by bigblue on 06/12/2005 at 10:21 PM
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Monday, 05 December 2005
Mosque tour

jumeirah mosque tour

We started our tour of the Jumeirah Mosque outside as the guide demonstrated how a Musim would wash themselves before entering the mosque to pray.  Inside the mosque he explained the five pillars of Islam.

As I said yesterday the mosque was constucted of stone in the medieval Fatimid style of Egypt.  It is apparently based on the design of a much older structure in Cairo. Wikipedia also provides some information about the dynasty of Fatimid.

Posted by bigblue on 05/12/2005 at 10:55 PM
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Sunday, 04 December 2005
Jumeirah Mosque

Jumeirah Mosque

This is the Jumeirah Mosque in Dubai, the only mosque in the United Arab Emirates which is open to non-Muslims (twice a week, during a guided tour).  This is part of an open-doors, open-minds programme run by the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding.  Besides for the tours, this centre organises coffee mornings, walking tours of the historical Bastakiya district in Dubai, spoken Arabic courses (Gulf dialect), staff training in cultural awareness and runs a traditional gift shop.

On the tour the guide told us that the mosque was built in 1978 to commemorate the 14th Century (of the Islamic calendar), and is a replica of a mosque that exists in Cairo.  According to

The Jumeirah Mosque is the most photographed building in the city and an impressive example of modern Islamic architecture with its two minarets. It was built along medieval Fatimid lines, entirely of stone. It is particularly attractive at night, when subtle lighting increases its dramatic effect.

I found a night-shot of the mosque here.  The above photograph is actually a merge of 3 separate photographs that I took and merged together (hence the obvious distortions).

Posted by bigblue on 04/12/2005 at 08:40 AM
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