from Monday, December17th of the year2007.
I am feeling very scattered these days. The end of the year in New York always has a feeling of summation and consolidation, and I feel like I’m doing the exact opposite: diffusing, scattering. I’ve been writing an electric six-string violin concerto for Tom, which is going to be performed on the 7th of January in London. I love their design! So sweet and clean! You have to click on the gallery and look at the fresh young faces of England that are going to be playing it; it’s very exciting.
All this talk of Orchestras and England makes me want to talk about two things I’ve been obsessed with recently. First of all, the restaurant St John in London. They have just added video to their already lovely website. The video, “Disciplining the Little Gem” is a classic of the genre. This is a restaurant whose design sense is all-invasive & viral: all things seem to radiate from a central philosophy. Read, for instance, the copy attendant to this spin-off website Trottergear.com. Take this example from the FAQ section:
How does it end up in the dish?
It will bring a lip sticking wobbly moment.
Yes. Amazing. Their head chef, Fergus Henderson, is sort of a food guru whose first cookbook was evidently a cult phenomenon in the food world until it was widely released. Read Fergus Henderson’s entry on their tradition of serving Madeira and Seed Cake at 11 in the morning, below. I have to say, he’s exactly right. You stop in, have this combination, get on with your life. It is bracing and insane.
At eleven o’clock you have woken up and got in touch with your extremeties, spittle has begun to flow. It’s time for Elevenses.
Seed Cake and Maderia is the perfect combination for this hour – just the right amount of sustenance to safely see you through to lunch time.
Don’t be alarmed by break in your morning, Seed Cake and Maderia is a quick affair, rather like a fire work display – a splendid, invigorating moment and then you move on…uplifted.
Also read this article about him, which also discusses his Parkinson’s disease, which my grandmother also suffers from. She has managed to hold onto her cooking for as long as possible, despite tremors and other setbacks. This is her making a Baked Alaska with my mother:
Check out the history of the term Baked Alaska here; my grandmother always called it Omelette Surprise, but she’s french, so I thought it was just a French word ““ not so! So, that was the one half of my English Orchestral digression. The other half is, of course, the exciting news that the New York Philharmonic is going to North Korea to play! Did anybody read this funny quote in the Times:
Pressed about whether the orchestra could have chosen more politically charged music, Mr. Mehta said: “We only play great music. We don’t think about politics. Did you want us to play “˜Chairman Mao Dances?'” Mr. Mehta was referring to “The Chairman Dances,” an excerpt from John Adams’s opera “Nixon in China.”
Oh snap! Yes, actually, that wouldn’t be a bad idea! I’m sure Mr. Mehta was trying to be sassy. Also, for the record, it’s not an excerpt so much as a re-imagining of some of the incidental music in the third act of Nixon in China, which is a dreamy, nightmare landscape which ends (at least in Peter Sellars’s staging) with the Nixons and the Maos in bed, sleepless and writhing. It’s a beautiful moment with a foxtrotty prelude which Adams turned into a wonderful orchestra piece Mr. Mehta is sassing, above. It’s also probably the most politically un-charged (discharged?) piece of music I can imagine, but no matter! Onwards to North Korea!
I’m done with words for the day. I want to go edit my ‘lectric violin concerto. So I am going to leave you with some amazing pictures that have appeared in the news in the last week or so.
From this article.