Monthly Archives: May 2013

Ludovico Einaudi, The Barbican Centre 23rd April

Originally published on The Daily Touch

Whether you have noticed or not, Ludovico Einaudi has crept into your life. His repetitive style of music has made him a popular choice for advertising, television shows and most recently the soundtrack to the French comedy film ‘The Intouchables’. As a fan of his since I heard ‘Nightbook’ one night in the library last year, I jumped at the chance to see him live at the Barbican last Tuesday.

At 7.35pm Einaudi walks casually over to his piano. Seated with his back to the audience he is the only one illuminated by spotlight. The small orchestra joining him tonight is currently in darkness, until they open the show with a performance of ‘Waterways’, and the first of many shivers runs down my spine.

The first half of the concert consisted entirely of pieces from Einaudi’s latest album, ‘In a Time Lapse’. It’s an album which has utilised the violin much more than previous Einaudi albums, and if the performance has taught me anything, it is that apparently violinists are a thing you can never have too many of. The instruments are designed with one goal in mind: to create as many goosebumps as possible to the largest number of people. This is perhaps best demonstrated in ‘Underwood’, with a beautifully heart-rending performance from the lead violinist tearing through the atmosphere in the theatre.

The second half of the performance sees a revisit to his classics. The lights dim and this time Einaudi is the only one on stage. Alone, he performs an exceptional rendition of ‘Nuvole Bianche’, the piece I had been waiting for all evening. The experience is nothing short of exquisite. I have heard the piece hundreds of times but nothing compares to watching him play it in front of you, one of his hands casually swaying to-and-fro to the tune of the other.

Gradually, the rest of his band return to the stage during ‘The Tower’. One seated at the front of the stage with a glockenspiel, taps away in unison with two others- they are creating something very far removed from what I was used to in year 5 music classes.

As the violinists strike out the final note of ‘Nightbook’ Einaudi and his band are greeted by their first standing ovation of the evening. A good five minutes of heavy applauding passes and Einaudi returns to the stage with a celloist to perform the first of three encores.

By the third encore Einaudi has the audience on their feet clapping out the beat to their final piece of the evening, ‘Lady Labyrinth’. Once the final note is struck the clapping turns into a raucous applause and the band join Einaudi at the front of the stage for a well deserve final ovation. With a grin on his face Einaudi accepts a bouquet of flowers from an audience member and departs, and with grins on our faces and sores on our palms we depart as well.

Margaret Thatcher and Death Parties.

Originally published on The Daily Touch

On the 8th April the Twitter hash tag #nowthatcherisdead started trending, sending a jolt of panic through Cher fans worldwide. Thankfully those who did not suffer heart attacks were on hand to inform everyone that it was in fact Margaret Thatcher who had died.

The whole thing initially resembled the death of Michael Jackson. From the moment news broke the Twitter-sphere predictably exploded in a torrent of jokes, vitriolic remarks, and hash tags. Everyone spewing out their own addition to the list of puns so they could say “I thought of this first”, “Thatcher? More like Twatcher #awesome #impopularonline”.

Even in death Margaret Thatcher has managed to dramatically split opinion. Her life and political career has been both commended and criticised. Many of those on the critical side have however taken things to rather questionable levels.

Over the last few days many cities across the country have experienced people taking to the streets to celebrate the demise of the Iron Lady in so-called “death parties”. Participants chant along to the 1939 Judy Garland classic “Ding-dong the Witch is Dead” (causing utter confusion for those off to the cinema to catch Oz: The Great and Powerful) swigging from bottles of Prosecco or Adsa’s own Cava, depending on how they fared in the BBC’s Class Indication Quiz.a-reveller-holds-a-sign-to-celebrate-the-death-of-britains-former-prime-minister-margaret-thatcher-at-a-party-in-brixton-south-london-april-8-2013

If your local high street is not hosting a fun-filled Thatcher funeral extravaganza, fear not. Odes to Thatcher’s demise are everywhere. Yesterday as I walked past the local suspicious hippy shop I discovered that their window display, usually containing a shrine to the Russian feminist band “Pussy Riot”, had finally been replaced. The new exhibit included a poster exclaiming “Thatcher is Finally Dead!” adorned by a few empty bottles of champagne. I couldn’t help but wonder if they were against the death penalty. Surely if they were, celebrating someone’s death as if it symbolised their “just deserts” is somewhat contradictory.

Many people hold legitimate grievances with Thatcher’s policies. I’ve seen Billy Elliot and things didn’t seem great back then. Yet glorifying her death seems a rather childish form of criticism. While Thatcher’s death has brought her policies back into question in a big way simply coming to the conclusion that she was a “bitch” and a “whore” does not provide the nation with much to build on.

Maybe she was a bit of a bitch. She has been called it by countless people. Those in her own party, those in opposition, and citizens all across the country. These insults provide nothing new to the opinion there is of Margaret Thatcher. They do however provide something new to the opinion of those criticising her. Anyone who reacts to someone’s death by organising a street party so they can bellow slurs about the deceased to the Wizard of Oz soundtrack is not someone I want to know.

Assuming that everything is going to be a-okay now she is dead is short-sighted. Her policies and their effects will not be wiped away just because she is gone. People’s legacies can last longer than their lifespan. So it is probably best to re-cork that wine, pack up the party-poppers, and approach politics from a different angle.