This Week In Zoe News

We saw Joan Baez in Manchester at the Bridgewater last night. Zoe got an acknowledgement from the stage and a spotlight. We met again with Joan and her crew. I think she thinks my name is “Bob” which I find amusing.

The show was excellent though weighted heavily toward classics. She did, IIRC, four songs from Whistle Down The Wind. Her voice was in good form which given all her touring is pretty impressive. The backup band remains awesome with Gabe’s percussion solo being a big crowd pleaser. The auditorium wasn’t quite filled but I infer that the Bridgewater messed that up by just not selling some sections behind the stage. (I know people who wanted tickets and were told “sold out”!)

Amusingly, our comped seats seem to have been double booked. But as we got there first, I don’t know how it was resolved.

I think I’m not such a fan of Bridgewater Hall for this sort of show. Compared to Ulster Hall in Edinburgh (which is similarly sized) it was more awkward visually and sonicly. The non proscenium stage undercut the dramatic visuals (esp early on) and I had more trouble hearing words than I did in Edinburgh. The crowd was a bit more passive too.

Still an excellent show. We had lots of friends who went so that was fun.

The performers and crew are a bunch of really sweet people who seem to be holding up well considering their schedule.

They’ll be back in Feb. I recommend getting tickets!

Thinking a bit about the set list, I think it’s unfortunate that she’s so constrained to do lots of classics. (And, as an audience member, I’m often wanting to hear classic songs from a performer. So I get it!)

Whistle Down the Wind is an evolution of her sound built around profound shifts in her voice. Of course, that vocal shift colours her whole performance, but I don’t think the classic songs were strongly reinterpreted. A show that was built around the new voice as much as Whistle is built around would be very interesting.

Addendum: I observed the famous British respect for signage.


Banana Diplomacy

Surprise surprise, Trump cancelled the North Korea summit. While not as foreordained as the summit not working or being cancelled in general, it was still a high probability event.

And make no mistake, the US is more aiming for a war than not. Bolton alone makes this true. Of course, war with Iran is in the cards too, and they’re a softer target.

But the people in charge right now are various kinds of irrational and bloodthirsty. The risk of bad bad things happening is ridiculously high.

We have to hope that Trump’s cowardice or erratically, plus Pentagon resistance keeps these bad things from happening.

Which isn’t comforting.

Compostable Dinnerware

I may be a travel mug and tea/coffee set addict. I have two stainless steel, vacuum travel mugs (one is in semi retirement). But my current daily weapon of choice is a pink eCoffee cup which is supposed to be mostly compostable and recyclable. It is a tad small, the heat sleeve doesn’t really work, and I’ve had trouble surge the lid. But it biodegrades! That led. E to find a whole line which is similarly biodegradable and beautiful. Bowls, plates, cups…the works. We may be upgrading in the near future.

I suspect I’m going to get a Stojo too because, I mean, it collapses!

Update: And, of course, this morning I discover I’ve lost the silicone lid to my eCoffee cup. I guess I have to get a Stojo to replace it!

Brexit and Trump

These two votes were really bad. Both involved bad faith, lies, and cheating by the winning side. Both haven’t quite matured into the disaster they likely will be. In both case, the public hasn’t decisively turned against the folly and the elites keep dodging or protecting it. In both cases the staggering incompetence and corruption of the Conservative party is just shocking to the most cynical.

A small sensible swing in both cases would have left us all so much better off.

We’re not at the disaster point yet. The UK hasn’t yet left the EU. Trump hasn’t had his Saturday night massacre or Iraq War folly. But bad things are happening and bad things are building up. It’s clear. Crystal clear. In some sense, it wouldn’t take that much to avoid the disaster and yet it seems so impossible.

I’m Slipping

Dangit! Second post this month I missed. To be fair the first was because I was on a plan (but then I should have had a timed post). “Today”, it was because I was working on other stuff.

To beĀ extra fair, I did post a quickie to the Friends of Platt Fields blog I’m setting up. Ok, it recycled a photo. I experience shame.

I had a music monday lined up too. Oh well!

A Celebrity Wedding

So some random people got married today. They have a strange connection to the government in whose territory I spend most of my time and a weird historical relation to the government of the territory of my birth. I’m a citizen of both. It’s all a bit weird.

I grew up on Schoolhouse Rock and “No More Kings” was a favorite:

Of course, in addition to being a catchy tune, it’s rank propaganda. It also ignores the role of Parliament, which, after all, passed all the offensive laws. The kings were not, themselves, the problem.

Nevertheless, royalty is fucking absurd, especially hereditary monarchy. If they want to hold a joust (or video game tournament) to the death every 40 years (or whenever there’s a death of the prior monarch) to select a head of state, that would be less ridiculous and less offensive. (And that would solve the problem Matthews identifies with presidencies.) The offensiveness is the conflation of a family wig sovereignty. The Queen has no power but she had a certain nominal status. She is not first among equals. She’s first and unequal. At least nominally.

But eh. I don’t believe that and that lots of other people do doesn’t touch me at all. They bring in some money, so aren’t a net burden (probably) on society. Even if they were a net cost…lots of things are. If enough people want to waste some money on that, well, it’s better than on homeopathy.

The fact that England has a state religion (and 12 seats in the House of Lords!) is more worrisome, but also, it turns out, not a big deal. Religious freedom is alive and well in the U.K. in spite of the state religion. It may be in better health than in the US at the moment.

Both these things are weird anachronisms that, at various points, were really bad things. But they are not big problems at all. The U.K. libel laws? Those are a problem. Brexit? That’s a problem. The Government’s various power grabs? Huge problem.

A royal wedding just isn’t a problem these days. It’s Just Another Celebrity Event.