Dystopian Dreams

Normally I wouldn’t waste my time writing a blog post about a bad, or series of bad, movies, but for some reason, I feel that maybe I should write something about the idea of the dystopia since I have just wasted about nine hours of my life watching the four Hunger Games movies. Anyway, I won’t actually write about what I thought of the films namely because I have already done so on IMDB, and I will include links to the reviews at the bottom of this post, however, I do wish to explore the idea of the dystopia in general, and have a glance to some of the recent series of movies (which have come out of books mind you) that explore this idea. Mind you, a part of me does want to hold off a bit so that I can watch Brazil again, but I suspect I’ll have plenty to write about that particular movie when I get around to it.

The Seasons of the Greeks

The annoying thing about my trip to the Leibeighaus (which happens to be the home of Frankfurt’s Sculpture museum) is that I didn’t end up seeing any of the permanent sculptures. Mind you, they did have a major exhibition here, and I didn’t actually make any effort to go and look for the permanent collection, and it wasn’t until afterwards that I discovered that there was more to this museum than the exhibition that I ended up seeing (actually, now that I found the photos, I realised that I did see the permanent exhibition). Mind you, it isn’t a huge collection and the only reason that people go to the museum is to see one of the temporary exhibitions – but then again that is the main drawcard for most museums, though the other drawcard is the tourists (and it can be annoying when you travel all the way to Europe only to discover that all of the Renoirs are out on loan).

Gutemberg and the Power of the Press

It is difficult to pinpoint what the most influential invention that has ever been developed actually is, though Gutenberg’s movable type printing press is certainly up there. No doubt the inventions that have been the most influential tend to be the oldest, such as the domestication of animals, farming, the wheel, and of course the alphabet, and anybody who has played Sid Meyer’s Civilisation will no doubt be familiar with the technology tree, that is that technological developments come about from earlier developments, which in turn come from even earlier ones.

Cymbeline – Back to Britannia

Apart of me felt that it was a little ironic, with all the furore over Brexit, that this play was being performed by the Royal Shakespeare company around this time. Mind you, unless they had a crystal ball, I have a feeling that it may have been a coincidence that Cymbeline was being staged, though we must remember that Brexit didn’t happen in a vacuum, and there was a huge debate over Britain’s role in the EU and the European community in the lead up not only to the referendum but also the general election of 2015. The thing is that one of the major themes of the play, and it as just as important back when it was first performed as it is now, is the role of Britain in Europe, and how much influence should Europe have over British (or more precisely English) sovereignty.

Guerilla Art – The Enigmatic Banksy

Banksy certainly does raise a question as to where you draw a line between art and vandalism, but then the whole modern (or should I say contemporary) art movement that has swept the world theoretically suggests that smashing up a car (that doesn’t happen to be yours) with a sledgehammer could quite well be considered art. It could also be considered a criminal offence, and I doubt that the defence of “I’m just expressing my artistic ability” would work with any judge. Yet isn’t this what graffiti basically is – defacing somebody else’s property? Yet what if that property is public property, and what if the mural that is appearing on that property is actually really good – does it become art, and does the artist escape criminal sanction because they have created a work of art?

Goethe – Germany’s Renaissance Man

One of the places that I ended up visiting in Frankfurt was the Goethe House, and while a part of me wants to simply write about the house (particularly since the website is actually pretty detailed), I will either leave that for my travel blog, or another post in this blog at another time. However, what I will say is that the house itself is quite large, comprising of four floors, all of them packed full of Goethe related material, and lots and lots of artwork (though he wasn’t much of painter, rather the paintings were from his father’s collection). Next door, well not so much next door because it is actually a part of the museum, is another gallery of paintings by Goethe’s contemporaries. Actually, the staff were pretty keen on me going in and having a look, which is what I eventually did.

Caricatures – Mocking with Art

I’m not really sure if the four paintings that I have posted in the title are strictly caricatures, but they were on display at the Caricature museum in Frankfurt (which in German is the Museum für Komische Kunst) so I guess they should fall into the category of Caricature (because why would a caricature museum have such paintings on display if they were not caricatures). Anyway, I visited the museum the first night I was in Frankfurt and what was cool was that the concierge suggested that I come back at 8:00 pm (the museum closed at 9:00 pm) because then I would get in for half price – which is what I ended up doing, and while I was waiting I headed off to a pub that happened to be nearby (which was the plan all along, and fortunately for me, daylight saving in Europe stretches out to beyond 9:00 pm).

1984 – The Perception of Truth

Well, it has been a while since I have posted anything on this blog (okay, I have already posted a couple of things, but that was because I finally had some time to sit down and go over one of the old posts I had sitting there waiting to be published and have finally gotten around to finishing a second one that was partially written while sitting on a plane between Singapore and Frankfurt), but now that I have returned to Australia and have some more free time (namely because I have discovered that when I am travelling the last thing that I really want to do is write blog posts because they can actually be pretty time consuming) to actually go back to publishing stuff on my blog, and what better way to start it off again than to publish a review of a play that I saw in London. Actually, when I’m in London I tend to make a habit of seeing as many plays as possible, though I have to be honest that the whole ‘West-End experience’ is starting to get a bit dry. In a way, it seems that the plays, and musicals, that appear in the major theatres in Theatreland are pretty much the mainstream, but then again having seen Wicked and Les Miserables three times already I’m not in a huge rush to go and see it again.

Rise of the USSA – America Loses the Cold War

Well, after finishing off my post regarding a counter-factual scenario in which the Soviet Union didn’t collapse my creative juices continued to fire, once again thanks to the Alternate History Hub. Once again it is a scenario that stems out of the Cold War, however, instead of seeing how the Soviet Union could have avoided its collapse, we will instead be posing the question as to how could have the tables have been turned and the United States end up on the losing side.

Orphan Black – The Dark Side of Science

It took me a while to get around to watching this series, though I must admit that my TV watching habits have been pretty sparse of late (probably because there are a lot of other things that I would prefer to do than sit down and stare at the idiot box after I get home from work). Okay, I am watching TV as I write this, but it happens to be a football match and my team is getting absolutely smashed so I doubt I will be watching for much longer (though for some reason, whenever we are watching a sporting match a part of us seems to have this belief, however misguided, that our team will do something extraordinary and pull the mother of all comebacks).