A Broken Hallelujah

I’ve returned to London.

On the upside, my dear friends are here. I can feast on hummus and drink New World wines.

However, these gifts come at a price. Principally, having to live in a country where a soulless, Christawful version of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah is the Christmas Number 1.

I don’t even know the name of the woman singing it (part of my policy of trying to maintain emotional equilibrium by avoiding things that anger me) but the song is… oh god… painful.

Anyone who doesn’t know and love the awesome, soul-stirring Jeff Buckley version should stop reading immediately and listen instead.

You’ll appreciate why no one in the world should ever be allowed to do another cover version. Much less some reality TV mediocrity who turns it into a vile, ugly, pompous, Celine Dion-lite ode to narcissism.


Share It

Share this post using del.icio.us del.icio.us  Share this post using Digg Digg  Share this post using Facebook Facebook  Share this post using Google Google 
Share this post using Live Spaces Live Spaces  Share this post using MySpace MySpace  Share this post using Newsvine Newsvine  Share this post using Reddit Reddit 
Share this post using StumbleUpon StumbleUpon  Share this post using Technorati Technorati  Share this post using Twitter Twitter  Share this post using Yahoo! My Web Yahoo! My Web 

Advertisements

Mr & Mrs Smith: Ibiza Christmas

Posted by Cila Warncke

Just posted on the fab Mr & Mrs Smith blog
plaza-del-parque-postcard1

Christmas is a very special time in Ibiza. Local municipalities have gotten splendidly into the spirit, decking the main streets and town squares with fairy lights and fir trees. The annual Christmas Fair is in full swing on Vara de Rey, in Ibiza Town, with handcrafts, gifts, sweets and mini-fairground rides for the kids. And the famous hippie market at Las Dahlias, in San Carlos just around the corner from Can Curreu restaurant, has gone all Christmassy, too, and is a perfect place to find unique gifts like handmade jewellery and leather goods.

Christmas shopping is a relatively recent invention on the island, though. Historically, winter was a lean time, so Ibicenco tradition focuses on family and faith. Impressive midnight masses are sung in Ibiza’s churches, and the real joy of the season is spending time with friends and family.

Click here to continue reading…

Romancing Bond

Posted by Cila Warncke

Every once in a while someone hits up one of my blogs with a comment so fantastically stupid I sit and cackle helplessly (and then email it to my friends). Some chap happened across a few comments about sexism and sex appeal in Quantum of Solace and grabbed the wrong end of the stick with both sweaty palms.

My not-quite-coherent interlocutor is under the mistaken impression that my feminism is merely a badly sublimated urge to be swept off my feet into a Mills & Boone romance. I think he thinks I want this. Actually…

If he were crying...

If he were crying...

High Wired

Posted by Cila Warncke

Walking to heaven

Walking to heaven


On a time-killing impulse I went to London’s legendary Prince Charles Cinema yesterday afternoon (my flight home wasn’t till five PM), bought a £10 annual membership and a ticket to the only thing showing between half-one and three: Man On Wire.

Not as grammatically challenged as it sounds, the documentary takes its title from report filed by baffled NYPD officials after they arrested puckish artiste Philippe Petit when he finally stepped off the cable he and an audacious band of companions had illegally strung between the two World Trade Center towers.

“I observed the tightrope ‘dancer’ — because you couldn’t call him a ‘walker'” a sturdy-joweled cop tells reporters in the aftermath. It was as close as any American commentator got to describing what it was Petit was doing 104 floors above the pavements of New York.

Petit himself, a passionate, charismatic, voluble character, gives the most Gallic of shrugs and says words to the effect: I had been walking in heaven and all the Americans could ask was ‘why?’ There was no ‘why’.

It was a grand gesture, life as objet d’art. The documentary interviews, at length, everyone immediately involved in the unforgettable event: Petit, his then girlfriend Annie, his best friends Jean Louis and Jean Francoise, Pete (Australian) and John (American) who helped rig the wire, as well as Barry the ‘inside man’ and Alan and David, all Americans who helped the little gang of French who they – more than 30 years later – still clearly think a bit mad.

The contrast between the French and American Weltanschauung is profound and powerfully affecting. Petit describes his first encounter with the two towers – in an artist’s rendering in a magazine. I had found my dream, he says. That his dream was impossible, life-threatening, ludicrous and (most confusingly for their reluctant American helpers) non-profitable was of absolutely no concern to his friends and lover. Jean Louis, handsome and articulate, breaks down at the end of the film — apparently their friendship didn’t survive the supreme emotional peak of the experience. Annie, possessed of vibrant green eyes, also weeps describing the moment of Philippe’s triumph. She later says, without regret: our relationship ended that day. Good-humoured Jean Francoise, who was deported for his part in the adventure, is equally non-judgemental. Each sacrificed for their friend’s dream yet there is no regret, no obligation, much less anger or bitterness.

David and Alan, the Americans who were briefly involved, couldn’t be more different. Their incomprehension of the whole affair is stamped across their faces. David fled halfway through helping them smuggle supplies into the towers, ending his role in the story early. Alan stuck it out a little longer, but eventually abandoned Jean Louis on the rooftop because he thought it was ‘impossible’. What they saw when Petit lounged gracefully on the wire, 450 metres in the air, it wasn’t art or communion with the heavens — just some daft frog showing off. Watching them, you suspect that if Petit had told them he was trying to get in the Guinness Book of World Records, or that he were being sponsored by a major corporation they would have ‘got it’. If Petit had gone up and waved a French flag they might have understood. Exploration without conquest remains too alien a concept for literal American minds.

Man On Wire ends with the now-60-year-old Petit walking with calm, rapt concentration along a wire. His final words incite rebellion, he says: don’t rest on success, live every day as a challenge. Not against rules outside, necessarily, but against fears inside.


Share It

Share this post using del.icio.us del.icio.us  Share this post using Digg Digg  Share this post using Facebook Facebook  Share this post using Google Google 
Share this post using Live Spaces Live Spaces  Share this post using MySpace MySpace  Share this post using Newsvine Newsvine  Share this post using Reddit Reddit 
Share this post using StumbleUpon StumbleUpon  Share this post using Technorati Technorati  Share this post using Twitter Twitter  Share this post using Yahoo! My Web Yahoo! My Web 

In Search of Integrity

Welcome disruption in the form of an impulse journey to Cork. The familiar is useful for many things: ease, security, comfort. But not for progression or intense coversational cogitation. There are, in other words, good reasons for seeking out a strange, half-lit living room in which to drink endless cups of hot water while reading Erik Erikson’s Childhood and Society.

I bought it on a hunch, following the trail of a couple of paragraphs excerpted in a website about child development. My hope was it would shed some light, or offer a referential framework, for understanding the miseducation of Britney Spears. In the course of three mornings slung across the sofa it has proved more indicative than even I hoped. One sentence seems to summarise the whole problem, to hint at root of all root causes: “The ego, in the course of its synthesising efforts, attempts to subsume the most powerful evil and ideal prototypes… and with them the whole existing imagery of superior and inferior, good and bad, masculine and feminine, free and slave, potent and impotent, beautiful and ugly, fast and slow, tall and small, in a simple alternative, in order to make one battle and one strategy out of a bewildering number of skirmishes.”

I say “the whole problem” not “her whole problem” because the more I read, and think, and look for the links from A to B to K to Q, the more it looks like not something one person has tried and failed to reconcile, but something which we are all impelled to negotiate. The “it”, the “something” is, of course, our relationship to the world. Who and where we are, what we do, why we do it. As Erikson phrases it: “The acceptance of one’s one and only life cycle as something that had to be and that, by necessity, permitted of no subsitutions.”

He calls it “integrity” — the same word Woolf uses to describe the essential quality of great art. It is a word usually deployed as a synonym for “honesty” or “rightness” but it signifies more than just following the rules. In fact a person “of integrity” in the conventional sense might not actually have any integrity at all. Submission to social mores can often be aggressively anti-integrity, if it separates a person from themselves.

This is where my conventional beginning-middle-end journalistic dialectic breaks down and I have to stop writing because the particular verbal pathway I’m on leads to complication, not resolution.