A curled blurr of colours in blues and pinks

TED Talk: How to beat stage fright

19.12.2021

Phobias: A Plague or Mutations of the Basic Instinct?

Phobia is Greek and means to be afraid of something. In the non-Greek world, it is mainly used in psychological terms, signifying severe fear as in: terrified and: neurotic and: in need of professional treatment. Those in the grip of a veritable phobia are panic-stricken and paralyzed when it comes to tackling certain situations. Phobias are relics of our evolutionary past and were quite useful back then. Should a ferocious sabre-toothed tiger – teeth bared – spring up inadvertently from the undergrowth with an intimidating roar, the primitive brain would switch to red-alert and reliably signal to the short-legged homo erectus: RUN as fast as you can! It was a matter of survival, and the same basic instinct takes control over us in perilous situations until this day.

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Reading time: about 3 minutes
Lindau Puppet Opera: Swanlake Pas De Deux. Christian Flemming

Lindau/Germany: Why Opera-goers adore Puppets on Strings

15.12.2021

When shapely legs are swung high during the rehearsal for the Swan Lake performance, they are not made of flesh and blood. Nor, in fact, are any of the lissome corporal parts belonging to the remarkable cast performing on the miniature stage of the Lindau Marionette Opera (House): they are puppets on strings choreographed and directed with an expertise and finesse that leaves any audience open-mouthed with bafflement. And that doesn’t just account for the ballet troupe bobbing their tutus in tune with Tchaikovsky’s legendary Swan Lake ballet: there are works by Mozart, Verdi, Rossini, Strauss, Bizet and Humperdinck on the programme as well. But, how is it accomplished to elicit credible emotions from actors sculpted from wood? Carving features to augment the illusion of changing mien is the craftsmanship their creators are excelling at! Read article

Reading time: about 3 minutes
Santa with his eight reindeer as seen by poet Clement Clarke Moor.

Ho ho ho: Good tidings from the North Pole

14.12.2021

It’s Christmas time, and most of us are sucked up by the current that swashes along with it. Year by year, it seems to be swashing earlier and to suck more. Easter rabbits have hardly vanished from shelves, August-heat still blazing and: forward come chocolate Santa Clauses and gingerbread loaves, twinkling stardust-sprinkled Christmas balls and light chains. By October, carols obtrusively blaring from loudspeakers near and far have long lost their magic – and meaning. In November, commerce and media insist that it is high time for us to finalise our Christmas shopping, and we are constantly reminded that the western-world citizen spends an average of 280 Euros on presents alone. Those who won’t comply, will forever be stigmatised stingy misanthropists, who – not even for the holiest of occasions – overcome their revolting parsimony.

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Reading time: about 6 minutes
Dancing Tango in the street

Buenos Aires: An ageless Latin Seductress

19.11.2021

The most enchanting characteristics of Argentina’s capital may not be entirely genetic in terms of having grown from an indigenous seed – as accounts perhaps for other metropolises. Buenos Aires’s obvious charm is much rather the result of the Old World wanting to settle in the new one without abandoning their familiar ways and traditions. Immigrants arriving to the country during the nineteenth century created a fascinating mix of distinct ‘European’ style neighbourhoods by lending their foreign identities to acquired territory: Madrid is now in Avenida de Mayo, Paris in Recoleta and Alvear Avenue or Naples in La Boca. Downtown Buenos Aires exudes the atmosphere of grand colonial times to this date. Spanish, Italian and French cultures made sure to also leave their legacy in sectors such as education, art, architecture and gastronomy.

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Reading time: about 6 minutes
Abbey Road Studios in London

A groovy kind of place: The Abbey Road Studios

11.11.2021

The much-published image of a Liverpudlian boy-band cheerfully zebra-crossing Abbey Road, is one familiar the world over. Miraculously, it has never gone threadbare! In times when impatiently awaited new albums regularly catapulted the international fan base into a state of frenzy, the venue of recording stood a serious chance of attaining similarly excessive attention.

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Reading time: about 2 minutes