Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Living Library: borrow a person

This is the best idea I've seen in ages. You can borrow a person of a particular background, inclination, religion or whatever, someone whom you mightn't normally have the chance to meet and about whose exterior you might have certain preconceptions, for a half-hour exchange of views.

For the 1925 silent movie of Ben Hur chez LPO on Saturday, I was with a group of friends whose "ethnic origins" were Italian, English, Polish and Palestinian. All of us, for one reason or another, have washed up in London. And there we were, watching that unbelievable chariot race in which Judah Ben Hur, a prince of Judea, driving a team of horses for a Sheikh, races their Roman occupier adversary to the death - just 11 years before Jesse Owen's famous triumph at the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games. We had a good chat about all this and we think people should talk to each other at grass roots level. Twin the towns, bus people in, make the tea and please, please talk - and listen. A living library is a first and inspired step towards that. According to The Times, the next one will be at the Idea Store, London E1 on May 31. For more information contact anne.kilroy@living-library.org.

Enough idealism already for a Tuesday morning? There's a good reason, of which more in a sec. First, mad props to some Wonderful Women: a piano quiz c/o the excellent Miss Mussel - in the form of a very beautiful and rarely played work; mad props to carissima Opera Chic; and Tanita Tikaram, who's made this site her music blog link on her cool new website. And break-a-legs to our own Tazza, who'll be playing music from her Naked Violin Project in a live internet streaming from Edinburgh on her website at www.tasminlittle.org.uk on Thursday (24th), which will also be filmed for a programme that The South Bank Show is making about her! We hear she is also heading for an oil rig.

Finally: yes, there is a good reason. Today is the birthday (1916) of Yehudi Menuhin, musical idealist par excellence, not to mention one hell of an incredible violinist. Here he is in the opening of Bach's 'Erbarme dich...'.