Thursday, December 3, 2015

Philae and Graeae

A duck-shaped comet somewhere
On Thursdays the floodgates open. Today (and tomorrow) is when school children visit FIL. Thousands and thousands of them, surging down the aisles. It was actually quite scary. We had to close the walkway a few times as the numbers got too much.
Anyway, another fun-packed day of talks, including a wonderful reading by Jeanette Winterson of her The Gap Of Time (a modern take on Shakespeare's A Winter's Tale) complete with sound effects; a panel discussion about the dangers of social media with Sunjeev Sahota (who doesn't do social media) and Jon Ronson, Owen Jones and Alexanandra Heminsley (who do); a talk on psychological thrillers, another on forensic crime...
But best of all was a wonderful science talk about the Rosetta Mission which landed the Philae probe on a comet called 67P last year. It was utterly gripping, a bit like watching Star Wars. It even had pathos, as the probe, having done its work, is now marooned on the comet, millions of miles from Earth. I don't know why this upsets me - it's just a lump of hardware - but it does. (See also Voyager post).
This evening's show was disabled theatre company, Graeae, performing Reasons To Be Cheerful - a kind of musical based on the songs of Ian Dury. They'd performed a small part of it at the London Paralympics opening ceremony. In all honesty, it was quite a challenge for the Guadalajara audience to get to grips with something so localised, set in London in 1981 and with a very London vernacular, even if it did have subtitles. But it was very professional and we wanted to make a point about social inclusion and art for all, so I'm glad we did it. 

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