Wednesday, 16 September 2009

The amazing expanding towels

Another exciting feature of the consistantly wonderful Engebret Café was the amazing expanding towel experience. They looked pretty innocuous when our waitress first brought them out to the table - four little round white shapes in a white ceramic bowl. I thought they were some oddly shaped sugar cubes. But no...

Our waitress poured a little bit of boiling hot water into the bowl and we watched in awe as the "suger cubes" expanded to perfectly fill the bowl and sit, gently steaming, until we were ready to clean our hands. Ingenious!

Followed by a lunch of mussels in cream, with French potatoes and aioli. De-licious!

The "World's Best Cake" - in the world's best café

A trip to Oslo would not be complete without a visit to the Engebret Café - the oldest cafe in Oslo where artists and writers like Henrik Ibsen and Edvard Munch used to hang out.

The "World’s Best Cake" is actually the honest-to-goodness real name of this cake (also called Kvæfjord-cake, a traditional Norwegian cake apparently). This picture shows it looking only slightly demolished...

It's a light sponge cake, topped with meringue with a vanilla pudding filling. Yum! And here's how to make it should you be so inclined.

Friday, 4 September 2009

More Texas photos

Quaint little olde-worlde bus parked near the Alamo.

Strange phenomenon of rows of white rocking chairs at San Antonio ariport - welcoming you to Texas!

Cute little Five & Dime store on the main street.

Yet more interesting art at the airport...

A final margarita and plate of nachos - bye-bye, Texas!

Friday, 28 August 2009

Goodbye to Texas!

On my way to Chicago from San Antonio (via Dallas) after the Tessitura conference. Anyone unfamiliar with the phenomenon that is Tessitura, will find it difficult to grasp the sheer level of enthusiasm and outright geekiness that infuses this conference each year.

Basically it's a gathering of 100's of arts people who use this ticketing system that's geared specifically towards to the arts and the unique needs of the industry. Lots of interesting seminars, round-table discussions and sharing of ideas. Good stuff.

I had a great time with the rest of the POP team. Always amazing to interact with colleagues I usually only email or talk to on the phone. And to meet people from the arts orgs we work with is always a pleasure. And these people know how to have a good time too, which always makes for a memorable experience.

Trying this mi-air internet thing for the first time and it's been amazing so far. most impressed!

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Pointless babble

A report on how most of what people do on Twitter is "pointless babble" - hmmm. It's interesting how some people just can't get enough of Twitter and others are quite happy to stick to Facebook. One description of the difference between the two that I read really summed it up brilliantly:

Facebook is...
Like a wedding where you might already know most people and catch-up on shared experiences and connections.

Twitter is...
More like stepping on to a stage, where you are communicating with an audience and quickly find that you need to find a voice and say something useful and interesting or quickly lose the attention of your audience.

I don't think I've quite made up my mind which I prefer for myself just yet...

Prince Chuck

Great tribute to the late John Hughes last night at the Prince Charles Cinema. "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" followed by "Ferris Beuller's Day Off"... Thanks, Gretchen, for the tickets!

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Newspapers as non-profits?

Lots of debate recently about the future of the publishing industry - this is another take, suggesting that newspapers become non-profits to take advantage of tax breaks and donations. Interestingly, this comes hot on the heels of the Financial Times' declaration of a possible "pay-per-article" scheme.

Great, great, great grandparents

I took this photo on a trip home to Ireland last week, when we went down to Omeath in County Louth where the O'Hanlon's are originally from.

It lists my great, great, great grandparents, Rose and Patrick O'Hanlon, who died in 1866 and 1867, and their son Owen and grandson, James.
Amazing to be able to come and pay our respects!

Theatre Yobs

Slightly disturbing story about how bouncers are now needed at theatres in the West End.

And it is the theatre-goers themselves who are rampaging out of control, as well as being located so close to the horrors of Leicester Square. I'm all for art provoking strong reactions, but I think an overindulgence in over-priced interval g&ts might have more to do with it in this case...

Carnaval del Pueblo

Sadly I only have one photo from the Carnaval del Pueblo in Southwark earlier this month.

But it was loads of fun, with my friend Harry's brilliantly enthusiastic dancing leading to a stint in the spotlight, encircled by a group of very lovely and friendly, singing Brazilians.

Perfect for a sunny Sunday afternoon south of the river!

Confessions of a First-Time Opera Goer

I really love this initiative by Seattle Opera. They had a reality tv-style, online voting competition to find a host to spend the summer documenting all sorts of behind-the-scenes aspects of their production of Wagner's Ring Cycle.

From backstage tours to interviews with the artists, crew and directors - the twist was that the winner had to be completely new to opera, hence the "first-time" aspect.

19 year-old student Cassidy Quinn Brettle’s chronicles have been shared on the Seattle Opera blog, Facebook and Twitter. And she's just seen her first two operas!

Why the arts don't pay for themselves

Interesting article from Michael Kaiser, President of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Anyone who works in the arts will be familiar with such questions from the uninitiated, but it's good to see the facts pointed out - improving productivity is difficult ("Orchestras do not play Beethoven's Ninth Symphony faster every year. "), ticket prices cannot be raised exponentially each year, and more resources are needed to improve fundraising skills.

Strindberg and Helium

This is just the weirdest, and possible greatest, thing.

Tales of a grumpy Swedish playwright and his little, pink, high-pitched helium balloon friend. Share their adventures in The Park, with Sulphur and Iron, at Home with the Kids, and in Absinthe and Women. Love it!

Wedding video on YouTube is now raising money for charity

Someone must have sent you a link to Jill and Kevin's wedding video on YouTube. The one where they're all skipping merrily down the isle to the strains of Chris Brown's Forever...

Now, in response to the Chris Brown/Rihanna domestic violence episode, the couple have asked people to make donations to an antiviolence charity.

Good times in Malta

Still wishing I was in Malta, wandering in the heat, wondering at the proliferation of red post boxes left behind after British rule, and, amazingly, not getting bitten.

Two days in the country at home in Ireland left me with massive red lumps from angry little midges, but a whole week on an island between Europe and Africa left me with none. Strange.

Very lovely place, Malta. Great mix of culture, beautiful blue sea, amazing architecture, bars and clubs. Lots of different kinds of tourists too - from Italy (so close), the UK, and tons from Scandanavia as well. Busloads of blonde looky-likey teens from Sweden/Norway.

Just watch out for dodgy blokes with Northern accents (nothing against people from the North of England!) trying to flog you a free bottle of wine or holiday in exchange for an hour-long presentation back at his hotel with "Barbara" who is not a good walking advertisement for the joys of life abroad. I don't think I've ever seen a more depressed and unenthusiastic creature. Avoid!

Starting again...

Tried this blog thing about a year ago, but experienced technology fatigue so am now starting again - inspired by my friends Christopher and Eulynn who have moved to Berlin and are keeping us updated on their activities. Wonderful what a bit of peer pressure can do...