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  1. Melody

    Marble racing

    In the absence of live sporting events over the last few months, an online substitute is becoming quite popular - marble racing, specifically the YouTube channel Jelle's Marble Runs. John Oliver gave it some publicity about a month ago when his programme decided to sponsor the 2020 Marble League, and in the meantime there's been a shorter event sponsored by Arla Cravendale, which is a British milk manufacturer (which didn't exist when I lived over there but seems to be quite a thing nowadays). These events are quite addictive in their way. If anyone is starved of sporting excitement, here's a link to the YouTube channel. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYJdpnjuSWVOLgGT9fIzL0g/featured
  2. You'd think, with the lockdown and social distancing and whatnot, that littering wouldn't be so much of a thing these days, but I suppose that would be optimistic. In the meantime, with the lockdown we're getting stuff delivered from Amazon rather than going over to the garden centre - I can only imagine what the Amazon drivers think of having to deliver great heavy bags of bird seed and boxes of suet, but we didn't want to deprive the birds just because of coronavirus.
  3. The shortage of domestic packaging is also the reason for the lack of toilet paper according to reports over here. I'm wondering what else isn't available because of a lack of packaging for domestic use. Yeast also seems to be impossible to find, even though I assume it isn't being used as much commercially as usual. We have enough yeast and flour to make two more loaves of bread.
  4. I've been finding this YouTube channel very relaxing. I wish I could paint like that! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdZutxI1UnH9N3Fh_TeQ4Kw
  5. We've been self-isolating for a couple of weeks - going a bit stir-crazy, but everyone around here seems to be paying attention, unlike those idiot kids in Florida over Spring Break. Then again, this is a community with a lot of older people, so a lot of us are in high-risk groups. We've been getting groceries delivered, which has saved us the risk of going shopping. I saw this PSA video on YouTube with some tips on safe handling of groceries and whatnot - we're trying to follow them, although it's hard to break old habits.
  6. I hope this article isn't behind a paywall, I'm not sure what their policy is regarding free articles per month. I'm adding a couple of paragraphs as well as the link in case that's all people can see. "WASHINGTON — In the summer of 2017, when one of the country’s premier dance schools was looking to hire a comptroller, it just so happened that someone with experience in the role was looking for a job. Sophia Kim had been the treasurer at the Kirov Academy of Ballet here two decades earlier, when the school was affiliated with the Unification Church of Rev. Sun Myung Moon. But Ms. Kim also had a gambling habit and had recently spent almost two years in prison for embezzling $800,000 from another nonprofit affiliated with the church. So it was more than a bit surprising when the Kirov Academy, for reasons that remain tremendously opaque, hired Ms. Kim back, put her in charge of the books, gave her a Branch Banking & Trust debit card and access to the school’s accounts..." https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/16/arts/dance/kirov-ballet-academy-embezzlement-moonies.html?action=click&module=Editors Picks&pgtype=Homepage
  7. Just saw an alarming article in the Guardian, which is a follow-up to a report last April about abuse of students at the Vienna State Opera ballet academy. The original article was mostly about physical and verbal abuse. This one is adding the almost unbelievable information that young students are apparently being encouraged to smoke to stay slim. This takes body-shaming to a whole new level. At some point schools, companies, and choreographers are going to really have to revisit this whole business of demanding thinner and thinner dancers. I remember the days when female dancers had breasts and hips and it wasn't a problem. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/dec/17/vienna-ballet-academy-encouraged-children-smoke-stay-slim
  8. I check out the Gresham College YouTube channel from time to time, because it's got a bunch of lectures on different topics, some of which I find really interesting. It looks as though they've recently started a lecture series on Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes; there are two lectures available at the moment, but it looks as though there are going to be more. Here's a link to the first lecture. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cEMyqhaK16Y
  9. The actor who took over the James Bond character from Sean Connery has died at the age of 89. https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-40018422?SThisFB&fbclid=IwAR2olNPtSRzTHzeLig6aNDeoEVZtsM9qwFC_L6mCH9RuaKO4BTr4XwKLJjc
  10. It's really amazing how some of these American celebrities think they know so much about the royal family, and have some sort of proprietary rights over all Diana's descendants. Who does this woman think she is, telling Prince William how long his son will be interested in ballet, and what does it have to do with anything anyway? This should be used - if it's going to be used at all - as a way for the media to be supportive of boys doing ballet, not as a way to sneer and poke fun.
  11. I suppose the Michael Kaiser connection might have explained Ross Stretton's appointment, but I vaguely remember an interview of Stretton's where he said something about not valuing the legacy repertoire very highly, but the company needing to be more open to new ideas. Which is all very well for some companies, but it did sound as though he wasn't going to pay much attention to the Ashton ballets, especially given the way Sarah Wildor was pretty much sidelined. I wondered at the time if the American Michael Kaiser himself might not have understood the importance of Ashton's repertoire to the company, because in most cases a Director candidate who was so cavalier about a company's founding choreographer should have raised some red flags. I also remember getting the impression from interviews with dancers that he favoured a particular dancer type - young, flexible, compact - and that other dancers felt as though they were being ignored as a result.
  12. I'm not sure what insurance costs for travellers, but it's very unwise to travel to the USA without some sort of insurance. I hope $10,000 will help, but with the costs of treatment over here, it might not be enough. Let's hope it'll cover her treatment. Leaving her in a condition where she can't get the treatment she needs in the USA but can't travel back home, is really not good enough.
  13. Melody

    John Mallinson

    So sorry to hear this. Condolences to his family and friends, and also to the other founders and admins and moderators of this forum, who have lost a good friend.
  14. Without seeing the Vogue article, meaning that I might be getting hold of the wrong end of the stick, I'm wondering why Miss Hayward agreed to take part in this project, if she only wants to be seen as a dancer without the context of being mixed-race. She's an outstanding dancer, but in that respect she isn't really an agent of change; she came up through the Royal Ballet School, she isn't the youngest company member ever to make Principal, she isn't the first to take time out to participate in another type of performance (just thinking of Leanne Cope here). I'm sure her participation will expose people to the notion of classical ballet who might not have given it much thought before, which can only be a good thing. But the reason for her inclusion has to be her ethnicity, which apparently is something she wants to downplay. On the other topic that was discussed earlier in the thread - one of the reasons why at least some media outlets insist on referring to the royal ladies as Meghan Markle, Kate Middleton, and Camilla Parker-Bowles is search engine optimization. Basically, more clicks, more eyes on the ads, more money in the pockets of the owner of the publication. In one of the Facebook royalty groups I belong to, the editor of a fairly well-known online royalty site was taken to task for article headlines about Kate Middleton, years after the Cambridge wedding, and she said that the owner required it because of search engine optimization. It's really annoying, but it isn't going to stop. Unlike most of the other monarchies, women marrying into the royal family don't just get the Princess title in front of their own names. I'm pretty sure that if she was Princess Meghan, that's how she'd be being referred to now; Duchess of Sussex is apparently too impersonal or something.
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