Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

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2012;  the year the world ended and Tom Cruise finally rose up to reign as supreme Lord of Earth.  Here’s my list of things I liked from the year.  And what a year…so much happened, it’s hard to remember it all; Strictly Come Dancing was on again and who could forget -the Royal Wedding!  Oh wait, that was last year.  Well, this was a kind of wedding and way better because it has trapeze artists:

The Wedding Circus
On 3 November, Brighton Early Music Festival put on two performances of the 1589 Florentine Intermedi.  Music originally performed as part of the wedding celebrations of Ferdinando de Medici (who looked almost exactly like Blackadder) and Christine of Lorraine in 1589.  Back in the day, the original production was spectacular and would have cost millions of pounds in today’s money.  However, in these more austere times, BREMF used lighting effects and aerial dancers from Brighton-based Zu Aerial to give a sense of grandeur.  Top early music singers and instrumentalists from around the country came together to take the audience on a journey into the classical world of sirens and muses, serpents and gods, demons, shipwrecks, and finally “The Descent of Apollo and Bacchus with Gifts of Rhythm and Harmony”.

The Eagleman Stag
This stop motion animation earned itself a Bafta for Best Short Animation last year (but was only available to watch this year, so it still counts).  Thought provoking, visually stunning and with a dark humour care of Jam’s legendary David Cann, if you haven’t already watched it, do so now.

Period Recordings
Love him or hate him, Beck’s full of ideas, like having his band recreated in the form of Muppet replicants and playing simultaneously at his concerts: that’s great by anyone’s standards.  His latest project rejects the rising figures in illegal downloading and hails back to the early 20th century, by producing an album in the form of a book, consisting of illustrated sheet music and with no recordings whatsoever.  Beck argues the ‘Song Reader’ is a way of acknowledging the interaction and inspiration that playing music yourself provides.  Plus it features the work of Kyle Pellet and Jessica Hische and a bunch of other artists.

One argument might be that if Beck was keen enough on the songs he wouldn’t be able to resist recording them himself.  Therefore you can’t help but think the album itself is bound to consist of mostly b-sides.  However, you can hear the results and judge for yourself by listening to the various versions recorded and uploaded on Beck’s page.

Nicholas Cage’s Face On Things
There is nothing on earth more worthy of your attention than Nicholas Cage’s face being stuck on things.  This was proven to spectacular effect with the Facebook page Nicholas Cage’s Face On Things.  If you’re going to click on this link though, you might as well give up on getting anything else done today.

Big Apple Hot Dogs
I had one of these in August and have been pretty much obsessed with them since.  Hot Dogs have seen a huge revival this year and there’s a lot of competition, but this is pretty much the closest you’ll get to eating the cartoon food Taz imagines.  A moveable feast, Big Apple Hot Dogs can be quite hard to track down, but tend to be at Old Street, Tuesdays to Fridays.


American video blogger Daym Drops uploaded this (already pretty energetic) Five Guys Review in mid 2012.  Before long it was mashed into song form.  What results is the reason the internet was invented.

Zoo Lates
Every Friday night in June and July, London Zoo open their doors for an evening of food, music, alcohol and animals.  This is without doubt one of the best nights to be had in London. The only downer is the deep scratching guilt you get when eating burgers and simultaneously staring at animals.  Also, if you’re a fan of penguins, you better get a seat at the Penguin show quick, cos that fills up really quickly (even as I type that, I feel like a loser, but it’s true).  Zoo Lates will return in the summer 2013 and I recommend getting there bang on 6pm.  That way you get a chance to buy some drinks and wander round before it gets busy, but most importantly get your face painted.  We did this and then walked to the other side of the zoo where everyone pointed at us and laughed… the one time in life when it’s nice to have that happen.

Matthew Grindon
Press and Marketing Assistant

One Comment

  • Thank you for The Eagleman Stag — it’s the most beautiful piece of animation that I’ve seen in a long time.

    David Samuels Thu Jan 3 2013