Okay I am a little late out of the starting gate for the New Year resolution stuff, but so be it. Out with Downton Abbey and in with stardust! That's my new year's resolution.( I was a fan of the former, got hooked, then joined DAA if you will, but am always in awe of stardust). Nonetheless, Sir Julian Fellows, Downton Abbey creator, during his parting interview (this is the last season of DA ) on the NY eve PBS programme reminded us: "One of the important things about drama is to remind the viewer that everyone is 100 percent at the center of their own life. That there is no life being lived under that roof that is more or less important; that Mary or Daisy, what happens to them is just as important. And that’s why we have equal dramatic weight for all the stories....."
Successful drama makes the actor be the centre of his/her universe - the star of the show for that moment and so by convinces us, the viewer, to have our undivided attention revolve around their story fantastical or not. Oh we all love it when " it's all about meeeee"! And indeed, each person has a story. Hail all centricity, and some eccentricity ,too. Life would be very drab without it.
Take blog writing: first I have to convince myself of my centredness - that I have something of interest to say, perhaps for my own ears but why would someone else be remotely interested, I ask. Not for me to judge. The centre of this NY's eve was? There were no selfies or electronic devices other than the TV, my 94 yr old Dad, sister Bon and Maudy … faithful yellow lab. Bon was smart and had no interest in the staying up until midnight; retired early after the first round of cocktails & entertainment as follows:
* Cocktails: Live from the Lincoln center: Parade of the Animals by Camile Saint-saens, paired with artisinal (debatable) beer http://www.classical.net/music/comp.lst/saint-saens.php. AMAZING! I hear it quite often on our CBC radio but my Dad never. Both he and sister were completely spellbound by the symphony. The music became the centre of our universe! The Aquarium movement puts me instantly swimming underwater swimming with gills for a very long time. Each movement was introduced by a very witty broadway actor (?)in doggerel - old fashion version of RAP - which reminded us of my Mom who could whip up such a poem on a dime. Then a tumbler of rum and water with Soprano Catherine Graham taking us over the moon with La Vie en Rose.
* Dinner :We said no to Brian Seacrest at Times Square (scary) and watched Broadway impresario Michael Feinstein at the Rainbow Room. Red wine with dinner and dessert accompamied with Feinstein and some unknown (to me) Glee star doing Sinatra. It worked because the back up band was as good as Sinatra can get without him there. My Dad had visited the Rainbow Room, so he felt like a star.
* Apres dinner: retiring would be fine by me but there's now courvoissser and by chance we tune into Charlie Rose interviewing astro physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson http://www.haydenplanetarium.org/tyson/ (Now I serve but dont drink.... and here's the brandy snifter finale). Rose's guest is also a theatre genius of sorts ,only his theatre is the sky, our solar system, our galaxy, our universe and whatever may lie beyond that. Fascinating, awe inspiring stuff but I can see my Dad's eyes starting to glaze over; Tyson is talking about time travel into the past may be possible to places before the time where one was born…. He mentions his peers of the scientific black hole society, if you will: Hawking, Sagan, Lanza, Gates…. a veritable carnival of astro physicists. Tyson stressed the importance that we all should have a basic understanding of science and nature and it is dangerous for a society not to engender this basic understanding.
His most wonderful anecdote for the explanation of our solar system was that long ago a star died for us ( that sounds biblical) “The atoms of our bodies are traceable to stars that manufactured them in their cores and exploded these enriched ingredients across our galaxy, billions of years ago. For this reason, we are biologically connected to every other living thing in the world. We are chemically connected to all molecules on Earth. And we are atomically connected to all atoms in the universe. We are not figuratively, but literally stardust.” Now Charlie Rose's eyes were starting to glaze over , the brandy was sniffed dry and it's time for all to hit the sack not quite midnight. Tyson new year's message was that we all try to leave the world a better place. The stars of Downtown Abbey are fading and the explosion of Starwars onto the cinematic sky is upon us. Maybe Julian Fellows should beam up some of his characters onto that good starship.
So why this painting by Watts called Blind Hope? First the title : in light of all the things in this world we think we understand and all the things we don't or I dont - a little blind hope goes a long way. Black holes included. Visually it is a hauntingly beautiful painting. One day I would like to go to the Tate and see it. Of course I think the addition of a BBB for Lady Hope's lyre.......stop. A blind toast to 2016!