This was the third week of a project to do something interesting with my spare time, and I decided that my theme this week would be ‘culture and the arts’ and wouldn’t you know it, but there were two really interesting events on this weekend – one was Mind’s Festival of Cultures at the Forum, and the other was an event to support protection for bees organised by Subud in the Cathedral Close. Here’s a few pictures to give a flavour of the events.
This is my masala dosa being made to order by the lovely folk from Namaste:
This was a lovely African jewellery stall, with the small person responsible for the ‘Mini Embira’ line.
People were sitting on the steps waiting for the Salsa lesson to start.
I couldn’t help noticing a couple of Gorilla’s in the Forum – the big one is Chromezilla, but the little fella is called King Comm. Geddit?
There were activities for children – I just caught the end of a Rangoli finger painting session. I liked the chart Mind had created for social inclusion.
Then I walked over to Cathedral Close and was able to visit the lovely gardens that Subud (a multi-faith organisation that I am afraid I know nothing about) has used/lived in for many years. On the way I passed the talented ‘space eagle’ and also the very nice Pandora’s Kitchen – highly recommended, especially on a sunny day.
This is the outside of the house in Cathedral Close where this garden party was taking place:
It was a charming event, all for a good cause. There was live music and circle dancing as well as stalls with various interesting projects and information about preserving our bees.
I start my weeks on Thursdays, so I have already been re-learning a few basic words of Japanese ready for my students who arrived today, and I watched a recorded Culture Show all about the Venice Biennale (is that cheating? It was really interesting!) and I’m off on a guided tour of Dragon Hall and perhaps a City Boats river trip. The rest of the week I have my hands full with helping two young Japanese girls feel at home, but I also want to get my drawing pencils out. I absolutely love art, so I figure I should start participating rather than just collecting.
It was hard working out what I could do on a daily basis – I wanted to re-visit museums I hadn’t been to for ages or take part in events or go to exhibitions – but most of what I found was only available during the week, during working hours. There are quite a few things on, but things are organised around school holidays and kids needing to be entertained, rather than working people who can only do stuff in the evening. I even considered going to Cinema City to see Billy Budd (which has been given a 5 star review) because I thought I should challenge myself to do something I wouldn’t normally do – I’ve never seen an opera and only know the most popular bits of the most popular ones; it’s all very well going along to things I know I like, but I wanted to learn and surprise myself. But hey ho, it’s only on in the middle of the afternoon, on a working day.
I also began to question ‘what is culture’. One definition said this is ‘the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively’ which is a bit of gobbledegook to me, so I prefer ‘characteristics of a particular group of people defined by everything from language, religion, cuisine, social habits, music and arts’ – just the way different people behave and express themselves I guess. It’s interesting that people often think that culture is intellectual – or maybe what is more interesting is that the word ‘intellectual’ has been hi-jacked. Apparently culture is passed on by learning, and genetics by heredity, and both make a difference to how we turn out and how we decide to live our lives.