Week 3

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.

       stall in forum          stalls in forum

This is my masala dosa being made to order by the lovely folk from Namaste:

         my masala dosa     stalls outside forum

This was a lovely African jewellery stall, with the small person responsible for the ‘Mini Embira’ line.

           african jewellery stall     mini embira maker

People were sitting on the steps waiting for the Salsa lesson to start.

waiting for salsa

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?

          king comm chromilla king comm back view

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.

           finger painting social inclusion poster

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.

           pandora's kitchen  space eagle

This is the outside of the house in Cathedral Close where this garden party was taking place:

        beautiful buildings in close  subud for bees

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.

          circle dancing  circle dancing 2

foe pic 2

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.


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