'our creation is that guru; the duration of our lives is that guru; our trials, illnesses and calamaties is that guru. There is a guru that is nearby and a guru that is beyond the beyond. I humbly make my offering to the guru, the beautiful remover of ignorance, the enlightenment principle that is within me and surrounds me at all times.'
Guru Stotram

Friday, 28 November 2008

An unseasonably clement Sunday morning, ruined, by the tooth-some Janet Street-Porter.

"Repellent fat cats, bloated by your bonuses… over-rewarded, arrogant and driven by self-interest… resign… we need culprits." Does the woman really think like this or is it just cheap journalism for sensationalist effect? It’s monstrous. The fat lady isn't even in the auditorium, let alone at the microphone, and already we’re baying for blood.

Even if we want to accept the grotesque over simplification that a few people in the city are to blame for the crisis we finds ourselves in, is screaming "flog 'em, flog 'em" really going to help? Is not this self-interest she speaks of its own punishment? And is it not this same self-interest we are most of us suffering at the hands of, not just now, but always? The whole business makes me feel a bit unwell. I remember now why I gave up reading the newspapers. It's a filthy habit. It's no wonder we're in this mess with fear and loathing generated daily and vended by the million copy as 'news'. Yes, that's the last time I read the newspaper, especially when there's so many enjoyable things I could be doing.

Like going to see Juliet Binoche and Akram Khan at the National - "one of this year's hottest tickets" according to The Guardian. I went with a lovely if slightly dotty friend and his two beautiful Vuitton clad white Boxers. The woofies stayed in the car, obviously. When I say car, I’m speaking of a 25ft blacked out Cadillac with cream leather upholstery, that Milo and Tilly slide gracefully onto the floor from each time he brakes a little too sharply. They didn't have to wait long though as In-i is only about an hour long. There are almost no words (what there are you can barely hear), the set design is utterly minimal, the costumes are non-existent and yet the production is profoundly disturbing. Or I found it to be so. But perhaps that says as much about me as about the production. The visual design by Anish Kapoor is awe inspiring in its simplicity. It appears to consist entirely of a vast, brilliant white wall in the middle of a coal-black stage, and two very simple geometric black chairs. The white wall changes colour according to the light shined onto it. From Klein Blue to an intense raspberry pink and a tangy ochre - the colours set the mood. It's astonishingly beautiful. Like Anish Kapoor's sculpture it draws you in. So much so that I probably would have been quite happy watching that for an hour - I didn't need anything else. But despite its power, its simplicity means it never over-powers the dancing, which is free to express its eloquence completely.

In-i is about a monstrous unhealthy, destructive ‘love’ affair. For me, the tragedy is that at the end the two are still together. We've seen this subject matter again and again of course. It's timeless and it touches the protagonists, fortunate or otherwise depending on your perspective, right to the very core. Two people, damaged and confused, mistaking for love a grotesque form of addiction, driven by self-interest and generating only misery and hatred. It's as far as you can get from 'love'. It's ghastly. But they say, don't they, that the stuff that's hardest to experience is doing us the most good. It may be a clichĂ©, but there’s much truth in it.

I must say though that I don't include within that category the ill-judged rantings of Ms Street-Porter. They may indeed be painful to experience, but I doubt very much they are doing any of us much good.

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