Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Explosive stuff

I have received a few e-mails of late from sarcy NY pals asking when I am going to do a review of the radioactive sushi bar in Piccadilly. Black comedy is welcome but regretfully the media informs us that was last week's news. Now the Alexander Litvinenko polonium hazardous zone is no longer confined to Itsu's sushi bar; but has spread to the wider boundaries of Piccadilly and Mayfair, even reaching parts of North London near the former spy's home.

All of which got me thinking that in London's desperate desire to fulfill a timely James Bond fantasy over the death of the former spy, are we not obviating the one obvious question for Scotland Yard? Namely is there not now a pressing and urgent need for military intervention in the Piccadilly/Mayfair area (for a start)? Given that appreciably more nuclear material has been found in local restaurants, office buildings and sushi bars than has been uncovered in the whole of Iraq, shouldn't somebody be bovvered?

And in these combustible times it is hard not to worry about the relative safety of Number Ten (sorry, I mean number one). So, thankfully, I had the experience of a lifetime last night at Wayne McGregor's new smash-hit, Chroma, at The Royal Ballet. So much so that if I died by nuclear rain shower or umbrella poisoning today I would go a happy woman.

You can take your pick of five-star reviews with even a whopping six-star in this week's edition of Time Out. I have never seen anything like it: tough, flowing, extreme, stunning, with a special music (from the rock band, White Stripes) that explodes in your heart. It is part of a trio (including Balanchine's 4 Temperaments + Wheeldon's DGV) that is mind blowing. After the show I sat perched at the downstairs bar of the local Cafe des Amis gawking at the dancers who fluttered in post-show to swill alcohol and chew fags. Their genius restored my faith in humanity. As did their vodka intake. But in these nuclear times who wants to live by half measures?

Tomorrow night (29 Nov) is the only remaining performance. Tickets are sold-out, but the Royal Opera House releases 67 tickets on the day of each performance for sale at 10am. Tickets from £3 to £37.50. Ring 020 7304 4000 for more info.


Anonymous Kendra said...

Have tried for weeks to get tickets. Insanely jealous that you got there. McGregor is a god and I have read it was the best thing to hit Covent Garden in 20 years. And tomorrow night I can't do. Sob sob...

1:45 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah sure but Scotland Yard would never admit that.

1:51 pm  
Anonymous honkman said...

The one thing Soctland Yard needs to realise is that you can never pin down the Russians.

This stuff used to happen in the East End not its moved to the West End. It is classic KGB tactics.

1:53 pm  
Anonymous Anna said...

I don't understand why everybody jumps to accuse Putin so easily? The jury is still undecided. Why should he have to pove his innocence unless there is evidence?

1:59 pm  
Anonymous Deborah said...

I went last Wednesday to the same ballet. Totally in agreement. I was spell bound. Chroma was out of this world awesome. The most AMAZING show you could imagine. Even my husband appreciated it and he is hardly done up by ballet. FAB FAB FAB.

2:02 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like Madame M said on Bond ' I Miss the Cold War.'

Bring on them Russians!

2:41 pm  
Anonymous HeartyBowl said...

It all goes back to Chechnya. The Russian apartment blocks, the embezzlement of cash for Chechnya's reconstruction, the murdering of the journalist and now this. As Russia gets more money it does what any superpower does and gets more lawless.

The sad truth of global politics I am afriad. The one good thing to come of this is now we know the names of the subjects who should be concerned for their lives.
And stay far away from W1.

2:46 pm  
Anonymous Claire said...

I just have phoned Royal Opera box office. Came away lucky with one seat with limited view for tomorrow -- thanks City Slicker.

Worth phoning up readers!

2:53 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am impressed that somebody can combine ballet with russian spy tactics in one blog post. Respect!

3:03 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

During the Cold War, Russia was viewed as a monolithic, centralised war machine whose nukes were dangerously aimed at the West; after the Cold War it came to be seen as an out-of-control state whose nukes might fall into dodgy hands. These representations of Russia revealed as much about the West’s own fears and doubts as they did about the reality of life inside Russia. And so it is today. After Litvinenko’s death, everything from uncontrolled immigration to the rise of chemical terrorism has been projected on to the debate about Russia. The Sun even cited Litvinenko’s death as a reason for closing the EU door to Bulgaria and Romania, with a cartoon showing a man in shades with a bushy moustache carrying a suitcase nuke, an axe and other weapons through customs into the UK . Well, they’re all the same, those Easterners, aren’t they?

It remains to be seen who killed Alexander Litvinenko. But one thing seems to have been proven beyond reasonable doubt: some in the West seem so bereft of ideas that they are willing to go back to the Cold War rather than face up to today’s political realities.

3:06 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tell the New Yorkers us Londoners aren't scared by anything!

3:39 pm  
Anonymous honkman said...

Except rain, of course

3:39 pm  
Anonymous Jay said...

Are those legs on that man real in the picture? Why do all male dancers have to be gay ;-(

3:41 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seriously, what if some terroist gets a job at a Heinz factory or something and then gets to put a teaspoon of that polonium 210 in to the baked bean pan?

4:04 pm  
Anonymous Tanya said...

Or if they go through central London with a small spray and spray it on door handles, doors, people etc?

4:05 pm  
Anonymous honkman said...

The big problem with using polonium 210 as an assassination weapon is that it can be easily traced back to the poisoner.

4:06 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The story of the ex KGB agent poisoned with polonium-210 is so juicy you know we'll be seeing it on every last one of the 279 CSI's and Law and Orders. The story behind the story is the bogus bombings that the Russian government staged to create the public outcry that allowed them to crush the Chechen separatist movement. Old school KGB stuff is coming back in style.

4:10 pm  
Anonymous Bill said...

Let's face it. I don't know much about ballet, and I'm not that cool. However, I am familiar with The White Stripes. Occasionally, while crying over a custom Jack White monster-ballad and a chilled bottle of Riesling, I find myself pondering what is missing in my life.

The answer is simple. The White Stripes music should be interpreted through ballet. This makes more sense than "buying the world a Coke." That was a dumb idea! Mr. White, what good would be done by buying every human being a Coke? What the world needs is a bad-ass ballet. SO I am glad to read here that as predicted, this was one bad-ass ballet.

4:22 pm  
Anonymous Bryan said...

CS you are dead right. I must confess that I have only ever seen the white Stripes on the MTV Awards, or some such thing but I was very impressed with the music played for the ballet, all of which had been arranged for an orchestra. apparently there is a whole albumn of whites Stripes music arranged by Joby Talbot, which I must look into getting. The work itself, 'Chroma' was a triumph, as was the other premiere, 'DGV' by Christopher Wheeldon set to music by Michael Nyman.

Get a seat if you can


4:24 pm  
Anonymous Genie said...

All three pieces were amazing. I am a bit bias as I had two friends dancing and anothr designed the set for the third. (name dropper!)
For the new Christopher Wheeldon piece, DGV. My friend Jean Marc had designed it and it was very proud of him. The set is very clever. The problem with designing for dance is that you are restricted by the fact that you need a clear space to actually dance. Jean-Marc's creation gave the impression that the floor had exploded centre stage. By shifts in lighting the strips of flooring appeared metallic, translucent, organic and industrial. Really, really clever. Chris's choreography again revitalised my enthusiasm for dance. He manages to find new variations and patterns everytime. The sequence for the corps was fantastic and the Pas for Darcey Bussell and Gary Avis was genius.

Right gushing over. Normal service will be resumed shortly.

4:27 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bombs or ballet?

That is the question

4:32 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right on Slicker. I hope the MI5 reads your blog.

4:42 pm  
Anonymous gayinbrixton said...

Not ALL male dancers are gay.

That would be too good to be true.

But that Carlos Acosta. Mmmm...

4:44 pm  
Anonymous db said...

Why didn't you tell them that you used to dance CS?

5:06 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are £4 seats available just rang but very few

5:30 pm  
Anonymous honkman said...

Scotland Yard has yet to declare this a murder case and is looking into the possibility of a "martyrdom operation" -- suicide dressed up like murder -- in which Litvinenko may have colluded. The Putin-dominated Russian press is pushing this line, as well as the idea of an oligarchs' plot to discredit Putin and destroy Russia's relations with the West.

America has a vital interest in this Scotland Yard investigation. What it discovers may tell us more about the character of the man into whose eyes George Bush claimed to have stared, and seen his soul, or it may tell us who the real enemies of this country are, who are out to restart the Cold War, and perhaps another hot one.

5:50 pm  
Anonymous Anna said...

Whoever poisoned Alexander Litvinenko had two goals: a long and lingering death for the KGB defector and pointing a finger of accusation for his killing right in the face of Vladimir Putin.

Which leads me to believe Putin had nothing to do with it.

In an assassination, one must ask: Cui bono? To whose benefit? Who would gain from the poisoning of Litvinenko?

5:51 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:19 pm  
Anonymous HeartyBowl said...

The death of Alexander Litvinenko really is becoming something out of a John le Carré novel.

Yesterday, traces of the radioactive substance that killed Litvinenko, Polonium 201, were found at Berezovsky's office in London, a location Litvinenko visited the day he was allegedly poisoned. So, did Litvinenko carry the traces with him, having been poisoned earlier? Or, as some are suggesting, would the Kremlin not bother offing Litvinenko because he wasn't worth it? Here's Tom Parfitt on the Guardian newsblog:

The people who are feeding us the line [about Putin's involvement] are Litvinenko's cronies: Boris Berezovsky, the businessman who lives in self-imposed exile in London, and Akhmed Zakayev, the Chechen separatist leader.

Mr Berezovsky, as we all know, is Machiavelli's Prince in living form, a notorious manipulator who once pulled the strings at the Kremlin. Mr Zakayev is the Chechen rebel envoy who saw no contradiction in serving in the government in exile headed by terrorist mastermind, Shamil Basayev, the architect of the Beslan school siege.

7:47 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

good one slicky

9:07 pm  
Anonymous Ben said...

Poisoning is gruesome, somewhat exotic and has an element of intrigue to it. Surely it would be just as effective to shoot the victim as the subtle lacing of their food with poison.

Poisoning has been around going back to King Tut who was done in by his cup bearer. The black comedy "Arsenic and Old Lace" with Cary Grant had two aunts poisoning lonely old men with glasses of elderberry wine laced with arsenic, strychnine and "just a pinch" of cyanide.

Now, with all the mystique of a James Bond film, out of London comes the poisoning of former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko.

9:46 pm  
Anonymous Mandy said...

ohhhhh i so want to go to Chroma now. no fair it ends so soon :-(

12:25 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Found you off The Guardian blog site
Fun blog
Will return

1:44 am  
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7:00 pm  

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