The Culture Mile, Beech Street and the RSC

Went to see the Royal Shakespeare Company’s The Tempest – a quite remarkable staging.  The special effects were awe inspiring and was pleased to hear a week or two earlier that the RSC was being involved in the talks revolving around the Culture Mile – the latest reworking in the development of what was previously known as the Cultural Hub.  If the talks are successful in bringing the RSC back to making the Barbican its principal London venue – to the theatre which was built for it - that will be another great feather in the Culture Mile’s cap.  There is already seemingly a strong rapport … [Read more...]

Mortality and Succession

A lengthy spell in hospital does tend to focus one’s mind and emphasises one’s mortality.  Certainly an eight week stint following a stroke has caused your editor to consider his future involvement with this magazine – or at least to start putting in place some kind of succession plan.  You may have noted an advertisement to this effect in the Barbican Association’s quarterly newsletter As background, I set up Barbican Life over 14 years ago and although. I passed the publication over to the Barbican Association in exchange for the latter handling distribution and accounting, while … [Read more...]

47 Years On

It can be quite humbling attending a memorial service in St Giles Church, particularly for someone who had such a remarkable life as late Barbican resident Douglas Woodward who died late last year at the ripe old age of 92, but still in possession, even in such advanced years, of an extremely strong intellect.  Readers of Barbican life will have been aware of Douglas who graced these pages on a number of occasions.  The most recent was with a somewhat controversial guest editorial article in last year’s Summer issue entitled ‘Rattle’s Folly’.  Douglas opposed the construction of the proposed … [Read more...]

Uncertain New Year Ahead

Now is the time of year to wish Barbican Life readers a Happy Christmas – or perhaps just a happy holiday season dependent on one’s religion – and a prosperous New Year ahead, but seldom have we seen a time when the forthcoming year has been riddled with so many uncertainties because of factors which surfaced in 2016. First there was the Brexit vote and, in the UK in particular, all the political and financial fallout which will continue to afflict us next year – and indeed probably for several years ahead.  The consequent fall in the value of the pound sterling is not only going to … [Read more...]

Health and Efficiency

Perhaps it takes a medical emergency to get to realise how good our local National Health Service hospitals and ambulance service can actually perform if needed.  Well perhaps not necessarily a major emergency, but certainly one sufficient to require an ambulance to deliver one to the nearest hospital with an appropriate A&E department. Your editor recently had such an emergency – a personally frightening experience when on waking found he had no muscle function at all in his left leg – the result of a minor stroke.  Luckily the lady who does some cleaning for me was in that morning … [Read more...]

Rattle’s Folly

The celebrated conductor, Simon Rattle, comes next year to the Barbican in the footsteps of much-loved Colin Davis and highly-regarded Valery Gergiev, to conduct the London Symphony Orchestra.  Sadly his pleasure will not be unalloyed since, it would appear that he feels that the Barbican Hall – not least its acoustics – leaves much to be desired. Now, in regard to acoustics, Simon is doubtless a perfectionist.  Most of us, though, would agree with the music critic of the Daily Telegraph who wrote that we do not go to concerts to listen to acoustics, but to enjoy the music. Acoustics … [Read more...]