Arcticterntalk.org

The blog of a travelling psychiatrist and football lover. Who happens to be a halfway decent photographer. Takes a cynical view of the world

Archive for the tag “music”

Mysteries of Eurovision 2019


Eurovision is a great institution and each year gets better. The staging last night in Tel Aviv was beyond brilliant. Many of the acts were also superb, others less so. We score the acts in our group and without fail never pick the winner. What we were in agreement about were the worst two acts coming from SAN Marino and Iceland. Discussion was had this morning about how these two acts actually qualified for the final over some of the others whom failed to make the cut . SAN Marino was many grades beyond dreadful . A non practicing dentist chanting in a low voice that reminded me more of a poor karaoke impression of Right Said Fred. The Icelandic offering was one of those pseudo political statements with the band clearly concentrated more on the Palestine issues than their music. For once I agree with the organisers of Eurovision that this is a musical not political event. Their specific noise , muttering, chanting and shouting was hideous. Hence being rated by us as the worst performer. I will spare you the tension and give you our final scores. The bottom five

  1. Iceland 2
  2. SAN Marino 5
  3. Estonia 8
  4. Slovenia 9
  5. North Macedonia 9

Clearly our musical intuition and interpretation did not match the worldwide juries who scored North Macedonia second best . The scoring though changed when the public votes were added who scored them like us one of the worst . The principle of having separate scoring systems for the juries, composed of music professionals, and the general public money spending audience, is a good one . There were many instances similar where the jury voted brilliant or awful and the public voted the opposite . A good example was Norway where the juries voted their entry as poor and the public voted it one of the best . Maybe the professionals had not listened to Alan Walker “Faded” , one of the most popular songs of the last few years , the style of Norway was similar and the girl singer was the same one who sings on Faded. A few songs were simply creepy . Try the Slovenian entry if you have a spare five minutes.

The best songs in our view were

  1. Norway, Denmark and France 27
  2. Italy 25
  3. Switzerland and Azerbaijan 24

The winning song from Netherlands got 20 points from us . Another mystery . A winning song yet devoid of many of the things Eurovision is famous for , good staging and interesting tunes. The bookmakers has this as their favourite. How do they reach this conclusion? I am always baffled by their conclusions and how spookily correct they often are.

So the mysteries of Eurovision remain strong and without doubt the staging was the best ever . Role in 2020 where I can make two predictions. The contest will be held in Amsterdam and UK will not be winners

Psychiatry Insights Into The Jeremy Kyle Show And Why It is Cruel And Should Be Stopped


The facts as reported are that a 63 year old man from Portsmouth, Steve Dymond,  committed suicide a week after an episode of the Jeremy Kyle  show was recorded. On the show he was under pressure to “prove” to his fiancée he had not “cheated” on her. Allegedly  he failed a “lie detector test” and was somewhat distraught after Jeremy Kyle was reported to have “laid into him”.

This is reality TV at its worst . Today the media report that the Salford production crew were in tears as it was announced the ending permanently of the show, for which Kyle is reported to be paid £2 million each year. I frankly do not care.   Yet another reality show, yet more deaths.

The producers are reported to give support to “participants” in the form of mental health nurses ( unclear whether they are on set or interact after the show) and a psychoanalyst. again my opinion is that this is likely to be woefully inadequate.

I am going to give you my own personal views on the assumption that the above facts as they are reported are approximating to the truth.

Reality TV is cruel but cheap, hence the plethora of programmes produced for which contestants almost fight to get onto the shows as it offers an average person almost instantaneous celebrity status. The successful ones with a modicum of an interesting personality are then able to make serious money by interviews, articles, hosting radio or TV shows and celebrity advertising endorsements.

In these programmes people are judged by the general population on their looks, personality and how they often interact with partners. To that extent on the face of it ,it might be seen as harmless fun, with potential great rewards for the lucky ones. My own view is rather different. What is generally lacking is any kind of genuine empathy towards participants. Frankly no one truly cares about them other than in high profile cases. One could argue thats the price the contestants pay for aiming for celebrity status. The trouble is that in the case of the man , Steve Dymond, who died, there is clear evidence of at a minimum vulnerability ,and potentially a serious depressive illness. It cannot be right that anyone put through an experience such as this commits suicde a week later. Many of these programmes are likely to attract people who do have personality issues or unknown/undiagnosed mental illness. And subsequently they may be desperate, either genuinely or as perceived by them. I am really unsure that without a full psychiatric assessment , and this may involve potentially even 10 hours of assessment and interviews with family members/friends, that realistically those extremely vulnerable can be separated out. When I have watched these programmes it is clear that many have features of impulsivity ( possibly ADHD), emotional volatility ( potentially facets of borderline personality disorder ) and some clearly lack  empathy for others ( personality traits that sit when extreme on the sociopathic spectrum). Depression may co-exist and commonly does with many of these disorders. The simple point I am making is that the participants are often unaware of these aspects or illnesses and the support staff, who may be excellent in fact, would not be able to prophylactically stop people taking part where it may put their mental status at risk. The final point to make is that mental illness or forms of personalty disorders are not static illnesses, they can get better, worse or be cured, sometimes temporarily, however stress of any kind in a person with a vulnerability to a problem , can significantly worsen or induce the problem rapidly.

Some reality TV programmes may be less critical to mental health, maybe we can simply call them kinder or less traumatic. The Kyle show does not fall into this category. To be having a contestant who has to prove his fidelity is bad enough in my view but to try and extract this proof using a “lie-detector” creates huge stress, and the technique is dubious enough as a separate issue.

For Steve Dymond its too late now. He clearly was a man under all sorts of stress, even from what is being reported,  including a court arrest warrant for non-payment of a fine, and  the outcome  might not have been predictable in an individual case, however to stress out any human being (or animal for that matter) will significantly worsen underlying mental health status. Do we really want to be a society that allows our vulnerable members to be ridiculed on TV for  so-called entertainment? I don’t think we do, but we do need to understand the effects any mental health disorder might have on an individual in that situation. Programmes like Kyle are neither funny nor clever, neither are in my opinion those who take amusement in the misfortune of others. Mental health needs to be taken seriously and public education needs to start right now. Sadly it is a death such as this that may encourage people to learn more. RIP Steve Dymond

Time For Strict Enforceable Rules on Recording In Theatres and Posting Images and Videos


Perusing Twitter in recent weeks there have been a number of tweets where audience members have been called out for recording or photographing during shows. It was reported that in one performance of Six, one of the cast members actually intervened to call this out. In other instances audience members themselves asked the perpetrator to cease recording.

Anyone attending the theatre know that they should not be recording shows or indeed taking photographs. Arguably the reasons behind these regulations have never been explicitly reasoned out and explained, nonetheless this is standard knowledge, and theatre goers do not come armed with cameras and recording devices.

The rules seem fair and obvious. Recordings of a show then uploaded to YouTube or indeed anywhere can do many negative things. The poor quality sound might make a performance look bad, the ending of a show might be given away ( many have quite intricate stories as part of the show, Waitress is an example). The actors/actresses are entitled to also make their money from cast recordings of albums uploaded to Spotify or similar and sold, and the sheer poor quality of the recordings does nothing to enhance the experience for anyone.

Six and Millie O'Connell

Six and Millie O’Connell

What however is less well known, and could be better advertised are that some shows do allow the audience to take photographs and videos during the curtain calls, as in Waitress or during a semi-encore, as in Six. I like this approach. As a photographer I too get frustrated to not be able to photograph, however I get it and abide by the rules as should everyone.

Aimee Atkinson in Six

Aimee Atkinson in Six

Having sat through the Brexit voting charades this past week, I would like to suggest a few things we might suggest or even vote on as solutions:

  1. In the foyer there should be clear notices as to what is and what is not allowed. This also can be part of the pre-show announcements whee one is reminded to turn off mobile devices.
  2. Anyone breaching the regulations should be removed from the theatre . A clear black and white punishment.
  3. Cast members where feasible can make themselves available post-show for photographs
  4. The show organisers organise out of show events where folks can come and photograph cast members with the obvious caveats these are not used commercially or promotionally. Funds raised might be utilised by theatre charities.

As I stated above the non-allowing of photography, I agree with and always wonder what my images might have looked like. The four solutions above may be a good compromise in this digital image world.

Lastly, the photos uploaded here were all taken post-show and were allowed, and of course all taken with the humble I-phone 8

Rocky Horror Woking 2019

Rocky Horror Woking 2019

Waitress 2019

Waitress 2019

Six and Millie O'Connell

Six and Millie O’Connell

Six and Millie O'Connell

Six and Millie O’Connell

Six and Millie O'Connell

Six and Millie O’Connell

Natalie Paris and six

Natalie Paris and six

Non league Day and Reasons for Regular Nonleague football Chipstead 1 Barking 1 FA Trophy Dogs Come Too


If I were a clever writer I would arrive at some witty headline that encompasses dogs and Barkingfc. Non league day has become a regular date in the calendar when International football means no top level games and crowds are higher.

Although a Brentford fan I manage to catch 10-15 non league games a season and am no stranger to positive reasons to watch non league. Let me summarise the key reasons why far more spectators should visit Chipstead:

  1. Entrance a very fair £9 including a programme. Some clubs such as Carshalton have moved away from paper programmes to e-programmes for obvious reasons.
  2. Free car parking at the ground
  3. Dogs are welcome. Today there were at least 4 dogs there. All on leads and having a good time, with some fields around the ground ( with access) meaning that it was a good thing to let them walk before the game.
  4. Friendly spectators. Folks can and do walk around the whole ground, and of course seats in the small stand are free.
  5. Football quality is good. Some fans who do not frequent non league games may imagine overweight pub teams kicking each other to bits. This analogy is totally wrong. There was high skill level, good organisation, 100% effort all game and some excellent individual skill.
  6. Chipstead play an open and attacking brand of football. They use their wingers  and have a traditional old fashioned centre forward (Alan Tait). In short echelons higher in entertainment than for example the hideous international fare provided by England.
  7. There are players to watch. The player catching the eye today was Leon Lalor-Dell, a skilful pacy left winger, who scored the Chipstead goal, and made what should have been another 3-4 goals.

There is nothing wrong with watching higher class league football, but why not take in the occasional non league game too? And if you fancy finding a tree stump behind the main stand. Especially if your dog needs a day out.

Ipswich 1 Brentford 1. A good point for Bees but should have been three . Some good signs for next season


Being fortunate enough to photograph the game one gets fairly close to the action and able to see some of the little things that might get missed. Let me start with the highly supportive nature of Dean Smith to all his players after the game, and also the embrace between Toumani and himself.

A fairly wet night and a fairly boggy pitch certainly not of the Griffin Park standard. Ipswich is a very friendly club and when arriving to collect press pass one is greeted by a serious of smiling and mischievous souls in the ticket office, all wearing smart clean blazers and ties. In fact I cannot fault the Ipswich club at all. Nice people, who deserve a good and decent football team. Whether they deserve mick McCarthy as a manger is a separate question. The fans I spoke to were mixed in their views.  Inconsistency of the team was a common theme. As a negative though the entrance price of 35£ for adults is excessive, 25.50£ for concessions, and 24.50£ for under 20. There is no need to charge these prices.

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There are plenty of good match reports online so no need for me to repeat much. This game was not a classic but was fully competitive until the last kick of the game. Although both sides are truly mid-table and arguably satisfied with a point, even in the 4 added minutes both pressed for a winner.

The goal was a nice pass from Romain Sawyers and a neat finish from Yennaris.

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Nico Yennaris scores

Brentford played the better football. Ipswich did a lot of shirt pulling and pushing and a few dubious tackles and manoeuvres . Maybe someone in the FA or the Referees select committee can explain to me how this “rugby league” tackle ( illegal even there and seriously punishable in the NFL in USA) was not given as a foul. The role of assistants talking to the referees arises weekly. How this was not given as a foul against Vibe I am unsure.

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An interesting style of tackling from Ipswich 

Brentford looked well set up with Woods looking more solid and winning more than his share of the 50-50 balls. The full backs looking better with every game. Maxime Colin has improved enormously this season.

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Maxime Colin demonstrating an interesting style of tackling

00007689 Bjelland went off injured, without having an inspiring game, and Barbet came on, who still looks suspect to me. 0000767300007763

Justin Shaibu had 20 minutes and as against Rotherham caused all manner of problems to the Ipswich defence and was unlucky not to score. The days of Hoffmann are truly over and he needs to move on. 000077610000774400007746

So I take away a lot of positivity in this team and performance. The sort of game a while agao that Brentford would not have drawn. The worry remains over the number of goals conceded. This will improve.

Sergi Canos is such an exciting talent and could be a truly great player.

0000770200007703Rico Henry looks a class player and fast coming forward.

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Rico Henry

Do Brentford have the best football mascot? Clearly yes……


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Ciabbata Bread Loaf Ready To Hang on the Wall from Panetteria Italiana Merton


Food sometimes comes in unpredicatable shapes and even an experienced baker was surprised his routine ciabbata came with a picture frame hook ready for hanging on the wall. The best baker in the UK is found at Panetteria Italiana in Merton 6 Merton Hall Rd, Merton, London SW19 3NT0000676200006765

Edinburgh Tram System


In June 2014 Trams  returned to Edinburgh’s streets for the first time in almost 50 years, however, in the decade since the first money was allocated to the project, the price  doubled, the network halved and it took twice as long to build as was first thought.

img_2288Edinburgh’s tram “network” is now just part of one of the original lines, stretching from the airport to the city centre. It had been intended to reach the waterfront at Leith and Newhaven, and there were to be other lines too, but they disappeared as the troubled project rumbled on. This was the originally planned route.

edinburgh_tramway_map

After many years of delays and procrastination the tram was finally completed and is now fully operational. Having a spare hour in Edinburgh I decided to explore the tram and see literally where it might lead me too along its 8.7 mile route that has cost at least 976 million pounds to contruct.

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Fifty-two ticket inspectors were recruited to prevent fare dodging. Edinburgh Council is aiming for a 3% fare evasion rate, lower than any other tramway in Britain. Thirty-two drivers were employed, after passing psychological tests designed to eliminate risk-takers

Tram lines are making a re-appearance in UK and for good reasons. They tend to be more reliable in timing than buses and can often be built right into the city centre. For a long time there has been a lack of direct transportation from Edinburgh airport into the city which when combined with the relatively narrow roads often meant delays in getting to the main city centre. The tram line starts at the airport and ends at York place past the end of Princes Street. There are many possibilities of ticket types that range from simple single and return fares through to day tickets. The day tickets, equivalent of the London travel card , are more expensive when travelling to or from the airport, than the city and its environs. There is also a conundrum in that outside of the airport zone there is a family ticket that carries 2 adults and 3 children, but for airport travel  tickets need to be bought individually. This might explain why the trams seem relatively unused at the airport, my tram was almost empty, as by the time that more than one ticket is bought you are into the realms of little less cost than a taxi. fullsizerenderfullsizerender-1img_2290

The line itself runs through a variety of shopping centres, a train depot ( only for staff), and joins with a number of other stations en-route. It also stops at the Ingliston park and ride. So the line is practical and within reason quite cheap. They employ cohorts of scary looking ticket inspectors who check each and every customer, and who really do remember who they have previously checked, like they have photographic memories.

During only its second year of operation 5.38 million passengers used the system. And for anyone arriving at Edinburgh airport on their travels this is a good option for the city centre.

 

Music Photography Few Recent Favourites


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Hunter and The Bear

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Officer

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Hunter and The Bear

Officer @ Bedford Arms Balham 5th May 2016


A superb set by an interesting  duo. The audience was engaged throughout and happy to share their vocals when asked! A packed sell out Bedford Arms enjoyed this set. A few photographs of DC and Lou that really capture maybe not only the enjoyment of the audience but also of themselves doing the set.

For further information on Officer their website

http://www.officer.uk.com

 

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