Archive for February, 2012

“The stuff of the Nightmares” Exhibition – London, The Museum of Childhood, 2nd July 2011-26th February 2012

February 20, 2012 Leave a comment

"The Stuff of the Nightmares", The Museum of The Childhood, London Source:

In the past one of the most important social figures were the storytellers – people with great speaking-ability who wandered through different cities enchanting men, women, and children by their incredible stories.

The fairy tales had two main characters, hero and anti-hero – usually the first one was the bringer of positive human characteristics, such as bravery, honesty, and justice, and the second one was the owner of human flaws, as greed, thirsty of power, and selfishness.

The Museum of Childhood, located in the East side of London, arranged a small exhibition, “The stuff of Nightmares”, which focused on the negative nightmarish characters of the fairy tales – the idea stemmed from “Fundevogel”, a story written by Grimm’s Brothers, and published in 1812.


The installation has been realized by the scholars of local institute – 60 4-year-old pupils fromCayleyPrimary School, and 26 9-year-old pupils fromMorphetSecondary School– with the help of artists, such as Katherine Tulloh, Ruth Weinberg, Daniel Bell, and Sharon Brindle.

The work reproduces the forest where the Brothers Grimm set the tale – a recorded voice takes you to the core of this story.

In the wood the visitors can behold representations of the main scenes of the fairy tales, for example a small male doll hung from a tree branch – it represents the moment when the forester finds the little newborn Fundevogel – or a wooden bedroom where the children slept before escaping from the old wicked cook, who wanted to boil the boy.

On the top of the trees we can observe black menacing crows looking at us – a clear reference to the description of the negative character, which authors’ tale portrayed as “an old cook who bore a resemblance to a crow”.

Broken toys, dark atmosphere, and representation of wild animal, such as wolf, and foxes – symbols of pure wickedness and selfish shrewdness – add to the exhibition a complete frame of the most common and terrifying children’s fears.

The Brothers Grimm started writing fairy tales to keep alive some old stories which storytellers handed down from the past by oral communication, but the opinions about the fables are pretty different.

The first way of thinking claimed that he children should be protected by the fables, because the retribution of the negative characters usually is vicious and not educative.

The second upheld the idea that the fairy tales are useful to increase the children’s ability to create an imaginative world which allows them to go out from the daily tedium, and to understand the wrong human behaviour possibly to avoid.

This exhibition investigates on the inner children’s fears, and on what they are scared, but it allowed them to be real artists, and develop their artistic ability.


“L.A. Woman – 40th Anniversary Edition” by The Doors

February 20, 2012 Leave a comment

Front cover of L.A. Woman, 40th Anniversary Edition

CD Album: L.A. Woman

Author: The Doors

Label: Elektra

Tracks: CD1: 10,

CD2: 9

Length: CD1 48:29

CD2: 51:17

Released: 24th January 2012

Price: £13.99


Every rock-lover has only to do one thing: close his eyes and listen to it – a scratching voice will drag you in a journey from which it will be difficult to emerge.

Elektra released a new re-mastered version of “L.A. Woman”, the last album by the Doors, to celebrate the 40th Anniversary, on 24th January.

The new release is composed of two CDs – the first is a copy of the original track-list, where it is impossible not to recognize immortal songs such as “L.A. Woman”, and “Riders on the storm”.

The second CD contains alternate versions of the same songs, enriched with the original comments between the band and Bruce Botnik, co-producer and sound engineer, during the registration in studio.

This can be defined the most blues-influenced album created by the band – Jim Morrison and his band managed the melody perfectly, creating an explosive mixture of involving rock and pure southern American blues.

“The changeling” is the opening song – Morrison’s voice is powerful and impeccable, as the involving melody of the Ray Manzarek organ, which compels the listeners to start swinging their bodies rhythmically without ever stopping.

But the first blues example is “Car hiss by my window”, a slow, frustrating, relaxing song which prepares the listener to the uncontrollable energy explosion of the following track – “L.A Woman”.

“Riders on the storm” is not only the most famous song of the album, but it is a portrait of Morrison life – he says: “Into this world we’re thrown like a dog without a bone,” referring to the deep wandering around which his life encapsulated, and the following verses, “The world on you depends our life will never end”, stress the extreme idea which he always had about the eternity of life after the death.

The second part of the album includes a never-before-heard song “She smells so nice”, an overcoming rock-blues song which is a hymn to an unidentified woman – probably one of the singer’s countless lovers.

Morrison’s life was a continuous run on the razor’s edge – constantly drunk, drug and alcohol addicted, frequently arrested for his insane behaviour, and always in love with other women – he was found dead at 27 in a flat in Paris, dramatically ending his and his band’s career.

Listening to the Doors is a way to re-discover one of the most famous bands of the Sixties, and to analyse the story of one of the most influencing artists of world music.

This is a fabulous album which intermingles music and poetry skilfully, and it plunges the listeners in the past when to be rule-breaking rocker was not a fashion but it was a proper and real way of living.


“L.A. Woman” – 40th Anniversary Edition – Podcast

February 8, 2012 Leave a comment
Categories: Music Tags: , ,

Travel: London curiosity – Broadwick Street and the birth of epidemiology

February 3, 2012 Leave a comment

In the picture: the small historical pump of Broadwick Street Source:

Every city hides strange and unusual stories – sometimes they are funny, sometimes they are dramatic, and sometimes they have a huge historic importance.

Broadwick Street (previously named Broad Street) is a small road in London, situated around Carnaby Street in the Borough of Soho.

Unlike its neighbour this road is not so famous and important, but in the central part there is an old water-pump, located on eight-sided cement platform, which has an enormous scientific value.

The story begins in the Nineteenth century, when a big amount of people poured into London to get job and new opportunities.

Soho became overpopulated, and the basic sanitary services were not sufficient – the authorities decided to get rid of waste by throwing them in the Thames River, contaminating the water supply.

In 1854 the city was scene of a terrible cholera epidemic, in which almost 127 people living in this zone died.

John Snow, a York doctor working in London, started studying the event – sceptic of the predominant medical vision based on the theory of “bad air” (miasma) – he used a new approach, which depended on the ability of diseases, such as Black Death or cholera, to be transmitted by germ contamination.

In one year, he gathered an impressive quantity of data, and, with the help of Reverend Henry Whitehead, he could contact and interview people living in this road.

After this preliminary investigation, he could create an accurate map of the outbreaks of cholera, and the result of his report was surprising – the epidemic was not spread by air, as the majority of doctors claimed, but by the water coming from the Broadwick Street pump.

Besides, subsequently it was discovered that this well was dug near an old cesspit, which had infected the water further.

This analysis obliged the authorities to dismantle the pump, and to provide safe solutions for getting rid of waste.

The accuracy of the analysis earned John Snow the mention as father of the science of epidemiology.

Nowadays the original pump does not exist anymore, and in 1992 the authorities set up a copy to celebrate the fundamental discovery of this doctor coming from York.