“Jazz just has new life again. The torch is being passed. You feel the sentiment by the music becoming more intense or having more depth to it. The light’s shining through again when it comes to the creative mind state. And that’s what jazz is: the ability to improvise, the ability to tighten up, play fast, play slow … it’s all of that. The idea of jazz is travelling right now.”
“The non-opera parts aren’t add-ons; we’re doing an exhibition. For two weeks, we’re occupying this space, and the experience of this project lasts that entire duration. It’s not the sort of thing where you go to see an opera and maybe stroll through a gallery on your way out; we want to make a social gathering place where people come and hang out, and also there’s this opera happening as an extension of that.” Only the performances are ticketed; all the other offerings are free and open to the public.
“X is perhaps the only enterprise on the planet where regular investigation into the absurd is not just permitted but encouraged, and even required. X has quietly looked into space elevators and cold fusion. It has tried, and abandoned, projects to design hoverboards with magnetic levitation and to make affordable fuel from seawater. It has tried—and succeeded, in varying measures—to build self-driving cars, make drones that deliver aerodynamic packages, and design contact lenses that measure glucose levels in a diabetic person’s tears.”
The presenters of Front Row, the only arts magazine programme on the whole of BBC television, began their new assignments by announcing they could not be bothered with theatre. Giles Coren, a restaurant critic, says he finds plays too stressful and the seats too uncomfortable and has barely been to the theatre in years. No matter, he still got the job. Amol Rajan, the BBC’s media editor, rather than, oh I don’t know, its arts editor, said he was too busy with his baby to go. Poor man. But if Boycott could not attend Test matches, he would be out. The only half-qualified presenter was Nikki Bedi, who at least presented an arts programme on the BBC World Service. Unfortunately, she has produced no criticism worth remembering, and declared that she had no time for “long shows without intervals”.
As long as the idea persists that myth, purpose and meaning are things to be burned away by the acid of scientific reason, evolution and science will be silent about creativity.
“A snake-robot designer, a balloon scientist, a liquid-crystals technologist, an extradimensional physicist, a psychology geek, an electronic-materials wrangler, and a journalist walk into a room. The journalist turns to the assembled crowd and asks: Should we build houses on the ocean?” Is this the set-up to a joke? No, it’s The Atlantic‘s Derek Thompson proposing his own “moonshot idea” on a reporting trip to Google’s X, “perhaps the only enterprise on the planet where regular investigation into the absurd is not just permitted but encouraged, and even required.”