PBS Idea Channel has long been on my radar, and I have been an avid fan of the philosophy of the show, the host Mike, and the unapologetically silly yet serious mantra that it subscribes to.

Here, in the show’s penultimate episode, you can see everything great that the show was and is; Quick witted, analytical, humorous, clad freely with images and gifs, accessible, free and meaty.

If I could achieve 1/10th of this I would be happy.





Very well put together musical homage, but what I recently realised that I particularly like about it (musically) is that is uses the leitmotifs from, mostly, the soundtrack to the first movie.

According to the video’s own description:

0:01 Hedwig’s Theme
0:12 Mr. Longbottom Flies
0:22 Prologue
0:32 Aunt Marge’s Waltz
0:47 Buckbeak’s Flight
1:00 Double Trouble
1:19 The Face of Voldemort
1:29 Hedwig’s Theme

First Performance Workshop with Richard Layzell

I participated in two performance workshops with Richard Layzell, as part of a group of a dozen or so. This is an account of the first.

The very first action he had us do was simply to be aware of our breathing, deliberately and consciously taking each breath in and out, and then standing fully upright, concentrating immensely on our posture. After a few moments of this, he pointed out that should someone come into the room at that moment, they would notice something was going on, and see us all as other – somehow more focused and therefore outside the regular relaxed state in which we normally interact or exist in shared spaces.

There were then some exercises, some paired, others as the whole group. Two particularly interesting ones for me were the group copying an individuals actions and the ‘sticky fingers’ were we held out our hands connected in front of us with a partner and had to feel the flow of direction, improvising movement through intuition. The former had me very interested in group rhythm. A lot of the actions people chose were short, and so did not lay down a rhythm, but when it came to me I started to stamp my feet to a simple time signature. What was then nice was that instead of the group’s actions being an echo, mine and the groups actions merged as soon as they had caught up to the rhythm exactly. This was a bass rhythm, on top of which I tried clapping, making rhythmical percussive sounds with my mouth and so on. This was much, much more fun and effective because it was a group exercise. This could lead on to exploration of music, which this proves, is a necessarily social endeavour.

Another part of the workshop involved devising short pieces, where as little as possible happened.

On Oration, Speech and Rhetoric

It is necessary to develop your style of speaking, and to work on your own voice, intonation, and pauses – to put it shortly: elocution.

A while ago I got my hands on a book entitled, as it is embossed in large gold serif font on its cover, ‘Speeches That Changed the World’. Naturally, it contains a selection of speeches by British Wartime Prime Minister and Orator extraordinaire Winston Churchill.

It became clear, when I began to listen to tapes of these speeches, that they simply do not function as written manuscripts. They are intended to be, and should be listened to. Their text does not do them justice.


And it is from this observation, and having seen the characters created by Wimbledon Student Katarina, that I intend to work on diction and speech in and of themselves, with or without their application to other elements of my work.
The skills will of course be useful for my Performative Lectures, but that will not be the extent of their use, nor the reason for their development.



ps. It should be noted that it’s Horses for Courses; the oration style of Mr Churchill here is ideal in its context, but to have truly mastered oration and/or speech, one must be able to fit their tone to the context, and that should be an aim of my work.

Additionally, Churchill did work fairly extensively with speech therapists and wrote his speeches very carefully to limit the effect of his lisp and stammer.