About Me

I ramble about a number of things - but travel experiences, movies and music feature prominently. See my label cloud for a better idea. All comnments and opinions on this blog are my own, and do not in any way reflect the opinions/position of my employer (past/current/future).

16 March 2013

The Implausability of Secrecy

Law professor Mark Fenster has an interesting article on the nature of secrecy, where he argues that the concept of secrecy (in Government) is not binary - and in fact, in most cases, secrecy is almost impossible to maintain (regardless of the legal frameworks). Using a diverse set of American examples; the article shows how endeavors to maintain secrecy is often self defeating - either through the pure weight of the volume of people who know the information and through disjointed laws and regulations that allow for part of secret information to "leak" out.

Although based on American examples and law, there are interesting parallels to South African government's own attempts at maintaining secrecy - be it the arms deal, or Nkandla or many other examples. Based on the article, the real danger of the Information Bill, is not that ministers can seemingly make anything secret - but rather, by its very nature, that information will leak out, and the enforcement of this law is almost impossible.

14 March 2013

Encore! JPO's 1st 2013 Season 3rd Concert

As Alexander Lubyantsev sat down on the piano last night, for Chopin's 1st Piano Concerto, he already seemed to be in some sort of a trance. As the orchestra played its rather long intro, Lubyantsev sat seemingly staring at the top of the piano, with an occasional glance at conductor Robert Maxym. And when his turn did come - it seemed to be amazingly coordinated, with a tremendous amount of focus on the part of Lubyantsev. It was a mesmerising performance of an artist who seemed to be completely consumed by the piece he was playing - he didn't look once at the crowd; just at the conductor for his cue, and the piano (whether he was playing or not) - and finished to a rapturous applause. His first encore was his own composition (called Raindance), followed another encore of Chopin's Etude no 24. And he came back for a third encore (because "the audience was doing so much hard work" [in clapping]), of a piece he "thought the audience would know, but he wasn't sure if he knew" - all to great applause.

Earlier in the evening, the orchestra started with Beethoven's Prometheus Overture, which ensuring a lively start to the concert. Beethoven's 8th Symphony was played in the first half to cater for the long concerto, and I am surprised that I don't listen to it more often.

The JPO plays tonight (same concert details) and Alexander Lubyantsev is back next week for an all Russian billing playing Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No.3.

10 March 2013

Movie: The Sessions

Based on the essay, "On Seeing a Sex Surrogate", written by poet and journalist, Mark O'Brien, The Sessions is one of the best movies about disability that I have seen. Mark O'Brien (played by John Hawkes) contracted polio when he was young, and effectively lived in an iron lung for the rest of his life. 

Initially the story focuses on his own helplessness - first his dependency on his caregivers; to his relative exclusion from society and societal norms - which sets the movie up wonderfully in terms of the challenges of the disabled. The movie however is principally about the sessions with his sex surrogate - and the performances by both Helen Hunt (as the surrogate) and John Hawkes is magical. It conveys the awkwardness, the hope and the joy brilliantly, and conveys the humanity that Mark O'Brien clearly wanted to acknowledged. It is a touching story, with amazing performances.