Archive for the A chequered past Category

Death and gravity

Posted in A chequered past, Random thinking, What one gets up to on June 5, 2010 by Carina Westling

Baselines both – they give us footing, and something to push against. Perhaps not seen as things to embrace in general, but where would we be without them?

I was thinking about my dear old friend, Torsten. He passed away a few years ago, in his sixties (he had malign melanoma). But he had the time to make something quite extraordinary of dying, and the courage to share it with his nearest and dearest.

He was always an outspoken man, very intelligent and fiercely independent. He could be quite challenging, in the true sense of the word. I am not and have never been confrontational, but we developed a great, if spacious, friendship. I suspect the spaciousness of it was the key.

Towards the end his honesty grew keener, and infinitely softer. He was thoughtful in a way that came across as a profound tenderness.

I spoke to him on the phone the day he died, if I remember correctly. It was certainly very close to his death. His passing words were “dear child, we are all blessed.” It may sound trivial written like this, but the way he said it radiated true grace.


Catalyst Club and more

Posted in A chequered past, Events, Research, What one gets up to on November 13, 2009 by Carina Westling

Now; a peaceful evening at home, with a bed freshly made with a new, über-fluffy duvet… A relative sense of order, children snoozing in their beds. Not a “zoo weekend” as Merlin went up to London to hang out with Tamar and Jorge. Good music. Peaceful.

Last night I gave a talk at the Catalyst Club, Language and soft furnishings. I was quite nervous beforehand, not being that accustomed to making sounds on stage. I surprised myself by feeling sufficiently calm up there to even improvise instead of having to rely very much on my post-it composition.

Amazingly, there were many laughs. And I had great feedback afterwards – well beyond my expectations. Richard of the Science Festival even said I should consider “being a public speaker”. David really liked it too. I seem to have done OK. Phew.

Thankfully I was first on, so I didn’t have to sit there and get more and more nervous, and could relax and enjoy the rest of the evening. Rachel gave a talk on sharks and her love/hate relationship to them (it was Ladies’ Night, by the way). The last speaker was Carrie Reichardt, who does some pretty full on work with death masks and funky monumental mosiacs. She has ongoing friendships with people on death row in the US, and it was a very interesting talk on a strong subject. Shows the life and death importance of play.

On Wednesday I had lunch with Ismael, one of our late-night angels of firework night who gave us a lift. Interesting character – he is after doing a take 2 of a project he did in Bath before and which ended up attracting a range of really talented and experienced participants and facilitators. Apparently our meeting and brief conversation en route to Lewes sparked off the realisation in him that now is the time to put the wheels in motion for the next level. I have said he can count me in on being part of helping making it happen (time permitting). I have a hunch it could be interesting.

I then had a meeting with Kat, who does research on love and intimacy. She is from Venezuela, and very interesting. We shall be keeping in touch.

After that, it was on to Blast Theory for an interesting talk by Andy Field who is doing a residency there. I met Dan, John and Julianne too. Good feeling about the setup and their work is certainly interesting and relevant to me. I will definitely go see them again soon to find out more. It turns out their studios are literally just around the corner from Ana’s studio.

Web design

Posted in A chequered past on November 10, 2009 by Carina Westling

By the way, I conceptualised and built my web site ( or click the picture on your right) with my own fair hands. And created, choreographed, produced and edited all the artwork on it. Just in case you wondered.

Lost Vagueness

Posted in A chequered past, Events, What one gets up to on July 26, 2009 by Carina Westling

I was involved with Lost Vagueness as a performer (Grrrlesque features several times in the video below) and stage manager. As Grrrlesque, we were almost like house pets at various events organised by Roy & co, doing a lot of meet-and-greet, interactive character work, as well as stage stuff.

For those of you who weren’t there, well… I don’t really know where to begin, but they were fabulous events. The maddest, baddest and most entertaining artists on stage, a lot of fine, hopping music (frequently to a ska beat), incredibly glamorous audience, thanks to the Dressing Room as well as individual efforts. The faithful people of the Dressing Room quite literally created magic when they transformed people who had been camping for days in mud into gloriously otherworldly, strange and sparkling personages. You would not be let into the inner sanctum (i.e. the Casino) unless you were glam to the teeth.

Inside, there was Lost world where everyone was beautiful and wrong, performers and audience mixed vigorously, you had to pay with vagues, nothing and nobody would make much sense, and the party would go on beyond dawn.

Of course the people creating this worked incredibly hard to make it so. Some very talented and dedicated people indeed. Fantastic décor was created for a night, or for the duration of a festival, covered with mud every night and resurrected again so the glittering illusion could rise like the phoenix the following night.

I guess this video clip explains better than words what it was like:

(Note November ’09: The audio has been suspended for some licensing reason, it has been fine previously and should come back. Alternatively, watch in on the BlackIce website, in the video vault. It is the listed feature called Lost Vagueness.)

TNT does the Snake Pit in Shangri-La, Glastonbury

Posted in A chequered past, Events, What one gets up to on June 29, 2009 by Carina Westling

The Snake Pit
…was an impressive affair. The Snake Pit, the venue, was jaw-droppingly fab, with a light green touch screen front, and inside several levels. Backlit screens with flames, snakes and similar suitable motifs in reds and golds, mirrors, opium-den style booths hung in red satin upstairs, where people could lounge in stylish seediness. Hidden walkways behind the booths, so that we could pop our heads in and surprise the occupants. A fishtank style booth for the dancers, with the options of dropping shadow screens or having the windows open. Chandeliers, red or white light providing atmosphere. In a field.

All the staff; bouncers, stage hands, bar staff, technicians, DJs and dancers in full character. Costumes in biker trash/den of iniquity style, everyone looked fab (see pictures in the gallery below).

The acts were also chosen to suit. Cabaret performers included two girls doing brilliant hoop tricks as Guns’n’Roses, Lazy Habits, The Correspondents (check the video at the bottom om this entry, they were brilliant!) and many other excellent performers. DJ sets were very, very good. Come midnight and until 6am close, it was absolutely heaving. First couple of nights I left around 5am in the interest of keeping a reasonable relationship with my feet, and it was still kicking.

The team was incredible, with 150% commitment to making it memorable, and everyone was a delight to work with. Real family atmosphere. (Not the buggy-driving variety, btw.)

I did also manage to get to some gigs. Scott Matthews was divine, Blur was amazing, Jason Mraz sunny, Tom Jones drew a ridiculous number of people, Kasabian was partly very enjoyable, Nick Cave was darkly great, and a bunch of others I need sleep to remember. Circus and Cabaret performances were also very good, Mimbre, Jonathan Kay, Space Cowboy, etc.

Extreme refinement

Posted in A chequered past, What one gets up to on June 23, 2009 by Carina Westling the oddest thing. Many admire it, most would not walk the path of getting there. In some ways, it resembles extreme sports (the nuttiness of it, if nothing else). But it gets less recognition.

I have spent many years of my life in the process of seeking refinement and the perfect marriage of form and function in dance, which everyone who tried knows is a journey without an end.

It is an obsession. I confess. It is a skill that appeals to only the very few, though many might appreciate in a more or less fleeting fashion the fruits that they can see directly. Is it a passion, or is it an affliction?

Either way, I do not seek a cure.


Posted in A chequered past, What one gets up to on June 21, 2009 by Carina Westling

Finally picked up my artwork from the exhibition at Bellis – they’ve been sitting there far too long. She sold all the paper things I made, and is urging me to make more as they seem to sell well. Not sure where I’ll find the time, tho..roses1