Monday, May 31, 2010

Something still cheesy in England

Some of us, most likely most of us, think of cheese as a food to be eaten with crackers or perhaps a topping on hamburgers. "Normal" stuff. Then there are others who enjoy cheese on a roll, literally.

Approximately 100 people showed up at Coopers Hill, Gloustershire for an "unofficial" cheese race, even though it had officially been called off. The popular event attended by 15,000 people last year featuring people chasing a large chunk of cheese down a steep hill, was cancelled due to safety reasons. Thinking further, I suppose there could be a certain risk factor involved i.e. people watching from the sidelines getting injured by a runaway cheese. Or participants running into things on their way down like bushes or bikes or parked cars...

The cancellation hasn't been taken lying down or on the side and an official "Bring Back Cheese Rolling Group" has been initiated with more than 11,670 signatures. Some people really like their cheese.

Meanwhile, in another part of England (sounds like something out of a Monty Python skit), 5,000 people for whatever reason, attended the annual(!) woolsack race in Tetbury. The competition involves running up a steep hill carrying heavy sacks. Why do they do it? Probably for the same reason as people enjoy chasing cheese down a hill. Seems that this activity goes back to mediaeval times when men carried 60lb woolsacks and females carried 40lb woolsacks.

Finally, if this isn't enough to make you wonder, last but not least is the annual shin-kicking competition to take place this month. Really.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Music goes to the dogs

It's understandable how pet owners want to do everything to please the non-human elements in their lives but this is a doggone one for the record books.

Singer Lou Reed and wife Laurie Anderson, for whatever reason, will be putting on a concert at the Sydney Opera House for dogs as part of their "Vivid Live" festival, in June. According to news sources it will be a high-frequency concert created specifically for canine tastes but unfathomable for their owners. Ms Anderson who is a performance artist, has had practice entertaining her rat terrier, Lollabelle, for eleven years. Just wondering - how can one discern whether a canine likes or dislikes a particular musical passage. Anywaaaaay...

In the words of Anderson, "she (Lollabelle) likes things with a lot of smoothness but with beats in them. Things with voices and lots of complicated high-end stuff. Chk-chk-chk-chk-chk … that kind of stuff."

The event to be held in the morning, will be brief given the short attention span of canines. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 minutes or so. Since this concert is noiseless to humans, presumably owners will have to stare at their pet's faces and gauge the impact of the music. Something to the effect - pure speculation - a lot of twitches means excitement, a blank look on the face means it doesn't do anything for them or maybe they have to pee, drooling means they're really 'into it' or hungry... Go know! Thinking further about this, there is no information as to whether there will be any bathroom facilities for attendees. If not - this could be a problem. Perhaps somebody will supply fire hydrants or patches of grass. These are serious issues, people!

Music For Dogs adds to the avant-garde nature of a festival that includes improvised soundscapes by Reed's Metal Machine Trio, the Tuvan throat-singers Chirgilchin and tai chi classes, as well as more conventional acts such as the Rickie Lee Jones.