Fearless polymaths: irrelevance and creativity

polymath.png

In an interview with the Guardian, Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of American Vogue, talked about a few things – Hillary Clinton in particular. But she also said something that piqued my interest:

“The young people we hire today at Condé Nast are fearless polymaths”

That’s about the fifth time I’ve heard that word in the past week. Admittedly the other four were because I used it. But I’ve had a few conversations recently, with both students and colleagues about the need, as one of my graduates advised current students before Christmas, to ‘be interesting’.

A colleague told me recently that more than one professional illustrator had advised students not to specialise, and to remain flexible, taking an interest in as much as possible and to express themselves creatively in as many ways as possible.

Wintour said the same thing in her Guardian interview:

Wintour used the opportunity to appeal to the younger generation to “not become too specialised” and instead “be intellectually free”

And

“I urge you instead to seek to be relevant, to be agile and educated.”

Continue reading Fearless polymaths: irrelevance and creativity

‘Motivated, creative and passionate’ – the words that kill your CV

CV 

How can we break out of the business “buzzword bingo” trap? When in doubt, some of George Orwell’s rules on clarity and simplicity in writing are worth remembering: never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech that you are used to seeing in print; never use a long word where a short one will do; if it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out. But more importantly, it ought to be possible to apply for a job without pretending to be something we are not. It shouldn’t be necessary to repeat a list of hackneyed workplace virtues. We should tell a potential employer who we are, in plain terms. If they are looking for someone like us, good. If not we will have avoided the unpleasant experience of getting stuck in a job that didn’t really suit us.

Read the full story here

Ai Weiwei shuts Danish show in protest at asylum seeker law

 Ai Weiwei

“He had been watching the news during the night and wanted to react. I didn’t try to dissuade him. This is not so much about which country does more or less for refugees, it is the symbolic importance of the new law. This [kind of thing] is spreading over Europe, and we in Denmark are taking the lead in this by making this law.”

Worth noting this story broke on World Holocaust Remembrance Day. My emphasis in that quote is all the more chilling for it.

Read the full story here

Creative industries contributed £84bn to UK economy in 2014

Doctor who christmas 2010

A report from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport published yesterday says the Creative Industries grew twice as fast as the rest of the British economy. The Guardian reports:

One of the areas of strongest growth was in film, TV, video, radio and photography, which rose almost 14%, second only to architecture and graphic products and fashion design. Advertising and marketing increased by almost 11% between 2013 and 2014 but publishing went up just 2.8%. The number of jobs in the creative industries – which includes both creative and support roles – increased by 5.5% in the same time period, to 1.8 million. The creative industries economic estimates are official government statistics used to measure the direct economic contribution of those industries to the UK economy.

That’s based on figures from 2014. So let me contrast that with a statement made in November 2015 by Education Secretary Nicky Morgan. telling students to study ‘proper’ subjects that matter to the economy:

If you didn’t know what you wanted to do… then the arts and the humanities were what you chose because they were useful, we were told, for all kinds of jobs.

We now know that this couldn’t be further from the truth. That the subjects to keep young people’s options open are STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and maths.

I wonder if the Department for Culture, Media and Sport have sent their report to the Department for Education?

Maynards and Bassetts unite to form new “adult candy” brand

MAYNARDS-BASSETTS_2-1002x563.jpg

Maynards and Bassets, two venerable British brands of sweets, have merged into ‘Maynards Bassets’ – not the kind of mouthful that gets you salivating.

The new packets look good, but that name and logo (or ‘plaque’ as it’s known) looks a bit heavy to me. Not as heavy as the bizarre language used to describe it, mind…

Bulletproof has created a new Maynards Bassetts “plaque” that can sit on the packs. The consultancy describes the new plaque as “a conduit where the intrinsic values of the products tumble in through the top and out again, turning into a wonderful, colourful and dynamic flavour slide that delivers the sweets or characters, such as Bertie, in a dynamic and exciting way.”

Oh dear.

I’m not sure what the thinking is here. It’s supposed to make the sweets (not ‘candy’, thank you) more ‘adult’ but… I’m not sure what’s adult about sticking a corporate logo on a packet of Jelly Babies. I’d have made it much smaller and let the sweets be the branding. ‘Liquorice Allsorts’, ‘Jelly Babies’, ‘Wine Gums’ – that’s what they’re selling.

BBC Record Review 16 January 2016

I created a playlist in Apple Music of all the recordings reviewed on BBC Radio 3’s Record Review on 16 January (or at least, those that are available).

The whole playlist is here, and I’ve linked to individual recordings below. If a title isn’t linked, it wasn’t available at the time I created this post.

Not sure I’ll do this every week, but let’s see how it goes.

NewImage.png

The Young Vivaldi

Ensemble Modo Antiquo, Federico Maria Sardelli (conductor)

Tchaikovsky: The Seasons

Freddy Kempf (piano)

NewImage2.png

Liberté – Egalité – Sororité: 100 Years of Chamber Music by French Women

Diana Ambache (piano), Anthony Robb (flute), Jeremy Polmear (oboe), Neyire Ashworth (clarinet), Philip Gordon (bassoon), Richard Dilley (horn), David Juritz (violin), Richard Milone (violin), Ilona Bondar (viola), Rebecca Knight (cello), Tim Amherst (double bass), Tristan Fry (timpani), Sue Rothstein (harp)

Steibelt: Piano Concertos Nos. 3, 5 & 7

Howard Shelley (piano, conductor), Ulster Orchestra

NewImage10.png

Building a library: Mascagni: Cavalleria Rusticana

Agnes Baltsa (Santuzza), Placido Domingo (Turiddu), Juan Pons (Alfio), Susan Mentzer (Lola), Vera Baniewicz (Lucia), Philharmonia Orchestra, Chorus of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Giuseppe Sinopoli (conductor)

D. Scarlatti: Sonatas

Angela Hewitt (piano)

NewImage3.png

Avison: Concerti Grossi after Scarlatti

Concerto Koln

NewImage4.png

Las Ciudades de Oro

L’Harmonie des Saisons, Eric Milnes (conductor)

NewImage5.png

Chaconne: Voices of Eternity

Ensemble Caprice, Matthias Maute

NewImage

Yo Soy La Locura 2

Raquel Andueza, La Galania

Brazilian Adventures

Ex Cathedra, Jeffrey Skidmore (conductor)

Mozart: String Quartets K.387 (‘Spring’) and K.458 (‘The Hunt’)

Hagen Quartet

NewImage

Mozart & Brahms: String Quintets

Quatuor Voce, Lise Berthaud (viola)

NewImage8.png

Beethoven: Complete String Quartets Volume 5

Quartetto di Cremona, Lawrence Dutton (viola)

Tippett: String Quartets Nos. 1 – 5 (Complete)

Heath Quartet

NewImage9.png

Disc of the week: Prokofiev & Tchaikovsky: Piano Concertos

Beatrice Rana (piano), Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Antonio Pappano (conductor)

15 fun things to type into Google

Barrel Roll

Here’s something to amuse yourself for a while. I knew about some of these already but others were new to me. 

Google’s easter eggs – funny little images, programs or widgets – are legendary, but many of them lie dormant, just waiting for users to type the magic words into the search box. Are they clever? Some are. Are they useful? Most aren’t. But they’re all a welcome distraction from working. They all work in Chrome on desktop, most work on mobile too, and some of them also work in other browsers. Enjoy

Read the full list here. I think ‘Star Wars text’ may be my favourite.

BBC Record Review 23 January 2016 playlist

Here’s the playlist for BBC Radio 3’s Record Review of 23 January 2016. At the time of broadcast, only four recordings were available in Apple Music although most of the artists have extensive presence there, which suggests a lot of what’s missing will arrive eventually – particularly if the recording hasn’t actually been released yet.

You can access the whole playlist by clicking this link, or individual recordings, where available, by clicking the links below.

The Romantic Violin Concerto 19 – Bruch (not available)
Jack Liebeck (violin), BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Martyn Brabbins (conductor)

Tasmin Little plays British Violin ConcertosDELIUS: Suite for Violin & Orchestra (not available)
Tasmin Little (violin), BBC Philharmonic, Sir Andrew Davis (conductor)

Mendelssohn in Birmingham, Vol. 4 (not available)
Violin Concerto in E minor Op. 64; A Midsummer Night’s Dream – incidental music Op. 61
Jennifer Pike (violin), City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Edward Gardner (conductor)

debussy

Building a Library: Debussy’s Nocturnes
Claudio Abbado and the Berlin Philharmonic

A tribute to Rudolf Barsha (not available)
Rudolf Barshai (viola)

Korngold: Complete Songs (Samtliche Lieder) (not available)
Konrad Jarnot (baritone), Adrianne Pieczonka (soprano), Reinild Mees (piano)

Parry: English Lyrics & other Songs Vol. I (not available)
Susan Gritton (soprano), James Gilchrist (tenor), Roderick Williams (baritone), Andrew West (piano)

rolfejohnson.png

Anthony Rolfe Johnson Recital at La Monnaie
Anthony Rolfe Johnson (tenor), Graham Johnson (piano)

Tynan.png

Schubert Lieder – Nacht Und Traume
Ailish Tynan (soprano), Iain Burnside (piano)

German Ballads (not available)
Kay Stiefermann (baritone), Alexander Schmalcz (piano)

brahmsTrios.png

Disc of the Week: Brahms: Piano Quartet No. 3 & Piano Trio No. 1
Christophe Gaugue (viola), Vincent Coq (piano), Trio Wanderer