DIARY 2006














Sun, Jul 30

<23:21 EEST> Current music: Berceuse by Armas Järnefelt, on my wannabe piano.

The almighty wave of contemplation is here again, strangely enough peaking after I watched Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man's Chest. Not that it was a particularly bad movie, but it definitely felt worse than the first. Partly due to a kind of sequel syndrome, I suppose; instead of a proper ending the story was brought to a dominant seventh that will only be resolved with the third movie. Just like The Matrix Reloaded, this wouldn't stand on its own as a film, and a lot of the novelty of the setting has worn off. Most notably, however, I was bothered by Disneyesque naïvete every now and then. Makes you wonder about the target audience.

What about this meditative mood then? This time I actually have a definite idea to ponder upon. There's an idea manifested in works of art such as the novel Kentauri by Heimo Susi, and the Uusi maailma New Circus performance I've recently experienced. Both of them are like ambient music, which I generally like a lot, in that there's a setting/world but no story/plot. These are things that aren't trying to go anywhere, they are content just being. Which also happens to coincide with my Buddhist-inspired philosophy of life.

With the performance and the book I've come to face an internal dilemma of mine. I had expectations of a story, and I felt unease in waiting for it. Yet I somehow, without noticing it quite consciously, enjoyed them very much.

Sometimes I think it would have been cool to live in the 1960s. It was a kind of space age, in the sense that humankind was looking forward to a brighter future, and working together for a common good. It seems that today's society has no such grand goals to work for, and to me it's really depressing. I guess you could blame the increasing power of corporate culture with its quarter-year myopia.

In this light it's no wonder that people yearn for a story, a direction, in works of art. I can experience space age and working for a common future in science fiction, and then I get confused by a book that doesn't go anywhere. On the other hand, I associate ambient music with space age, which gets me back to the internal dilemma.

I had moments of questioning my 'being-faith' while reading Card's Homecoming series. The book deals with a divine plan and a chosen people, and for me it made obvious why so many people tend to religions like Christianity. That kind of a religion gives you a direction, a story of your life. I guess one reason why I shy away from those is the desire for control; while I also like a direction and a story, I want to write it myself. Like I do in practice with my DIY lifestyle, running Linux, building electronics, and brewing beer, for example.

To conclude a musing of this nature might seem a little too decisive, so I should finish with a little pseudo-artistic ambiguity :) You could say by now that people like a story and a direction. But a being-faith states that you can find happiness right now, instead of waiting for it to come in an afterlife such as retirement. I don't think there has to be a logical contradiction. Why not be a Buddhist in a space age?

Sat, Jul 22

<00:52 EEST> I'm back from a new cultural experience with a nice ponderous afterglow. My parents took me to opera on Thursday night, namely to Savonlinna Opera Festival to see Wagner's Tannhæuser at Olavinlinna Castle. If only for being my first time with opera, it was an overwhelming, almost dreamlike experience in many ways. Of course, I also had a critical, technical eye on things that could be of inspiration for my own future works in music or theatre.

There were lots. It's probably too early to analyze it to death, for I'm enjoying a serene state that would probably call for a "Current music:" tag with a few classical composers in it, if I were into that kind of blogging ;) It helps that the associated railway travel often gets me in a good setting for reading, and I'm enjoying the second part of Orson Scott Card's Homecoming saga quite a bit.

Another nice thing was spending the following night at the summer cottage. It was in part a practicality, for it's on the way back from Savonlinna, but in retrospect the quiet of nature seems to have been a great way to modulate down the experience. Even though I'm not always too keen on hanging out there.

Sun, Jul 16

<23:55 EEST> Vetoapua had two showings today, and I can feel it in my body. It was a rather scorching day, and even one instance of the play is somewhat physical for me. It's a nice feeling to experience bodily exhaustion for a change, particularly with the knowledge that we have no more double shows left :)

It's been interesting to notice how the amateur theatre experience has affected my view on many other things. For example last night as I watched the movie Troy, I was keen to examine what's wrong about the typical Hollywood film — even though this one turned out not so bad. I had the feeling that the same kind of acting would suck royally on live stage.

It has also affected the way I read books. Nowadays I'm quite concerned about characters and how they affect the whole of a novel, which is definitely a change I attribute to the theatre scene. This is highlighted in an improvised play where one actor has to play different roles with very limited resources; the key, IMHO, is to make as distinct characters as possible.

Mon, Jul 3

<01:39 EEST> The premiere of Vetoapua has started a relatively leisurely period of a couple of weeks for me. I feel strangely bland, even a little anticlimactic, about the premiere, but I guess it's a result of having a pretty good routine after weeks and weeks of grinding rehearsals. Now it's time to relax for a few days before focusing on the music for the new JYT production.

Risto A. Paju