Chaplin, Gormley and Mendelssohn.
Hot on the heels of our cultural day out in Bristol, we were heading north to spend the weekend with our friends in Lytham St Annes. But we’d already booked tickets for our favourite concert of the season in Symphony Hall – the one where a classic silent movie is shown. So on Friday night, we stayed in Birmingham.
The programme this year included a short Charlie Chaplin film, One AM, followed by the full length movie, City Lights. Before this main programme, however, we were treated to the four winning films in a Silent Movie animation competition run by Birmingham City Council recently – what a bonus!
We’re not particular Chaplin fans and really, we’d been hoping that they’d show a Valentino film this year, or something similar. Having said that, the whole experience is so terrific, we’d go to see anything, really.
Anyway, we settled down to watch as the orchestra struck up the music and within seconds, we were laughing. Quite how Charlie Chaplin does (did) it, I have no idea – it really would be remarkable to create such a visual feast today, using all the technological trickery we have available. But knowing how these films were created, we could only sit back, gasp with amazement at his skill, laugh until our sides hurt and occasionally hold our breaths as some tragic scene unfolded.
As ever, Symphony Hall was well filled for the evening with people of all ages who sat so quietly throughout, we’d have heard a pin drop.
Antony Gormley was the next artist to feature in our weekend, in the form of his “Another Place”, on Crosby seashore. I’ve wanted to see the hundred figures which are placed standing and looking out to sea, for some time and this seemed a great opportunity to visit them.
Except, we hadn’t thought to check the tide times!
Actually, it didn’t matter too much. It was an easy place to park, to get out our coats and hats and enjoy a little bracing sea air.
It was very windy though, and from time to time my hero got an unexpected shower as a larger than average wave crashed against the sea wall.
As we walked, the figures became more visible, partly due to the changing tide, partly because at this end of the promenade, they seem to be set a little higher, or perhaps in shallower water.
By the time we’d walked back to the car, enjoyed a hot drink from the burger van parked along the way and read the paper a while, the tide had turned enough to see some complete figures at the other end of the beach. We didn’t have the time or the inclination to walk back up there however and will simply have to return here.
And what of the third artist, Mendelssohn? Well, our friend Olga was singing in a performance of Elijah on Saturday evening and we were very pleased to go along and support her. It brought our little cultural break to a grand finale!