Friday, November 28, 2008

Circus silliness

I know it's a bit early to get excited, but a quick browse round the New Theatre website has revealed that the circus is coming to the Ford!

It's coming next year, in August, so start planning your holidays around it!
Tuesday 18th Aug - Saturday 22th August.
Tickets: £11 - £27.50. Quite expensive compared to a fiver for a traditional circus, but it should be worth every penny.

I'm not sure how it's going to work in the New Theatre...I suppose it will be a bit like Cirque du Soleil. Still, should be good fun and more accessible than a big tent in a muddy field in the rain (although I quite like that side of things!).

Check out their website for more info:

Why bother?
- Over 50 world champion acrobats
- Sold out shows worldwide
- Played to over 10 million people
- Think lights, costumes, performance, spectacle, breathtaking...

I, for one, can't wait!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Arty Oxford

There's a great exhibition on at the moment at Modern Art Oxford. It shows the work of Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller and is intriguingly entitled 'The House of Books Has No Windows'. Never heard of them? Nor have I... That doesn't stop it from being interesting, though.

There are 7 pieces of art, including:

The Dark Pool: a room full of books and machines, with strange bits of sound chasing you through the room.

Opera for a Small Room - one of their most critically acclaimed pieces of work, involving more strange noises that seem to move...

The Killing Machine - cheerfully, as the name suggests, about capital punshment.

The House of Books Has No Windows - their most recent production - this one's without strange sounds.

Things to check out
- The piece of art using over five thousand books (!)
- Late night opening on Friday 28th November until 10:30pm: galleries and cafe are open and there are free tours.
- Saturday tours: 3pm and free!
- The book that accompanies the exhibition and explains it in more detail.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanks Frank

Fans of Frankie Boyle will be delighted to hear that he's coming to Oxford. Personally, he doesn't really float my boat, but I've been strictly instructed by friends to spread the word.

Here are the essentials:


Saturday 29th December
8pm - 10:10


The New Theatre
George Street


Tickets: 01865320760 or



Ramblings and comedy

Support act: Martin Bigpig

Friday, November 21, 2008

Economical Anxiety?

We've all noticed that the big wide world of money isn't going too swimmingly at the moment. Whether they're greatly affected or not, most people seem to be either Complete Experts on the issue (yet all with different opinions...) or Know-A-Little-Bit-But-Would-Rather-It-Just-Sorted-Itself-Out.

Whichever category you fall into, or if you're not either of these types, it might be worth popping along to a free talk given by the Oxford School of Economic Science this Saturday (22 November) where experts will be discussing such cheery matters, particularly the important once of What Went Wrong. Then we can have something to blame - excellent!

It sounds interesting too, not just a repetition of 'oh, it's all to do with American mortgages...' or 'Well, it's all about oil really', but an intelligent analysis into taxes and why they might be causing problems. There will be lectures and the chance for discussion, so if you've got strong feelings but nowhere to vent them, now's your chance. If not, there are refreshments to entertain you!

Details are as follows:

Saturday 22 November
8:45am - 12:30pm
Maison Francaise, 2-10 Norham Road, Oxford, OX2 6SE
Free entry

For more info:
01865 741116

Chlamydia Confidence?

Apart from being one of the hardest words on the planet to spell, chlamydia is also a rather nasty disease that's apparently highly rampant in Oxford. It's causing problems all over the country, so no point running away now. What's important is that everyone knows what it is and how to prevent it. Or at least the latter, although it's always fun to know the meaning behind a big word.

The OCSP (Oxford Chlamydia Screening Project) is for everyone in the local area, and provides free information and tests to help you out. It's got a promotional flurry on at the moment, so you may have seen its adverts around. If you're still not sure quite what's going on, here's a quick guide:

What is chlamydia?
The most rampant sexually transmitted infection around at the moment.

How do I get it?
Contact with sexual fluids.
Or passed from mother to baby during birth.

Sounds nasty - what are the symptoms?
Often: nothing at all, which is part of the reason why it spread so easily.

Why the big fuss then?
It can cause fertility problems and other nasties.

How do I know if I have it?
See the website above to pop in for a visit or call 01865 234526 for info on a free self-test kit.

What if I do have it?

It's easily treatable by antibiotics, so no worries!

It might be worth asking at your workplace if they are able to spread the word.

Ashmolean Dash!

Panic!! The Ashmolean Museum (you know, the one always covered in scaffolding on Beaumont Street) is going to close! Not forever - that would be a BIG PANIC - but for a year. The closing dates are:

23 December 2008 - November 2009 (date to be confirmed nearer the time)

Good news, though: the shop will still be open! Sadly, the cafe will be shut. Time to check out one of the yummy cafes on nearby George Street or Little Clarendon Street.

So why the closure? Well, in case you hadn't noticed, the Ashmolean is undergoing a lot of expansion work at the moment. They've finally had enough of dangling blocks of bricks from cranes over temporary walkways and are having to finish by shutting the inside. The new building will double the existing display space, providing 39 new galleries, an education centre, and, most excitingly perhaps, a rooftop cafe.

The theme will be 'Crossing Cultures Crossing Time', which will break away from the traditional museum style of dividing displays by location or point in time (eg: a room for the 1600s, or Anglo-Saxon times, and a room for South Africa and a room for North America). Instead, it intends to show how different cultures are connected, how they have influenced each other and travelled. The rooms will be themed under categories such as money, reading and writing, and intepretations of the human image, and will show how such things have developed across the world throughout time.

Sounds exciting - bring on November 2009!

Fabulous Philosophy

This week sees the dawn of National Philosophy Day. What better place to celebrate the unknown than in the academic capital of the UK, if not the world?

Philosophy was one of the first subjects to be studied at Oxford University. Back in the day there weren't separate sciences, but philosophy (aka the love of knowledge) encompassed what is now known as physics, astronomy, chemistry and 'nonsense'.

Famous philosophers who went to Oxford include John Locke and A.J. Ayer, and many current philosophy professors are famous in their field.

Philosophy is still enthusiastically studied today, with questions that will probably never be solved including the age-old:
- Do we see the same colour when we say we see something 'red'?
- How do we know we exist?
- Are you the same person you were yesterday?

Check out the Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy for more info, or simply browse round Blackwells in their philosophy section. The 'very short introduction' series has been very helpful for me, and makes you sound really intelligent if the subject ever arises!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Firework Fun

It's that time of year again: jacket potatoes, neon glow sticks, mittens, sparklers and burning a model of a man on a giant fire...

The place to be this bonfire night (or rather Saturday 8th Nov) is South Park where the Oxford Round Table is hosting its annual firework extravaganza. Of course, the great thing about fireworks is that you can see them for free, but nothing quite matches the atmosphere of huddling in the cold with friends, squealing 'ooooh' and 'aaaaah' as the display unfolds.

There will be nosh and drinks, and, rumour has it, some fairground rides to play on afterwards. And, of course, a giant zooden man to be burnt for your pleasure.

Tickets cost £5 in advance, or £12 for a family (2 adults, 2 children), or £6 (£15) on the door. Not that there's much of a door to speak of... Under 8s go free.