November was a great month. It kicked off with a magical mystery date to Lucha Britannia‘s ‘day of the dead spectacular’, which was awesome. Lucha Britannia nights, in their own words, are ‘a mixture of British World of sport/Mexican Lucha Libre wrestling, wrapped up in a bizarre cabaret show set in an Orwellian near future, where the “Yankee Bosch” have taken over the world and banned all forms of entertainment they don’t control’. I’ve always been faintly horrified by wrestling, and I wasn’t sure what to expect from the night, but it was fantastic fun. The wrestling itself was both a lot more entertaining and impressive than I would have expected (a four-way luchador fight plus ladder at the end had the whole crowd extremely excited), and although the cabaret was a little more, er, extreme than I might have liked, it too was quite a show. Best of all was the vibe of the night, with the back-story to enter into and a superbly dressed, friendly crowd (we enjoyed dressing up too). We’ll definitely be going again, although they don’t seem to be happening as often as they did earlier on last year. Here‘s a short piece/interview from Time Out and here are my photos on flickr (warning: one photo is NSFW).
Following this great review Dan and I went to see The Counterfeiters, a German film set in a concentration camp where the prisoners’ dilemma hinges on whether or not to comply with counterfeiting the American dollar. It was fascinating, brutal, horrifying and totally absorbing – and based on fact: Operation Bernhard aimed to destabilise the British, and then American, economies by flooding the market with counterfeit currency. Krueger’s Men, published a couple of years ago, looks like the definitive account of the plot; here‘s a fascinating article about how the film came to be made.
A quick jaunt to Rome in the middle of the month: my first visit to the eternal city. The weather was beautiful – mild but slightly crisp – and it wasn’t too busy. The whole trip, though short, really deserves its own post (or three), but the two things that remain lodged in my mind are sunny walks just exploring the city and its architecture, and visiting the Basilica of San Clemente. San Clemente is not just a beautiful twelfth-century basilica with exquisite frescoes and mosaics, but is built on top of a fourth-century basilica, which was built on top of a second-century Roman house, which contains a Mithraic temple – and you can walk down into each level. Extraordinary. The day that we flew back news was breaking that archaeologists have discovered what they think is the lupercale – the cave in which Romulus and Remus were suckled by a wolf. My photos from the trip are here.
Back home, the Photographic Portrait Prize 2007 at the National Portrait Gallery. The photograph used for the publicity for this exhibition was so arresting that I decided I had to go and see it, and it was a great little show – just the right size for a Friday night, with some really compelling portraits. It’s on until March; below is the winning portrait.