Saturday, March 27, 2010

Treats And An Evening In

We're meant to be going to the theatre tonight for no 15 of my 52 portions of culture.

However I've been at a conference in Cambridge for the last couple of days. That included plenty partying. Well, enough. Besides, Xfe only has a few days at home before traveling to China next week on a 6-week assignment.

So, it's an evening of cuddles, home comfort and treats in front of the telly. Hurrah!

Friday, March 26, 2010

הללויה

Listening to the Best Of Gali Atari.

One of his chums gave it to him on his recent work/visit in Israel.

Neither of us are Israeli/Jewish, and politics aside, I have to admit warming to Tel Aviv.

If you're round about my age, and a Eurovision fan, then you'll know who she is...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A DVD For Wednesday

Last night, rather than watch Relocation, Relocation, Relocation, for which I had no appetite, we watched the DVD of Paranormal Activity.

Low budget, high grossing - with a reputation of being one of the scariest files, ever.

The low budget materialised itself in the script (or was it Micah's acting). He was so unsympathetic.

Perhaps the hype was something it couldn't live up to. I found the film had moderatley thrilling moments, but it was never on the edge of your seat, peering through fingers scary.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Home, Home

Hurrah! Xfe's home, albeit for a brief sojourn of 12 days before he disappears to China. For 6 weeks. Which simply adds another layer of complexity to what I'm trying to do...

And we might get a new cat. But first things first...

Friday, March 19, 2010

Love The Plaice You're In

By now, you've probably worked out these are clues?

I hope so. I'm not normally so obtuse, but from time to time I dump stuff here as if it were a game.

Right now I'm still focused elsewhere. Result that I cannot focus here. Like a hard drive my brain can only store a limited amount. And like each and everyone's best piece of kit, the processor overheats the more it works.

Some, I am sure, will work it out and we can catch up soon.



The long rice noodles are added last; see you soon.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Blueberry Teacake

On Tuesday night I had drinks with JN1.

It had been a while since I'd last met him, although we had exchanged texts from time to time. 4 years. I simply couldn't believe it.

Miranda has a plan...

I was just so angry, there was so much frustration, so much anger.

Self-harm made me stronger.

I can't admit to subscribing to that school of thought. Though I do remember cutting myself a couple of times when I was younger for attention and because I wanted the thrill of a visit to A&E. I do still have a mini-scar on my arm.

Was that the same shit these self-harming teens go through? I dunno. We didn't have Tweetwer nor Facebook.

Knowing me, knowing you

So, what of this is me, what of this is Xfe?



I'm sure if you look closely you can work it out.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Objectif 2010, #12 - 14

With less than a quarter of the year gone, I'm on schedule to hit my Objectif 2010 of 52 shows in 52 weeks.

As of writing this (Sunday evening) I'm making good progress. We're not yet a quarter of the way through the year, yet I'm more than a quarter way towards my target.

#12 - The Manganiyar Seduction @ Barbican

Almost trance-spiritual, with 39 musicians building to a climatic crescendo, this was energising and enlightening. Singing to their god, this was at times moving and inspiring.



Seen on Sunday 7 March at the Barbican, without Xfe, which is a pity; he would have thoroughly enjoyed it.

#13 - Sweet Nothings @ The Young Vic



I saw this with Xfe substitute R-1 on Saturday night. I found it rather bland, not unpleasant, just as it describes itself on the tin. A sweet nothing.

I was never sure if all their jumping off the stage into the pit was symbolic of something?

#14 - Circa @ Barbican

Dance at it's most extreme, gymnastics to thumping contemporary music, this was sexy, exciting theatre. Pushing the body to its limits, these guys had the most toned bodies I've ever seen.

Monday, March 15, 2010

It's All So Beautiful

Tonight I had dinner with James and Jamie.

In their relationship they are experiencing crisis. Though reality is they are achingly in love with each other, right now each feels insecure. One cannot love the other because that one feels he can't love the other enough (or back).

J2 feels the distance that J1 is imposing and thinks that it is because J1 has fallen out of love with him. Yet J1 is unhappy because he feels unworthy of J2.

A leap of faith is needed. Just to acknowledge that I tried, contently I drew my breath in, and told them straight.

They kissed, and cried, I cried too. But we cried for different reasons.

Suddenly their demons were their best friend, and contented they left. I cried because I felt exposed. Alone again or.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Sun Still Shines


I am out and about with friends from Scotland this morning. They are on the eye. As you can see, the sun still shines.

Walk This Way, Barbican #2

I'm still on the favourite part of my walk to work. Barbican.

Part 2 - the park

This section takes me along the park.

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Part 3 - after the park

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This is where our kids from fame hang out. There are two stage schools close by, and often before classes the kids are heading to or from the gym to class, in dance-type kit. In summer the guys wear vests.

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Here is the Barbican estate:

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...inviting you in.

Then it's a left turn, taking me onto the next section.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Loneliness Of Lonely

I am loved. I have a husband, whom I know will be with me through thick and thin.

Because I. Am. Loved.

HEAPS.

And yet, I feel the emptiness of home after the loss of our second cat. For the first time in 18 years. Eighteen (18) years. I arrive home and there is no-one to greet me. No Cecilia. No Chadwick.

Xfe is working away from home for two weeks.

Alone. Again. Or.

No cat following me around, keeping me company, to speak to. A heartbreaking void, emptiness..

Yet, I am loved. We are together, mon C and I. For our lives.

I can't imagine coping with not being loved. Or of being truly alone.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

R.I.P. Cecilia

I came home this evening to find Cecilia, the black cat, dead.

It was a horrible shock.

Stroke, heart attack. I didn't get to say goodbye.

Mon C loved her so much.

It was only 4 months ago we had to have Chadwick, our white cat, put to sleep.

We'll miss you too Cecilia. After 16 years in 5 different homes together, I'll miss you especially.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Love Never Dies - Real Time #1

The reasonably well publicised sequel to Phantom (among my favourite musicals, but not the one). The album is recently released and this evening I'm listening to it for the first time. [edit: just as the Love Never Dies premiere is taking place after previews. Must read the reviews today]

Andrew Lloyd-Webber has a habit of recycling his work (I do mean recycling rather than plagiarism, even though that I flag that accusation FYI so you can make an informed decision in relation to his body of work).

So, have we heard any of Love Never Dies in his own body of work before?

Exclusively for you dear reader, I bring you my real time thoughts, voiced as I'm listening to the CD "like a virgin/...for the very first time".

My immediate thought is that we start where he last left off. Yes, I'm reminded of The Woman In White; there's a haunting undertone. A similar complexity.

Track 1, 2.38, 3.26 a short snippet of a tone that reminds me of something else, but it's brief and I'm hearing The Woman in White (railway tunnel scene I think) immediately after so it's hard to place.

This continues to track 2. WiW and something else I still can't quite put my finger on...

I love the opening to Phantom. The overture gets me off! I was hoping for more of the same. But orchestrally it's not. (How I'd hoped ALW might reuse the same overture!)

At track 2, 2.57 I hear something underscored that I think is a Phantom theme - the first I've heard in LND. Used in the original - it comes to mind - when the chandelier comes crashing down and before that when the ballet is being presented.

Track 3 - so much more WiW.

Track 5, 3.34 - Meg has an admirer, and as with Christine's, there's a little of the same theme going on as when Christine is in her dressing room, after her successful debut.

Track 7. Here's the first obvious in your face musical reference to Phantom.

Track 8, 1.05 - another snippet from the original, as voiced by the same character.

At last, I've worked it out. Track 8, 01.28 - 1.51; those themes from earlier, it's Sunset Boulevard - definitely.



Joe
: Could be it's a little long/Maybe the opening's wrong/But it's extremely good for a beginner.
Norma: No it's a perfect start/I wrote that with my heart/The river-bank, the baptist and the sinner.



I'm sure there's a little more Sunset tucked away. Think:
Max: Once/You won't remember...
Track 11, 0.48 - It's Our Kind of Love from The Beautiful Game. Not a hint or a subtle notion. It's the same tune. A recycled song from another musical! But it's just a snippet from the aria Christine's going to sing. So I guess I'll hear it in it's full glory, later.

That suits me. I saw Hannah Waddington sing it in TBG twice. I loved it.

Track 12, 4.o3 - more Phantom (is it the music box? It's the Angel of Music for sure however)

Track 15, more Phantom recycled.

Track 16, opening. Its A Chorus Line. Really, it is! Oh my God I'm typing this and at 18secs I actually hear A Chorus Line. Really. Lord L-W steals it (by way of tribute I'm sure).

@1.20 - more Phantom recycled. "He's with me even now..."

Track 11, 2.51 - Ten years old! Is there an Aspect of something here? (And already I've figured out something of the plot).

Track 17. Little Lottie arrives. Well, we all need some nostalgia.

Track 18 - The Beauty Underneath. So you think it might be a little Whistle Down the Wind? Well, here's my take. It's a tribute to Sarah. Ever listened to Repo! The Genetic Opera? Well, if you like this track, you should! You'll see what (might have) inspired it.

This is very At The Opera Tonight. [edit: The more I've gone back and listened to this track and cf with Repo! the more I suspect it not only can be but is; for sure ALW watched this (because it had Sarah Brightman), and it stayed in his mind. Even the lyrics suggest it. That said I think it's his update of The Phantom of the Opera signature song from the original.]

My favourite track of Disc One. It stands out as very different. But, despite my admiration for Al-W and his work, it doesn't sound original. Yet, imagine all the music you listen to. Something makes an impression and you replicate it. Forgetting why (and where)...

Track 19, end. So, you think they "took all the idols and smashed them/the Fairbanks, the Gilberts, the Valentinos"?

Disc Two, tomorrow or later.

(Does Andrew still ♥ Sarah?)

Whatever, none of this is a criticism. ALW's style has matured and developed. That's why the orchestrations, mature and complex, sound like WiW. It's the starting reference point in time. Last back to refer to.

But, at heart he's still the same JCS raw rocker. For sure.

Maybe I'll get a freebie from someone to make this one of my 52:52?

So, what horrors wait for me?

#11, random @ Royal Court Theatre Local

I was not too impressed with our last visit to the Royal Court theatre.

Given, I was distracted by this thing as well as by the audience.

But I found Off the Endz a bog standard hard work -vs- selling drugs morality play, with no unique perspective to offer.

Certainly mon C had very low expectations when I told him that we were not actually going to the Royal Court but to the Elephant and Castle shopping centre where they are presenting their Theatre Local season.

On the first night of that season, we had tickets for random, by Debbie Tucker Green.

Unimpressed as we stood outside Unit 215 he gave me his "French face". Just like I gave TimeOut's reviewer when she asked me if we were there because we were E&C shopping centre regulars.



random, it appeared, was another "message" play.

She don't want none.
She late down -
don't think I notice
that she nah mek the time fe a proper
'eat enough' -
a proper 'drink enough' -
of a morning.
She still tink bein young -
is bein invincible.
She still tink seh she young...
(amused) She like me.
She'll learn.
Like me.


At 6.55pm the doors to the unit opened. It was stripped out, back to the shell, with a new carpet (you could smell it) and with various sofas. A bit like Central Perk on Friends, but more shabby (and with no coffee).

This was a one woman play, presented in monologue. Estate, black family, stabbing...

I was equally distracted as I had been the week before. The same thing, and background. Not the audience, but the noise of the public in front of the shop in the mall.

But, I thought, living on an estate you probably have noise all around. So it's reality, there is an excuse.

Spoken in dialect I didn't understand much of what Seroca Davis ("one Black actress plays all characters") said to start with.

But suddenly I focused. This was engrossing. This was very well written, and superbly performed. That one Black actress was superb.

I'm not sure if it was her or the writing that pulled me in - probably both; but this was a mini tour de force.

As to the venue; well peripheral noise is a problem.

In terms of staging they should have had a rostrum.

Xfe told me it was just as well this one was good. After the last 2 he had decided there would be no more 52:52 for him if random was a dud!

Monday, March 08, 2010

People

After being super organised in February, I completely forgot about this month's 5 on the fifth.

People was the theme for March. So, here are some.

Tel Aviv alt-1

Nuit@St Pauls

worry

The next two were taken on my phone camera:



Walk This Way, Barbican #1

I invited you to walk with me on my way to work recently. Actually it's taken longer than I planned.

In my mind, my walk to the office is broken down into it's various sections. Last time I left you at the end of the 3rd section, down the back of Moorgate, leading to the favourite part of my walk each morning. Barbican.

Once again, in my head, that section has separate parts. Three this time.

Part 1 - Barbican approaching

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Last time Nik_TheGreek said...

I'm sorry but where are the people and traffic?
What time do you go to work? It's like '28 Days' with only a couple of zombies approaching...

He's got a point. I hadn't realised until he mentioned it. The streets are amazingly quiet. But these weren't taken super-early, or at the weekend. All these pics were taken on a working Monday between 11.30am - 12.30pm.

Here is one of those zombies shambling towards me. If you look closely there's something quite neat about this picture:

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Can you see it? It's the trinity of 3 colours red, white and blue. The mini, the "zombie" and the Union flag you can see flying from one of the windows on the top floor of the building behind. It's easier to see the flag looking at the large version of this picture.

I saw this connection as the guy approached, and was desperate to get a shot with the flag flapping rather than rolled up and obscured. There's another connection - they're all quite British (well, the guy has a pot belly - I hope that counts).

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Is where I am exactly.

Here's another trinity:

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Here is where the Waitrose is, and obviously that's where all the people are.

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At last - one of the Barbican towers. I love the Barbican. Some people hate it. I don't. I think it is totally iconic.

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Sunday, March 07, 2010

Right Now

Right Now was a 1983 hit by The Creatures, a Siouxsie Sioux vehicle.



Right now I'm sitting on the sofa (seen here). It's Sunday morning, and as you can see from the 2/3rds empty bottle of wine sitting by the window, I treated myself to a glass of two before I went to bed last night.

The sun is shining, and although it's still colder than it should be for this time of year, it rather feels that spring is just around the corner.

Spring, bringer of life. When everything is reborn.


Right now I'm drinking a mug of free coffee. Courtesy of Ocado, as a thank you for signing up to their home delivery service.

Friend R-1 works in their IT and has a number of 10% discount accounts he can give to friends and family. He kindly gave us one.

Xfe used it for the first time before he left for work for a couple of weeks. He was very happy when the delivery came!



Right now I am listening to the Editors. This was one of Xfe's christmas presents from my mother. It was her first Amazon purchase.

It was bought on my brother's recommendation. He's played us one of the tracks and mon C rather liked it.

The album came as a surprise. I rather liked it. I'd describe it as the cup of the Brazilian coffee from Ocado that I'm drinking is described - dark and smokey.

I don't know anything about them. But I like how this album sounds. It has something retro and underground about it.

Right now (as in currently rather than immediately) I'm also listening to Nouvelle Vague. I think this is a recent album. It's covers of songs, many of which I liked in the first place.

In contrast to the Editors, I'd describe this is as lounge, easy listening.

Right now I'm enjoying that today is Sunday. I'm going to the Barbican this afternoon for another of my 52:52. Despite having made a mega pot of fiery hot chili yesterday (Xfe doesn't like hot food. I do, so I usually treat myself as soon as he goes), I'll eat there before the show.

Right now I'm enjpying that today is Sunday and I don't have to go to the office tomorrow.

I'm not on holiday. I'm going to a seminar. But, and here's a first, it's not connected to my discipline. I'm going to Stonewall's Workplace Conference 2010. My offer to sit on the diversity advisory group to be formed at work was taken up.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Too Many Distractions

My energies are focused elsewhere. As a result I haven't really had the energy (nor, honestly, the inclination) to post here. How unlike me!

It's that time of year again. I have a new trainee sitting with me (that means I'm their supervisor, not necessarily that they share my office, although they do). The last two didn't "sit" with me. Although I was not their supervisor they still worked for me - and I think I gave them most of their work. I suspect this is why the seat has switched back to me.

It's great having a trainee. When they start (and would continue to do if I didn't always tell them that they are the master of their own time) they ask if/when they can go for lunch, they ask if they can leave to go home at night. It's a little like having a servant.

One of them came to collect me after I had my laser eye surgery. Another stayed in my flat for the boiler repair man.

However those are exceptions rather than the rule. I never ask my trainees to do chores (some partners get them to collect their cars, collect laundry). I only ask what I would ask myself. And I look out for their interests.

Still, if I am really stuck they would oblige.

S, who collected me from my laser eye surgery (Xfe was away) was rewarded with 2 tickets for Black Watch at the Barbican. C, who stayed in for the gas man, has the unique experience of being the only person to watch the sky sports channel on my subscription. I've had it 4 years but never watched any of the sky sports channels.

In return, I try and give then the best experience/training they can have. For example new trainee B (who must be 26/27 - I haven't asked) is spending a day with one of my clients in a couple of weeks time.

This was decided over a boozy lunch with a client at Gaucho Grill on Thursday.

"Would you like a dessert," I asked?

"Another bottle of wine, please."

Right, that's about your attention span, so I'll post more later.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Tourist In My Town

Last week I had a couple of friends over from America, and I was a tourist with them in my town.

I took them to some places that were in their travel guide, and some that weren't.

I even went to Buck House to see the changing of the guard with them. I'd never ever seen it before...

Here is a short selection of some pics I took when I was out and about with them.

the Gherkin

I love the contrast between the old (the church) and the new (30 St. Mary Axe).

Carnaby St

Liberty

They loved Borough Market. It still hasn't made it into the guide, which really surprises me.

fish head at Borough Market

Not only was there plenty of free samples to taste, they loved the huge variety of food available. They were expecting something like a farmers' market, but were amazed...

Bread at Borough Market

What amazed me was that at 9.30am it was full of amateur photographers taking pictures. My guess is there'll be many kicking about on Flickr.

rabbits at Borough Market

Ham at Borough Market

Mushrooms at Borough Market

Of course we did the very traditional!

Household cavalry

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