Posts

Showing posts from June, 2005
Theatre: Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Tonight caught Hedwig and the Angry Inch featuring David Bedella at Heaven Nightclub.

Sitting in second row on the aisle made one a little anxious knowing that there is a bit of audience participation involved in the show, but fortunately the "car wash" of a member of the audience took place a few rows further back.

The show was the basis for the cult movie (well an emerging cult movie since it was only released in 2001), and is such a great show full of tributes to 70s glam rock and punk music and cheap gags. Bedella was terrific as the blonde drag diva with the "angry inch".

There was something good about seeing it under the arches at Heaven. It is the sort of show that seems to work best in a shabby venue. As the show progressed and as the temperature rose, the seats were uncomfortable and you could hear the clinking of beer bottles. None of this mattered, it just added to the flavour of it all.


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Window Shopping at Heals Saturday 20:13.

The sales have started here and the punters have slowly been getting out and spending. Nothing lures Londoners out of a spending slump than a sale. Here are some of the lovely things on offer at Heal's. Note the stainless steel bins on sale.

No self-respecting kitchen in London is complete without a stainless steel bin. It gives garbage and peelings so much more class to put them in a sleek bin with a special liner that you have to purchase separately. Saw many people carrying stainless steel bins home to make their kitchens complete this weekend. And with prices under £100, who could blame them?
Theatre: Happy End

Managed to do at least one thing cultural this weekend and this was to see the Royal Academy of Music's, music theatre production of Kurt Weill's Happy End (1929). It was fantastic. The show was well made and acted. The singers were all great. Weill and Brecht's anti-capitalist message is quaint by today's standards, but while the message is irrelevant the music is sublime. It was nice to hear singers sing the music (including Surabaya-Johnny) as if they didn't have laryngitis either. Tonight's show was proof it could be sung musically.
Food South Indian Fare just across the divide

Among shopping and other things today, ventured with A across the great divide (no not the Thames but Euston Road which is such a wide and confronting road just north of where I live and I haven't faced it before) to a South Indian restaurant.

The food was great and one course was served with a flattened rice flour pancake that was propped up and looked like some sort of hat with little pots of tasty things underneath.

A (seeing arrival of the food): Oh our hats are here to eat...
Paul: Yes they are fancy hats...
A: You could almost wear them at the races in Ascot...
Paul: Oh so is that how you distinguish the Southern Indians at the races? They are the ones eating their hats??

Silly perhaps, but great food, and so close to Warren Street Tube...
News: Hot in the City

The heatwave caused a full scale emergency on Thursday evening as a train for Newcastle out of Kings Cross got stuck between Peterborough and Stevenage. Temperatures reached the high forties in the cars and as water and drinks ran out, panic and dehydration set in. Elsewhere trains were delayed as the heat led to cracked rails.

Also yesterday a tube train malfunction on the Central Line led to 800 passengers being stuck underground for two hours in 30 deg heat...

The weather has finally returned to more sensible temperatures today...
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Scenes from Tottenham Court Road Friday 20:08 - A backpacker is hit by a black cab and lies across the road motionless - legs and arms akimbo. Backpack lying on the road. Given the care paramedics were taking not to move him I assumed he was still alive.
News: The ties have it

Outgoing cabinet secretary suggested yesterday civil servants could ditch their neck ties. Is it the beginning of the end of the stereotypical civil servant? No mention was made about umbrellas. Of course, on a day like today where temperatures soared into the thirties and with air conditioning non-existent or not working... ties were strictly optional where I work...
Scenes from a Japanese Restaurant in Soho

American guy on a date (looking over at Paul's meal): Heeey that looks good. What's that?
Paul: Chicken Katsu
AGoaD: Where's that on the menu?
Paul: Over the page... There... Chicken Katsu Curry
AGoaD: Aw it's a curry. I can't do a curry...
Idle chatter Monday afternoon in the office

Colleague #1 (to Paul): Beryl called to speak to you so you might want to give her a call... A tinkle...
Paul: Hmm... I would prefer to just give her a call
News: Cruise Control

All the talk today was around the short squirt (of water) to the short squirt (that's Tom). It turns out the stunt was for a Channel 4 show which will most likely never see airtime but the clip of the stunt is here. Channel 4 is going to miss out on Tom's future press junkets, but Tom should take heart. He is the only movie star to spend so much time meeting fans and giving interviews in Leicester Square, and he still looked good while being embarrassed. And that's really all that matters surely?
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Scenes from Victoria Station Saturday 17:43 - Waiting for the train to Streatham Hill... It was late...
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Scenes from Fitzrovia Saturday 15:34 - If there was one thing consistent about the weekend, it was that it was hot and bright. With the hottest June temperatures since the 1970s it meant that thousands flocked to the outdoors and to the beach... Sunday evening at 23:00 the temperature is still 26 deg...
News: The freakshow is wet

Something interesting for once happened at a premiere at Leicester Square. Tom Cruise gets drenched with a water doing his usual meet the fans and plug the movie opening of the War of the Worlds. The freakshow otherwise known as Tom and Katie were in town (after frightening most of the States with their antics) for today's premiere. Of course as today was the hottest day this year with temperatures hit the mid-thirties the water was probably a welcome addition...
News: That's cheap

And on email banter, all the news on Friday in London was about a senior Lawyer who asked a secretary to pay for his dry cleaning bill after she accidentally squirted ketchup on his suit. The story got out because he sent a reminder to her asking her for the £4, and she copied her response to him to many other colleagues. Those colleagues then forwarded it on to people, and then those people then forwarded it on and suddenly it is a hot story... Not as good as the infamous Claire Swires blowjob story from a few years back, but still a tad amusing
Silly Friday Afternoon Email Banter

-----Original Message-----
From: A
Sent: 17 June 2005 12:17
To: Paul
Subject:

I just found a hot SA man on the 10th Floor!!! he's a temp accountancy assistant.

Not bad at all!

A

-----And then -----
From: Paul
Sent: 17 June 2005 12:24
To: A
Subject: RE: It all happens on a friday on the 10th floor...

So what made him hot?

I once dated a SA... He was part english part african and part queen so my friends called him the South African Queen. He had the most hideous voice I have ever heard, but nice broad shoulders so you have to weigh these things up don't you think...??

Paul

-----And still then-----
From: A
Sent: 17 June 2005 12:26
To: Paul
Subject: RE: It all happens on a friday on the 10th floor...

He has tanned skin, brown eyes, short dark hair and nice chiseled but not harsh features. He looks like a man.

Yeah and they're arrogant fookers... hey as long as he doesn't speak much we should be okay right?

Unfortunately he met me when I was being boistrous ask…
Overheard at the gym Friday night:

High Maintenance Man : I don't want to go to Steve's place tonight in my work clothes. I am going home.
Low Maintenance Man: Why not I am doing that I'm going straight from here?
High Maintenance Man: Well that might be fine for you but it certainly isn't fine for me I am going home first...
Theatre: Tick Tick Boom!

Caught the show Tick Tick Boom at the Menier Chocolate Factory on Thursday night. It is a soft rock chamber musical (to give it some sort of category) telling the story of a struggling musical theatre writer who is just about to turn thirty and is wondering what he is doing with his life. Now that's something I can almost relate to, and probably explained why I was happy to overlook the shaggy story at times which veered into the standard issue story of relationships, life lessons and so and and so on.

It also helped that that the production was fantastic. It looked and sounded great. The icing on the cake was the three leads as well. Neil Patrick Harris (who once found fame as Doogie Howser MD), Cassidy Janson and Tee Jaye were the cast and made the show work so well.
Neil Patrick Harris has an amazing sublime voice and Cassidy Janson and Tee Jaye were just as good.

The show was written by Jonathan Larson prior to writing "Rent" who died just before…
Idle Chatter and roots at work...

F (to boss): Did you get those papers?
Boss: Yes I got them no worries.... Hmm I am begining to sound like Paul
Paul (looking up from being busy): What?
Boss: You're always saying "no worries"
Paul: I am? I do?


Music: André Previn and the LSO

Tuesday night caught André Previn and the LSO performing Mozart's Piano Concerto No 24 in C Minor and Shostakovich's Symphony No 10 in E Minor. Previn's 75 this year (or he may be 76 but little facts like that get in the way of pressing schedules) and as a tribute to their former music director, the LSO have been holding a series of concerts to mark the occasion.

It was an amazing performance. Previn played the piano for the concerto as well. The Mozart was probably a little too light after a busy day in the office, but there was no chance the Shostakovich would send you to sleep. At times it was like it would wake the dead.

Whatever his age may be, he has been a prominent figure for so many years it is easy to remember most of the photos around of him are often a decade (or two or three) old. But today, on Tuesday night, he was quite an old man. He shuffled on stage with his head arched low. He changed glasses for conducting and playing the pi…
The awful truth

Post Sunday's event at Clapham Common it was confirmed to a fellow Australian by a person working at the event that there were few bottles of wine on sale after the New Zealanders trashed the place the day before smashing bottles and having sex out in the open. Now those familiar with Clapham Common would say that this would not be different from any other night there, but the fact the Australians on Sunday couldn't take a bottle of foine woine on the grass made any New Zealander as popular as Russell Crowe at Concierge Convention... And he is a New Zealander too...
Overheard at the coffee stand at the Barbican:

American Man (to girl who was putting milk into her coffee): Wow you are putting a whole cow in there...
News: Live 8

Despite it being a mostly white lineup, the buzz around Live 8 was enough for it to get2m texts from people wanting one of the 65,000 tickets on offer... From last Monday you had to text the answer to a very simple question (where is the G8 Summit being held) from your mobile phone to be eligible for the lottery of the tix... Part of the money raised will pay the Prince's Trust for agreeing to cancel its party in the park so the Live 8 shenanigans would be the main event for the summer... Such a noble cause full of best intentions no doubt, but how a group of rock acts will free up trade to enable the economies of Africa to be able to trade freely and fairly with the rest of the world is anybody's guess...
Overheard at the Toast Oz Festival Clapham Common:

Girl in a queue (to her friend): I think Oim lucky Kelly as I dooint have moich of an Austraylian aakcent. Like you you have a much stranger one since your from the country...
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Scenes from Clapham Common 14:29 - Toast Australia Festival. A chance to sample some foine woines from Australia (and plenty of crap ones) and queue for everything. This is the food queue. An hour later I had a burger... Half an hour again after that I ran into a friend who pointed out that I had some ketchup on the side of my mouth. So that explained the look I got in the Wolf Blass tent...

Interestingly bottles of wine were not on sale in most places after the New Zealanders reportedly trashed the place when it was Toast NZ yesterday...

On the plus side there were plenty of broaaad Austrayian accents around, and Kath and Kim made a guest appearance. Along with the real thing there were plenty of Kath & Kim lookalikes... Some were intending to dress like this as well... Ricky Ponting was there too.
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Scenes from Leicester Square 13:28 Saturday - Down comes Darth, up goes Batman for the premiere this week...
Idle Friday Chatter #1

Scene: As Paul heads out to lunch he waits at the traffic lights at Brixton. A police siren suddenly goes off and the woman beside him lets out a shriek

Mad woman on the street: Oh this place I can't stand it it's 'orrible, it's too noisy and I just can't take it anymore. I just can't take it anymore and I think I'm about to lose it. And that woman on the bench over there yeah she just said to me that I need a long hard screw and they are all just taking cocaine and this place is a mess and I just can't take it anymore and I think one more thing and I am just going to lose it I really am I am really just going to really lose it....

Her voice trails off as Paul crosses the street and walks away faster and faster... all the while trying to remember the minute details of monologue...

Idle Friday Chatter #2

Scene: Friday afternoon in the office, F has just returned from the ladies...

F: Ethel from accounts doesn't blend her blush. I sa…
News: Sickening

A New 'super hospital' opens doors this weekend. And it is just up the road from me... literally. That's rather convenient of the NHS. Then again, this is the university and hospital part of town...
Theatre: House of Bernada Alba

Caught on Monday the National Theatre The House of Bernarda Alba - my second Lorca play in a week (although this one didn't have any Mexican male movie stars)... Actually it was an all women play with the translation by David Hare. It reminded me of "The Women" without the gowns. I was half expecting the line "Chin up, both of em" amongst all the bitchy banter. It didn't come, but there were plenty of talk about class, positions and deadly obsessions.

During one of the intermissions one woman quipped to another, "Oh it's good that Garry didn't come, it's such a woman's show" which is a pity as there is a very exciting passionate and (possibly Spanish) story amongst the banter. Penelope Winton plays the title character who rules a household of women with an iron fist (and occasionally a strap or a whip). There is high drama and the set consisting of a Spanish villa was quite impressive (and imposing fro…
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Scenes from Embankment Tube 22:46 - Waiting for the northbound Northern line...
Music: Bernstein Mass

Tonight caught the Bernstein Mass at the Barbican. The LSO played, Marin Alsop conducted, Jubilant Sykes was the celebrant and somehow despite a few hundred performers on stage the roof managed to stay on...

I had a suspicion that things were going to be interesting when the Barbican called yesterday wanting to exchange my seat as the percussion section would have blocked my view. It became evident that the swap was a good thing given the forces used on stage - particularly as the piece entered its second hour. Who would have thought either that the huge stage that makes the Barbican concert hall would have looked tiny and cramped, but with everyone and everything on stage it did. Still despite the dancers being omitted (which on reflection seems like a horrible omission) there was some nice staging for a concert version including the chorus ripping off their choral robes (they were wearing clothes underneath) and tearing up their music during the Agnus Dei.

Bernste…
A personal mystery...

Following my brief cameo on Wednesday night at Blood Wedding in the company of Eurostarguy I have since found out that I have been referred to as the "mystery blonde". One should always have a mystery blonde in one's life, but I never thought that I would be one...
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Scenes from working at home 15:49 - an afternoon of rear windows (just without the strong lenses, Grace Kelly or the bodies)...
Dance: Naked (of sorts)

Caught George Piper Dances / The Ballet Boyz preview of their new production Naked at Sadler's Wells last night. Dance, video projection, lighting and music combined to tell a story of love and revenge etc. While I could not follow the full story (short attention span), it certainly looked great, and the dancing was quite exciting and clever at times. Particularly the scene the boys have together in the second act - a stylised fight of sorts - seemed to have everyone on the edge of their seat. Not being a dance afficianado I don't know the significance of the choreographic choices made, but it is fascinating to watch people do things with their bodies that you assumed wasn't possible or legal in some countries...

The production was stopped 10-15 minutes into it as the sound system kept popping and cracking. I actually had thought that was part of the effect but apparently no. The show was delayed for 45 minutes while they sorted it all out and many p…
News: The reviews

The reviews for Guys and Dolls with Ewan McGregor have been largely positive, although those who saw the mythical National Theatre production in the eighties (and its revival in the nineties) have bagged the new production. Catching up with a few afficianados today while purchasing The Light in the Piazza cd, they suggested they took the musical fable part out of the show. This is a very Donmar Production thing to make a bright show darker and bleaker. While the set did look a bit like leftovers from their Grand Hotel production, and a bit of colour wouldn't have gone astray, I still thought it was great evening of entertainment (and Ewan)...
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Scenes from Bloomsbury Saturday 15:47 - Just a quiet afternoon at one of the squares...
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Scenes from a soho cafe 13:56. Mayonnaise for your fries anyone?
Art: Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy

Yesterday evening caught the The Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition 2005 with the man from the Eurostar. It was fun and there were some wonderful works on display and for sale. Some cost more than a luxury car but that's art for you. I thought the giant statue of woman made out of dominoes for £80k seemed like a bargain. The double-six cut in two for nipples was a nice touch. In the same room however were two "mixed media" pieces that took a cute teddy bears and gave them evil gnarling killer looks, holding bright red powertools, and an array of dead animals underneath them. I loved it. Never mind the rest of the art, this was something that just appealed to my sense of humour and aesthetics. I suspected that my taste (and perhaps my sanity) was coming under question, but hey, cute teddy bears turned evil killers I just couldn't resist. I think they should mass-market the things... They would be a hit.
Friday Email banter

I get into work and find this email in my inbox today...

From: Manager
Sent: 03 June 2005 09:24
To: Paul
Subject: RE: Outrageous outbreak of individuality
Importance: High

Paul

I was shocked and stunned to see that you are using Verdana instead of Arial for your email font. I had no idea you were such a maverick!

To which my response was...

From: Paul
Sent: 03 June 2005 10:46
Subject: RE: Outrageous outbreak of individuality... Just Verdana it...

Blame this outrageous outbreak on individuality on:
Being a follower of Jakob Nielsen's readability / usability thing (putting into question just how individual I am I realise) Downright shocking personal preference for clean look of this san serif font Not being able to get enough of that generous inter-letter spacing, that aids on-screen legibility at the expense of efficiency in printed output As a temp of 16 months now becoming too much of a maverick All of the above...
Whether this is a career-challenging thing to put in …
Phone Conversation with colleague at home...

F: Well new man came and went in twenty minutes
Paul: Literally?
F: Yes I don't know why I bother...
Paul: Well it probably is better than sitting around watching Hollyoaks...

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Scenes from WC1 21:24... The sun sets...
Theatre and the rest: Blood Wedding

Following my meeting with a stranger on the train, I was invited to see last night's production of Federico García Lorca's play Blood Wedding at the Almeida Theatre. There are two Garcia Lorca plays playing in London at the moment (I am seeing the other on Monday), but this one has movie star Gael García Bernal in it so the entire season has sold out. I was very chuffed to be going... Strangers on a train can lead to all sorts of interesting adventures...

It is a great production with a terrific international cast. García Bernal plays the man who steals a bride away on her wedding day. He is such a terriffic actor and just oozes sex you can almost forgive the bride for running off with him (although at the end you will still be muttering "bitch" about her)... Later, some people had quipped they didn't understand what all the fuss is about García Bernal is, but if you had sat in fourth row like I did with an unusual sightline tha…
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Scenes from the TGV - Lyon to Paris Monday after 12pm sometime...