Thursday, March 30, 2006

More films: The Reception and On the Low

After having so much fun last night, tonight I caught "The Reception" and the short On the Low at the film fest. Both were shot on the cheap but were well written nuanced pieces involving African American men. "On the low" is slang for black men who sleep with other black men, but don't identify as being gay as they also have girlfriends etc. Interesting stuff…

Bitchy conversation of the week:

Paul: Hey C you had a haircut… It looks good!
C: Yeah when I got it cut I told them to cut out the grey.
Paul: Hmm it looks like they left a lot of it in…

Film: Happy Endings

Wednesday night at the Odeon Leicester Square was opening night of the 20th London Lesbian and Gay Film Fest. It was quite a crowd and one to be seen in. As one who was having a bad hair day (forgot to use product in the morning) and having a case of "shiny forehead" I wasn't really in the mood for this.

Fortunately the film Happy Endings that we were about to see wasn't about looks. If it was they never would have let Lisa Kudrow look so old and worn out. So I felt better watching Lisa on the big screen. She was there to introduce the film with writer-director Don Roos. Kudrow commented on how Roos doesn't write gay stories or lesbian stories, but stories where people are there, and they are complex and they do stuff and some of them might be gay and like yeah. The audience just loved her for showing up anyway.

The film was terrific, smart and funny. While it does go on a bit and there are a quite a few subtitles to drive forward the story, and there were enough hand-held camera shots to do your head in, it was very funny and very entertaining. And who could ask for anything more on an opening night?

Oh and the title is about massages. This didn't dawn on me until Javier the masseur from Mexico appeared… Ok so I am slow…

Scenes from the Strand Wednesday 18:44


Scenes from the Strand Wednesday 18:44
Originally uploaded by Pauly_.

Looking towards Aldwich. Jackets and "hoodies" are still popular with the

locals even though the temperature is getting rather mild at 12 degrees...

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Scenes from the Palace Theatre Monday 20:24


Scenes from the Palace Theatre Monday 20:24
Originally uploaded by Pauly_.

Waiting for intermission to finish...

Theatre: Whistle Down the Wind

Monday night I saw Whistle Down the Wind. It was my first Andrew Lloyd-Webber show I have seen since I saw an amateur version of Jesus Christ Superstar in the 1990s. It is based on a movie that was set in rural England where a group of children find an escaped convict and who are convinced he is Jesus Christ so I figured there was a theme running here. Ok it isn't art, but its something the home counties love (judging by the audience demographic around me).

For anyone who has seen the Hayley Mills film you probably have a better chance of understanding the plot, although you may be left wondering why they moved the story to 1950s America. There is one thing that the British do pretty lousy and that is American accents so I thought that was a pity. Had they left the story in Britain one could have imagined a pantomime-type reaction from the audience when the cops are looking for the escaped convict along the lines of "He's in the barn!" Alas the show takes itself all too seriously to have any sense of fun, and it was hard to have much sympathy for any of the characters (always a danger for a musical).

Still there are some nice numbers involving hoards of children singing, or was that a backing track? I guess if it sounds too good to be true (i.e. children in time to complex music and in key) it surely has to be. It is also hard to tell what music was real with five keyboards / "orchestra makers" in the pit, but hey that's the trend in the West End nowadays… The title song is in danger of entering the standard repertoire for Christmas time and other cheesy occasions but I guess we all need some cheese every now and then.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Scenes from home...


Scenes from home...
Originally uploaded by Pauly_.

One of my flatmates has gone on vacation, and since I was at home with a cold today I thought I would pay tribute to his style - or lack of it - with what one kitchen shelf looks like. At first I found the collection of flamenco dolls to be novel but when you are unwell it is enough to do your head in! Well it takes all sorts...

Film: Transamerica

This weekend I caught the film Transamerica and it was great. Felicity Huffman puts in an incredible performance as a pre-op transsexual about to have the operation (spoiler - you see penis and vagina) and while it is a bit cheesy at times, there is a great sense of humanity and warmth about the story. Dolly Parton even comes in at the end with her Oscar-nominated song "Travellin' Through" which was a nice touch.

Interestingly while watching Huffman in this movie you would not immediately recognise that she has been starring in Desperate Housewives for the past couple of years. Huffman's character of the "working mom" seems to have evolved as the main (and most interesting) character of the show. If a film career takes off her departure will leave a bit of a hole in the storytelling...

Clapham Chatter

Old Woman: My family have lived in Clapham for over 250 years, but I have had enough of this place with the horrible people and their horrible children…
Paul: But you have lived here all your life, where would you go?
Old Woman: New Zealand. I have a nephew in New Zealand. He might have me…

Friday, March 24, 2006

Conversation in Clapham

Consultant: Did you know that this is the front of the supermarket?
Man #2: It is?
Consultant: Yes the front of the supermarket is at the back where the carpark is because that is where the fresh fruit and vegetables are...
Man #2: So the high street enterance is the back of the store?
Consultant: Yes...
Man #2: All this time I have been entering from the back entrance and didn't even realise it.
 
 

Scenes from a Soho Restaurant Saturday 21:33


Scenes from a Soho Restaurant Saturday 21:33
Originally uploaded by Pauly_.

This restaurant served rather large sweet potatoes...

Well I have finally got rid of Wanadoo as an internet service provider. I got the feeling that they did not really mind getting me off their books as I just kept sending them complaints in writing and nobody wants to have to keep dealing with that sort of troublesome customer.

Anyway will still mean I will have to rely on updating the blog outside of home. Which is a bit of a bother...

Monday, March 20, 2006

Scenes from Soho Saturday 10.51pm


Scenes from Soho Saturday 10.51pm
Originally uploaded by Pauly_.

Soho on a Saturday evening is a delightful part of town where alcohol, hash, charlie, crack and skunk is available on every corner. Oh and there is the odd bit of vom too...

Friday, March 17, 2006

Scenes from the V&A Friday 17.25


Scenes from the V&A Friday 17.25
Originally uploaded by Pauly_.

It is possible to do the V&A's Anna Piaggi Fashion-ology in 30 minutes as there is not much there to see. A wondered why one wanted to see a collection of old (some still soiled) dresses. But they are so eccentric and so eighties so why not??

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Scenes from Soho late Wednesday evening


Scenes from Soho late Wednesday evening
Originally uploaded by Pauly_.

A classy new joint on Frith St... It replaces the short lived gay venue Free Willy.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Scenes from the south bank


Scenes from the south bank
Originally uploaded by Pauly_.

After catching Measure For Measure at the National the south bank was quiet for a cold and wet Tuesday...

Oh and Measure for Measure was great. Fantastic staging and lighting, nudity and more. The moral of the play surely is don't be a nun as you get into all sorts of trouble there. I was a sellout production co-produced by Complicite.
Oh the debate about Wanadoo's incompetence is hotting up on ADSLguide: Re: Beware wanadoo - don't sign up to it

Monday, March 13, 2006

Monday night at Balans


Monday night at Balans
Originally uploaded by Pauly_.

These rowdy people kept taunting A and I - maybe it was our flirting I just don't know...

Saturday, March 11, 2006


Scenes from outside the National Theatre Monday 27 February 22:09. After seeing the play "Once in a Lifetime" had a quick look at this display of photos capturing life after last years Tsunami.  Posted by Picasa

Scenes from Clapham High Street - Clapham Common Tube (two weeks ago again). Amongst the clutter and rubbish around this point is the old gents toilet (on the left). It has been closed for some time, but would be a great place for a coffee on the go kiosk I would imagine... If they could get rid of the smell... Posted by Picasa

Scenes from SW4 (two Saturday's ago). Location location... Posted by Picasa
Speaking of rubbish service, A and I go to Balans cafe in Soho regularly. I am not sure why as the food is more likely to be awful, the people often in there are freaks (usually exes of A's who are now hustlers) and the service is mixed. The one thing going for it is the location and it is a great space. I think that's why we keep coming back.

Wednesday evening was a case in point. Early January they gave me a voucher which was a "buy one meal get one free" deal. The deal came with a whole series of catches however. You could only redeem the offer Mon-Wed between 5-11pm and the moon had to be in the seventh house and Jupiter aligned with Mars. The fine print was so amusing that I asked the waiter what we could get with this deal. Eventually after much haggling he told us that A's all day breakfast and my burger would cover the deal so we made the order.

A few minutes later the waiter came back to apologise and say that breakfasts were not part of the meal deal and that if we could use the voucher another time that would mean that he wouldn't have to pay for the breakfast. I was amazed that not only were the planets not in our favour for the deal, but the management were so cheap and such slave drivers that they wouldn't cover a £5 breakfast but make their wait staff pay for it. Rather than make the waiter work a full hour to pay for our meal we decided that we would have the common decency to try and use the voucher another time. As for the meal? It was edible this time...
Still no change on the Wanadoo situation. Wanadoo can-no-do... I really wish I never signed up to them. To get out of a contract here you have to sacrifice your first born so I just have to suffer in somewhat silence. I have started taking my campaign to the broader community (albeit slowly as I am using dialup!)...

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

More rubbish from Wanadoo...

Wanadoo is having a little trouble being a decent internet service provider with me. Rather than investigate my complaint properly they have offered to give me a technical call-back which one of their call centre consultants mentioned to me was a pointless exercise as they will just tell me to play with the modem and look at the lights. The problem that I am experiencing is more likely to be at the telephone exchange.
 
Anyway, it means they reach their target of responding to written letters within five days. After receiving their I decided to email back an acceptance of their offer so I would not be accused later by them of obstruction. This is how it went.
 
Original Message Follows:
------------------------
Your ref:
  
I would like to confirm that I would like a technical callback to take place at 8am on 12 March (giving you five days notice to set up the call back as per your request in the letter).
  
I would also like to point out that if you are unable to tell me when you will be able to connect me to broadband (which Wanadoo has failed to do for four weeks), or successfully identify the problem then this is a pointless exercise.
  
I would also like to state I have been promised two technical call-backs already but that these have failed to eventuate and I have to date had to chase up Wanadoo for their failure to provide a broadband service and had to endure your woeful customer service standards.
  
 I look forward to hearing from you
  
Regards
  
Paul
 
Wed, 08 Mar 2006 13:57:40 +0000
To: "Paul"
Subject: Re: Broadband Account
From: "Wanadoo Offer Acceptance" offer.acceptance@uk.wanadoo.com
   
Dear Paul,
 
Thank you for your email.
 
Unfortunately we are unable to undertake technical call backs during the weekend. Please provide a convenient date and time (09.00 to 21.00) for one of our advisors to contact you (please allow a minimum of 96 hours notice).
 
Wed, 08 Mar 2006 13:57:40 +0000
To Wanadoo Offer Acceptance" <offer.acceptance@uk.wanadoo.com
Subject: Re: Broadband Account
From Paul
 
Why does this not surprise me? Wanadoo's useless service continues. A pity nobody thought to emphasise the inconvenient hours when my complaint was responded to in the first place.
 
I would like a call back then at 9am Tuesday. I trust this gives you enough time to manage your totally incompetent systems and provide me with yet another irritating customer service experience. I simply cannot wait.
 
Regards
Paul

And so it goes. Does anyone else out there have such problems with Wanadoo?


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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Things I have not covered

While waiting for broadband to be connected by Wanadoo (I have been waiting six weeks now), I can confirm that I have yet to cover
  • Seeing Stockard Channing and Aiden Quinn in The Exhonerated. It has an extended run at Riverside studios with a revolving cast. They were fantastic. A brilliant play which is staged as a simple reading telling the true tales of people wrongly sentenced to death in America.
  • Going to the Australian Film Festival at the Barbican and seeing "The Illustrated Family Doctor", "Opal Dream" and "Three Dollars". Of the three, Opal Dream is worth catching. It is set in Cooper Pedy and actually paints the town as a nice place so it was a monumental feat of film-making and storytelling there.
  • Caught Capote which was another great film. After seeing the film one should try to speak for as long as possible like Truman Capote until it drives you and your friends insane. I think it should be a new game.
  • I have written another dirty letter to Wanadoo. I used bigger words like "incompetent" and "fools" and "fraudsters" - sometimes in the same sentence! Can't wait to read what their reaction will be. Pity that I have to still pay for their rubbish service, but we'll see.


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