Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Paul's return to work tip...

When returning back to work from holiday, don't bring sweets back for your colleagues. That is so passé. I chose to bring back duty free cigars. Sure coming back from New York means they won't Cubans, but American cigars are light enough to be enjoyed by everyone (unlike Cuban cigars which will put hair on your chest). Besides I kept telling everyone you won't get diabetes this way, only mouth cancer…

Published elsewhere...

There is a new postcard on my other blog about Birdland

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Movie: Lemming

As an antidote for all the theatre, travel and art I consumed over the past week (and the weekend drinking) I caught Lemming at the movies tonight. It is a French film by Dominik Moll who previously directed "Harry, he's here to help" which was a rather suspenseful drama in the style of Hitchcock. This movie again is Hitchcockian. That is to say if Hitchcock were alive, not doing crap television and making decent movies surely he would make this sort of thing. The movie also reminded me a little of Mulholland Drive with its dream sequences and surrealism of when a perfect marriage seems to fall apart when the boss and his wife come for dinner.

There is a somewhat happy ending after a murder and a suicide, but it still isn't the most pleasant of films to have on your mind while trying to get off to sleep. Oh and the neighbourhood foxes seem to be on heat tonight as well so there's that to contend with too…  

Monday, May 29, 2006

From NY to bank holiday...

It is a bank holiday weekend and so that means going out every night and getting drunk. Well of sorts. You do want to stay sober enough to keep dodging the aggressive types such as the Wisconsin guy who goes to your gym who won't take no for an answer. Some people should really control their level of drinking when you politely tell them that you're not going home with them and then they smash a glass and go "yeah what-everrrrrrrrrrrrrr". Sure it is amusing and one can blog about it, but it is a bit overly dramatic…

I am going to return to my London blogging in the next day or so. I will continue to upload photos onto the Flickr site and add a bit more text on the New York trip including:
  • How to make a debut on the Broadway stage

  • How to pick up women after denying you are a fan of musical theatre (i.e. code word for gay) meant I kept picking up women

  • How to get a rent boy off your back

  • How to keep a jazz legend in business
Oh the shenanigans…

Friday, May 19, 2006

Travel: From SW4 to New York

And there will be a change in programming as there's a plane that's waiting to take me to New York. I'll be trading in my full English breakfast on the weekend for bagels and coffee no doubt…

Other things I will not have for a week:
  • Flatmate throwing hissy fit as I had the clothes dryer on. It was only midnight (your honour) and my room was closest to the utility room!

  • Big brother. Not sure what freaks are on the show this time around

  • Work!  

Not sure what adventures will be in store but they will be taken up at…  

Theatre: Sunday in the Park with George (West End transfer)

I couldn't resist catching a preview of the transfer of Sunday in the Park with George at Wyndham's Theatre Thursday evening. It starred practically the same cast that I saw at the Chocolate Factory with the exception that the female lead was played by Jenna Russell – who last I saw opposite Ewan Macgregor in Guys and Dolls. Russell gives it a bit more of a "star presence".

Even the technical glitches and the odd microphone dropout couldn't make this production look bad. The audience loved it as well. Sondheim and Lapine are there tomorrow night for a chat about the show and it surely must be a likely candidate for transfer to Broadway. There is a cast album about to come out shortly as well. There are indeed far worse things than sitting through the musical Sunday twice. And did I also hear additional lyrics in the song "Putting it Together"?

Sport of the week: one legged bitches

Sport of the week this week has been slagging off at Heather Mills. After the newsflash yesterday about the divorce, It takes the form of various things on the email rounds…

A poem by Paul McCartneyI lay upon a grassy bank, my hands were all a quiverI slowly removed her suspender beltAnd her leg fell in the river

Or this…

Heather Mills Press statement
Former model, Heather Mills has recently released a press comment to stamp out the allegations of her split from her pop star husband.
A close friend says Heather is hopping mad and although both her and Paul are unaccustomed to knee jerk reactions they have decided to go out on a limb.
"I'm totally stumped" Said Heather today. "We're going through a rough patch but I've no intention of legging it"

Oh and yes, the divorce is expected to cost Paul an arm and a leg…

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Scenes from Clapham Common Saturday 12:39

Scenes from Clapham Common Saturday 12:39
Originally uploaded by Pauly_.

By day a family friendly location, by night a little area for gentlemen who like to take it outdoors. The tall grass hides an awful amount of litter - which includes an astonishing amount of paper towells and things made of rubber... You do have to watch your step if you stray off the paths...

Incidentally two men who beat to death a man in October last year near this area pleaded guilty yesterday to the crime. One of the men lived in Clapham. While these two will likely receive sentences of 30 years, there are other locals that are likely to continue with this sort of thing...

Weather and hayfever

Everyone is talking about hayfever. After a long winter everything that contains pollen has just exploded out all over the place as warm weather finally arrived. Fortunately there is a cure for hayfever which apparently involves snogging somebody for 30 minutes. Well that seems more fun than sticking Vaseline up your nose (which is what they recommended on the BBC morning show today)…

Theatre: Enemies

In keeping with a week of corporate greed, I had the opportunity to see Gorky's play Enemies performed at the Almeida Theatre on Thursday. It is a new translation by David Hare and it was fantastic (the critics seem to think so as well). As an ensemble piece the actors worked so well together, and they were rather pleasing on the eye as well but I digress…

Gorky's play is about trouble at a Russian factory. When the managing directory of the family-run factory is shot and killed is it the start of a worker uprising or was it just an accident? The family is split between those who see conspiracies and those who sympathise with the oppressed workers, so the drama is set. This translation keeps thing going at a brisk pace and there is enough fiery dialogue in it to keep anybody's attention focussed on the action at hand. The final scene although a tad abrupt, did really sum it all up well (and was accompanied with a slight amount of theatrical flourish)…  It was enough to make you go "oooh". I think I did as I had had too much red wine by this point on an empty stomach…

It is also worth pointing out that the drama takes place on a stage that was gorgeously set - a garden with trees and grass and woodland. Not at all like the cheap set thrown together for the National Theatre's Voysey Inheritance.  

Interestingly at drinks following the play not everyone who saw the play loved it. One rather famous theatre person was pouring shit over the production in between hoovering down the canapés. Perhaps it wasn't his cup of tea as he prefers his Gorky embalmed rather than injected with real drama.  There's no pleasing some people I suppose.

Film: Enron The Smartest Guys in the Room

After Monday's play about corporate greed in Edwardian times, on Wednesday I saw a film Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room which was a play about corporate greed in Bush times. Actually, it was more than greed. It was how a company managed to get away with criminal activity and even prospered with the support of the financial system, banks, regulatory bodies, the media, you name it. While the people at the top are facing criminal charges, others who invested (not always voluntarily) their pensions into the company find that they have no money.

Based on the book of the same name, it traces the rise and collapse of a company that never really made a profit, but managed to state its earnings on the potential for future profits (Arthur Andersen its accountants no longer exist as an accounting firm due to their work with Enron).

The company was good at one thing and that was publicity. And the video footage from the company is the basis for this great documentary. You feel like you want to punch any one of these assholes when they were on the screen. I couldn't help but cheer when a Californian protestor hit the Enron Chief Executive in the face with a blueberry pie during the rolling blackouts that were a direct result of Enron's activities. Whether the crooks get away with all the money is still a matter to be played out in the courts…  

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Theatre: The Voysey Inheritance

Monday I caught the Voysey Inheritance at the National. Written in 1905 by Harley Granville Barker (a pioneer of modern directing methods and an advocate of the concept of a national government subsidised theatre one learns from the programme notes), the play is full of great lines and observations of the upper middle classes in Edwardian times. The family at the centre of the drama find out upon the death of their father their wealth was the product of a finance fraud, and it is left to one of the sons to pick up the pieces. The cast helped too with Dominic West (as the son), Julian Glover, Doreen Mantle and Nancy Carroll part of a terrific ensemble.

The production is getting quite a number of raves and given that stories of insider trading, managers raiding pension funds, and financial mismanagement still dominate the news these days there seemed something thoroughly modern about the play as well…

The only downside to the production would have to be the set which not only looked cheap, blocked the view of actors. At one point I didn't realise West was on stage during the fifth act until he spoke. There was also the curious sound of running water that came somewhere from backstage. It was a bit of a distraction, particularly sitting front row…

Monday, May 08, 2006

Scenes from Pall Mall Sunday 16:35

Scenes from Pall Mall Sunday 16:35
Originally uploaded by Pauly_.

For the last few days a giant 40-foot mechanical elephant had been parading around Central London. Today was the last day to see it. It was part of a street theatre piece called The Sultan's Elephant. It was free and certainly got the punters into the city. Scantily clad women danced on top of it for some reason (perhaps to entice more father's to take their children to see it ) and the trunk did appear to spray something out over the crowd...

Friday, May 05, 2006

Overheard at the gym Thursday

Young boy 1: Oh why does every man you look at thinks you are checking him out?
Young boy 2: Yeah especially that one (pointing to an older guy)
Young boy 1: Like yeah as if…
Young boy 2: Aw man I have taken too many drugs this week…

Scenes from Soho Thursday 22:59

Scenes from Soho Thursday 22:59
Originally uploaded by Pauly_.

Late night drinking outside Ronnie Scotts (currently closed for refurbishment)...

Politics: Hot in the city

Today was the first day that felt like summer was on the way as temperatures hovered around 25degrees (even now after 1am it is 16 degrees). By late this evening thousands of people were out on the streets drinking and having fun. They were also out voting. Projected figures suggest that turnout could be around 40% which compared to 30% four years ago is an interesting figure. It also means that it will be a long night for the vote counters, and a long day tomorrow one suspects as well… Some of my best friends are vote counters. Silly bastards.

Housekeeping: back in the room

After over four months I finally have broadband at home, thanks to Be Internet. Wanadoo have still to send me the prepaid returns pouch so I can send back their wireless router to them, so I am using the box to rest my laptop against while I update the blog in my room. At least it has some use…

Monday, May 01, 2006

Scenes from SW4 Monday 19:29

Scenes from SW4 Monday 19:29
Originally uploaded by Pauly_.

Spring is here at last... And there are blue skies... Even if the

temperature is still hovering around 10degrees...

Conversation in WC1

Paul and Ad are walking down Charlotte Street WC1.
Man in white (to Ad in very low voice as he walks into him coming out of a shop): Oh sorry darling…
Ad: Oh that's ok… Darling…
Paul (to Ad): Darling?

Scenes from Covent Garden Monday 14:43

Scenes from Covent Garden Monday 14:43
Originally uploaded by Pauly_.

Bank Holiday Monday had all the punters out at the usual places. There

weren't any bargains to be had but people seemed glad to just be out of the


Scenes from Southwark Sunday

Scenes from Southwark Sunday
Originally uploaded by Pauly_.

Greenery is popular in London. Especially trees with bright foliage...