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Showing posts from 2007

Scenes from a kitchen at Christmas (early preparations)

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Christmas 2007, originally uploaded by Paul-in-London. I could have written about the concerts I saw this week which included Cecilia Bartoli with a slight cold yodelling in tribute to early 19th-century diva Maria Malibran, or about the five hours of Wagner I sat through in a coma on Friday (mental note: Parsifal isn't my cup of tea), but anyway, I thought this was far more appropriate for Christmas day...

Overheard at the midnight Eucharist...

Woman: Who are those men in black?
Man #1: They are the priests...
Man #2: No they are the vergers...
Woman: Virgins?
Man #2: No vergers... (to Paul) We know they ain't virgins...

'Tis the season...

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After the Accentuate the Positive concert with the LGMC the opportunity arose this week to freeze one's ass (or arse) off in the Covent Garden Piazza singing Christmas carols. Have made mental note to always wear thermals in future, but it was a great way of getting into the festive spirit. And with the mulled wine and hot cider on offer in the square, it helped to keep warm and add to the heartiness of the singing...

Tuesday night's carols were quite eventful with one very straight drunk wanting to join the chorus and no security in sight. His mates were looking on laughing as he pushed his way in through to the front. He got through a full verse of Hark the Herald Angels sing before security finally realised he wasn't part of the tenor 1's. He was dragged out wailing he "jushwannadooshing". They weren't messing about the second time while we were singing ABBA's "Happy New Year". Some drunk queen in a long coat and scarf stopped and stood ne…

Concert: Accentuate the Positive

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Before the curtain rises (or rather the gauze) on what became a rather memorable show, a choir waits for its cue and a full house waits for the show to begin.

After nine weeks of rehearsals it was show time. But the concert felt less of a show and more of a gathering of family and friends. A gathering that just happened to take place at the Palladium, where Judy, Liza, Barbara, Frank, Rufus and Jason Donovan have previously performed... To name a few...

Throughout what turned out to be a long day with much waiting around, in our spare time one tried not to gawk too much at the Judy Garland memorials both front and backstage, nor did I linger too much around Connie Fisher's dressing room (although I was informed to see Sound of Music before she leaves as the replacements are rubbish). In every corner of the building there is a sense of history about the theatre, although when you get to the bar you tend to forget all that when you are being charged £7 for a G&T...

True Colours wen…

Scenes from Clapham High Street Friday

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15-12-2007, originally uploaded by Paul-in-London. Supermarkets make a wonderful addition to any high street, particularly with their active frontages and contribution to an improved public realm...

News this week in London

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Evening Standard, originally uploaded by robinrimbaud. Well the homeless man did say to the star that he hadn't had a bite in ages...

Music: Billy Budd and the last stand

It had been a while since I had heard or seen Billy Budd live so this concert version at the Barbican with the LSO seemed like a good idea. And it was. Huge forces, excellent soloists and thrilling and dramatic score made it seem not necessary for all that staging and drama stuff. With such a large orchestra at hand one also felt like you were on the Indomitable as it swelled and subsided... It was all thrilling stuff and quite a treat, even if it started at 7pm which would have to be a rather annoying starting time leaving little time for dinner.

But towards the end of Act two I was preoccupied with the added tension of Ian Bostridge's music stand teetering over the stage. He had been leaning over it, pushing on it, holding it with both hands as the drama dictated, and every time he did, the music stand moved closer and closer to the edge. By the finale, one leg was over the edge. If another went surely that would have made the evenings recording less than satisfactory. The old w…

Hot news this week in London...

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09/12/2007, originally uploaded by Paul-in-London. It's all about canoes. By the end of the week the canoe husband was in the slammer...

Theatre: Bitch Slapped by God

After three evenings of rehearsals for next Sunday's concert (which was all a bit step, step, turn now what the hell are we supposed to be singing?), the thought of going to see something was a refreshing prospect, particularly with a titled Bitch Slapped by God at the Drill Hall.

A "million Santa march" on Washington leading to Christmas being cancelled sounds like a great idea for an antidote to Christmas panto, but it was more of an ordeal to be endured. Perhaps it is a work in progress but I was just glad I didn't pay to see it.

Still, there was mulled wine on offer at the end of it and the entourage of lesbians enjoyed it. Hopefully for the rest of the run there will be some revisions that take 30 minutes from it. Oh but the killing of the reindeer (and their reassembly) was my favourite part.

Idle chatter on Elaine Paige's talent

John: Elaine Paige is all ham and cheese
Paul: She's like a croque-monsieur...
John: Well you got the crock part right...

Scenes from the Coliseum Sunday Afternoon

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021220072920, originally uploaded by Paul-in-London. It was Sunday evening around 10.30pm when I looked at my watch while waiting in the wings of the Coliseum and wondered what the hell I was doing there. Sure it was Barbara Cook's 80th Birthday concert. Sure she was great. Sure we were about to go on to sing two minutes in the finale chorus of Make Your Garden Grow... But after being there since 3pm it was a bit of a stretch. Well the concert didn't start at 3pm, it just felt like it did.

Mind you there were more than just a few of us in the chorus that jumped at the chance to sing with Barbara Cook when asked a few months ago. Hell even if it was for just two minutes we were there. Some people in the chorus did ask "Who is Barbara Cook?" to which I replied "Wash your mouth". Well, in the four years I have been in London I have seen her perform twice and got her autograph but all that wasn't intentional. But she is one of the interpreters of the great …

Theatre: La Cage Aux Folles

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271120072894, originally uploaded by Paul-in-London. Sometimes you can't keep a good polyester down... First preview at the Chocolate Factory the curtain had a mind of its own. And so did the costumes... Sitting in front row I got a lap full of beads during a particularly vigorous number... Then there was the occasional firm grip of Philip Quast on my shoulder... Was all this intimate production of Jerry Herman's big gay musical worth it?

Well as a musical it is a pretty dated show. It isn't called La Cage Awful for nothing. Back in the eighties it was no doubt all very daring so you could probably overlook the incoherent story and weak characterisations. On the plus side (and unlike the new Priscilla musical that will be making it's way to London) it is an original musical and not some jukebox of crap disco tracks. And it has a few nice numbers. In this production where I was sitting so close to the stage in such an intimate space there were a few nice touches such as …

Scenes from an office kitchen Thursday

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221120072880, originally uploaded by Paul-in-London. Office tip: Don't defrost your soup in front of colleagues. They may make interesting comments about it...

Rehearsals: All Week

I was informed this week that gay men are famous for their taste in clothes and interior design, but definitely not their music. When I suggested that it wasn't all that bad and that I was rehearsing the song "True Colours" they said that only proves their point. Well whatever the merits or otherwise of the song, I am singing it with twelve other men from the chorus for the Accentuate The Positive concert. This week we workshopped how it would play out... Complete with choreography... I can never tell how these things sound or look but since nobody was screaming "Oh the horror, the horror!" that can be only a good thing (in fact we were getting compliments on it)...

Mind you, after singing and moving for three hours True Colours my mind started to wander about the lyrics...
You who are oversize
Don't be discouraged
With your thunder thighs
It's hard when your obese...


The rest of the week was rehearsals too... Hmm this singing is becoming a bit of a lifest…

Scenes from Ausralia House 17 November

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171120072869, originally uploaded by Paul-in-London. Voting in Australia is a favourite pasttime. Voting often (in the same election) is also popular so they ask you if you have voted before... Still not as many people were around to vote this time as there was in 2004, and there were no lamingtons in sight. Maybe they realised it wasn't going to be close with Kevin07... Particularly with an amazingly dud campaign by the Coalition

Overheard at the Tower of London

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161120072792, originally uploaded by Paul-in-London. American Boy: Mum, what's torture
American Mother: That's when you hurt someone to get information from them
American Boy: Oh... Is it justified?
American Mother: Yes I think it is in some circumstances...

Hot News in London this week

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South London Depress, originally uploaded by Ronald Hackston. According to the South London Press, the ritual dog-burning in Streatham takes place every Tuesday. Sometimes they mix it up a little and put it in a car on fire...

London is changing indeed...

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Took a quick look at St Pancras station which opens later this week as the new Eurostar terminal... Looks rather good but rather than show my photos I thought it would be much nicer to show the current ad campaign from France...

Scenes from Lewisham Friday evening

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091120072732, originally uploaded by Paul-in-London. London is home to much wild life... Pigeons, squirrels, foxes and shopping trolleys can all be seen on its streets... This one looks like it has come from a giant Tesco (it was that sort of neighbourhood)...

Theatre: Boeing Boeing

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Tuesday evening I got the chance to finally catch Boeing Boeing which has been playing since the start of this year at the Comedy Theatre in West End. It was also a chance for Grant, a fellow Australian just off the boat, to also see his first West End show. I told him that if he got the tickets at the TKTS booth I would treat him to the London Gay Men's Chorus concert next month. This seemed like a fair swap and helps with my duty as a cult chorus member to keep up my ticket selling quota... I was also tempted to say "Mwah" at this point but I keep telling people that it will be a good show... Anything with Johnny Mercer and Donna Summer music in it can't be all bad.

Anyway I digress... As luck would have it, on Tuesday evening there were a few problems with the tube. So after a bit of an underground adventure, followed by a run through Leicester Square, we missed the opening of the show. By being a few minutes late we were prevented by the ushers from taking our se…

Overheard in the gym sauna Tuesday...

Man #1: It's not very hot eh?
Man #2: Nah...
Man #1: I'm gonna take a shower...
Man #2: Yeah okay...

Scenes from the O2 in Greenwich Sunday

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041120072709, originally uploaded by Paul-in-London. Once ridiculed as an expensive and stupid white elephant, the Milennium Dome or rather the O2 as it is now called is very popular with people flocking from all over London to visit the chain restaurants and marvel at the chilly indoor breezes... Oh and there is the occasional concert there too...

Movies: Rendition

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One of the most interesting things about my visit to Australia over the summer was how a man was locked up for the entire duration of my stay without charge in Brisbane while I was there. This sort of drama wasn't on my mind when I strongly suggested that Rendition would make an excellent Sunday evening film, rather it was the fact Jake Gyllenhaal was in it.

The premise of the film is that an Egyptian national (and scientist) living in America and married to Reese Witherspoon is suspected of aiding terrorists, so on a flight back to Chicago from Cape Town disappears and is whisked off to an unnamed North African country to get interrogated. The aim of this extraordinary rendition is to try and find out what he knows about a series of suicide bombings that have recently become more sophisticated. Meanwhile, the lead interrogator is trying to find out more information about a failed suicide bombing mission where he was the target.

But to the main story, once Meryl Streep (who plays …

Scenes from Clapham Friday evening...

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021120072699, originally uploaded by Paul-in-London. After an evening of staring at the sky watching fireworks on Clapham Common, one couldn't help but keep looking up for the remainder of the evening noticing such strange things as oval shaped lights in gay bars...

Rehearsal: True Colours

Rehearsals for the next concert of the London Gay Men's Chorus on December 16 are well underway, but Tuesday evening I found myself rehearsing the song True Colours with the small group, that will be part of the show in the second act.

The first thing that struck me about the song was how much I didn't know it. Well I am not an expert on the Cindy Lauper canon, but I do know Time After Time much better.

Was it Show me a smile, you with the sad eyes don't you realise or was it You with the sad smile, show me your courage though I realise or was it You with the sad eyes, don't be unhappy can't remember when... I had no idea how two verses could sound so similar... But after a few lessons by rote I sort of got it... Lucky we have a few more rehearsals to go...

Hot news in London this week...

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GOOD OLD EVENING STANDARD, originally uploaded by D I C K S D A I L Y. Won't somebody please think of the children?

Oh and Flickr user Dicksdaily has some great photos of London and worth checking out...

Hot news this week in London...

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News headlines, originally uploaded by BillT. He probably just needs a holiday...

Music: Music in 12 Parts

I am not quite sure what I was thinking when back in February I booked tickets to see Music in 12 Parts. Maybe it was the opportunity to see Philip Glass. Maybe it was the opportunity to hear a lot of his music (well at least during his minimalist phase). Whatever the reason, I wasn't prepared for four hours of music plus an hour and a half of breaks when I arrived at the Barbican Sunday. The piece is all about recurring musical structures that grow and change. I was entering the world of musical minimalism and wondering if I would ever escape. It didn't help either that I was surrounded by people with thick rimmed glasses and black turtlenecks. Is this a minimalist thing I wondered? I was glad that I wore a black shirt so I didn't stand out too much...

As for the music, well listening to the minimalist music has a way of creeping up on you and becoming a bit hypnotic. By the first hour I was into it. Suddenly things like gestures by the ensemble members to the onstage mix…

Idle Chatter Sunday

Paul: I got this text at 2am from this guy who had just arrived at Fire. I'd said earlier I might be there...
Adam: What? Who goes out at 2am unless they are on drugs?
Paul: Well you know what's good about guys on drugs?
Adam: They're easy...
Paul: Eeeexactly...

Scenes from Lambeth North Saturday evening

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201020072672, originally uploaded by Paul-in-London. Tried looking for it but couldn't find it...

Theatre: South Pacific

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Source:www.ukproductions.co.uk

Friday I found myself in Wimbledon catching a touring production of South Pacific. I saw it not just because I was asked nicely to, and not just because I had never seen a production of it before, and not just because I had never been to the New Wimbledon Theatre before. I also went and saw it because there were loads of tits on show and frankly when the south pacific is this bare-chested, who can resist? Oh and some of the sailors didn't have shirts on either.

While I have never seen a production of South Pacific before, I felt like I intimately knew it anyway. Growing up I heard it regularly as the cast album was a favourite of mum's. Watching the show was like going back to growing up back home in Oz... I can credit mum for introducing me to Funny Girl and South Pacific at an early age (she also is a fan of Evita but we don't talk about that). For some reason this fact is a tad amusing when I tell people this. But anyway, I suspect mum woul…

Overheard at the Wimbledon Theatre Friday...

Man #1: Oh you wouldn't believe my weekend last. I picked up two women. One was 35 and had a 16 year old son, the other was 25 and had a nine year old daughter...
Man #2: Oh wow man, great...

Theatre: I Love You Because...

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Not content with seeing just Hairspray this week, on Wednesday I went with John to see I Love You Because... at the Landor Theatre in Clapham. The Landor is a bit of an oasis in a cultural desert known as Landor road that is better known for the number of local youths with ASBOs and shops converted into bedsits. A pity since the show has been drawing in the crowds from across London that they have nowhere to spend their money before or after the show... Still it is my local theatre pub so the thought of seeing something that was really good at it was even more of a reason to get there...

The show is a quirky off-Broadway New York show that is actually pretty darn good. I have had the cast album for some months now, but hadn't given it much thought until Wednesday because let's face it, dramatic context helps. It helps allow for some of the more curious artistic choices (such as writing a song that prominently features a barista). The show charts the life and loves of the four …

Theatre: Hairspray

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Tuesday evening I found myself at the Shaftesbury theatre watching what has to be the most entertaining new show on the west end by a long shot: Hairspray (well I don't plan to see Bad Girls the musical but anyway). It is still only in its second week of previews but it there is so much energy and life on stage it was pretty overwhelming to the senses. Then again it is so well written, staged danced and acted and features some very lovable characters that it is hard not to like it, even if you think at times it gets a bit cheesy (or long)...

Michael Ball and Mel Smith receive top billing for the show. I hadn't seen Ball in anything before, and it didn't help that every musical theatre afficianado I knew kept telling me what an asshole he was. Maybe they had heard one too many renditions of "Love changes everything", but I figured anyone who gave such entertaining interviews to the Evening Standard can't be all that bad. And as for his peformance as Edna Turnbl…

News this week in London

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Skunks attack London, originally uploaded by Kevglobal. Skunk is conveniently on offer outside most tube stations... I hear in Camden Town they like it like that as it is better to frighten the weary tube travellers than the locals in their nice residential streets... Just tonight at Camden Town tube I was offered charlie, grass and skunk... I prefer raccoons though and they didn't have any of that on offer...

Coming up in December...

Overheard at a dodgy hotdog stand on the south bank

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141020072666-revised, originally uploaded by Paul-in-London. Rough looking woman cooking sausage like things in a large amount of oil: Now careful kids the plate's hot and it might spit
Adam: Eww... So might the woman cooking 'em

Scenes from the Tate Modern Sunday

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141020072641, originally uploaded by Paul-in-London. The thing to see this weekend was Doris's Crack. Everyone was there looking at it, putting their foot in it, some even got into it. I tried sniffing it... It was big and deep and reinforced... Outside Louise Bourgeois's giant spider is on show... It makes you wonder about those Tate curators...

Overheard at the gym today

Man #1: You see, if you make sure your (golf) swing is like this, then you aren't going to have any problems...
Man #2: But when I do that it hurts...
Man #1: Oh...

News this week in London

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Swan Bites Dog, Hampstead, originally uploaded by Fin Fahey. Hampstead is one tough part of London...

In the news during the week

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evening standard, originally uploaded by quarsan. Crossrail, Spice Girls and another Maddy story. London has it all...

News: Doris's Crack on show at the Tate Modern

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Doris Salcedo "Shibboleth" at Tate Modern, originally uploaded by darrenjle15. All the talk this week has been around Doris Salcedo's Shibboleth (otherwise known as Doris's crack) at the Tate Modern, which chops up the floor of the Turbine Hall to represent the great divide... This photo was taken by a Flickr visitor, but the story today was that two people fell into the crack at a private viewing... But were they pissed?

I was at the Tate on the weekend but the crack was under wraps. Now that is on show and people are falling over themselves to get into it, it is on the list of things to do...

Theatre: Parade

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Source: www.donmarwarehouse.com

I found myself having a discussion this week with a lady who suggested to me that Parade at the Donmar is the type of music theatre that young men go for. I was thinking about this all last night as I watched this great production. Is there something about (relative) youth that makes one enjoy a music piece about a Jewish factory owner who is accused of raping and murdering a young girl, found guilty and sentenced to death only to have his sentenced commuted but then lynched by an angry mob? Ok so it isn't the happiest night at the theatre but it was so well told, well sung and well staged you didn't mind the lynching and the preaching. You even had to look hard to see the trademark Donmar black brick wall.

Looking around the theatre there was an over-representation of young men there interspersed among the usual Donmar types. The story is based on the true story of Leo Frank and the press frenzy that was whipped up by the case. The show works bes…

This week in the news

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HOT WAX, originally uploaded by the_moog. I hear she was a bit of a babe...

Overheard outside the Scientology Centre on Tottenham Court Road Tuesday Evening

Woman: Oh that was interesting...
Man: Yeah it was...
Woman: Fancy some KFC?

Hot news this week in London...

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The Brits love their tabloids., originally uploaded by fueledbycoffee. They may not be able to find her, but she is talking to the Evening Standard about her dad...

Scenes from the East End this week...

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BETHNAL GREEN, originally uploaded by the_moog. Those Bethnal Green rodents are good chameleons...

Theatre: Rhinoceros

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Source: www.royalcourttheatre.com

Saturday night I found myself with Fliss at Rhinoceros at the Royal Court. I figured any play where pachyderms spontaneously appear and start running around the stage is my kind of show. Besides, I had studied it in high school so I knew it already. Fliss on the other hand declined to investigate further then knowing it was one of those weird-ass plays that Paul drags her to from time to time, but since it was my birthday she was bound to put up with it.

Our evening started out as a comedy of manners as Fliss thought my paté starter for dinner looked like dog food (it did). Well that's those Sloan Square bistros for you. But during the second act the evening had taken its absurdist tone, as she leaned over to me and whispered, "You didn't tell me there was going to be full-frontal nudity in this". Well I didn't know that was going to be the case either. She declined to answer whether it was the first time she had seen a middle-ag…

Scenes from the Royal Court Theatre Saturday

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220920072512, originally uploaded by Paul-in-London. Theatre dust thanks to the sets being smashed by a rhinoceros... More later...

Overheard at the Sainsbury's Checkout Saturday

Man #1: Look you are a 50 year old man. Deal with it.
Man #2: Yeah yeah yeah... Shush.

Theatre: Bouncers

Midweek theatre this week entailed going to the Greenwich Theatre to see a 30th anniversary production of Bouncers. For somebody turning 32 this week I figured I wasn't showing my age as much as this production. Sure the music had been updated and the cultural references had been too. But a night out had never seen so dated. If they were updating the play surely there should have been experiences of bouncers patting people down for knives, turning a blind eye to the GHB usage, and making sure everyone is drinking out of plastic cups if they are on the footpath. Alas it wasn't to be.

Essentially the play is an extended comic routine involving four men who are bouncers and their experiences picking up women and observing men at pubs. It's meant to be hilarious but I suspect that depends on how much you have drunk at the bar. The four men as women seemed to be collectively channelling John Inman. I would have preferred it to remain a period piece but that might have been a ta…

In the news this week...

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IT'S HARDER TO HOLD YOUR PINT WHEN YOU'RE STONED, originally uploaded by the_moog. Not sure what the story is about but it probably doesn't matter. The South London Press is an entertaining read for those who like to read lovingly retyped press releases and filler before the ads for Foxtons...

Scenes from Open House Weekend Sunday

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160920072484, originally uploaded by Paul-in-London. Admiring some of the best architecture London has to offer as part of London Open House weekend... In (informal) architectural terms it is called "big penis structures"... Goldfinger (the architect) obviously had some issues there... They don't build 'em like that anymore...

Movies: 2 Days in Paris

2 days in Paris was pretty good. Written directed and starring Julie Delpy it was a bit like a French Annie Hall. It may not be such a great movie to see if you are single, with all this angst on screen about being in a relationship and being alone. Catching it with Mandy (who is single too) she didn't have as much a problem with that but rather that the characters didn't stop talking. Well they were New Yorkers. I just found it great therapy. It showed that there is hope for all eccentrics out there to find somebody just as weird. The funniest scene involved no dialogue on the metro as they were getting spooked by a crazy guy with no sense of personal space. Oh the memories of Paris that came flooding back (even if when I was there I knew the crazy guy). Shot on the streets of Paris I have made a mental note to get back there once the new Eurostar link opens in November. Sure Waterloo looks great in The Bourne Ultimatum but the Eurostar from St Pancras looks even better...

Scenes from Soho Wednesday

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Scenes from Soho Wednesday, originally uploaded by Paul-in-London. It seemed fitting on the day it was announced that dining in London is more expensive than anywhere else in the world... To eat out...

Well, it was Busabai in Soho. Rather than do what another boy from Brisbane (well he is from Logan which is just outside of Brisbane and like Peckham but less pretty) did and get arrested on suspicion of racial abuse of the staff, we just started taking photos of the other diners who were well fit...

Dance: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre

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Source: http://www.alvinailey.org

In a week with a head cold from hell (which meant no gym, a lot of rest, and no socialising), it was somewhat of a relief to get out and see Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre at Sadlers Wells on Saturday night. Arriving at the theatre with the above artwork plastered all over the theatre (and most of Islington), I expected little was spent on the costume budget. But in a programme set to legendary jazz music, it turned out to not be the case. This was a bit of a relief as after a week of coughing and spluttering who needs to have somebody else's physical fitness rubbed in your face?

After the first interval I caught up with Fliss who was there with her posse. Fliss signed up to see the show on the strength of a viral video that was doing the rounds in the past month. I was there just for the artistic enrichment (plus I got a great seat at good price). Well that's my story and I'm sticking to it. Anyway I joined them the first interval onwar…

Benefits of a tube strike

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, originally uploaded by Orhan*. 1. You can walk home while the weather is still good
2. Save money on travel fares
3. Excuse to get home early and watch the sultry Nigella flog Waitrose products on the BBC

News: Nobody's going anywhere

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Nobody's going anywhere, originally uploaded by thegareth. Unless you can take shanks's pony, the next few days are going to be a bit of a nightmare... Until today I had no idea what shanks's pony was... I had to look it up... So there's a word for the day...

Overheard from a family on cycles in the park...

Your seat looks really comfortableI don't know why you wanted to start the day cycling at 5pmI wanted to go out much earlier but everything's closedAw come on mum...

Scenes from Kensington Palace Gates Saturday 18:42

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010920072370, originally uploaded by Paul-in-London.
That's the trouble with being the people's princess... The people can be a bit cheap and tacky with their memorials made out of cereal boxes, old newspapers and ball-point pens... Ten years after dying in some car tunnel thanks to a pissed Frenchman, the display at Kensington Palace must be the most hilarious thing in town at the moment... Cheap, tacky and nasty... And that's just the women (of a certain age) there pushing and shoving you if you take too long to read the messages (or photograph them)...

All that was missing was "Die Camilla die"! Don't miss it... Those ASDA flowers won't last the weekend...

Theatre (again): Little Me

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Source: http://www.nymt.org.uk

In a packed week of theatre I also caught a youth theatre production of Little Me which actually was pretty good when you realise it was put together in under two weeks. The night I saw it the sound was a bit off and I couldn't help but wonder what drag queen they stole those wigs from. But Sarah Hagan was lovely as Belle Poitrine... As much as I was able to hear her...

Theatre: The Emperor Jones

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From http://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/

Tuesday night I had the chance to see The Emperor Jones at the National Theatre starring Paterson Joseph. The production originated at the Gate Theatre in 2005 and has been pumped up and given the usual National Theatre treatment such as loads of cast members on stage for no comprehensible reason, shirtless men, gigantic sets, and a large percussion orchestra. Most of the time that is enough to make a show enjoyable but this time I kind of wished I had seen the original production rather than this monster one. Sure the jungle beats were infectious (and so loud that nodding off even during a bit of a dull exposition was only temporary) and Joseph gives a great performance, but it all seemed like it could have benefited from remaining a bit smaller scale...

The play is about a southern American conman Jones, who establishes a dictatorship in the West Indies, only to find himself facing a people's revolt. It made Eugene O'Neil famous. But it …

Scenes from Chinatown Sunday 18:20

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260820072286, originally uploaded by Paul-in-London.
One lady. One large package... Strangely in focus...

Scenes from a barbeque Saturday 18:06

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250820072271, originally uploaded by Paul-in-London.
Bank holiday weekend barbeque conversation starters:
Hey there is sun... That's new for summer...
Is there normally this much smoke in coal-fired barbeque?Has the fire alarm gone off yet?
How do you like my sausages?Are my meat patties brown enough for turning yet?

Theatre: Take Flight

It turned out to be the second time in about a month that I saw a show featuring Amelia Earhart. The first show was An Air Balloon over Antarctica that I saw in Melbourne and which is now getting fabulous reviews at the Edinburgh Fringe. I thought that show was a bit crap with very uninteresting characters, but that just goes to show how much I know...

Anyway this show is a musical about flying planes featuring the Wright brothers, Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart. It is having its world premiere at the Menier Chocolate Factory but it has been in development for a while. I guess songs about engine drag, staying awake and 3.14 squared just don't cut it with investors. It was and obscure choice for a musical but I'd heard word that the songs and the production were good, so I went and saw it with John. John was glad I wanted to see this as he couldn't think of anybody else who would. I was just glad he got there before me and grabbed a good seat since the seating is unres…

Overheard on Clapham High Street

Fat man on phone (walking into Tescos): Look I don't want excuses from you anymore I want results...

Scenes from Soho Square Sunday 18:43

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190820072216, originally uploaded by Paul-in-London. Soho Pride was a quieter affair this year... With the light drizzle it did tend to put people off... Well some people anyway...

Scenes from the Northern Line Thursday 17:30

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Scenes from the Northern Line Thursday 17:30, originally uploaded by Paul-in-London. That would be right... No bloody seat...

Theatre: Bands and Cigarettes

An old school friend sent me a message asking if life in London was an endless stream of theatre productions and overheard conversations. Well basically I would have to say (in between the rest), yes... So bearing that in mind, Fraser and I went to see two short plays by the National Youth Theatre at the Soho Theatre (or should that be the national yoof featre?)...

Anyway, the first play The Band was about a bunch of Manchunians bitching and moaning... I could relate to it as I lived with a Manchunian and that's seem to be what they do best... Fraser wasn't so enthralled by it with all its teen angst and overplayed drama. Besides he was still pissed that I had arrived late to the theatre and there wasn't time for a drink beforehand... Still even sober I thought it was great fun. Even better was that it was short and short is always a good thing... As mid week who has the attention span to last longer than 50 minutes before an interval or break?

The second play was 20 Cigare…

Overheard at the gym last night...

Man #1: Guess what happened to Graham yesterday?
Man #2: No what?
Man #1: He missed his flight.
Man #2: No...
Man #1: Got to Gatwick too late because of mmmmm...
Man #2: Really?
Man #1: So guess where he had to stay last night? Mmmmmm
Man #2: Get outta here...
Man #1: Mmmm hmmm. What Graham wants... Graham gets...

Scenes from the Haywood Gallery Monday 20:30

Image
130820072159, originally uploaded by Paul-in-London. Waiting in a long line to see the Antony Gormley Blind Light (basically a foggy room). It was fun in a disorienting kinda way... And not without its thrills... I was with Anna and she got unintentionally groped by a woman desperately trying to find the exit in an "Oh my God I've gotta get outta here" moment. The rest of the exhibition was even better. It finishes this week...