Monday, August 25, 2008

Icons of London: Bus stops


250820088463, originally uploaded by Paul-in-London.

That Olympic handover ceremony in Beijing yesterday was really a chance for an overlooked London icon to have its moment in the sun: the bus stop (not to be confused with the bendy bus in the background). While a bus stop looks like a needle in haystack in a large stadium, in its natural habitat it seems to be of sensible enough proportions... Looking forward to seeing other pieces of public infrastructure on display for the opening ceremony such as, double yellow lines and burst water mains...

Theatre: The Year Of Magical Thinking



Saturday night I finally caught up with The Year of Magical Thinking which has been playing since April at the National Theatre. Featuring Vanessa Redgrave on a chair, it tells the story of American author Joan Didion and how over a year she lost both her husband and her daughter and the process she went through in dealing with it (or more to the point not dealing with it). The play is based on her book however it exapnds the story to include the loss of her daughter as well. There is such a frank honesty to this story that even with the subject matter you can't help but be drawn into it. Perhaps it is the way it constantly asks the audience to reflect on this story as it will happen to all of us: the details will be different but the end result is the same. It was certainly was a novel way of reminding us all about our own mortality and how dealing with it is part of life.

Perhaps the subject matter (people die), the fact that it was the bank holiday weekend and people may not be up for death, or the dire state of the economy forcing people to cut back on trips to the theatre were reasons behind why the theatre wasn't very full. But for those of us there to see Redgrave's performance, we were all very grateful. A production that once it finishes its run at the National will no doubt continue to tour. And yet another enjoyable monologue to see in London this summer.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Overhead conversations of the summer...

Woman near Soho Square: I don't even say knickers any more; I just say, "get your daks off..."
Homeless man on Oxford Street: I 'ope your 'ouse 'as been buuuurgled...

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Movies: Wall-E



Earlier this week I caught Wall-E at the movies with Francois. I was keen to see what all the fuss was about. After watching it Francois told me that the central message of the film really was that it is okay to like musicals. I thought that was a fair assessment but added that given that Hello Dolly is central to the love story between Wall-E and Eve (the sexy female robot), it is reassuring that Jerry Herman musicals can appeal to heterosexual robots... Worth catching even if you don't like musicals as it is not a bad film... And there are a number of sci-fi film references too...

Hot news this week in London...


Meanwhile, in Kilburn..., originally uploaded by LinkMachineGo.

Well in Kilburn anyway... At least there is still the Tricycle Theatre for entertainment...

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Scenes from Soho Pride Sunday

Pectorals galore too... Soho Pride isn't anything other than an excuse to close streets in Soho and have some drinks and a good time... Fair enough... Of course there was competition with the Olympics on television...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Trends in London this week...


Giant Lasagna, originally uploaded by pg73.

The growing threat of giant lasagne attacking the London population this summer has been underestimated...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Hot news this week (even outside) London...


Popcorn Ban, originally uploaded by gerry balding.

Not a lot happens in Norwich... But the Picturehouse chain's plans to get rid of popcorn from its arthouse cinemas was big news Sunday... Of course in Clapham the biggest problem at the cinema is the sound of clinking wine glasses... Well it was last night anyway...

Office banter

Paul: You know he's very Web 2.0

Colleague: I don't even know what that means...
Paul: Well... What's it matter... It sounds impressive...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Trends in London this week...


Class: someone has it!, originally uploaded by Carlo Nicora.

Shaving is so last month... Grrr...

Movies: Man On Wire



Monday night (after getting over a weekend of stomach flu) I caught the doco Man On Wire about Philippe Petit's high wire walk between the Twin Towers in New York City. There was something nauseating about watching Petit on screen. He wasn't the most likeable of subjects, and irritating to the point that you would want to punch him... But even assholes have their purpose. In the long planning for this stunt, they shot some fantastic footage (including of the World Trade Centres) and it is the slice of life from the times that makes it worth watching. The story about the reaction of New York to the feat is interesting as well (although much more brief)... Now if only we knew why none of the conspirators talk to each other today? Or why that Australian man was semi-nude in one scene? And in the days pre-cheap flights, how did they afford all these flights? At least the title was explained by the end of the film... Worth catching while it is still in cinemas, if you can stomach the subject (not the heights)...

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Theatre: Elaine Stritch at Liberty



I thought it might have been anti-climactic to finally see Elaine Stritch at Liberty, which is on a limited return run at the Shaw theatre. I have had the album of the show for about many years, and the DVD of it too. But to see it live... Well... That was still something else... Ok so the show is a tightly scripted piece of work, but it also is the gold standard now for solo shows; self critical, great anecdotes (including the above one about working with Ethel Merman) and hilariously bitchy... It was worth seeing the 82 year old broad in tights belt out songs and show how a real pro does it... And she does it for two-and-a-half hours.

Going with Mark was interesting as (unlike me), he was well aware of Stritch from her television work in the UK, but normally we have totally different taste in theatre. He hated Sunday in the Park with George for instance and has taunted me about it ever since. So I was surprised that he was speechless at intermission, and it wasn't just because he had been sitting in the theatre for ninety minutes without a cigarette...

For me, being so familiar with the work it was almost tempting to want to help prompt her with "Agnes De Mille!" while she was struggling with the name of who choreographed the musical Goldilocks... I left the audience participation to others however... My only quibble with the show was the fat queen behind me who decided that "Why do the Wrong People Travel?" from Sail Away was a sing-along... That's the trouble with these shows... It isn't the performers but the audience you have to be wary of...

Stritch had an afternoon session today with Elaine Paige as well which surely must have been fascinating to have witnessed and hopefully somebody has blogged about it. Stritch's show runs through to Sunday at the Shaw... And it is worth seeing more than just once...

Idle banter Wednesday...

Paul: A mate of mine thought the Brazilian in the photo was his ex from Luton.
Mark: Um... Luton doesn't do it for me in the same way as Sao Paulo does...

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Trends in London this week...


., originally uploaded by Alta Vista.

Men are picking smoothies to match their ties...

Scenes from Brighton Pride Saturday


020820087988, originally uploaded by Paul-in-London.

There was much dancing and carrying on in Preston Park... There was a fair amount of eye candy too...

Friday, August 01, 2008

Hot news this week in London...

Another week another fall in house prices, and another Facebook party that gets out of hand...

Overheard at Marks and Spencer Waterloo

Mumbling woman (looking at the chocolate): Oooh I just want some chocolate... I just want some chocolate...