Sunday, October 26, 2008

Movies: Burn After Reading


Sunday evening I caught the Coen Brother's latest film Burn After Reading. For me it was a great film where cock-ups and sex rather than conspiracy drives the world. Some people leaving the Barbican afterwards were commenting that "it was just farce"... As if that should be a problem with the film... Well I guess these are serious times we are living in but they are also f***ed up enough as well to appreciate a laugh... Particularly when there is a potty mouthed John Malkovich on screen...

Frances McDormand's attempts to get automated voice recognition service of her health insurer to understand her voice reminded me of my attempts to pay my EDF energy bill. In the end I gave up speaking the commands to it and made up my own less than complimentary ones. I always enjoy the parallels with real life. Of course the film wasn't all the real deal... She worked in a gym where all the instructors were over 40... What gym would ever do that???

Hot news this week in London


Another inflated story, originally uploaded by tonypraxis.

Well... Nobody is buying 'em... Nice fashion shoot in the background too...

Overheard at the gym Sunday

Man #1: But what about (whisper whisper)?
Man #2: No that's beef bourguignon...
Man #1: But then isn't that (whisper whisper)...
Man #2: No that's stew and it's much more watery...
Man #1: Oh I thought it was stringy...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Scenes from the British Museum Saturday

Hmm... Nice golden ass...

Saturday at the British Museum

A little bit autumn...

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Scenes from the back row rehearsal

The last two weeks the LGMC has been rehearsing at a school at the Barbican which what it lacks for space to socialise it makes up for convenience of getting home afterwards... While we have been busy beavering away at rehearsals the shows have been selling well... So much so that there is now a Saturday matinee on sale now...

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Monday, October 13, 2008

Irony in London


Fitness First, originally uploaded by Sim Dawdler.

Scenes at the Serpentine

Taking in Frank Gehry's pavilion on a rather sunny day that felt like summer's last gasp... This pavilion is Gehry's first project in England and it will open to the public for another week...

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Theatre: Two Gentlemen of Verona


source:http://www.newstatesman.com

It was a long and fascinating story as to why I found myself at the Barbican Friday evening to see Nos do Morro's production of Shakespeare's Two Gentlemen of Verona. For the purposes of the blog I can attribute it to Dame Fortune and the fact that when I saw AfroReggae with Felicity she had a go at all those white men in the audience trying to dance which turned out to be a source of cheap laughs. After reading my blog, Paul suggested I should go and see this production. I should point out that Paul is another Paul and I am not writing about myself in the third person. It's not that kind of blog...

Anyway, Nos do Morro's production of Two Gentlemen of Verona is a real treat and full of so much energy that you can't help but like it. It is in Portuguese as well which means that I had no idea what they were saying (and the surtitles weren't a direct translation but rather the original Shakespeare text). But I wasn't going to let it bother me like it did in AfroReggae so I just ignored the surtitles after a while. It goes to show that you don't need language to understand passion and energy and excitement. Besides being Shakespeare, you know there is going to be mistaken identity, a woman dressed as a man, a comical subplot, maybe an attempted rape but all gets resolved rather quickly at the end for the better... So it is easy enough to work out where things are going...

This production relies on the actors to create not only the characters but set the scene and this is done with some simple but effective colourful materials and some strategically-placed hands over bare breasts... Traditional Brazilian music featured throughout. By the end of it you felt like it was as much a workout as it was a dramatic performance...

Of course, if you are familiar with Portuguese you are probably going to enjoy it even more (and laugh at the right spots with the jokes as many in the audience were able to do when I was there). But there was a lot to enjoy even without that. The story behind the company is extraordinary enough, but the performances and interpretation of this piece is well worth the effort. It runs until the end of this week.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Scenes on Clapham High Street Saturday

A sure sign the economy is tanking... You can get a table at lunchtime at Breads Etcetera... Without waiting 15 minutes... Now I have never seen that before... The coffee and food is great and so is the view usually (except when I was taking the pictures at this point, what was I thinking?)...

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Monday, October 06, 2008

Scenes from a Rehearsal

The view from the back row... Again...

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Technology: iPhone



I now have an iPhone which means that I can take more photos like this and in a very obvious way. No more sneaking a photo when people aren't looking. Taking a photo with the iPhone is a very obvious act... Still the best thing about it everyone is telling me is that they can see me at a party and then go home and see themselves on the internet... Well that's web 2.0 for you. One can take a photo and upload it via Posterous, Pixelpipe or Shozu so fast that you can totally disturb your friends and unnerve acquaintances...

Of course I will miss my Nokia n95. Sure it was even slower than the iPhone and had a rubbish web browser, awful mp3 player and did odd things with your contacts, calendar and task list, but over my last 18 month contract we learned to get along... After using it for a week I think the iPhone has an average phone, average camera, but an amazing browser and is afterall an iPod mp3 player... It could be the begining of a blurred but beautiful friendship...

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Comedy: Tina C Tick My Box


source: http://www.tinac.net/

Not content to see just one show this week at the Leicester Square Theatre, on Wednesday night I was back there with Richard to see Tina C's show Tick My Box. Having seen Dina Martina with Richard, I think he is becoming my drag act buddy. Well since neither of us are English we don't get so uptight about seeing men dressed up as women as much as some of the young gays on the scene seem to do... Anyway Richard is a bit of a Tina C fan and couldn't believe that as a gay man in London I had not seen her show before. Fortunately for me rather than suggest I should have my pink card revoked, he got me a ticket to her show.

The premise of this show is that Tina C - a self declared country music icon - is running for President of the United States of America and is after your vote. She isn't red (Republican) and she isn't blue (Democrat) but purple, and she want's everyone to vote purple. Hmmm... Sprinkled through the act are a smattering of songs about voting and ticking her box.

Having consumed a few sensible drinks and getting immersed talking to Richard about the US elections and whether Sarah Palin was a drag for the republican ticket, by the time Tina appeared on stage I was in the mood for this sort of show. Sitting so close it was easy to be distracted by Tina's legs. They were incredible. She must work out a lot. Her hair was fantastic too and her character was so sweet it was easy to fall in love with her... Even if she was a white trash redneck. Oh and the act of course was funny and just the sort of thing you need in a late evening show too...

Tina C is played by Christopher Green who also is a ginger and among his many talents has another character called Ida Barr... While Tina is a bit country Ida is a bit music hall... I'm sure Richard will soon fix that... Afterall, that's what drag act buddies are for...

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Hot news this week in London


Global Warming meets Toxic Debt, originally uploaded by Andy Beez.

This time Literally... Well at least the Circle Line will be chilled...

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Comedy: The Kransky Sisters


The Kransky Sisters tea towel, originally uploaded by Paul-in-London.

I went to see the Kransky Sisters Tuesday evening at the Leicester Square theatre and all I got was a lousy tea towel. Well actually... Being a boy from Brisbane I couldn't resist the cultural references. I'm sure growing up I saw that sign countless times on those long (and driving anywhere in Brisbane was long) family drives to dams. Of course you don't have to be from Brisbane to get their weird act, it only helps at the margins... Such as I saw the show with Stephen who is from Glasgow, and I had to explain that it was Wivenhoe Dam not Wife and Hoe Dam. He's going to Australia in a few weeks for a holiday so I figured the Kransky's were a good way to get him used to the place.

The Kransky's act starts with a montage of photos to take the audience on a journey to the place where they are from... Esk to be precisely (which is best described as a few hours west of Brisbane rather than a leisurly drive from the city centre). I had been there so the photos were not necessary, but they paint a vivid picture: steaks that cover a plate, dust, shops with unusual signs, more dust, dead kangaroos and still more dust. The Kransky Sisters then appear on stage and tell their story how they are sisters who listen to the wireless and hear popular music. Using a reed keyboard, musical saw, tuba and guitar they perform their interpretations of these songs.

I first saw the Kransky's back in Brisbane in 2002 and thought they were fantastic then and they have got better and weirder since. They are wonderful characters full of disturbing traits (including long silent pauses and creepy stares at men they fancy in the audience) that will surely remind you of your great aunt... Or maybe that is just if your great aunt is from South East Queensland. Of course they are also great musicians and singers too and their hilarious show is running through to October 12 before they head off to Europe. Not to be missed if you like that creepy sort of thing... It's worth staying to get a tea towell signed too... If you can handle their act up close... Just don't mention you're from Brisbane...

From a safe distance, more of their act can be seen on Youtube: