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Christmas Mysteries: A Sherlock Carol @MaryleboneTHLDN

A mash-up of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol and Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes would seem an unlikely pairing. Yet it provides a surprisingly fun Christmas-themed adventure. These two Victorian tales (albeit separated by about 40 years) provide the basis for an inspired adventure at Christmastime that just also happens to turn out to be a murder mystery as well. With lavish costumes, a few spooky set pieces and some good old-fashioned stage trickery with lights and a lot of smoke machines, it is hard to resist. It returns to the Marylebone Theatre for Christmas after a run there last year.  The premise is that after Holmes sees off the criminal mastermind Professor Moriarty, he is left adrift in London. People thought he was dead, and he might as well be. Disinterested in the misdeeds of other Londoners, Holmes has even given up on his friend Dr Watson. It's almost as if he has become a Scrooge. Or half a Scrooge, moping about shouting, "bah" in respon
Zip! I'm a little hectic
One thing I didn't mention about last Saturday was that two things happened to me.
* I stepped in my first dog poop
* The zip to my Marcs trousers (thats WITHOUT an apostrophe) broke while I was at Oxford so I had to walk around with my fly down for most of the trip. Fortunately I was not only wearing high quality underwear, but I was also wearing a jersey that covered the problem.
Well anyway, I thought that I could get the problem fixed this week. Alas it turns out being somewhat fashionable trousers (you can't call them pants here as that is what they call underwear) they only have a five inch zip. Standard issue zips come at six inches. I was told on Green Lanes if I could come up with a five inch zip the tailors would fit it for £6.

Touristing II
* After hearing about 2 jobs that didn't work out, I went to the Tate Modern gallery to take a look at what was there. There was something for everyone there, although I did tend to wonder about some of the exhibits just being there as a dare by the artist to the curator. The best thing was the inflatable sculptures out the front, the black one being the largest inflatable object in the world. You could go inside it and buy for £3 candy from a vending machine based on its nose. Quite a joke.
* Armed with this weeks time out magazine (which has been very useful in finding out what is on in London since without a 128 page guide you wouldn't have a clue), I noticed that there was a new print of the Charlie Chaplin film "The Great Dictator" screening at the Barbican .

Had I checked my Time Out guide of London I would have read that the venue is the most inaccessable building in London. Located in the heart of The City, a massive sprawling complex of 4000 dwellings and purportedly the largest arts centre in Europe was built in the early 70s. It made me think of the tasteless Bardon Education Centre but multiply that at least ten times. This area was levelled by the Blitz and many Londoners are hoping something will level this attrocity again.

But it gets better. Inside the Barbican there are foyers and levels and walkways and signs all telling you not much. There was an eerie quiet inside the building as well. All you could hear was the hum of the fluro lighting and the opening and closing of a faulty automatic door. I eventually found out that the cinema was located two floors below the building and managed to get a ticket. The cinema itself was gorgeous, but it was such a perplexing adventure to get to it. Incidentally they are redeveloping the foyer section of the building and are demolishing many walkways and entrances that people have never used.

It is amazing how one building could be so bad. The stage door is more prominent than the entrance way. The signs are incoherent. There are only two lifts to take you to the basement out of four and you find out if you are on the right one once you are on it. Even the bathrooms are over-engineered. Rather than taps you have rubber steps that you step on to release water. You release the paper towels to dry your hands by pushing forward a lever and then the paper comes out and then you tear it off. Upon leaving the cinema and walking back to Barbican tube, it was like a set out of a futuristic sci fi film where only the hum of the air ducts and the whir of the CCTV cameras could be heard. The City at night is really quite deserted!

But as for the arts program at the Barbican... well it is very smart. The LSO and the English National Opera are there, so now that I have navigated my way around the place I will be back! Oh and the Charlie Chaplin film wasn't too bad. It is a bit eerie watching satire about persecution of jews made as they were being killed. His view of the industrial age pervades throughout, and he ends with a speech direct to the audience that was used against him during the McCarthy hearings in the 1950s suggesting he had socialist sympathies.

Stripes are holding
As for what is fashionable around the town...
* Stripey shirts are still in for another season... although more variety
* Shoes that are pointy are everywhere. If they are not pointy they are decorative (such as with a flower)
* Urban streetwear is still everywhere. Smart track tops, funky street shoes, and denim with marks or paint on it is the way to go...

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