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Bear with me: Stitches @TheHopeTheatre

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What if your teddy bear could talk? My ten-year-old self would think that to be excellent. My more recent self would think it was a high-concept buddy movie with Mark Wahlberg. But in Stictches, Jonathan Blakeley's monologue, which he has written and performed, traces the life of his beloved Chloe, from when she was first given to him by her grandmother, wrapped with a red ribbon. It becomes a story not just about a cute bear (or maybe that should be rough, shaggy-looking bear given the performer’s appearance) observing life but an exploration of life and all of its stages. It's currently playing at the Hope Theatre .  The bear is not warm and fuzzy; he is a bit of a character and tough-talking, but also a bit anxious about being accepted and then discarded as nothing. But he is there to bear witness as she navigates the complicated facets of growing up and having a life. Ultimately, the bear has to deal with being consigned to a box with her other memories until circumstances

Scenes from London Naked Bike Ride


Picture 500, originally uploaded by Paul-in-London.

It is that time of year again when naked people cycle through the streets of London. While it lacked the body paint and noise of last year's ride, it made up for that with the huge numbers of naked people cycling.

And amongst all this full-frontal nudity there was a message that we should get back to nature and stop relying on oil... More ass, less gas or something like that...

Walking back through Hyde Park afterwards one stumbled across a sea of naked and semi-naked people who had finished the ride. There were also loads of people taking photographs of this nakedness. I resisted the urge to capture close up nudity in favour of the magic of the ride... Besides some things are best viewed when they are whizzing by you...

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