With smash songs like A Spoonful Of Sugar, Feed The Birds, Chim Chim Cher-ee and the sublime Let's Go Fly A Kite how could it fail? The two show stoppers were the fantastic Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious and roof-top winner Step In Time.
Laura Michelle Kelly as Mary was fabulous. Directors Richard Eyre and Matthew Bourne (who also choreographed) have got it just right. It is an imaginative, energetic and artful production, and no matter your age, by the time Mary floats off the stage with her magical umbrella, you're bound to fly high right along with her.
Mary Poppins is spit spot. And practically perfect in each and every way.
I've got a mouse in my house. A friendly little guy who occasionally pops into the kitchen when we're not around. Well it use to be just occasionally. Now he's getting bolder. Coming back when we're in. Hiding behind the bin. Scratching around and making lots of noise. Tap dancing in clogs I'll be bound. And he's becoming a bit of pest. And I want him out. Dead or alive. So does anyone have any suggestion on how to get rid of him?
Get a cat?
Get a mousetrap? (Humane? Vicious spring-loaded? Electrocuting?)
ISP Be is launching a ADSL2 service this Autumn in London. So what? Well.. - it'll be a 24 meg service - it'll have no caps - it'll no usage limits - it'll cost under £30 a month - it'll come with a free Thomson SpeedTouch 716g wireless router (normally retails £117)
News just in: Microsoft have announced today at a packed press conference that Windows XP will be ported to work on the Intel range of x86 processors. Microsoft strongly denies that this has anything to do with recent announcement from Apple Computer at their worldwide developers conference.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was enthusiastic about the move today as he described one of the largest moves in the operating system's history. "We want to show the world that we can innovate just as well as Apple, this is not about copying them, it's just coincidental." He described the process by which developers will be able to make the transition. "Anyone who is using our current set of development tools will be able to recompile for Intel and be working within years"
Microsoft will be offering a developers' transition pack that consists of an Intel Pentium 4 based PC with a prerelease version of "Windows for Intel" for £99,999. Ballmer justified the price tag by stating that developers "who make serious money from Windows" will want to be on this transition early in the development cycle. "And besides, there's a 'Where's Clippy?' colouring book inside every developer pack," said Ballmer.
When Mr. Ballmer was asked from the press gathering whether Bill Gates had been consulted about this "move" he became agitated as he said, "I don't need to consult Bill on every little technical issue!"
Apple has suggested a two-year time frame for their switch to Intel. Microsoft is not so optimistic, they believe that their transition will take 5-7 years due to the plethora of different hardware implementations they must support. "Moving from one processor to another is easy", he said, "Moving from one processor to that same processor, well, that's difficult."
Nightmare journey into work today: Highbury & Islington closed due to over-crowding. Bus up to Holloway Road. Closed (duh!). Bus down to Angel over-crowded. Another bus to Oxford Street and then walked. It took me 90 minutes door to door. It would have been quicker to have walked the whole way. Oh well, I guess this is what life is going to be like for a while.
Mon Dieu! If any more evidence was needed that I've been going off the rails recently let the following stand as evidence. I've been shoppping. Yes, shopping! Me! And these are some of the things I bought in Paris this weekend; a ton of new clothes, two desktop fans, some cosmetics, a man bag and a new bag to bring it all back in. And I hate shopping. I rest my (suit)case.
10:40: Police have just shot somebody at Stockwell tube station by armed police. He was believed to be attempting another bombing. 10:51: Apparently the man was shot dead while trying to board an underground train by police in civilian clothes. 11:02: Reports that a police unit was setup to ride the tube undercover. It is widely believed that the shot to head was meant to incapacitate bomber. An air ambulance was on the scene earlier but has now left. 11:25: Witnesses are saying they heard six or seven gun shots as they ran out from the lower platforms at Stockwell. 11:27: The man shot was believed to be one of the suicide bombers from yesterday. Eight or nine undercover armed police officers chased the man as be vaulted the barrier at Stockwell. He ran down the escalator. He apparently stumbled which is when the uncover police revealed themselves shouting for people to keep clear and shot him. 11:38: Eye witnesses say five shots hit the man. "I was sitting on the train reading my paper. I heard a load of noise, people saying, 'Get out, get down'! I saw an Asian guy run onto the train hotly pursued by three plain-clothes police officers. One of them was carrying a black handgun - it looked like an automatic - they pushed him to the floor, bundled on top of him and unloaded five shots into him."
Again I'm facing a trip to work on a Friday after a terrorist attack within a few miles from where I work and live. And as I travel in to work a few questions arise: Initial reaction? Inconvenient. Am I nervous? Not really. Am I worried? No. Determined to carry on as normal? Yes. Do I understand the attacks? I think so. Do I understand the bombers? No. Will it happen again? It might. What can I do? Very little. Is this a sustained campaign? I hope not. Will be become a regular part of our lives? I hope not. Do I think the bombers will be caught? Yes. Am I scared? No. Has the latest terrorism 'worked'? No.
I'm off to Gay Paree this afternoon with Marcus; partly Bona AGM, partly R&R, partly to get out of London. Naturally we're travelling first class Eurostar, daaarling: Marcus's treat. And we've got a suite at the fabulous Saint Merry Paris. While I'm there I hope to do some reading, pick up a flower fan and a bit of light le shopping.
13:55: Emergency services are attending three different Tube stations in London following a series of 'incidents'. There were unconfirmed reports of some kind of explosion and smoke at Warren Street, Oval and Shepherd's Bush stations. Also of an 'incident' on a bus (number 26) on the corner of Hackney Road and Colombia Road in Hackney, East London.
14:07: It is thought that they were three 'dummy' explosions using detonators which have sparked the evacuation of three Tube stations in London and the closure of three lines - Northern, Victoria and Hammersmith & City. The fourth 'dummy' explosion was the one on the bus.
14:12: The Hackney bus driver heard a bang at around 1.30pm which appeared to come from the upper deck. When he went upstairs to investigate, the windows on the upper deck were blown out. He then evacuated the bus and the police evacuated the surrounding area.
14:15: People told to get off their mobile phones in the affected area due to the possibility of potential unstable devices.
14:17: Reported that armed police gone into UCH hospital near Warren Street tube.
14:25: Passengers on the Victoria line train report that they smelt a burning electrical smell. They all tried to rush into the next carriage. Shortly after the train pulled into Warren Street - and the train and station was then evacuated. There are reports of a man carrying a rucksack which suddenly exploded. It was a minor explosion but enough to blow open his rucksack.
14:41: A witness says that at Oval a man with a rucksack was wrestling with three men and then managed to escape.
15:25: A man was also arrested by armed police at the gates of Downing Street.
Space fans will know that yesterday was the 36th anniversary of the first manned Moon landing on 20th July 1969. To celebrate this rather non-significant fact, Google has knocked up a Moon map showing the landing sites of all six US landings. And in the process, Google has discovered something approaching a sense of humour. Click here and then zoom right in for the full picture.
Google Earth is great fun. "Google Earth combines satellite imagery, maps and the power of Google Search to put the world's geographic information at your fingertips." Bit of a hefty download but lots to see and great fun to see which of your neigbours has a pool.
Anyone fancy joining me for one or more of these films?
London's big screen under the stars. For five nights this August, FilmFour, the UK's most innovative production company and film channel, joins forces with London's most original outdoor venue, Somerset House, to create a night at the movies like no other.
Cutting edge technology and the splendour of the 18th century courtyard combine for The Summer Screen, an inspired programme of classic films, favourites and special previews. A stunning setting ideal for an urban picnic, with global cuisine and live DJing. Come and dream with your eyes open.
Tuesday 16th Aug - Close Encounters Of The Third Kind Wednesday 17th Aug - A Matter Of Life And Death Thursday 18th Aug - Spirited Away Friday 19th Aug - Flash Gordon Saturday 20th Aug - Shaun Of The Dead & Land Of The Dead Special Preview
Doors 6.30pm; DJs from 7.30pm; Introduction and Film 9.15pm. Somerset House, Strand, London WC2
I've left the city for a few days. A few days rest and respite down in Devon. First I'm staying with my very dear friends Tony and Gordon at their glorious pile (Kaywana Hall) in Kingwear just near Dartmouth. And from there I'll be moving on to stay with my equally close friends Christopher and Stuart at their cottage in Slapton. I intend to swim in their pool, read my book and lie in the sun. I really need some downtime.
It is expected that millions of people across Europe will join the people of London in a two minute silence, a week after the bombings that killed at least 52 and injured 700. The mayor, Ken Livingstone, has urged London buses and cabs to stop; Tube trains will still run but the silence, at 1200 BST, will be announced. People are being urged to stand outside homes and offices. A vigil will also be held at 1800 BST in Trafalgar Square.
UPDATE at 12:05: Berkeley Square is normally a bustling and noisy place with cars, lorries, cabs and people. But just now it was totally silent. About two thousand people came out of their offices at noon and just stood. In silence. The cabs stopped. The bikes stopped. The noise stopped. Very moving.
On Sunday night Kev and I went to see Sigur Ros performing at Somerset House. Those Icelandic good time boys (and girls?) wowed us with their high-kicking quick-fire bubble-gum pop songs... ok, ok... I'm joshing of course... Sigur Ros are better known for their anthemic, mostly untitled, part-Icelandic, part-English 8+ minute tracks that put them fairly and squarely in the realm of prog rockers. Fabulously atmospheric in a perfect setting.
We went down there on Kev's motor bike - me hanging on the back for dear life. Naturally we stopped off at Comptons on the way there and the way back. Well you would, wouldn't you? Great fun.
Like hell it was! Flatmate Paul was away, flatmate Drew was away, the brakes were off. Let's get ready to rumble/fumble/tumble!
I'll not bore you with all the gory details here but Bowie had it right with the expression "putting out fire with gasoline". Martin, Frank, Andy, Kevin, Blake, Eric, 8 other people who I didn't catch the names of, an Italian doctor at A&E, Kevin (a different one), Martin (again) and the lovely Clare all had walk on parts in my weekend of overindulgence. But don't get me wrong, I wasn't taking anything dodgy to fuel my weekend of madness - my recipe for excess was a simple one; moderate beer intake, sunny weather, an over-excitable nature and a bucket of adrenaline. Stir and stand well back.
And having got all that out of system I had a great night's sleep last night and am fresh as a daisy today. Go figure. A mad weekend? I must have needed it.
Erasure frontman Andy Bell has signed a worldwide solo recording deal with Sanctuary Records, and announced details of his debut album, which will be released on 3rd October 2005, and entitled 'Electric Blue'.
The first single release will be 'Crazy', released on September 26th. The single will come on three formats, with club remixes from Erasure partner Vince Clarke, plus Cicada, MHC and King Roc. It will also feature additional non-album tracks and the video, which is being made by the award-winning Al + Al.
The album features 14 brand new tracks, including two duets, with Claudia Brucken (of Propaganda and Act) and Jake Shears (of Scissor Sisters), and encompasses a variety of musical genres.
Live dates are being planned for late 2005/early 2006, and the trio are also planning a series of PA's and DJ gigs around album release.
As one half of Erasure, Andy Bell has sold in excess of 20 million records worldwide, and chalked up over 30 hit singles. Latest album 'Nightbird' received huge critical acclaim, as did a recent sold-out European and North American tour.
It was a bit unnerving to travel through King's Cross station just now on the way to work. But now I'm in work I can reflect a little on my journey home yesterday and the people I saw.
Last night I'd decided to meet up with Drew after work. He had come back into the city via Victoria - a short hop from Green Park where I am - so it made sense that we hook up to go home together. There were obviously no tubes running so it was the pavement for us - along with thousands of others trying to make their way home. Although in fact the buses seemed to be running a reasonable enough service as far as I could tell we still decided to walk. The sun was shining on our city after all.
As I say there were many people at street level but I wouldn't say it was rammed. As many as in a typical rush hour crowd perhaps with a smattering more tourists thrown into the mix. But the thing that was slightly more unusual than normal was that there was precious little traffic on the roads; just the odd taxi, the odd bus and the odd car. I guess most people in vehicles had left the city already or just not wanted to drive in at all.
On a normal day our walk home would have taken perhaps an hour or so. But this was not a normal day. Our city had been bombed. We felt like a drink. A beer or two to steady our nerves. Well, we tried for a beer or two. But our nerve steadying mission was thwarted almost immediately we got to Bar Code. Bar Code was closed. How about Comptons? Comptons was closed. The Admiral Duncan? Also closed. Ho hum. We'd just have to keep going I guess. Maybe a pub in Islington would be more accommodating.
It was an interesting walk home I can tell you.
By the time we'd got to Angel, almost completing our journey, we had come across simply dozens upon dozens of policemen. Granted we'd passed very close to Russell Square en route but even further out from the centre on every street there were uniformed policemen. Some just pounding the beat (always in pairs, mind you). Some in police cars with giant numbers painted on the roofs screeching up and down the roads sirens blaring as if they were playing some giant game of sudoko controlled from the police helicopters in the air. Some policemen were standing at road blocks whispering urgently into walkie-talkies. Some were in police vans looking bored just waiting for that call while others had crowds of map waving tourists around them wanting directions. There were policemen everywhere. The atmosphere was a little weird to put it mildly. Unworldly almost. Like a Police World where the hi-vis jacket was the norm. Where were all these policemen earlier? Where will they go later? They seemed to have appeared from thin air.
The faces of many of the people walking with us as we progressed through the bustling streets of London were hard to read at first. Some seemed to be just trudging home, tired and looking forward to an end of this day of disruption - not really caring much about what was going on but perhaps looking forward to a day off tomorrow. Others looked perhaps a little more concerned. Where were they going? Should they be avoiding the trouble spots? Should they be worried that there may be other bombs?
But the majority were just walking. Walking and talking. Mobiles stuck to ears chatting to friends and family on their mobiles. "Yes, I'm fine. Yes, Mum, I'm fine. No, I don't get that line anymore. I'm fine." This mass of people was gradually making it's way home perhaps only mildly put out that it actually had to use it's collective set of legs for once rather than let public transport take the strain. For all these people it seemed a mere minor inconvenience that four bombs had gone off less than a mile away. Terror wasn't something that happened to them or indeed affected them - it happens over there not here - life goes on in a city - I've got to get home, there's Eastenders to watch - you can't let these things get to you, that's what they would want - it's just part of living in a city. For these people, the majority walking home last night I'd say, terrorism just doesn't work. They were completely unphased by it. Tomorrow will be just another day.
10:15am: We are currently under attack by terrorists. There have been explosions at tube stations and on buses around London - Aldgate, Old Street, King's Cross, Edgware Road, Taverstock Place. The tube network is down, our phones are down, the mobile networks are jammed and reports are coming in of casualties.
10:52am: Another explosion in Taverstock Place. Reports of "the bus ripped open like a can of sardines and bodies everywhere."
10:55am: "At least 90 casualties" at the Aldgate station explosion. Which I guess means injuries and possibly some deaths too.
11:19am: Now confirmed; six reported explosions on the tube - Aldgate, Edgware Road, King's Cross, Moorgate, Old Street and Russell Square stations. Three explosions reported on buses - but only one is confirmed - Taverstock Place.
12:56am: Turns out there were just four confirmed explosions. One on a train between Algate and Liverpool Street tube stations. One on a train between King's Gross and Russell Square tube stations. One at Edgware Road tube station and one on a bus near Woburn Place - thought to be a suicide bomber. A previously unknown group calling itself "Secret Organisation al Qaeda in Europe" have claimed responsibility.
02:27pm: Sky News are reporting that "at least 33 people are reported to have been killed and 1,000 injured"
03:15pm: The first blast hit a train leaving Liverpool Street Station between Moorgate and Aldgate East at 8.51am. Seven people are confirmed dead in that blast. At 8.56am a blast occured on a train between King's Cross and Russell Square killing 21 people. Five people were killed in a blast at Edgware Road Tube station. Three trains are believed to have been hit by this explosion at 9.17am. At 9.47am a number 30 bus at Upper Woburn Place was hit by a fourth blast. Emergency services could not confirm the number of dead in this attack.
My friend Martin was on the King's Cross train but luckily he survived. This is the message he sent me a little while ago: "hi there - I was on the train at KX that the bomb went off on. i was stuck down there for about 25mins, but then the smoke got so bad that a guy smashed a window in and we managed to squeeze through, I was about the tenth person to escape. Just rested with the police then walked home - wasn't til I got home that I found out it was a bomb - we thought there was an electrical fault so I was home by about 10.30. I was pretty scared, did think about the possibility of not being able to get out. but the carriage next to ours was pitch black so that looked worse. I was a bit panicy but was distracted as I was trying to help this young English girl and Polish woman to calm down. I kept saying to the Polish one that it was OK and things like this happened on the tube etc - but all the Londoners kept staring at me as if to say 'no it doesn't' got pretty dirty, and my lungs hurt a little, but a bath and washed all my clothes so feeling more together."
Which popular blogger invited me round to his gaff last night? (Such invitations are about as rare as a purple squirrel) Which same blogger also cooked me dinner? (Curry if you must know. And delicious it was too. His ability to cook apparently honed on feeding the five thousand every weekend in Norfolk) Which same blogger showed me his wedding snaps and recent holiday snaps? (Quite an eye for composition if a slight obsession with flowers) Which same blogger also showed me his favourite comedy subtitles from porn films? (Oh yes he did) Which same blogger then treated me to a mini breakneck bus tour of East London followed by a pint at the George and Dragon? (You really should charge, m'dear) Which same blogger listened to me bang on about my personal woes with appropriate nods and comments that not only implied he was hearing but actually listening too? (With precious few outward signs of boredom) Which same blogger gets oodles of brownie points for being a friend and laying on a great evening? (Let's do it again soon)
Drew, a load of his friends, I and 20,092 other people headed off to watch Surrey take on Kent in the Twenty20 series at the Brit Oval last Friday night. In Twenty20 matches each side has just one innings per side, each innings limited to a maximum of (theoretically) 20 overs. The first innings starts at 5.30pm, the interval at 6.45pm and the second innings ends by 8.15pm. So it perfectly suits popping along after work for a couple of hours of fun in the sun. Only it wasn't particularly sunny it has to be said. It rained. Quite a lot. So much so that we retired to the pub for a while. Still, when play resumed Surrey 167-6 (15 overs) beat Kent 144-8 (15 overs) by 23 runs maintaining their position at the top of the South Division.
Kath and Kim fans come in all shapes and sizes - why there are 'little' fans like my friend Ben who might watch an occasional episode and smile here and there. "All very amusing", he'll say. And then there are big fans like me, Andy, Guy, most UK TV critics and the entire population of Australia who watch it at every opportunity usually with fine wine spouting out of our noses as we laugh, giggle, guffaw, snort, roll and/or roar at every gag.
But a new breed of Kath and Kim fan has recently been brought to my attention (yes, I'm talking about YOU Jennifer and Lucy!). These fans are so big that they leave we mere 'big' fans for dust. These new super-sized fans find that Kath and Kim consume their every waking moment. They are a type of uber-fan. A fan so dedicated that they design, develop and publish their own jaw-dropping Kath and Kim web site.
Today is Gay Pride in London. And I along with (so the BBC expects) more than 30,000 people will be taking to the streets of London for the annual Gay Pride festival and parade. Taking time out from fronting Live8 Bob Geldof is kicking-off Pride march in Park Lane. Good for him. The march will go past Trafalgar Square where there will be a rally with the usual politicos. There will also be a cabaret in Leicester Square. Should be a right old giggle. Can't wait.
And later tonight I'm off to an evening of Gay Shame at the Coronet. It's Duckie's annual event that promises A Gay Grand Guinoil, A Homosexual Horror Show and A Funeral for Fag Fundamentalists (starring our own, our very own Kiki & Herb). It'll be the usual heady and bold mix of "clubbing and contemporary theatre in a visual and musical fantasia that is part Death Camp and part the Death of Camp."
We are urged to "wear black, look down and help put gay liberation back by 50 years. Hear confessions, explore obsessions and submit to depressions. Featuring Old Fashioned Illusions, Faggot Film Noir, Bad Porn, Public Health Warnings, Pathetic Peepshows, and 10 Spectacular Murders. This event is for Sad Old Queens, Lonely Lesbians, Closet Cases, Bitter Bull Dykes, Men who have sex with Men, and their Friends and their Fans."
As with all Duckie events - it'll be hilarious. Can't wait either.