Quote Of The Day

"Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake - Chessmaster Savielly Grigorievitch Tartakower (1887-1956)"

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Children’s Hour...

Last night Stu and I went to see Lillian Hellman's masterpiece The Children’s Hour at the Comedy Theatre in London's glitzy West End.

Directed by Ian Rickson - fresh from the theatrical triumph of Jerusalem - it is a drama set in an all-girls boarding school run by two women, Karen Wright (Keira Knightley) and Martha Dobie (Elisabeth Moss). An angry student, Mary Tilford, runs away from the school and to avoid being sent back she tells her grandmother that the two headmistresses are having a lesbian affair. The accusation proceeds to destroy the women's careers, relationships and lives.

Keira Knightley was excellent - tall, composed and beautiful. Elisabeth Moss (her off of Mad Men) was the star though - convincing, moving and compelling. She was simply brilliant. Ellen Burstyn (the mum off of The Exorcist) was also tip-top. Carol Kane as the maid and Tobias Menzies as the doctor/beau were good too. Go see.

William Wyler's 1961 film version starred Audrey Hepburn, Shirley MacLaine, and James Garner.
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Thursday, January 27, 2011

O2 Plans UK-wide Wi-Fi Network...

Mobile operator O2 is launching a free wi-fi service in the UK, which it promises will be double the size of existing networks by 2013 taking it to 13,000 hotspots. O2 said access to the hotspots would be through a simple sign-up process and would be free to both O2 and non-O2 customers. The free internet access will log the customer's location and details for better delivery of targeted advertising. This will all be paid for by the venue that hosts the wi-fi router, which might also like to make use of that advertising channel. After registering your mobile number it will be confirmed with a text message. O2 then links the number to the MAC code (unique identity) of the kit connected, enabling it to automatically authorise future connections as well as spotting when the customer enters an area covered - enabling the delivery of the aforementioned advertising by text message or MMS. Simples.
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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Arsenal 3 - 0 Ipswich (agg 3 - 1)...

Last night Paul and I went to watch the mighty Arsenal take on Ipswich Town in the 2nd leg of the Carling Cup semi-final at the Emirates Stadium. Not sitting in our usual seats we were nearer the 9,000 away fans. Fans who were being pretty vocal - having beaten us 1-0 at Portman Road in the 1st leg and sensing a big upset. It took us until the sixty-first minute before Nicklas Bendtner opened up the scoring. Three minutes later Laurent Koscielny headed another in from a corner. Finally Cesc Fabregas sealed the visitors' fate on the seventy-seventh minute. 3-0 the result (3-1 on aggregate). "You're not singing, you're not singing, you're not singing anymore. You're not singing anymore."

Arsenal will now play either Birmingham or West Ham in the final at Wembley Stadium on Sunday 27th February as we attempt to win their first silverware since the 2005 FA Cup.

UPDATE: Looks like we'll be playing Birmingham City in the final then.
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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

YouTube Time Machine (YTTM)...

Give it a year and it'll give you videos from that year, covering 1860 to date. That's your day buggered. Check out the marvellous YouTube Time Machine.

Here's one from 1961. The banned Flintstones smoking commercial:

Or from 1977, Julie Andrews singing Lonely Goatherd on The Muppet Show:

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Boys Moved Out Last Night

The boys moved out last night. It has been really lovely having Mark and Darren living with me this last year or so. I got to know Mark so much better with our early morning coffee and late night chats. We watched TV, put on silly wigs and laughed together. And Darren is so much fun to live with - he's a great cook, great company and just a joy to be around. I'll miss those guys... but really please that they have found a place to call home.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Invisible Man...

Last Friday Stu treated me to a night at the theatre. We went to see The Invisible Man at the Menier Chocolate Factory in London's glitzy South Bank / London Bridge Quarter.

Following the plot of the original book quite closely the story was of a scientist who turns himself invisible but cannot become visible again, becoming mentally unstable as a result. The show however was framed within an Old Time Music Hall setting - the players regularly breaking the forth wall peppering the action with topical jokes. A sort of preposterous pantomime with added death, magic and a chorus line.

The cast did an excellent job. Gary Wilmot was fuuny as the tramp. The innkeeper's gal played by Natalie Casey was also good - especially when she jumped into my lap! And John Gordon Sinclair as the rarely seen hero gave just the right level of menace.

But it was the magic that really wowed. The illusionist behind the show Paul Kieve was the star. He brought us such tricks as curtains being opened, drawers being rifled and papers being shuffled all by the invisible character. A bread knife, with no wires visibly attached, hovered in the air and threatened the throat of a suspicious innkeeper. The crowning glory though was the big reveal - the dressing-gowned hero peels the bandages off his head only to reveal a total void still puffing on a glowing cigarette.

We laughed at the silliness, gasped at the magic and were thoroughly entertained throughout. Go see. Runs until 13th Feb.
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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

La Soiree...

Last Saturday Mick Clark, Wyn Blight, Heath McIntyre, Tim Eaton, Johannes Ziehl, Stuart Archer, me, Juggy Jones, Mark Ashley, Stuart Wetherell, Elton Rocha, Andrei Nikulin, Nick Rigg, Ben Burch, Oliver Lan, Jeremy Summerfield, Johnny Woodbine, Robert Wood, Simon Jaffer and our organiser Chris J Davis all went to see La Soiree on the South Bank. Lots of eye-popping cabaret in a circus tent. Go see, go see, go see. It's fab. More snaps here.

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Monday, January 17, 2011

Barcelona (Shaun Ryder. No, really)...

One of Shaun Ryder’s most unusual collaborations was his appearance on the British tenor Russell Watson’s 2001 debut album The Voice. Ryder lent his vocals to the Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballé song "Barcelona". No, really.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

AIDS Bib...

Amazon has just recommended that I buy a baby bib with the word AIDS written on it. Who am I to disagree? I was just about to buy it when I happened upon this review by P. M. Johnson (UK): "I feel a little let down by this AIDS bib. I have about 40 AIDS bibs for my son and this by far is the biggest disappointment. He will not even throw up on it as he is so disappointed with the colour scheme. Do not take AIDS bibs fans for fools, we love high quality AIDS bibs. Please listen to the public, we need ones showing the true horror of aids, silhouettes are so 1980's AIDS bibs."
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Friday, January 07, 2011

Adventures of a Plumber's Mate...

I had the day off today so have called in a plumber to give my central heating system a Power Flush. The plumber's mate is currently banging my pipes and radiators with his rubber hammer whilst the plumber is manning the pump. They need to get my sludge moving apparently. There are pumps, pipes, plastic sheeting, hydromagnets, tools and arse-cracks as far as the eye can see. Such fun. And all for £300 + VAT. Or so they quoted.

UPDATE: Unfortunately the radiator in my bathroom is refusing to work. They suspect a fault valve somewhere under the floorboards so they may need to rip up the hermetically sealed lino in the bathroom and possibly the carpet and floorboards on the landing. Doesn't sound cheap...

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Thursday, January 06, 2011

New Year's Eve...

We had a fabulous New Year's Eve out with the boys last Friday. After a meal at home and a few drinks we got the tube into town at about 10pm and spent four hours laughing, drinking and mucking about at The Duke Of Wellington in Soho. Such fun.

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UK music sales decline for sixth consecutive year...

The BBC reports: The BPI has blamed illegal downloading for the drop in sales, and has again called for "meaningful action" to tackle the issue.

However, Jim Killock of the Open Rights Group said: "Music companies should make albums more compelling, rather than calling for families to be cut off the internet.

"Music competes with games, video and TV for your hard-earned cash," he continued.

"Record labels are masters of their own fate and need to stop blaming their customers for their industry's own failures."

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