Quote Of The Day

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

Friday, August 31, 2012

You Me Bum Bum Train...

Last night Sarah, Roger, Stuart and I went to Stratford - not to watch The Games this time but to play a game. Of sorts. We went to ride You Me Bum Bum Train. The personal theatrical experience that we love so much. It was amazing, powerful, funny & bizzare! Top notch!

It's hard to explain without giving the secrets away. It's like going to the theatre but you don't sit - you walk, crawl and (sometimes) get carried through the performance. There's a cast of hundreds but they all perform just for you. You go one at a time and you can either simple watch, laugh or take part as you want. It's brilliant. And very funny. You all meet up at the end and talk about what has just happened. Everyone wants to do it again!

"This is the eighth time the Bum Bum Train has pulled into London and the format is largely unchanged: each audience member is taken on their own immersive, interactive ride, stopping off at a series of disconnected scenes manned by some 200 volunteers. The experience relies entirely on surprise, but we can say the latest concoctions from creators Kate Bond and Morgan Lloyd are astonishing in both their realism and their logistics. Contrary to common criticism, they're about more than just spectacle. The show challenges your creativity, confidence and courage, allows the timid to find a voice and extroverts to revel. Perhaps more subtly, it prods at notions of control and trust. It's a very special 45 minutes indeed: eye-opening, magical, memorable and utterly unique."

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Paralympics Opening Ceremony...

Last night Stu and I went to the Paralympics Opening Ceremony. It was simply amazing. Heartfelt, spectacular and joyful. Professor Stephen Hawking and Ian McKellen added gravitas to the wonderful evening.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Meltdown 2012: Laurie Anderson Dirtday!...

A few weeks ago Paul and I went to see Laurie Anderson perform Dirtday! as part of the Antony Hegarty curated Meltdown festival at The Royal Festival Hall on London's glitzy South Bank. The third and last in her series of solo story works, which includes Happiness and The End of the Moon, Dirtday! is the culmination of Anderson's ground breaking work in this genre. Dirtday! sees Anderson present her views on politics, theories of evolution, families, history, and even animals. Set against a detailed and lush sonic landscape, the powerful and soulful collection of songs and stories create a unique picture, a hallucinatory world made of dreams and reality. We simply loved it.
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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Watlington Rectory Aug 2012...

Last Saturday Jane and Paul invited David, David, Andy. Stu and I up to the Rectory in Waltington for the scattering Ian Martin's ashes at the Rectory. He was laid to rest under the Turkish Oak.

Friday, August 24, 2012


Last night Stu and I went to see Opera North's Carousel in London's glitzy Barbican Theatre.

The singing was excellent, the acting very good, the staging good, the dancing not so good, the plot vile.

It's hard to really like a story of a no-good wife beater who knocks up his missus, comes a cropper robbing someone, and then comes back from the afterlife and strikes his teenage child.

Standout song was the joyous June is Busting' Out All Over. Sadly the sad You'll Never Walk Alone can't quite shake the Liverpool football club stigma however.

We enjoyed it just also agree with most critics. 3 stars.
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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Tea at The Ritz...

"Hello Mr Green. Nice to see you here again. I hope you have as much fun as on your last visit.". Stuart said I blushed. A rarity for me.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Isabel and Evanya...

Isabel and Evanya are staying with us for a few days - over from California. The girls have been largely self-sufficient although we have joined them in a few pubs, restaurants and places around town.

On Sunday though we thought we'd do some more serious sight-seeing (starting at Highbury & Islington):-  Overground, Columbia Road flower market, Brick Lane for crepes, Old Spitafields market for brunch, DLR, cable-car, O2 Arena for coffee, Thames Clipper for beer and then up the London Eye for kicks... Oh and the day was but young! Phew!

Friday, August 17, 2012

London Map 1843...

B.R. Davies made detailed maps of London from about 1840 to 1869, and this is one of his earliest. Buildings, parks, roads, bridges, and important sites are identified. The map was published separately and also appeared in a two volume atlas titled Map of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, 1844.

This is a zoom in on where I live in Islington.


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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Top Hat...

Roger and I went to the theatre last night to see Top Hat - and we came out humming every note. And wanting to tap dance.

Seventy-seven years after Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers lit up Hollywood’s silver screen with one of the greatest dance musicals of all time, RKO PicturesTop Hat is now playing at the Aldwych Theatre in London's West End. Starring Tom Chambers and Summer Strallen, and packed full of Irving Berlin’s greatest hits such as Let’s Face the Music and Dance, Cheek to Cheek and Top Hat, White Tie and Tails, Top Hat is a giddy, glorious celebration of 1930s song and dance. With lots of tap dancing! Loved it.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Modern Pentathlon...

The Modern Pentathlon is a bit weird isn't it? Pistol shooting, fencing, 200m freestyle swimming, show jumping, and a 3km cross-country run. The Modern Pentathlon is unique as the only sport created by the founder of the modern Olympics specifically for its inclusion in the Games. And the reason for those sports? Well, it was the skills you might need if you were a 19th-century soldier caught behind enemy lines. I wonder what the equivalent would be for the 21st-century soldier?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Olympics Diving 10m Platform...

On the penultimate night of the Olympics we got a chance to go and see the Olympics Diving 10m Platform Final. Tom Daley was the star we'd come to see and the boy done good. Though not quite good enough for gold medal on this occasion despite leading as he went into the final round. The bronze medal was well deserved though and he dedicated it to his recently departed father. It was an electric atmosphere in the Aquatic Centre with most people barely able to contain themselves. Us included!

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Monday, August 13, 2012

Olympics Handball Aug 2012...

On Friday night Stu and I went to watch the Olympics Handball semi final France vs Croatia. Exciting sport, fun to watch but the bad behaviour of the French fans rather spoiled the atmosphere for us and many people around us. Throwing beer, booing the opposition and frightening the children near us. Shame on them.

And look who we bumped into on the way home!

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Sunday, August 12, 2012

Friday, August 10, 2012

Olympics Athletics...

An amazing day at the Olympic Stadium yesterday with Myrtle. She loved every minute of being there and I loved every minute of being with her. We got to watch the Decathlon (both discus and pole vault) as well as the 4x400m relay heats. Back in 1948 in White City she said the seats were a lot harded than at the 2012 Olympics but the queues for the beer just as long. Seeing as she was only 11 years old back then I doubt she was drinking beer though!

Shortly after we'd taken our seats in the stadium Myrtle put her hand my knee to steady herself. I said, "are you OK, old girl?" and she was crying, "I just so happy to be here". "Oh you silly idiot!" I said smiling at her. A moment I'll never forget.

Morrissey vs The Olympics...

I think Morrissey is entitled to his opinion. I don't necessarily share it but then I'm acutely aware that no one likes the truth when they hear it and an alarm bell has rung with me for just that reason. So if something makes me feel uncomfortable (and this does a little bit) I have to ask myself whether there might be some truth in it. Yeah, I know Morrissey is controversy-loving and can be a bit of knob but we need the mavericks, the comics and the jesters in society to speak out. We can dismiss them when we want - but sometimes they might tell just the truth. He's wrong in this case *obviously* but I'd not criticise him for saying what he thinks.

His statement :- “I am unable to watch the Olympics due to the blustering jingoism that drenches the event. Has England ever been quite so foul with patriotism? The ‘dazzling royals’ have hi-jacked the Olympics for their own empirical needs. As I recently drove through Greece I noticed repeated graffiti seemingly everywhere on every available wall. In large blue letters it said WAKE UP, WAKE UP. It could almost have been written with the British public in mind, because although the spirit of 1939 Germany now pervades throughout media-brand Britain, the 2013 grotesque inevitability of Lord and Lady Beckham is, believe me, a fate worse than life. WAKE UP WAKE UP."

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Olympics Diving 3m Springboard Final...

Stu and I had a lot of fun at the Olympics Diving last night. It was the 3m Springboard Final and apart from the odd belly-flop most of the competitors put on a great show. The Russian who won was our favourite. And the Brit was too. Oh, and the Aussie. OK, they were all our favourites.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Olympics Greco-Roman Wrestling...

Last Sunday afternoon we went to the ExCel Centre to watch the Olympics Greco-Roman Wrestling. There were two weights being contested: 55kg and 74kg. My word what a sport that is! It was fantastic. They seem to have to 'present themselves' like chimpanzees on heat.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Olympics Trampoline...

Stu and I went to The O2... sorry.. the North Greenwich Arena on Saturday to watch the Women's Olympics Trampoline. The scoring seemed a bit subjective to us but clearly the best person won. Quite a few of the women fell off the equipment which while was awful for them made it all the more thrilling for us. Nice to see our first medal ceremony too. Well done Canada!
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Monday, August 06, 2012

Olympics Judo...

We went to the ExCel to see the Olympics Judo on Saturday morning. It was in equal measure exciting and slightly baffling. The scoring took a bit of getting used to. But very easy to get behind someone. And there were some real characters - all shapes and sizes as it was the 100kg+ men's and 78kg+ women's. It was also an honour to see the first Saudi women compete in the Olympics.
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Sunday, August 05, 2012

Olympic Park...

The Olympic Park in Stratford is simply amazing. It's huge, colourful, fully of green areas, wild flowers and cool things to do and see. It obviously houses many of the Olympic venues - each of which is a bit of an architectural marvel. I especially like the Velodrome with it's brown mantaray-like curves.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Olympics Beach Volleyball...

Blimey it was mad at the Beach Volleyball on Monday night. A beautiful setting in Horse Guards Parade, a great arena had been built, lots of singing, stamping of feet, clapping, dancing, and such a great atmosphere. Oh, and fun to watch the sport too!

Friday, August 03, 2012