Quote Of The Day

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

Monday, December 31, 2012

Arsenal 7 - 3 Newcastle...


Last Saturday Paul and went to the late kick-off at the Emirates Stadium to watch the mighty Arsenal take on that "wee small club in the North" Newcastle. If it was an exciting and tense first half, it was a thrilling second.

The 10-goal thriller scoreline ran as follows:- 1-0, 1-1, 2-1, 2-2, 3-2, 3-3. 4-3. 5-3. 6-3, and finally 7-3.

Theo Walcott scored three goals and set up two more. Sign him up!

Scorers:- Walcott 20′, 73′, 90′ Oxlade-Chamberlain 50′ Podolski 64′ Giroud 84′, 87′


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Friday, December 28, 2012

Marriage...


For those of you wondering what it's like to be married...

I just found out this morning I'm on day 3 of an argument I didn't know I was having.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Matthew Bourne;s Sleeping Beauty...

Last week Stu and I went to see Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty at the Sadler's Wells in London's glitzy Islington.

It completes Bourne's trilogy of Tchaikovsky's ballets having mastered both Nutcracker and Swan Lake. It is however probably the weakest of the three - the source material is just a little thin. A king's negligence leads his daughter to be put to sleep for 100 years and then awoken by a kiss. The end. Bourne however manages to weave a love story into the plot by having beauty's young beau be turned into a vampire at the time of slumber and so being able to survive the 100 years himself in order to administer the awakening kiss. And it sort of works as a device. It was a little odd to have vampires running around though.

The production was great though: great dancing, great costumes, and great music. All Bourne's usual trademark twists and tricks were deployed using mime, shadow, symmetry and comedy.


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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

ABC: The Lexicon of Love...

Last night Darren and I went to see ABC perform all the songs from their 1982 debut album, The Lexicon of Love, at London's Theatre Royal Drury Lane, accompanied by the Sotuh Bank Concerto Orchestra - conducted by Anne Dudley who arranged and played on the original album.

We had seen a similar feat back in 2009.

The first half started off with an overture of the songs from The Lexicon Of Love followed by a collection of ABC's hits; including S.O.S., (How to Be a) Millionaire, Be Near Me, Ocean Blue, One Better World (Sterling Void should sue), The Very First Time and of course When Smokey Sings.

After the interval they performed The Lexicon of Love album start to finish: Show Me, Poison Arrow, Many Happy Returns, Tears Are Not Enough, Valentine's Day, The Look of Love (Part One), Date Stamp, All of My Heart, 4 Ever 2 Gether and The Look of Love (again as an encore).

The crowd were on their feet at the first song and remained singing and dancing throughout. Martin Fry's voice was pitch perfect and you could hear every single instrument and every single word of those amazing lyrics. And as if 'twere needed, the orchestration brought the album quite vividly to life.

We absolutely loved it.
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Monday, December 17, 2012

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey...

First the good stuff. It's great to see The Hobbit (OK, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey) on the big screen. Great to return to Middle Earth. Great to see a childhood favourite brought to life. The scenes with Gollum were great. And some of the big action pieces were marvellous.

(Deep breath). But now the bad stuff. It's too long. Way too long. Baggy. A baggy Baggins film. And after 2h 45mins we have barely started the adventure. And then there's the quality of the film itself. The high frame rate version we saw looked awful. The crystal clear, everything in focus format was annoying and distracting. It actually looked like a DVD extra - shot on hi def video. In a funny way the 3D worked better than it does in regular 24 frame rate films with no blurring but the fact the whole thing looked like a cheap DVD or iPhone video: this was small compensation. The acting was fine - the dwarves were fun as were Gandalf but Bilbo (Martin Freeman - much as a I love him) was basically playing it like Arthur Dent/Tim from The Office - an Englishman out of his comfort zone. Not how I see Bilbo at all.

So overall, a disappointment.
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Friday, December 14, 2012

RyanAir...


Dear RyanAir,
1) You are a bunch of rich ***ts. But, unfortunately, you're proud of that fact. 2) You hate people. You hate your staff. You hate your passengers. Your contempt for people is utterly unparalleled. They hate you. It's fine. However, your flights are astonishingly cheap. 3) I have the solution to your PR. It will make you nicer and people might not hate you as much. Therefore ultimately richer! 4) Here's a clue. I would rather pay 50 quid IN ONE GO for a flight, than a flight advertised at a pound with 49 pounds worth of hidden extras because every time you do this I feel like I am being raped by a stupid Irish cock. You make me feel like shit. Which is why I fly Easyjet now. Who incidentally, are like a Bugatti Veyron to your rusty Reliant Robin. 5) Make the inside of your planes SLIGHTLY nicer. Just tone down that fucking yellow. 6) Michael Leary, whatever your name is... You are a ***t. 7) Profit!
- A Passenger

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Bomb Sight...

The Bomb Sight project is mapping the London WW2 bomb census between 7/10/1940 and 06/06/1941. Previously available only by viewing in the Reading Room at The National Archives, Bomb Sight is making the maps available to citizen researchers, academics and students. They will be able to explore where the bombs fell and to discover memories and photographs from the period. The project has scanned original 1940s bomb census maps , geo-referenced the maps and digitally captured the geographical locations of all the falling bombs recorded on the original map. The data has then been integrated into 2 different types of applications.
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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Mrs Santa...

Due to a costume mix-up this year Grumpy Santa had to dress-up as Mrs Santa. The kids gave it 0/10 for convincibility.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Self-Regulation, eh?...

The Daily has removed this top comment from one of it's stories about the Nurse who recently took her own life. Self-regulation, eh?




Friday, December 07, 2012

Nouvelle Vague: Dawn of Innocence...

On Wednesday night Darren and I went to see Nouvelle Vague perform their musical Dawn of Innocence at the Forum in not so glitzy Kentish Town.

The gig had been rescheduled from a few weeks previously, as had the support act - the wonderful Mélanie Pain. Mélanie Pain (pronounced Melanie 'Pan') is a French indie pop singer from Caen. She came to fame through performing with (guess who?) the new wave band Nouvelle Vague. She was brilliant. Great pop songs sung mainly in French and it created a real buzz in the room. Think we might go and see her again.

After the beak on came Nouvelle Vague. They started with their cover of Fade To Grey and proceeded to gambol through much of their back catalogue ending with the raucous Love Will Tear Us Apart. There were many changes of clothes, quite a bit of dancing and slick production values. And although they sounded great there was still something missing. Something not quite right. It was almost as if they were just going through the motions. Later on we perhaps found out why. It was the last night of their tour and they were probably just wanting it all to be over.

Still, they said they had some new material out next year so maybe that's something to look forward to.

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Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Newspaper...

I said to Stu, "Please can you get me a newspaper?" "Don't be silly," he replied, "you can borrow my iPad." That spider never knew what fucking hit it.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Monday, December 03, 2012

Secret Cinema - The Shawshank Redemption...

"Some birds are not meant to be caged, that's all. Their feathers are too bright, their songs too sweet and wild. So you let them go, or when you open the cage to feed them they somehow fly out past you. And the part of you that knows it was wrong to imprison them in the first place rejoices, but still, the place where you live is that much more drab and empty for their departure." - Stephen King

Last month Stu and I went to the latest Secret Cinema event - it was Frank Darabont's The Shawshank Redemption.

We started out at the Oak Hampton State Court (Bethnal Green Library that had been converted into the courtroom for the purposes of the night.) There we got condemned, sentenced and carted off by Prison Bus to the Oak Hampton State Penitentiary (aka Cardinal Pole School, in the east end of London.) The production had transformed the space, which was first a Huguenot Hospital then a Catholic School, into the world of the Shawshank Prison.

There was a strict admission procedure, as convicts we were introduced into a terrifying and brutal world. Prisoners learnt to survive by connecting with other convicts, passing secret notes between those they could trust, bribing the guards for illegitimate library cards (for beers) and finding inspiration through cultural means. Some of the offenders staged secret concerts. Mercury Prize nominated Sam Lee held an underground performance in the secret spaces all over the prison.

Andy Dufresne led a revolt by taking control of the Prison tannoy system, playing the Marriage of Figaro, the beauty of the music could be heard by every soul in Oak Hampton. This rebellion roused the convicts to open their ears and eyes to song, and art and cinema. Hope was awoken inside the state penitentiary walls at that moment.

There was a chapel, an exercise yard, prison cells, a laundry, medical facility, a parole room (with a suitably aggressive interview panel) and a library. All these areas were used to reenact parts of the film.

At about 9pm we had lock-down and were then lead into rooms where the film was finally shown to us inmates. We loved it. They even distributed contraband beer at the appropriate point in the film.

Future Cinema will be presenting The Shawshank Redemption again - opens in January 2013. And Secret Cinema returns in April 2013 in London, New York and Athens.

Tell No-One.

 
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Friday, November 30, 2012

Viva Forever...

Last night Baby, Sporty, Scary, Ginger, Posh, Stuey and me went to Spice Up Your Life! and see Viva Forever at the Piccadilly Theatre in London's glitzy West End.

The shows is still in previews (and it shows). The Spice Girls' songs still sound good but it all needs a bit more spit & polish before it's really ready. It's funny in parts but could do without the fluffed lines or lighting cues though.

The first half dragged although it did end with a nice threeway mash-up of Mama, Goodbye and Headlines which brought a tear to the eye.

The second half got better - as jukebox musicals tend to - when they trotted out the bigger hits and relied less on the 'plot.' Oh yes, the plot. Well, four girls audition for a talent show Starmaker (i.e. X-Factor) and only one gets through and guess what? turns out the talent show machine is pretty awful.


Overall the script could be funnier, the songs could have fitted better. Having a Mel C and a Geri song in the mix didn't hurt.

Sadly a woman in the row behind us passed out so they stopped the show (no, she didn't fall asleep). It was the heat (I think).

If you are thinking of going to see Viva Forever it might be worth booking soon. I can't see it running for too long. It's no Mamma Mia.

Oh and make that interval drink a double. It'll pay dividends.





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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Scared of the Lights...

When I was young I was scared of the dark. Now when I see my electricity bill I am scared of the lights.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Hollywood Costumes...

Last Friday Charlotte, Myrtle, Dad and I went to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London's glitzy South Kensington to see the Hollywood Costume Exhibition.

Judy Garland's Dorothy Gale gingham dress from The Wizard Of Oz was there, along with Marilyn Monroe’s white dress from The Seven Year Itch and all manner of costumes from The Matrix to The Birds, from Indiana Jones to Fight Club. Each had an explanation by the designer of what they were trying to achieve.

 It was quite interesting to read about the process of costume design - how it helps tell the story. And indeed how much input a director will have - often doing drawings for the costumes designers to use as a guide. There was an example of Steven Spielberg's sketch of how Indiana Jones should look and that was almost exactly how he turned out. It was the little touches that stood out - the narrowed rim to the hat so the camera could always see Harrison Ford's eyes; the boots were of a comfortable style due to the long hours expected on set.

The show generally was very well put together and there was much of interest to see in the three large rooms - but the crowds were simply horrendous. A common complaint of these headline shows I'm afraid. Worth a look though.
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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Bronze...

Last Friday Charlotte, Myrtle, Dad and I went to the Royal Academy of Arts in London's glitzy Piccadilly to see the Bronze Exhibition.

It was a fascinating insight into how beautiful and how painstakingly difficult the metallic sculpturing and casting can be. There were example from thousands of years ago that looked as artistic and impressive as they did the day they were first chiselled out of their mouldings.

There were some little known facts too such as why only certain bronze statues exist today. When a foe was vanquished the bronze statues of their leaders would often be melted down by the victors to be reused in fresh casts of the new conqueror. Similarly certain statues of Gods got consigned to the crucible when Christianity began to spread. Revisionism, it seems, knows now boundaries.

The exhibition was divided up into sections; people, groups, heads, animals etc. There was a huge range on display - large and small, simple and complex - but for me the most impressive piece was Frederic Remmington's Coming Through The Rye. An intricate casting of four cowboys on horseback at full gallop - only six of the sixteen hooves are touching the earth with the outer horse completely in flight. A marvel.

Well worth a visit if you are in town.
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Monday, November 26, 2012

A Clockwork Orange...

Last Friday Stu and I went to see Anthony Burgess A Clockwork Orange performed at the Soho Theatre in London's glitzy West End.

A playtime of orgiastic ultraviolence and sexuality it throbbed and pulsated with testosterone. Following the book more closely that Stanley Kubrick's film it told to the story of Alex and how his misguided aggressive ways lead him down a path of crime, capture and redemption (of sorts).

The 80 odd minutes fairly hums along as the all male cast fight, spit, kick, hit, fuck and dance accompanied by a Scissor Sisters, Eurythmics, Queen soundtrack.

We loved it. Brutal, sexy and gay.

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Friday, November 23, 2012

Dentist...

If I cleaned my teeth everyday as thoroughly as I do before going to the dentist, I wouldn't need to go to the dentist.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Arsenal 2 - 0 Montpellier...

Jack Wiltshire is back. His first goal for the Gunners in two year's broke the first half deadlock and started the team on the road to a 2-0 victory and entrance to the lockout stages of the Champions League. After scoring he ran into the stands to embrace his physio. Bless.

The second goal came from Podolski whose powerful left-footed volley delightfully sealed the win.




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