Thursday, 22 September 2016

the essex serpent

On Sunday 18th September I finished reading The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry. I'd got fed up of having to avoid learning too much about it before the paperback came out, so I ordered it from the library. It was very good; among the best books I've read for quite a while.

Friday, 16 September 2016

finding dory

On Thursday 25th August, during the day, Maisie and I went to the Genesis cinema to see Finding Dory, which was very good.

punk exhibition; what we did on our holidays

On Friday 19th August, after we saw Susannah and Becky off at King's Cross, Maisie and I went to the British Library, where we saw the free exhibition on Punk, which was more interesting for me than it was for her. I was reminded by one photo how taken I was at the time with Poly Styrene, of X-Ray Spex, and Germ Free Adolescents.

After we got home we watched a film on Netflix, which Maisie was very keen to do; we eventually found one we both wanted to see, What We Did On Our Holidays, and that turned out to be pretty good, rather better than I'd expected.

a day in town; lincoln

On Friday 5th August Maisie and I went into town. We went to the Photographers Gallery (my first time in its new location, just south-east of Oxford Circus), in the morning so we got in free. They had an interesting Terence Donovan exhibition on. We had a Costa lunch, then went over to the Handel and Hendrix House Museum, which was less busy and more interesting than I expected, and did give you a sense of the home surroundings of both of those musicians. We began meandering down, and hit the back of Sotheby's, which had a big sign about the Bowie Collector exhibition, which I'd forgotten about - they were auctioning off his art collection, and you could go in for free to see some of it in advance of the auction. So in we went, and it was interesting to see; he'd made some good purchases.

Then in the evening we all watched the Spielberg/Day-Lewis film, Lincoln, which I enjoyed a lot, and certainly more than my compadres. It was a wordy history lesson, but I was up for that.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

foreign secretary

Perhaps a charming liar is ideal foreign secretary material.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

tate modern extension

On Thursday 4th August Maisie and I went to the Tate Modern's new Switch House extension. Modern art really is the perfect combination of absolute con and absolute racket.

savoy tup session

On Tuesday 2 August I went to the first of Tim's Savoy Tup Sessions. I took my guitar to join in, in one-chord fashion, with tunes, but we also ended up going round singing some songs. I hadn't quite expected that, for some reason, but I went to my core Corries repertoire and sang Highland Lament and Cruel Brother. I enjoyed playing along with people who could play properly, and hope to do so again.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

what the composer was thinking about

'It matters enormously to the composer what he was thinking about when he wrote a particular work; but to no one else in the world does it matter one jot.'
- Ralph Vaughan Williams, in a letter, quoted in the September 2016 BBC Music magazine in an article about the 'meaning' of his Third Symphony

Thursday, 11 August 2016

jewish history museum

On Monday 25th July we went to the Jewish History Museum in Camden, which was well worth a visit. (We were thinking of museums in London we've never been to that we could go to, and this was near the top of our list.) We had a bag search even before we got into the building, as of course it is a potential terrorist target.

eynsford to shoreham

On Saturday 23rd July - the first day, essentially, of our week's holiday together at home in London - we got the train out from Elephant and Castle to Eynsford, walked to Shoreham (along the river valley essentially), and got the train back from there. We had looked at the train timetables/routes to see where we could go directly from Elephant & Castle station and do a station to station walk, and that looked pleasant on the map; we could have done two stations, Eynsford to Otford, but I'm glad we went for the more leisurely option. It was a warm, sunny day, and quite a few folk were out walking. We didn't go into anywhere we could have paid to go in - Lullingstone Roman villa or Lullingstone Castle, most notably - but we did pop into a lavender farm shop and had a little wander and a tea room stop in Shoreham (we'd taken meal deal lunches which we'd eaten by the river).

star trek beyond

On Friday 22nd July Maisie and I went to an afternoon showing of Star Trek Beyond at the Genesis Cinema. We both liked it. (We hadn't seen Into Darkness, the second of this reboot series, but of course it didn't matter.)

morris folk choir gig

On Monday 18 July we sang at the Shacklewell Community Choir's summer concert and barbecue. We just sang four or five sea songs, and they went pretty well. Our only proper gig so far this year, given Michelle's personal production of Joe, but the first I created a Songkick listing for. I felt a little underprepared, as I hadn't been sure I'd get along, but I got away with it.

(Since Facebook Events are getting less user-friendly for non-Facebook-users, I was looking for alternative places to list/advertise events, and Matt suggested this. Although Songkick itself is designed primarily for registered users, the artists and events listings do seem well visible to the general public. We had an artist page there already, since our Daylight Music concert had been listed by someone, but I was able to 'assume authority' for the artist page surprisingly easy.)

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

ghostbusters; whitechapel art gallery; embankment summer market; hattie briggs

On Saturday 16 July we all went to the Genesis cinema in the morning to see the new version of Ghostbusters. We all enjoyed it. I saw the original when it came out, and possibly not since then, but my memory of it has always been that I didn't think it was as great as all that. And I'm absolutely sure that had I not been aware that there was a huge and unpleasant online fuss about this being an all-female remake, I wouldn't have given its all-femaleness a second thought.

Friday, 5 August 2016

twenty greatest symphonies

The September issue of the BBC Music magazine (to which I bought a sub with Tesco vouchers) has a Top 20 Symphonies list, voted for by 151 conductors. The list:

Thursday, 7 July 2016

a morning in london

In advance of its impending demise, this morning I made a trip up to BHS, purveyors of trousers to Iain MacDonald for many years, and bought in its closing down sale enough trousers to last me for - I was going to say 'twenty years', and then realised that that's now synonymous with 'the rest of my life'. Which is a sobering thought.

It does mean I can now put on no further weight for the next twenty years/rest of my life. (Indeed, it would do no harm to lose a few pounds.)

I got off the bus home at Parliament Square because I saw on Twitter there was a march going on in support of Andrea Leadsom, and I thought seeing such a thing would be a once in a lifetime opportunity. I missed it, sadly, but I did decide to go into the House of Commons, on a whim, where I saw most of the business questions to leader of the house (which all seemed to go, essentially, 'can we have a debate on X?', 'we'll see'), the 'Select Committee Statement on the publication of the First Report from the Defence Committee, Russia: Implications for UK defence and security' and attendant questions (which was interesting), and the opening of an Online Abuse debate.

(Meanwhile, Bethan's frittering away her time at No1 Court; I ask you.)

After I came out I did see a cheerful man with a cardboard handwritten sign saying 'Vote Leadsom or fight the country'; 'the whole country?', I nearly asked him; 'one at a time or all in one go?'. (Still not really sure what he meant. Countryside Tories?)

I love living in central London (and working part-time).

Saturday, 2 July 2016

life is a banquet

On Wednesday 22 June I finished Life Is A Banquet, Rosalind Russell's autobiography (cowritten with Chris Chase). I bought it secondhand off Amazon, a 1p plus p&p job from a seller in the US. I bought it because I'd seen a couple of quotes from her here and there and she seemed intelligent, witty and self-deprecating. It was an enjoyable read, which lived up to what she'd seemed. She claims, plausibly, to have had a hand in contributing lines to both her biggest hits, His Girl Friday and Mame.

First line: For a long time I didn't want to write a book.
Last line: I've had a good ride.
Dedication: To my son Lance and my new daughter Patricia With love

The cover of my 1979 Ace paperback US edition is a fairly typical mass-market actor autobiography; if anything's unusual it's that the photo (which I'd guess is Mame era rather than His Girl Friday era - the title is a quote from the former) seems a little soft and small. The quote is from Frank Sinatra, who the cover makes clear was a close personal friend. (The copyright line indicates that it was published - in 1977 - after her death.) Title in inlaid gold, author in red signature. Publisher, book no and price on the front; don't know how unusual that would have been.

twilight: eclipse

On Wednesday afternoon, Maisie having got back from school early after sports day, we watched the third Twilight film, Eclipse. It was okay, like the others - I've had to watch far worse.

Friday, 1 July 2016

behind the scenes at the museum

On Thursday 19th May I finished Behind The Scenes At The Museum by Kate Atkinson, which took me longer than I expected and which I enjoyed less than I expected.

Thursday, 30 June 2016

morris folk club - june

At Morris Folk Club last night (full setlist here) I sang two short songs of hope and friendship together, Dear Friends and The Way Old Friends Do. I didn't *immediately* say they were by Queen and Abba respectively, but I like to think they didn't sound out of place in a folk club.

In the second half I reverted to folk club type and sang The Haughs O' Cromdale, very much not a song of hope and friendship. I know it from the Corries, of course, and can still remember talking to Ivor about it in Bayble School; I liked it not least because it mentioned my surname, which is the kind of thing that appeals to small boys, as well as being a song about two battles, of course.

Saturday, 18 June 2016

key largo

This evening we all watched Key Largo on DVD, with Humphrey Bogart, Edward G Robinson and Lauren Bacall (and Claire Trevor, winning the 1948 best supporting actress Oscar). I'd seen it before, many years ago, and it was as good as I remembered it, and we all enjoyed it. Continuing my campaign of watching ancient films with the younger generation (becauses they're great, and because I think that so many classic old adult films are more suitable (in quality and worldview) for children her age than a lot of films made for children her age today); she likes some more than others.