Saturday, 22 September 2012

clearing the decks

On Thursday I threw out a big bag full of mainly pages or articles torn out of newspapers and magazines with some extract or quote or fact or website in it I planned to note down. I also threw out a bag of publications which were backed up waiting to be read. Yesterday I made a start on moving out some of the books I've read but hadn't got rid of yet because I'd noted some page numbers of things to transcribe, but I'm not going to do that now either. And I've made a start on deleting all the many emails I've sent myself with links to things online I'd read and wanted to keep a note of (and deleted some old podcasts I'd saved similarly). And I'll probably cut down or end posts on here which are just links to things, with title and first line, and just have things I've written myself.

I've always been behind on things like that, and I've always liked doing it, but it's taking too long and creating too much pressure. It might free up more time and remove a burden, but it still feels a bit depressing and a bit like giving up.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

the decline of periodicals

It's puzzling but impressive that at the same time as there is a national decline in weekly and monthly papers and magazines, every district in Lewis seems to now be pumping out regular magazines with news, features and/or local history.

Monday, 10 September 2012

hamlet - bridewell theatre

I went to see Hamlet at the Bridewell Theatre on Saturday evening - only picked up on it from a Bridewell email in the week. It was a production by the Garden Suburb Theatre - new to me, an amateur production, transferring from an outdoor summer run somewhere (Bridewell is now more of a venue for hire than it used to be, I think). I had looked at the website a cople of days before and saw there were plenty tickets available so didn't book, but it was pretty full on the night; there was a large group there, from it turned out one of those clubs which is for folk who like arts and theatre but would rather go in a social group and make new friends than go by themselves.

It's the second amateur Hamlet I've seen, and although neither of them were great, you do have to give them credit for ambition. The previous amateur production I saw had a really very good Hamlet, in a different league from everyone else in the production, who ranged from fine through okay to really not very good. This production didn't have any stand-out performances like that, but Polonius/Osric was pretty good, Hamlet was fine, some others had their moments (the Gravediggers did well; Claudius made me think of Tim McInnerny in Blackadder for a lot of the time, genial but dopey, which worked surprisingly well, whether by accident or design), and some were not very good. But all the same, hats off.

(The main lesson I learnt from it about 'acting which could be improved' (let's not say 'bad') - and it struck me so clearly that it was a wonder that no one pointed it out in rehearsal - was that if you are listening to someone talk in real life, you do not change your expression or make a gesture or make to interrupt in reaction to every different clause of their speech; in general you just listen without obvious relevant reaction.)

They used multiple people to represent the Ghost - three at the start, four later - which was interesting but not sure why and they didn't make much of it. Interesting that for all they had to cut, they retained quite a bit of Hamlet on how people should act, which is often cut. The Ghost popped up at the end to hold Claudius down while Hamlet stabbed him, which was interesting - and coincidentally echoed something from the last Hamlet I'd seen, the Lithuanian one at the Globe, when the Ghost came back on and observed in the last scene. With amateur, of course, you have to work with what you've got, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were clearly not ages to have been schoolfriends of Hamlet, but the way they were dressed I'd say they were going for the idea that they had been his teachers/tutors, which worked fine.

A couple of reviews. Entertainment Focus. One Stop Arts. RemoteGoat. London Culture blog. Here's the Garden Suburb Theatre's pages on the open-air production and the Bridewell transfer. And here, most interestingly, is a blog (mostly by Claudius and the director) on the rehearsal and production process, Hamlet2012OpenAir.

private eye misprints and cartoons

A couple of misprints quoted in Private Eye of 24 August (don't usually go for these, but these were quite appropriate):
(from East Anglian Daily Times) 'A spokesman for the joint administrators, Christopher Pillar and Stephen Oldfield from the Bournemouth office of accountantancy firm PricewasterhouseCoopers,'
(from Telegraph website) 'Financial Services Authority acts to prevent banks misspelling packaged current accounts'

A cartoon from 10 August issue: vicar speaking at graveside: 'Of course, in some ways he will live on forever... thanks to Facebook's data retention policy'

A cartoon from 7 September issue: youth talking to her parents in her bombsite of a bedroom: 'I've packed everything I need for uni, so all this is legacy'

Thursday, 6 September 2012

love will tear us apart; to know him is to love him

A couple of memories of home from the last few days.

On Friday as we came into the Olympic Park through the Greenway gate, very quiet, we turned a corner and up a slope by ourselves, and we saw the Olympic stadium and suddenly heard, loud and clear from the Park sound system, Love Will Tear Us Apart by Joy Division, as if it were soundtracking our arrival. I wasn't that keen on it at the time - I like it more now - but it has resonance and took me back; it seemed poignant, and incongruous - and just as incongruous that I also should be in this place, over thirty years later.

And on Monday we had our actual last full day of school holiday, thanks to an inset day, and went to the Chatham Historic Dockyard. We had a good time, and I thought frequently about how much my father would have enjoyed it. I'm sure my brother and nephew would enjoy it too; the line goes on. When I got home I listened to Phil Spector's finest hour - or finest 150 seconds or so - To Know Him Is To Love Him, by The Teddy Bears. I always remember that he got the title from a gravestone inscription, 'To Have Known Him Was To Have Loved Him', which always makes me think of my father.

last week of the school holidays

Last week of the school holidays: four days in Brussels, quiet day with a trip to the cinema to see Brave (disappointing), full day of Paralympics at Olympics Park, all culminating in today's trip to John Lewis to buy doormats.

Oh, and a trip to the Apple Store to buy an ipod nano to replace the ipod touch stolen from our Brussels hotel room.