Friday, May 28, 2010

No proper excuses

Here we are, moderately good weather; in the middle of a still enchanting series of Doctor Who (despite Chris Chibby's best efforts), busy reading lots of good books; visiting National Trust properties; and politics in turmoil.

And I can't even muster one post.

Rubbish Lisa; blooming rubbish.

And it won't get better in the short term.

Sorry. No proper excuses, but I hope to blog after our weekend away.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A message to the Liberal Democrats

If David Cameron is C3PO made of ham, then surely Nick Clegg is now revealed as C3PO made of SPAM.

Not exactly the same as 'Dave' but bearing all the trademarks of Posh Boy mark II, just not even made of the real thing.


And I am sure that Nick Clegg's ambitions were always that he wanted to be John Prescott.


Power, yes: but at what price?

I heard Paddy Ashdown this morning saying his reaction to the coalition was 'hooray'. Yes, that was exactly what he was saying to the idea on Thursday night/Friday morning. (I wish I could find the exact quote he used, but it was along the lines of 'we could not go into a coalition with the Conservative party'. Yes, right. Well, you stuck with that didn't you?)

Don't get me wrong: I'm grateful that the presence of the LDs in office will at least delay everyone on David Cameron's Xmas card list not getting their inheritance tax break. And if the tax threshold is raised to £10,000 that is great.

But caps on immigration is not what you campaigned on.
Neither was hopping into coalition with a party that in Europe is aligned to some very nasty parties indeed.
Neither was keeping Trident on your priority list.

All I can say to LD voters is that you need to REALLY mobilise supporters to come out when you get that referendum on electoral reform. And that you get a phrasing of question to the electorate that makes the very limited AV that the Tories will stretch themselves to offer seem positive.

If your don't manage to make the electoral reform thing pay off big time, and soon, then frankly I'm not sure the price of hooking up with the Tories will be worth the crap you will be eating in big policy terms.

Phil puts it SO well... thank you. The poster itself you include says it all.

Profoundly depressed


And hiss

Monday, May 10, 2010

Music Review: Pinchas Zukerman and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the Nottingham Royal Concert Hall Friday 7 May 2010

Thanks be to Helen Lisette for the ticket organisation.

This initially crossed our radar whne the Nottingham Classical Concert season brochure hit our letterbox last year, and the event lived up to expectations.

Zukerman is an astonishing performer and an elegant conductor: he still dazzles.

Apologies! Lost voice - now wandering back in a lower octave

Lost my voice last week. It's a bit better now, but I'm still finding I'm a lower octave than usual.


Usual reviews coming up as soon as able.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Flesh and Stone: Season Fnarg episode 5 - watching Doctor Who with the lights down in summer

Keep the curtains closed. Have a subdued light on. Don't blink. With a not so-bright evening it was possible to make the setting more autumnal. Flesh and Stone indeed.

Still, for real scares, whatever happens, don't watch full-length Confidential episodes without a barf bucket.

[Picture to go here]

Well, I thought that lived up nicely to the first part. I know not everyone out there agrees but I'm sticking to my guns of saying this is working for me: the series feels as if it has found a new groove. And I can hear the dialogue just fine unless I'm fooling myself.

Anyway. This Doctor isn't fanciable (for me: though I do already know some who have been utterly captivated. As the line goes in SKs comments at MediumRob's: Marmite). He's Mr Grumpyface. He's mercurial, but in a very different way to Ten/Tennant. He certainly doesn't consistently feel as if he knows it all - even when he does. He's channeling the second and seventh Doctors lots whilst nevertheless establishing his own approach to things.

Things I liked:
  • River commenting "when you're older"
  • Spotting the countdown as soon as Amy said 'Nine'
  • Eleven losing it when Sacred Bob says the angels are doing it for 'fun'
  • Bringing the story-arc forward (cracks, duck-ponds)
  • The developing tears in the Doctor's eyes when he has the conversation with Father Octavian
  • Moving angels! (just don't think too hard about Amy fooling them)
  • Writing ret-con into the narrative (way to go with wiping out some of the awkward continuities of the RTD era - big Victorian steampunk Cyberking [Cyber-King or Cy-berking?] I'm looking at you, and for giving us a 'here and now' dating to Amy's life)
  • That Matt Smith clearly has even more of a bonkers dress sense off screen than on-screen. Somehow that makes him seem even more like the Doctor.

But on the topic of the Confidential episodes: urgh. Moff - we get it, you're a genius, we're all grateful, we know you're good. I'm personally delighted "you are da man". But don't 'invite' your fellow writers to praise you in such ingratiating terms. We get it: you're the boss now. They're NOT going to say "he's a bit crap actually, that Moffat bloke: don't know why they put him in charge". It demeans everyone concerned to do this.

Otherwise though, it WAS nice to see so many nice bits from Ten's storyline in the Confidential. Just a shame that those are usually the very bits that get lost in the cut-downs (I haven't watched the cut-down version btw -- has it lost all the Moff-licking as well?)

Still, next week: vampires. Written by Toby Whithouse. Anyone betting on some fan-fic cross-overs? Anyway: a return to vampires in Doctor Who - better than State of Decay?

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Exhibition reviews: Leicester New Walk Museum and Art Gallery

The forecast was for lots of showery rain, but it never appeared. Ah well, we still had a very pleasant day in Leicester collecting our tickets for the summer festivals (Big Session and Summer Sundae) and visiting the lovely New Walk Museum and Art Gallery.

We managed to catch the last weekend of the big Leicester exhibition (Journey out of Darkness) of German Expressionism which in itself was worth the visit. Leicester has, for a number of really interesting reasons, got a very large collection of German expressionist artworks including some very fine and regularly requested items. A key trigger point for their acquisitions was one very radical exhibition - 1944's Mid-European Art show: note the date and think then on how popular municipal bodies would be for showing German art. The show led to four important acquisitions: Franz Marc’s Red Woman, Lyonel Feininger’s Behind the Church, Emil Nolde’s Head with Red-Black Hair and Max Pechstein’s The Bridge at Erfurt.

But we also got to see the Meri Rail: Portraits of the Indian Railways (which thankfully runs until August, so you will have time to catch this). The people and and their captions/stories are fascinating and diverse: everyone from board members to drivers, orphan children who live in the stations to porters, tea-sellers to security police, job-form-sellers [there is a thriving business in selling the right job application forms for jobs on the railways] to engineers, cleaners to quota-sponsored athletes [the railway helps support those with additional talents]. Gerry Troyna's documentary and photographs with Achinto Bhadra are a delight to look at in detail.

The two together made for a truly stimulating visit: thought-provoking and visually interesting.