Thursday, January 27, 2011

Getting rid of expensive dinosaurs: the Sky Sports saga

Anyone else get the idea that in some ways Sky Sports are quite glad to get rid of two expensive dinosaurs?

Gray and Keys were both costing a fair wack of cash.

And what's more, Sky Sports even (for one) get to (vaguely) look like they are on the side of the angels - standing UP against sexism! (Let's face it, Murdoch-corp are hardly known for their anti-sexist stances...)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Belated Burns

Oh sweet Robert Burns, with ribald poetry and moving poetry and heartfelt poetry. For nature, for love, for nation, for lust.


And I can't help but enjoy a particular reader... (try the general 'Readers' page if that doesn't work)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Agatha Christie Land

Rullsenberg in Agatha Christie land. The time and place where Miss Marple meets Hercule Poirot meets Evadne Mount meets the Roaring Twirties or the Raging Forfties.

Lisa in Agatha Christies land number one - torso upwards
Lisa in Agatha Christies land number two - full length

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Killing - BBC4 (Saturdays from 23 January 2011)

Oh, this was an unexpected delight last night. The Killing - a cracking Danish thriller just started on BBC4 - slipped into our home last night and looks set to be one of the few things I will make an effort to watch/catch up on.

It was Cloud who spotted it listed in the schedules, and since we do have a penchant for Scandinavian writing/films/TV, we settled in to watch the first two episodes.

For a start, lovely to have a female lead --- BBC4, where is Spiral 3 while I'm on the subject of great female characters? - and I have to admit I'm always a sucker for a thriller with a political backdrop.

So, subject to using catch-up TV where necessary (because my weekends are pretty busy over the coming weeks), I'm going to be watching this. And loving it I think. Proper makes up for having no more Wallander to watch.

Friday, January 21, 2011

In Praise of ... The Decemberists

Ah, I do love The Decemberists - even if the one time we saw them live, the lead singer suffered from Wolverhampton Curry Tummy. I'm well looking forward to getting my mitts on their new album "The King is Dead"- especially since there's a bit of REM involvement to bring some extra goodiness to the proceedings.

There is something bleak, quirky, weird and plain old odd about the narratives of the Colin Meloy and co: Take for example "Sixteen Military Wives"

("O Valencia" is also pretty great, tho embedding is disabled on this story song)

I can't help it - I just love their work. The Decemberists are one of those bands I kinda stumbled across and then got really into and I can't help but keep coming back to enjoy them. I've often found myself wandering the office singing "The Sporting Life" for example, with its delightful narrative lyrics.

I fell on the playing field
The work of an errant heel
The din of the crowd and the loud commotion
Went deafening silence and stopped emotion
The season was almost done
We managed it 12 to 1
So far I had known no humiliation
In front of my friends and close relations

There's my father looking on
And there's my girlfriend arm in arm
With the captain of the other team
And all of this is clear to me
They condescend and fix on me a frown
How they love the sporting life

And father had had such hopes
For a son who would take the ropes
And fulfill all his old athletic aspirations
But apparently now there's some complications
But while I am lying here
Trying to fight the tears
I'll prove to the crowd that I come out stronger
Though I think I might lie here a little longer

There's my coach he's looking down
The disappointment in his knitted brow
I should've known
He thinks again
I never should have put him in
He turns and loads the lemonade away
And breathes in deep
The sporting life
The sporting life
The sporting life
How he loves...

There's my father looking on
And there's my girlfriend arm in arm
With the captain of the other team
And all of this is clear to me
They condescend and fix on me a frown
How they love the sporting life
Anyway, in other examples there's a very charming live version of "The Mariner's Revenge Song" worth watching, though this has a classic Decemberists grim narrative!

And there's a lot to be said for this amateur theatre production of the narrative!

But if you want REAL nasty narratives, try The Rake's Song which is proper wicked - but a great tale nonetheless!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Thinking ahead - things I have to do over the coming month

Book review - I've got a book to review "Buzz: The Life and Art of Busby Berkeley" by Jeffrey Spivak and a BAAS conference paper to write about the graphic novel and film "The Surrogates" (the graphic novel is by Robert Venditti and Brett Weldele and spawned a prequel "Flesh and Bone"; the film version "Surrogates" starred Bruce Willis and his usual array of wig-ness).

This is mostly a post to encourage me to get both done --- I'll keep you posted on meeting my deadlines for each!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


How apt that Monday, a mere 2 days after getting my new smart phone, the Guardian should remark on my decision. Android: not quite as stupid a choice as I may have feared.

Yay for me.

Monday, January 17, 2011

blog from phone

Oh mercy is there no end to my activities?

Going back to the 1960s with Zen

I can't be the only one who felt that, mobile phone usage aside, everything about the recent Zen television adaptation starring Rufus Sewell OOZED 1960s/early 1970s?!

Everything from the credits, to the music style, to the cinematography, to the use of split screens screamed Thomas Crown Affair, The Persuaders, Bullitt etc. It certainly isn't very challenging, but somehow it feels well done. Even the most predictable events of last night's finale for this short run stirred me to laugh and react.

Reviews etc
Herald Scotland

Friday, January 14, 2011


Something is seriously wrong with the heating/cooling system. Today I have been mostly struggling for air --- the thermometer in the room I work in on Fridays hasn't been below 28 degrees all day (and that was with the door open). I know it's mild today but even so....

Usually we're fighting for heating to be put ON (hence why last year the complaints about the but this almost feels like a punishment to have the temperature so high. I'm sure my working environment shouldn't be this way. Given that 'dressing appropriately' according to the weather (and presumably the job) will almost certainly say a bikini is NOT appropriate, I think we can safely say 'thermal comfort' is not currently working successfully.

This incredibly new and efficient eco-designed building in terms of my office has no windows (nor even any natural light). I feel quite giddy from the heat.


The needle and the record

Rullsenberg has taken up knitting. Sometimes it goes brilliantly. Sometimes it goes less brilliantly. I found this helpful advice on knitting from the Yarn Harlot.
Are you bad at this (right now)? This comes up in classes I teach all the time. Knitters being really, really hard on themselves. They're learning a brand new thing... something they've never done before, and they suck at it. They'll angrily exclaim "Why can't I get this!" and I always answer the same way.

I say "Yeah. That's weird. I mean, you've been trying this new skill for 10 minutes. You should have it absolutely mastered by now. Bizarre that you're not perfect at it yet."

The truth is, that if you're brand new to a skill, you probably suck. You'll likely suck less tomorrow. Don't throw in the towel because your first (or tenth) try at something isn't successful. Sure.. you suck. You're new. Keep trying and you'll suck less. Later. It doesn't mean you're bad at colourwork. It means you don't know how.

That, sometimes, sums things up.

Here's the work in question.

Rullsenberg's knitting

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Reading matters: Edward Marston's Railway Detective series

I spotted copies of these books over at our friends some months ago: I couldn't help but be intrigued since I am a bit of train fan (not to the extent that I'm a gricer but you can't help but be charmed by a steam train, or old fashioned trains generally).

So I bought copies of the first couple of Edward Marston novels about Inspector Robert Colbeck, The Railway Detective and The Excursion Train. There are now SEVEN books in the series and I'm on the fourth Robert Colbeck drama.

They're full of period detail, plenty of nerdy information about trains, and have some smart plotting as well. Great characters too. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cosmo Jarvis: Gay Pirates (a completely crazy but strangely lovable song!)

Tom Robinson and more on 6Music have been raving about this for an age, but it is truly infectious! Either listen here or watch the video below.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

In Praise of ... "The City of Dreaming Books" by Walter Moers

The City of Dreaming Books was a present from the lovely Caroline last year - and it is such a good book that I am planning to read it again soon.

Reviews are pretty effusive - ErgoFiction's review is typical - and well they might be, since this a book that offers much delight to anyone interested in books, and books about books and reading and writing.

You would have to be nuts to only see this as a book for young people as it is so clever and visually interesting (alongside being very entertainingly written).

Highly recommended!

Monday, January 10, 2011

The 'relevant' information for selecting students for Higher Education

Am so hopping mad, I've come on to blog when what I really want to do is check for that still-outstanding email confirmation for Much Ado tickets.

Priorities Lisa, priorities.


I'm going to quote the line that has just wound me up (the rest of the letter from Dr. Kathy Fawcett is pretty much okay, but this particular line made me yell in the kitchen cooking tea)
Universities rightly select the best students on the basis of the only relevant information – exam results.

No, they do NOT.

Not only are exam results not the "only relevant information", but Universities do NOT select on the basis of them.

They select on the basis of PREDICTIONS on A-levels (and sometimes equivalent qualifications) which are not necessarily based solely on examination results. They also select on the basis of GCSEs (which are often used as a key indicator used for A levels prediction scores - though why, I've never understood). Some more enlightened Universities also look at the context within which qualification achievements and predictions are being gained --- when (inverted commas) "so many" are predicted/achieve top grades how else to distinguish between candidates? I'm not saying all get it right, but...

My underlying frustration is that selection is not on the "basis of the only relevant information – exam results", selection is the thing that comes first to making an offer --- actual places are on the basis of results, but if you're already out of the running at the pre-results day stage, what then???

As another correspondent (Tony Burgess) notes:
Last year we were told that pupils from independent schools achieved less than 30% of the total number of A* grades at A-level, which means that over 70% of all A* grades were achieved in state schools. In other words, well over twice as many A* grades at A-level were achieved in state schools than independents.

Despite this, privately educated pupils, already advantaged by being taught in smaller classes etc, are apparently entitled to almost half the places at Oxbridge. Doesn't research also show, when comparing students with similar A-level grades on entry, that state school students outperform the privately educated at university? There may be many reasons why relatively few students from comprehensives get into Oxbridge, but it is not their lack of ability.

And though I'd like to take the focus on Oxbridge off the table (GOD, it's as if the rest didn't count for anything), proportionality demands that we look at how and why students apply and are accepted at University. If they're being asked to take on the level of debt demanded by higher fees then the least we can do is sort out getting the doors properly open.

It ties up with another long-running bug this household has about 'we select only the best' (and its usually unspoken extension 'and they prove themselves to be so'. This applies for jobs, university places and more.


Your selections are those that you believe WILL BE the best, based on whatever evidence you wish to prioritise at the offer/selection stages.

Since you (quite obviously) didn't select any of those you DIDN'T choose, you have no way of evaluating whether they would have proven themselves to be as good, worse or better than those you DID choose.

I'm not saying that the system could intentionally choose seemingly incapable candidates to test out the fairness of offer/selection policies - that would clearly be unfair to those candidates flailing to survive, but clearly there needs to be some way of looking again at thinking 'exam results' etc necessarily result in "the best" being chosen.

The Leisure Society - music that captures both summer and winter

A matter of time - The Leisure Society

The last of the melting snow - The Leisure Society

Still beautiful stuff.

I am trying to learn how to knit

Thanks to this, I may yet master the art of knitting...

How To Knit The Knit Stitch

Though I hope I avoid acquiring the 'woolly Tourettes' that both mine and Linda Smith's mother experienced...

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Simple stripes on Rullsenberg

A comment has been made that even if I am colourful, there were no stripes in my last picture.

So here are some subtle stripes. Bold colour clashes will be resumed shortly.

PS there is a neatly patterned background since I was sat in the delightful London Transport Museum cafe at the time.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Much Ado about "Much Ado"


Well, I am sure the fact that you can queue at the theatre to buy tickets is VERY reassuring to everyone outside London hoping to buy tickets for the announced-today performances due this summer of Much Ado About Nothing starring David Tennant and Catherine Tate.

Wyndhams, bless 'em, must hardly know what has hit them. The full force of 'TennantAndTate'-ism came with a bang!

I'd love to go to the Wednesday evening performance 17 August with Neil. *sigh*

The list of those who'd happily join me is VERY long.

A performance on either a Friday (evening obviously) or Saturday (matinee or evening) in May or June would be lovely, or early July.... of course it would be THIS summer that we're hoping to see the rellies AND they're hoping to visit here in July as well, so that discounts most of July, August and September

Oh to be in London and go and QUEUE for tickets!

GOT A BIT OVER EXCITED THERE!!!! (thanks commentators)

Rough Trade's top 10 albums of 2010

Hmm: not doing bad really all things considered.

Swim is very pleasant. The Gil Scott-Heron is a triumph. These New Puritans are an inevitable 'Thank You Marc Riley', and if I'd been able to track down a copy of the Caitlin Rose I'd say the same for her too (sadly every time I've been in a decent record store since it came out it hasn't been in stock).

I'm ignorant of both Phosphorescent and Darkstar, but the Charlotte Gainsbourg is delightful. Wonderfully breathy vocals.

Not heard the last three, so apologies to Gold Panda, Wild Nothing and Tame Impala. You may hit my E-Music acquisitions depending on how many great new songs Marc Riley and Tom Robinson keep playing...

Friday, January 07, 2011

Theatre Review: 'The Winter's Tale' RSC @ Roundhouse London, 30 December 2010

I'm not nearly as well read (or seen on stage) of Shakespeare as I would like to be, so there is something rather wonderful about coming to plays NOT fully aware of the play's narrative or previous versions.

HLW had tipped me off that the RSC's recent ensemble production of The Winter's Tale was worth seeing as she had seen it at Stratford earlier in 2010. This meant that I was broadly alerted to some of the more dramatic stage actions, but this did not spoil things.

When I saw that they were doing The Winter's Tale in London at the Camden Roundhouse in December near Xmas, I could not resist booking for Neil and I, even though this meant that we visited London either side of Xmas (oh SUCH hardship!) - but it was worth the expense.

It's an erratic tale in many ways: lurching from conviviality to raging jealousy to brutal paranoia and across to ribald bawdy humour, young love, knavish rogues, finally ending in magical revivification.

Though casting a slighter figure than I had expected, Greg Hicks was outstanding as the king who brings down the wrath of the oracle (and more) upon on his vengeful jealousy. I was also impressed by the imperious Noma Dumezweni as Paulina who was utterly convincing and powerful in her efforts to convince Leontes of his error and then to bring the prophecy full circle when she brings forth the statue of the wronged Queen Hermione. And the set designers excel themselves in how they visually bring everything to life (though it creates a helluva job for the interval!) --- and if you only know ONE stage direction from all of theatre ("Exit, pursued by a bear"), then be prepared to find a far more active bear this time around.

All in all, a thoroughly enchanting production -- the ensemble take up residence in New York from July 2011. Anyone fancying a trip would well enjoy the opportunity.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Theatre Review: Season's Greetings - National Theatre, London Saturday 18 December 2010

With a cast that included a Who-gasm triumvirate of Catherine Tate, David Troughton, AND Mark Gattis alongside Katherine Parkinson, Nicola Walker and Neil Stuke, with support from Jenna Russell, Mark Wootton and Oliver Chris --- well, I couldn't miss seeing THAT at Christmas time! Though please don't think I was being shallow in wanting to see this play: we've seen Tate on stage before and she is a wonderful comic actress, and I certainly couldn't pass the chance to see the rest of the cast either since they've all proven their acting chops on stage, TV and film.

Season's Greetings is by Alan Ayckbourn - that most English of playwrights - and has typical elements of farce edged with the most wonderfully bleak despair you could hope to get away with at Christmas.

We studiously ignored the reviews in advance - many were effusive, others much less so - and frankly Poly's opinion counts for more than any of the reviewers! And thank goodness we did go or else we would have missed out on splitting our sides with laughter and grimacing at the bleak humour the play offers. Despite the accusation that some parts are underwritten or that some of the cast have too little to do (alcoholic Phyllis, put upon Pattie and her incomprehensible husband Eddie are those most often critiqued in this way), we found the balance of the play wonderful.

I ended the first half in tears of laughter (I haven't laughed like that in the theatre for a long time) - farce may present the obvious in 'disasters' but our expectations are all the more sweetly enjoyable for that. I can struggle with slapstick, but in the right mood I love a good farce. But even better in some respects are the bleak aspects -- the disastrous puppet show, the disintegrating relationships, the never-visible children, the violence. All these have the own humour (a christmas where children are never seen?!) but there is domestic horror in the fractured lives on stage.

Whatever you do, don't discount this as just a play for Christmas - Season's Greetings first played from September 1980 and in this run plays until March 2011. I would definitely urge you to see it if you get the chance to go to London before the Spring.

The Stage
What's On Stage

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Art Deco London on Capper Street

Shropshire House on Capper Street (near Heals) was a nice random find on one of our usual long walks through London.

Seems we're not the only ones who have been attracted by Shropshire House's (mostly) retained beauty.

Built in 1931-32 (thank you 'English Buildings' blog!) it really caught our eye.

Sitting Tennant 2010 - Winners Announcement!

*Happy Skipping*

Ah, smut wins out - even if it did take Marie being absent in another continent to achieve it! Yes, the Sitting Tennant caption award for 2010 has been announced! After Erin C's magnificent win in the Sitting Tennant picture submission competition 2010 (with Sister Chastity close behind and myself tucked a little bit behind her), it was always going to be a close thing in the caption competition.

After due examination of all the captions, I can hereby pronounce that Ms Rullsenberg was the winner of the Christmas caption competition and gets 10 points. That means that the overall scoreboard for 2010 is…

Marie, Rullsenberg: 280
Toby: 225
Electric Dragon: 210
Dani: 110
SK: 90
Jane Henry: 75
ecg: 50
Rachel: 45
whogal: 35
Joe B: 30
Sabine, Virpi: 25
theriverlady: 15
kellyann06, Sister Chastity, Alex, Paul Ebbs: 10
George: 5

Yes, both Marie and Ms Rullsenberg are the winners, with Toby and Electric Dragon valiant second and third-places: congratulations to them all for their dedication to the art of captioning David Tennant sitting down in all manners of places and positions! Would anyone like to suggest a prize for Marie, Ms Rullsenberg and Erin C?

As always, a great big thank you to everyone who not only provided pictures but captioned them as well, providing epic amounts of fun for people around the world, both commenters and non-commenters alike. You've what made Sitting Tennant the success it is.

Awh, Sitting Tennant's success is legendary - it was created from Marie's demand for more pictures of David Tennant way back in April 2008 (as late as that?! Mind, there'd been much commenting for 'more David Tennant pictures for a good while before that!). And it was included in the notable features when The Medium Is Not Enough was promoted on the Guardian Technology Pick of the Week.

It's been a blast - I'd love it to continue, though I also know how much work is involved for all who contribute (and especially for lovely Rob who copes with the innundations of pictures). With annual changes to the regulations to keep things spicy, Rob has been kept well on his toes trying to manage the random cpationing and imge overloads submitted in his direction --- with that AND all the smut generated, well it is amazing he is still sane!

Sitting Tennant - 2008 winners
Sitting Tennant Caption - 2009 winner
Sitting Tennant Picture - 2009 winner

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Proof that we did experience the London blizzard before Xmas 2010

Rullsenberg in the London blizzard waiting for a mistletoe kiss

Covent Garden only just visible through the snow!

Teddy Bear hand puppets trying to stay dry in the conditions

The Covent Garden reindeer was a popular spot for photographs

Neil crossing the bridge to the RFH. We were pretty snowy by this point!

London's 2010/2011 fireworks - WOW!

Thank you BBC - this has made the thought of work much more tolerable!

Monday, January 03, 2011

Lisa in colour (pre-Xmas)

In the hectic run-up to Xmas, I went out for a meal with work --- an occasion I thought perfect for airing a lovely salwar kameez that one of the students I had worked with brought back from a visit home to India.

I felt pretty darn good in it - and it went fabulously with my Jack Wills jacket!

Slings and Arrows: Season 1 episodes 1-3

Thanks to a colleague (Cheers Anthony!) I've been put onto a series from about 7 years ago called Slings and Arrows ---
Slings and Arrows is a Canadian TV series, set at the fictional New Burbage Festival; a troubled Shakespearean festival similar to the real-world Stratford Festival. The program stars Paul Gross, Stephen Ouimette and Martha Burns.
The blackly comic series produced three seasons of six episodes and was created and written by former Kids in the Hall member Mark McKinney, playwright and actress Susan Coyne, and comedian Bob Martin, the Tony-award winning co-creator of The Drowsy Chaperone. All three appear in the series as well.

I'd sort of vaguely heard of it, partly because I'd spotted it on the CV of Rachel McAdams (Time Traveller's Wife; Guy Ritchie's actually rather enjoyable Sherlock Holmes) and partly because it starred Paul Gross (Due South).

Knowing I'm rather fond of a bit of Shakespeare, Anthony thought I'd enjoy it and loaned me a copy of the first series on Region 1 DVD: sadly, my DVD player is one of the only ones in existence NOT to have a Region hack.

Still: YouTube comes in handy sometimes!

I've just spent the morning watching the first three episodes and chuckling loudly (Neil was next door busy on his computer) - for there is MUCH to delight in this series. As a behind the scenes portrayal of acting (especially Shakespearean acting) and the world of theatre, it is hilarious - aging actors, young actors, corporate sponsors, the use of Shakespeare in corporate training, prima donna adventurous directors, old rivalries, Hollywood incomers... brilliantly skewered.

It's highly recommended, either on DVD or elsewhere!

Sunday, January 02, 2011

With his little ukulele in his hand - Neil's musical task for 2011

HLW has set Neil a task - to be able to play something on his ukulele.

As the gift that survived the crashing fall that damaged Neil's intercostal muscles pre-Xmas (he managed to avoid landing on top of the newly purchased Xmas present), it will hopefully now survive Neil's musical talents and will soon allow him to demonstrate his muscianship!

I'd also like to be able to show off his ability at Duke of Uke where the instrument was purchased from! He possibly won't be getting an invite from the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain just yet, but who knows!?

Things I am looking forward to in 2011 (1): South Riding

How could I not be looking forward to South Riding? As I noted back when the first coverage came out it was onto a winner for me.

An adaptation of a heart-tearing book (I've blubbed every time I've read the darn thing) AND thanks to it starring not just David Morrissey AND [be still my beating heart] Douglas Henshall but also the divine Anna Maxwell-Martin I am sure to be able to persuade lovely Neil to watch it as well. Heck, Neil watched Single Father with me so I am sure he can cope with this.

I'm even tempted to buy a new copy of the book just for the sight of the new book cover.

Books to finish reading in 2011

I started two books in 2010 that didn't get finished reading:

Rief Larson - Selected Works of TS Spivet

Mary Lovell - The Mitford Girls

I don't really know why either of these didn't make it to completion: the Spivet books is a visual treat and has a wonderfully strange narrative (I think it got lost under the bed for a while when I ran out of energy for reading in bed at night). Similarly, what is not to love about reading about the Mitford sisters?! A family whose biography must surely be in the televisual works for when Debo finally passes from this mortal coil - especially given the current passion for all things Downton/Upstairs etc... I have started this Mitford book twice, though the second attempt was only JUST before new year's eve so that maybe doesn't count.

Still: definitely two to make it through this year.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Seeing out the old year and seeing in the new

Neil had to work New Year's Eve, so that gave me and Helen Lisette a perfect chance to see the latest Harry Potter film - the 'getting-so-bleak' part one of the finale. Since HLW was the only person I knew who would go with me, it was a case of getting her better post-surgery so that we could venture out. Hurrah for friends eh?!

Back home and being thoroughly unimpressed by the TV schedule, New Year's Eve ended for Neil and I with a festive dose of noir with The Maltese Falcon. Utterly brilliant.

And since we couldn't make it down to London for the Bellowhead gig at RFH, it was a Bellowhead gig at home for us with a viewing of the Bellowhead Burlesque tour DVD. Foot-tappingly brilliant.

And THAT is how to see the new year in!

Rounding up on the festive period

Blimey, given we haven't even been to NZ this Christmas, it has been a pathetic show for blogging hasn't it? Last time I was able to get in - and yes, Internet facilities have been an issue at home and elsewhere - it was for a review of Hamlet starring the smoking man! (Not THAT one).

At this rate, I'll be back seeing it live (February when the National's production of Hamlet with Rory Kinnear et al hits Nottingham) before you'll get more from me.

And that will never do!

So, between my last visit to you we had an abortive trip to see Belle and Sebastian (singer had a cold so the gig got pulled 5 mins before the doors opened) and the rescheduled date is for .... well even the band aren't sure since they appear to have been consulting the 2010 calendar for a new date [NOTE: Wednesday was 2nd June in 2010 --- so they either mean Wednesday 1 June 2011 OR Thursday 2 June 2011].

Still, we did get to go to London for a long weekend before Xmas - hitting the snow with a vengeance and squeezing in much fun with a trip to the theatre (Season's Greetings at the National - more on that separately I hope, especially as it runs till March 2011) and to the pictures to see The Shop Around the Corner at the BFI. Lovely: proper sweet and sour as you can only expect from Lubitsch.

And then it was back home for a Xmas Eve screening of It's A Wonderful Life. I had a lovely day at the bar (no chuckling!) reading my book as Neil was at work. Plenty of tea and food kept me going till Neil arrived for the final screening of the cinema before Xmas - by the time we exited the place was shutting up shop.

Then it was an idle start to Xmas day with plenty of reading and only finally opening up presents about 3pm.

We settled down for Doctor Who at 6pm - most enjoyable (even if my inner geek couldn't help thinking about the Blinovitch Limitation Effect -- but not so much it stopped me enjoying the episode). Again - I will try and do a belated review for what it's worth.

Since Santa brought both Neil and I plenty of CD, book and DVD goodies, we're going to make a concerted effort this year to CATCH UP ON OUR EXISTING ACQUISITIONS rather than making new ones.

Hopefully this will resolve the ongoing hostage situation that is 'City of God' / 'Diva'. George and Sonia, we can only apologise for being so rubbish.