Thursday, December 29, 2011

Woe betide anyone throwing down a gauntlet to Guardian readers

Ian McMillan foolishly suggested that Dickens' Great Expectations could not be summed up in an Edward Lear limerick form.

Christmas time is here by jolly... well, actually it's come and gone

Ah, the festive season.

Time for Ghostbusters I feel. Cloud had been hankering after this 'Last Exit to Nowhere' t-shirt for quite some time.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

At home chez Rullsenberg

Well we have parsnips. And the Saturday Guardian newspaper. So even tho I still feel constantly sick at least we're snuggled up safe and warm. Happy xmas everyone!

Friday, December 23, 2011

All I need to do for Xmas now is...

Well some milk would be good since the supermarket at 8pm resembled an old  Soviet state shop - wrecked shelves desolate of consumables.

I'd  also rather like some parsnips but apparantly they'd vanished by 4pm! Did I miss the memo about food supplies stopping till Easter?  And why were there still bags of Brussels galore on the shelves when the eggs shelves looked like the foxes had raided the place?

I'd also value getting some small boxes to package up home made choc chip ginger cookies to take as presents. But hey. I have Neil, moderately ok health, newly red hair and no earthquakes.

Will spend next few days worrying about aftershocks there but so far its only damage to stuff not people. Nature is cruel.

Xmas is here because...

You know Xmas has officially started when you're sat amongst an applauding and sobbing audience at the end of It's a Wonderful Life. Neil had some grit in his eyes...

Monday, December 19, 2011

Hello bloggers: here's some Xmas cards and amusement for you!

And if that doesn't work for you there is always the old favourite of mine - Santa's Reindeer.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Much Ado and more to download...

Yes, Digital Theatre are now allowing on-line viewing or downloading of several British theatre productions from recent times, including Much Ado About Nothing starring David Tennant and Catherine Tate.

There are a select number of plays available, but that's fine. I may well watch the RSC production from 2009 of As You Like It to see how Katy Stephen's compares to the adorable Maria Gale (when I went to see this production As You Like It with the Wolves gang in July 2009, Stephen's was unwell, but Gale was a great understudy).

Anyway: the biggest delight is seeing Much Ado again and reliving the pleasures of summer 2011. To all who attended (multiple times) and those who did the stage door madness, here's to the memories!

Sound it Out - a film review

Sound it Out is a fabulous movie ostensibly about a record shop in the North-East town of Stockton-on-Tees. But is SOOOO much more than that.

If you get chance to see it then I would definitely recommend you go. There are so many reasons to love this film:
  1. It's about music
  2. It's about vinyl especially, and people's love for the physical objects of music transmission
  3. It's NOT JUST about music but about people
  4. It's about people who maybe don't quite fit what society sees as mainstream: in terms of their taste in music, or their obsession/addiction/passion for music (delete according to preference for disparaging human taste)
  5. It's also about characters at the edges
  6. It's about individuals whose back-history comes to the fore slowly, gradually, and shows you more than you at first thought
  7. It's about interaction and isolation
  8. It's about 'shy boys' (as the director Jeanie Finlay said at the Q&A, "I'm a heat-seeking missile for shy boys")
  9. It's about places getting left behind in the rush of capitalism and consumption
  10. It's about a specific place, specific people and specific music - and yet it is also so much more...
I just cannot praise it highly enough. Sound it Out is utterly hilarious - there are many great characters in the film - and yet also profoundly moving. The characters may make us laugh, but Finlay gets so close to these people from her home town community that they also open up to the camera in the most unexpected ways.

Although lots of the music discussed and featured in the film is 'hard' -- heavy metal, hard-core dance -- the soundtrack is very diverse and includes a number of tracks that are very much at odds with that harder rock sensibility.

Amongst the artistes I was especially pleased to hear were --- 'Allo Darling (Silver Dollars); Das Wanderlust (6 tracks - including the glorious Swan Song); Detective Instinct (Witches Birdies); Saint Saviour; and The Chapman Family.

Anyway, we had a great time on Friday seeing this at the Broadway cinema in Nottingham (where the film was edited - and I have to say it is beautifully edited). Recommended muchly.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Belated London post: 5 December 2011 - the V&A Museum of Childhood and Broadway Market

Well this was a gem of a find --- Neil had been to Broadway Market earlier in the year (whilst me and the girls were indulging in Much Ado), and mentioned that to get to it you had to go to Bethnel Green tube station on the Central Line and walk past the Museum of Childhood.

Walk past?

I don't think so.

Turned out this wasn't as he thought just the Tower Hamlets museum of childhood, but rather a spectacular outpost of the Victoria and Albert Museum: the Museum of Childhood is a full blown brilliant space with a great collection and lots to see and do.

As you go in the wonderful entrance-way, you currently encounter an exhibition of Julia Margaret Cameron's photographs of children. There is also a brilliant display called The Stuff of Nightmares, featuring the tale of Fundelvogel.

There are the expected collections of children's toys and amusements through the centuries --- everything from Star Wars memorabilia to 18th century dolls-houses, from baby's rattles from many centuries ago to the latest must have robot toys.

But the exhibitions are so much more than 'just' these treats - there are also several excellently put together displays on themes, as exemplified by the Magic Worlds show (on til 4 March 2012) on magic and illusion, fantasy and enchantment. It covers everything from children's magic sets to Derren Brown, from Grimm's Fairy Tales to Walter Crane's Flower Fairies, from Middle-Earth to mermaids. It's beautiful, fascinating and covers every medium of product, story-telling and imagery. Gloriously displayed to please both enquiring young minds and memory-driven adults.

Sorry sorry sorry - I've been busy being on the radio...

Only a short slot on Steve Lamacq's "Good Day / Bad Day" slot on 6Music, but I did my five minutes of fame last night. Not sure if the iPlayer works beyond the UK shores, but I know folks are inventive and I will try and get the sound clip added to YouTube if I can so can share the sound of me talking (you fools!)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Much Ado and BOTHER :(

Delayed? Someone got over-excited? Or just someone at Amazon trying to wind people up?

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

London 5 December 2011 - part 1: Sister Ray misery

Whee! Despite having to get up at stupid o'clock, it is always lovely to get a day out in London.

We arrived about 8.20am and headed off for our usual breakfast at Bar Bruno - yummy!

We then headed around the corner to Sister Ray (aka Selectadisc of the South) a favourite haunt if we're not in the vicinity of Rough Trade. We loitered outside the store - we were a good 15-20 mins too early for opening time - and then were let in by the owner/manager.

Between us we spent a goodly amount of money on pre-Xmas goodies and things we had been watching out for: certainly enough to make it worth opening for us, and several other folks came in whilst we were there and seemed inclined to make purchases also. So it was a bit dispiriting to find the store owner starting up the conversation as we excitedly enter with the gloomy line "why do you buy CDs anyway?"

I get that such general stores covering a range of music are dying out like dinosaurs; I get that their diversification into DVDs etc has been futile at best. I get the physical object (certainly the CD) is not going to last my lifetime (probably) - although vinyl will undoubtedly last as long as there are nerds for its sound quality. (I mean that in a good way: I know that vinyl sounds better for all its difficulties).

But why would you want to dismiss the energy of your customers before they've scarcely walked in the door and started to browse? I suggested about the idea that could/should have probably happened with record stores, that being able to download IN THE STORE could/would probably help... but it was all to no avail. Record stores were doomed and it was frankly just odd why we were bothering.

*sigh* - last record shop standing indeed. I'm not sure if the shop will be there when we next go. Will it just end up as a 'novelty store' as he described it, selling vinyl only?

London 5 December 2011 - the NPG and Taylor Wessing Photography Prize

We went to the NPG (National Portrait Gallery) for the Taylor Wessing Photography Prize, but stayed for some extra bits as well.

The images are always interesting and many are definitely worth close inspection - the winners for Taylor Wessing 2011 are here - and some really captured my imagination. It's capturing the sitter that is so interesting, though where images come from a series I do wish there was a bit more information about the sitter.

Elsewhere in the NPG, the big paying exhibition is on The First Actresses, covering early actresses of the British stage: we didn't really haev time for that one, but did see the side-room exhibition (free) The Actress Now which was great. (Even though I did get cross at the innacuracy on the signage for Samantha Morton which said she did television work Band of Gold and Under the Skin --- NO, Under the Skin was a FILM).

Monday, December 05, 2011

Friday, December 02, 2011

"Add twenty more colours" - in praise of being wonderful

As Normblog hits 400 with his weekly Blogger Profiles (see the back catalogue for recognisable names from the past lives of this blog), it's the turn of the lovely Adèle Geras.

I was especially taken by this question and answer:
What is your favourite proverb? - Not a real proverb but a quote from knitwear designer Kaffe Fassett: 'If in doubt, add twenty more colours.' This is a variant of my other favourite quote, from Mae West: 'Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.'

Updated television of the year post

Just to say, I've been updating the 'Television of 2011' post.