I trust all my American friends and colleagues enjoyed their Thanksgiving. In previous years I have looked at what Thanksgiving really is all about (see here) but this year I thought I would look how you were all celebrating by checking the Flickr tags. All the tags representing Thanksgiving seem to be about food or family – which I think seems like a pretty good notion to me.
Traffic From Hell would make a great name for a TV show. Have they already done that?
PY and I had some errands to run which partly entailed us driving to Heathrow airport. Then we went onto High Wycombe to do some shopping. And yet again we were stuck in traffic for hours. I think it may be time to consider alternative forms of transport. It seems no matter which way we go, south or north, we’re going to get stuck. Now I don’t enjoy being stuck in traffic but PY hates it and lets his frustration show. Maybe I should let him select the music from now on!
Traffic hell on the way home from a nice weekend on the south coast.
So I spent the weekend in Brighton: it was a fantastic idea for a last minute get away and I am really quite pleased that I went. The weather was cold and crisp but very sunny and PY and I had a fantastic time roaming the shops, walking the pier, drinking coffee and doing all sort so of good things.
We left earlier this afternoon for the hour car ride home only to end up stuck in four hours of non-moving traffic at the end of the M23 (where it joins the M25). Sitting in a car, going nowhere, starring at the rear brake lights of the vehicle in front (and watching people dart form lane to lane to try to move 100 metres forward) was a very depressing way to end what had bee, until then, a relaxing weekend. It’s such a shame our transport system means I am now more stressed than when I left the office on Friday night (it also means we’ve just eaten a stack of take away junk food but that’s another story).
Maybe I should start looking forward to the week ahead!
It stunned me that I could walk onto a platform on the Northern Line at Charing Cross station and find it deserted.
I posted this picture over a Flickr tonight as it stunned me that I could walk onto a platform on the Northern Line at Charing Cross station and find it deserted. All the best movies had alien invaders clearing the streets while our lonesome hero wandered the empty streets and echoing buildings. It was very strange indeed and a great relief when somebody else made it to the platform and stood waiting the few minutes for the next train. I’ve spent the day in central London training some customers on our software products and so have been on my feet all day, talking. I find it quite hard to be engaging for six hours of so and do find it very disconcerting when I can see the participants interest wane. I imagine it’s a great relief for all that we make it to the end of the day. I was glad to head of for a meal with friends – which is why I was taking the train!
Having read the positive reader comments on the BBC’s story about The Producers I suspect I may be a lone voice in expressing a little (and just a little) disappointment. I hadn’t read many reviews but I did know about the reception it had received in the US and the praise heaped on Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick.
I haven’t seen the film which, judging by the number of people sitting around me who had, means I was possibly one of only a small number of people in the audience who hadn’t. I wonder if that made a difference?
I saw it a week or so ago and it was good but not as good as all the raving would imply. While Nathan Lane’s talent, comic timing and performance cannot be faulted I did find weaknesses in the show. I thought some of the musical numbers in the middle were slow and the Ulla character was not engaging at all – in fact she was positively irritating. James Dreyfuss was camp (which, I guess, is the intention) but in that 1970s OTT cringe worthy way. Humour is, of course, personal and subjective, but I found it only amusing and not laugh-out-loud funny as many of the reviews suggest.
Still, I would take issue with the review of Lee Evans’ performance which says ‘he just about holds his own’. I would argue that he did far more than that. He too was excellent, believable & humorous and while I’ve never been a big fan of his stage antics he worked well in the role. In fact, for me, he worked so well I can’t imagine Broderick in the role.
I will, however, recommend the show because it stands out from much of the rest of the West End right now – it is good. It’s has some wonderful comedy and delightful musical moments. But the sum of those individual moments does not, in my opinion, add up to a great whole. I even bought the soundtrack in the hope that familiarity with the songs will make me warm to more of them.
I’ve been in London eleven years now. Things have moved on a bit in that time.
Eleven years ago today I started my working life. It was my first post-university full-time job. I was a support engineer on a satellite audio network: the shifts seemed awful and the pay (at least in the first few years) not much better but I loved the job and the people. Many of those colleagues continue to be friends to this day although we haven’t worked together for seven and a half years. It also means that I have been living in London for eleven years, yesterday. I’ve been trying to locate things that have changed in that time. I live in a different place (but only the second place I’ve inhabited in London) and I’m on my 5th job. I don’t work the shifts anymore but, in many ways, miss them and the routine they gave you. I’m wi-fied, pda’d, multi-channeled and mobile (in the phone sense) where I wasn’t – which I guess means my money is being spent on more frivolous things.
London has changed that’s for sure. We have a Mayor and Congestion Charging. Docklands has grown beyond all recognition in the last eleven years; there are some new building on the skyline and the Southbank has been opened up considerably. Like Edinburgh, there are now branches of Starbucks (and every other coffee shop you can imagine) where once there were other retail outlets. The Gap no longer seems to be the height of fashion but then again I can no longer wander into a branch of C&A looking at all the clothes I don’t want. There’s still a good sandwich shop on every street but they’re now mixed in with branches of Tesco and Sainsburys who seem to have rediscovered town centres.
I know an eleven-year working life has allowed me to travel to places I, perhaps, would not have gone without work (and many I couldn’t have gone to with the cash from working). It certainly has allowed me to try more restaurants and cuisines of other countries than I ever though possible. I imagine I own more than I did back then but I can’t really quantify it (I may be a frying pan down and a dinner plate up but I’ve never really counted them).
I’m older, but fitter, than I was eleven years ago. I have a wider circle of friends in London than I could have thought possible eleven years ago. I’m always short of time now whereas I used to have to find things to fill the hours when I wasn’t working.
Of course the biggest change in those years has been social use of the internet: email, usenet and the web were not commonplace when I started working. It was that first job that introduced me to more than academic networks. When I first got an email address I only knew one person outside of my company who I could give it to. Now, it’s given me a career, a whole new way to express and organise myself and – probably – hours of entertainment.
All in all, I think I am a wiser, happier and more contented individual (perhaps I little more stressed). So, happy anniversary to me.
I was a student in Stirling and regularly spent time in both Glasgow and Edinburgh. I find it hard to be one of those people who can firmly sit on one side of Central Region and declare undying loyalty to one city or the other.
I was a student in Stirling and regularly spent time in both Glasgow and Edinburgh. I find it hard to be one of those people who can firmly sit on one side of Central Region and declare undying loyalty to one city or the other. During the time I spent in Scotland, Glasgow was City of Culture and was a vibrant place to be. On the other hand, Edinburgh has always appeared to be the calmer brother, perhaps a little aloof until you go to know him. My own brother lives in Edinburgh which perhaps explains why, when I do head back to Scotland, I’ve only ever been back to Edinburgh (and one, short weekend in Stirling).
It’s been with much joy that I have spent most of yesterday and today in Edinburgh on business (actually, I was in Dundee this morning but it still counts). As soon as I stepped of the train I felt like I was home on familiar turf. A few moments and memories started flooding back. Edinburgh of my memory, however, doesn’t have any Starbucks and had a big branch of C&A right at the top of Princess Street by the station. Now it has Starbucks and no C&A but it still felt right (and slightly chilly). It continues to have sensible licensing laws that allow me to drink later without tempting me to stay up all night (although, frankly, I am not sure you can call licensing laws sensible when you get the hangover I had).
So yesterday’s on this day link took me off on a memorable journey to the Forgotten Project of the ultimate boyband CD – which, as a side diversion, for the stress of my working life at the moment I have decided to invest some time in.
For those of you late to the party here was the aim two years ago: construct a CDs worth of music from boybands of any decade that will go attempt to show that there is some logevity in the product. If you will, it’s an attempt to show that it is possible to have classic tunes that come from the manufactured world of boyband pop. This is what we had last time:
N’Sync – Pop
Take That – Relight My Fire
Take That – Could It Be Magic
F5ive – If Ya Gettin’ Down
Backstreet Boys – Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)
A1 – Same Old Brand New You
A1 – Caught In The Middle
Blue – All Rise
And you are – most definitely – not allowed to call me shallow!
It’s not dull or bland in anyway but, perhaps because there’s a little of the 60s hippy left in Bob Harris, you feel the measured approach is entirely appropriate.
You really do get to appreciate ‘Whispering’ Bob Harris’ love of music through his autobiography, ‘The Whispering Years‘. You’ll read in the blurb that he’s been married three times; has had to re-start his career from scratch several times and almost lost his record collection to a fellow Radio 1 disc jockey. What you may not get from reviews is a feeling of the genuine passion he has for the music and how big a role some of the greatest musicians of the last thirty years have played in his life. You feel as uneasy as Bob appeared to over the fame that The Old Grey Whistle Test brought him and you will feel somewhat betrayed when Radio One remove him (I’d forgotten he was the voice launched round-the-clock Radio One in August 1990). Throughout his career he stuck to his passion – the music – and shunned the computer generated radio that dominates the airwaves today. His interview technique was considered ‘less than penetrating’ in the past but that gentle approach serves him well in book form. It’s not dull or bland in anyway but, perhaps because there’s a little of the 60s hippy left in Bob Harris, you feel the measured approach is entirely appropriate. If you love music (and not just progressive rock) or enjoy his radio programmes then The Whispering Years will be engaging, fascinating and inspiring.