Cabinet War Rooms

I’d recommend the place to anybody looking for an interesting day out in London.

cabinet_war_rooms.jpg.jpgI hadn’t been to the Cabinet War Room for a number of years so today’s visit was a great chance to remind myself how wonderful they are. The Rooms are really well done and the audio guide brings some of the exhibits to life. The new Churchill Museum is also open now and that’s got some really interesting interactive exhibits to follow Churchill’s life (concentrating, of course, on his years as War Prime Minister). I’d recommend the place to anybody looking for an interesting day out in London.

All Change

A new look for an old favourite

Jase has changed his site (and seems to have moved his RSS feed). It’s a great new look but I hope this change of focus doesn’t stop him posting!

There’s so much I would like to do on this site right now: so much to write and a few design changes I would like to make. When am I going to find the time to keep up?

I did notice that Gillian McKeith has a new recipe book out and I am so tempted!! Despite the fact that I could never stick to her diet I do love her tv show. I’d love to spend a day with her!

Festen

The Lyric Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue is currently home to a production of Festen, David EldridgeÂ’s adaptation of the cult film by Thomas Vinterberg The play, directed by Rufus Norris, no longer had the original cast but I don’t think that matters: it’s a stunning piece of theatre.

paul_n.jpgthisistheatre.com sums it up well: Patriarch Helge Klingenfelt is celebrating his 60th birthday with his family at a magnificent old hotel in the Danish countryside. Gathered together are his loyal wife Elsa, his daughter Helene, and sons Christian and Michael. As the evening progresses Christian feels compelled to break the silence surrounding a dark family secret. The effect is explosive and sets the tone for a celebration no-one will forget! [Source]

I don’t really want to give the plot away any more but you can read a little more at The Independent’s review (and some non plot-spoiling reviewer’s comments at the Festen site). Regardless, it’s a powerful piece of work with some excellent acting. It’s hard to pick anybody out but Stephen Moore (Helge), Paul Nicholls (Christian) and Lisa Palfrey (Helene) are just three of the wonderful performances.

Credit must also be given to designer Ian MacNeil and all the others involved in the staging of this work. It’s simple, yet stunningly effective, set is a wonder. The stark, dark stage that opens the play hides some very clever set work.

As it appears only to be running until the start of May I would advise you to go now! thisistheatre.com has tickets.

Kinsey

Whereas biopics can be fawning and dull Kinsey is watchable and entertaining.

What to say about Kinsey? It’s a fascinating and absorbing biopic insight into the man who many feel started the sexual revolution of the modern age. Liam Neeson’s superb, intense depiction of the biologist who studied human sexual behaviour the way he’d studied gall wasps, that’s to say he collected thousands of samples, is brilliant. Laura Linney is brilliant as his wife and it’s the pair’s wedding-night bedroom difficulties that start the research that was to change the way a world thought about sex. Neeson is supported by a great cast including Timothy Hutton, Chris O’Donnell, and Peter Sarsgaard as the researchers who bring extra sexual ambiguity to the piece. It is of course, very much a piece of it’s time. In an age where we now see every variety of sexual shenanigans paraded on our televisions, in magazines and across the web it’s harder to appreciate what impact the work had on the world.

The depiction of Kinsey’s motivations may be challenged and history condensed but it is a great work and some are saying it’s Neeson’s best work to date. Nonetheless, whereas biopics can be fawning and dull Kinsey is watchable and entertaining.

  • The Guardian: Condon takes a sympathetic line, though, in his absorbing cine-biography which promotes the view that however muddled he was, Kinsey was brave to try using scientific methods to explain sex in an age of unreason.
  • The Observer: What is most remarkable perhaps is the film’s mature view of sexual matters, balancing the serious side with its frequently tragic consequences, and the often comical, even absurd aspects.
  • Empire Online: A deftly directed, superbly acted and occasionally witty biopic which is not afraid to engage with the complexities of its central character.

They Have The Cool Jobs

Flickr has photographs from the Rufus Wainwright session on 6 Music.

rufus at the bbcMany years ago I spent a small amount of time working for BBC local radio. We had minor celebrities pass through the studios but they never phased me. When I first came to London I worked for a company that had studio facilities. A few bigger celebrities came through in the years I worked there and, again, I was not too bothered. Tom, however, got to see Rufus Wainwright play at 6 Music and that makes me very jealous. Everybody loves his new album (which is out here on Monday) and you can find him all over the press this weekend including, and I find it odd, The Times’ Health and Fitness section. Right now, however, I am listening to They Might Be Giants from 1990. Unconnected, I know but brilliant nonetheless.

Closer

A mixed film with most cringe-worthy chat room flirtation that I’ve ever seen. Sadly, not recommended.

closer.jpgI thought Closer was a mixed bag of a film. The performances of the four protagonists are not too bad: Jude Law as Dan is convincing as a bit of a self-obsessed wimp; Natalie Portman as Alice isn’t too bad with some interesting character quirks; Clive Owen is the most real as Dr Larry but Julia Roberts is cool (nay, cold) as Anna in a role I was least convinced with.

I haven’t seen the stage play but the sexual intrigue and adulteries of the film lose believability as the film progresses. While it’s both a simple love story told through a complex series of inter-woven relationships and coincidences I still wanted to shout out at the characters for their self-centred stupidity.

I did, however, like the film technically. You have to stay engaged to keep up with the way the story is told. The edits jump (but don’t jar) and you can’t dose. The four players are, more-or-less, the only performers on the screen and, despite what I say above, the intensity of the performances does help keep you engaged and they should all be credited for that.

A mixed film with most cringe-worthy chat room flirtation that I’ve ever seen. Sadly, not recommended.

  • The Guardian: The fizzingly talented Marber may well write a great film soon. But this isn’t it.
  • Empire: frank enough to push back the boundaries of how explicit non-porno film can be about sex but manages to be brutally funny with it
  • BBC: Nichols’ clinical approach fails to elicit deep empathy for any of these characters whose foibles are intended to reflect us all

Writer’s Block?

I just can’t seem to get it together to write the things I want to write. Is it writer’s block?

I really wanted to write something about motivation but I am not able to motivate myself to think about what’s buzzing around in my head. To be honest, I am beginning to think that my ability to compose sentences and string together words is leaving me. It’s not that I have any difficulty thinking about the things I would like to write here but I have difficulty actually writing it. My head is full of random thoughts but I am not managing to get them into anything coherent. Failing in this way is actually proving to be quite depressing to be honest.

I wanted to write about a post over at Strange Little Boy which talks about using a wireless connection in a public place – but I can’t get to the point of that one.

I also wanted to write about the development of online technologies and my personal frustrations seeing a lot of the technologies I am interested in being developed outside of the UK. Again, I am suffering some kind of block.

So, I am off to meet a friend for pizza this evening. This will allow me to clear my mind with friend-pizza-eating-trivia and, also, to avoid the television which, after last night’s Dawson’s marathon, will be no bad thing for my brain. Perhaps I shall welcome tomorrow with a clearer mind.