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Archive Entries for November 2017

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Thursday November 30, 2017

Books in November

  • Y is for Yesterday by Sue Grafton
    The story flips between 1979, and "now" (1989). A copy of a missing (lewd) tape made by a bunch of teenagers turns up with a ransom demand. The parents of one of the kids - now all grown up and just out of prison (don't ask) - call Kinsey Millhone for help - and she is drawn into their family drama.
    The usual exciting mix of mystery, drama and danger.

  • The39Steps2001.jpg The 39 Steps
    A man is murdered in Richard Hannay's London flat, and he goes on the run (dressed as a milkman...) pursued by the police - and a gang of German spies. Hannay must solve the mystery of the steps if he's to save the British naval fleet from certain destruction...
    I have seen a number of dramatised versions of this story and they all seem to follow the line of the 1959 film - presumably because it has a nicely rounded plot with a good dose of romantic interest. I was amused that this version was exactly that plot - almost to the degree that, as far as my memory goes, they could have been using an abbreviated version of the same script.
    The John Buchan original book from 1915 is a different matter - no female interest and full of jingoism and anti German sentiment - very much of its time of course. The book is also very clearly episodic, having been written as a serial for a magazine - and this is retained even in the much later productions with the hero having a number of unrelated "adventures" while eluding his pursuers. Apparently it was voted one of Britain's "best loved books" but I do wonder how many people have actually read the original text (and I admit it is at least 40 years since I did so).
    This dramatisation from 2001 stars David Robb as Hannay, Tom Baker as Bullivant, Struan Rodger as Hawk, Tracy Wiles as Charlotte, Phillip Joseph as Johnners, Thomas Arnold as Jopley, Gordon Reid as Chairman, and Stuart McQuarrie as Sir Harry.

Posted on November 30, 2017 at 11:41 PM. Category: Books of the Month. | Comments (0)

Melrose Quartet


Tonight we saw the Melrose Quartet at Kings Place - apparently for the launch of their 'Dominion' album, which Rob duly purchased.
The band are: Nancy Kerr (voice, fiddle), James Fagan (voice, bouzouki, guitar), Jess Arrowsmith (voice, fiddle) and Richard Arrowsmith (voice, melodeons).
And they were fantastic of course.


Posted on November 30, 2017 at 10:57 PM. Category: Art and Culture. | Comments (0)

Thursday November 23, 2017

Rambert - A Linha Curva


Another visit to Sadlers Wells with ballet Rambert showing off their spectacular abilities in modern dance.

A Linha Curva was probably my favourite of the pieces - "the spirit of Brazilian carnival" recreated by choreographer Itzik Galili, with 28 dancers, four samba percussionists and wonderful lighting. According to the dancers, the latter cued the dancing as there was no lighting operator, and the dance included ad lib exuberant chatter from the dancers.

The second piece was Symbiosis, a showcase for the Rambert dancers' skills applied to a new score by Ilan Eshkeri.
And finally, a kind of darkly humorous piece "Goat". The work is inspired by the music and spirit of Nina Simone, with a selection of songs performed live on stage by jazz singer Nia Lynn. I read the significance of the "goat" thing in the programme but that probably didn't help me much with the piece overall. However even if not all the meaning was apparent to me, it was a very emotional experience.

The sets and lighting were fascinating throughout.

Posted on November 23, 2017 at 11:56 PM. Category: Art and Culture. | Comments (0)

Tuesday November 21, 2017

Labour of Love


This was a terrific play, and appealed to me on many levels. The plot was interesting (although maybe "just a love story") but it was set against the backdrop of the heyday of New Labour - the life and times of an MP newly elected in the early 90s through to being about ot lose his seat in the recent election. We moved back and forward through the decades, the "times" being set by various multimedia techniques - which for me struck more of an emotional chord than simply setting the scene.
The play had a very sharp and witty script, with seriously good casting - not only Tamsin Grieg and Martin Freeman but also Rachel Stirling. I cannot emphasise enough how well the actors demonstrated their abilities in highly skilled timing. Not for the first time though, we did have a slight problem catching all the words of the said witty script. Since we know and admire the actors for their TV work, we did wonder if they were less used to projecting on stage maybe - or if it was just our declining hearing (which is sadly a given).

Posted on November 21, 2017 at 8:40 AM. Category: Art and Culture. | Comments (0)

Thursday November 16, 2017

ATP tennis at the O2



It's that time again... when Helen and I make our pilgrimage to the O2 for the ATP finals - Day 5. And thanks to that thoughtful chap Nadal asking to be excused playing on Sunday - the schedule was altered so that once again we end up on a "Federer Day". And once again we saw him win.
I missed the Bryans.... but you can't have everything.

Posted on November 16, 2017 at 11:53 PM. Category: Days Out. | Comments (0)

Friday November 10, 2017

Darbar Festival


A triple bill of vibrant new talents at Sadlers Wells as part of the Darbar Festival. Opening with Mythili Prakash, an international star of Bharatanatyam, followed by the deep unfolding ragas of Debasmita Bhattacharya, on the sarod joined on the tabla by Gurdain Rayatt. Finally, dynamic and soulful kathak perfomer Dheerandra Tiwari, inspired by the Advaita philosophy teachings about how to reach a state of spiritual bliss, revealed to gods.
Bliss attained.

Posted on November 10, 2017 at 11:40 PM. Category: Art and Culture. | Comments (0)

Sunday November 5, 2017



We went to the Monochrome exhibition at the National Gallery...... and when we came out were inspired to take a load of monochrome photos.


...... and on the way home....


I was sufficiently inspired to get Rob's old Canon T90 fixed (by a veritable professional with an apparently international reputation, living not far away from me).
Rob was inspired to create some photos for a B&W project... and for fun

MonoCootChick.jpg MonoFrogs.jpg MonoFigurehead.jpg
MonoTankardsSqueezbox.jpg MonoCogs.jpg

But Trafalgar Square on such a lovely day looked pretty wonderful in colour.


Posted on November 5, 2017 at 6:46 PM. Category: Art and Culture. | Comments (0)

Thursday November 2, 2017

For Love or Money


Rob booked a whole series of plays at the Rose this season - and this was one I would have given a miss from the description. What a mistake that would have been! Northern Broadside produced a marvelous adaptation of Lesage's savage eighteenth-century comedy Turcaret - just wonderfully staged, full of life and exuberance, and bordering on commedia dell'arte in form and technique.

Posted on November 2, 2017 at 7:54 AM. Category: Art and Culture. | Comments (0)