Pattern of
the Month

On the Needles
(...and Off the Needles)



About the
Idle Hands


Sunday January 28, 2018



Alison and I had a day out at the Dulwich Picture Gallery to catch the final day of the Tove Jansson exhibition.
I saw a great documentary about TJ on BBC4 some time ago and it was wonderful the see the actual detailed artwork and working drawings for the sketches. And also of course I read all the books as a small child - which must have been only a short time after they were available in English translations. I read all that were in our local library which was probably only 4 or 5, but apparently there are 9.
Overall it was excellent - and the only minor disappointment was that all the beautiful tiny drawings which we imagined would transfer well to postcards were not available - all posters and prints sold out, unsurprisingly.

They have a really good cafe at the gallery (Dulwich is a very right-on place) where we had both elevenses and (later) a light lunch (despite being initially rather startled by the strength of the black tea).

The excitement of the day was rounded off by going to see The Last Jedi at Kingston Odeon. Nostalgia all round.

Posted on January 28, 2018 at 8:16 PM. Category: Art and Culture. | Comments (0)

Saturday January 13, 2018



This was a spontaneous booking at a very low price which tempted me - I wanted to see it for the inventive direction and puppetry - I had not checked but it is in fact a musical and did (to my delight) include the familiar songs I had hoped for - specifically "An Actors Life for Me" - and Mr Fox was also terrific. The seats were right at the front of the stalls - temporary seating I'm guessing - presumably thought to be not ideal with the way the production is staged (giant puppets) and hence they are offered at such bargain prices. However I absolutely love being close to the stage and enjoyed the whole thing very much.

Posted on January 13, 2018 at 9:13 AM. Category: Art and Culture. | Comments (0)

Saturday January 6, 2018



Always worth seeing the imaginative Matthew Bourne shows - this one had many plus points for originality, being set in WW2 and with not only a wicked step-mother and 2 ugly sisters but also 2 ugly brothers (one with a shoe fetish).
The only thing I was not so keen on was the fairy godfather. I liked the concept but his silver outfit/hair etc reminded me (being that old) too much of the ancient TV series UFO, and although he was a terrific dancer, I was not keen on the choreographic style he was given. In fact I found him rather sinister, but I am not sure how much that in itself was a detractor - maybe the opposite. I did like the implication at the end that he helped other down trodden maidens and not just Cinderella.

The truth is I was spoiled with Swan Lake all those years ago, and more recently with Edward Scissorhands and then the fantastic Carman. He set the bar very high.


Posted on January 6, 2018 at 9:15 AM. 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 hat 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)

Thursday October 12, 2017

The Real Thing


The poster makes this look like some Tennessee Williams play with hot steamy Southern nights filled with passion and longing. The play is rather far from that - and the way I see it is a simplistic view of an intellectual who thought he was above all that love stuff - describing and writing about love with wit and cynicism. During the play we see him made to care.
A nice tale with a moral. However the actual play... words and so on... are of course all wonderful Stoppard - full of wit and cynicism (in a Good Way). The speeches tumble out so fast* that my slow brain needed to be at its sharpest to keep up; in future maybe I need to read the script in advance as one does with Shakespeare!

* Rob was not enjoying it much by the interval and when I asked why said it was the "delivery" which I think was the same problem - but I have also read people complain that the large stage at the Rose give issues with audibility.

Posted on October 12, 2017 at 11:01 AM. Category: Art and Culture. | Comments (0)