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Bridget Christie

We finally got to the end of R’s birthday presents this Satdy.

I’d bought us tickets to see the comedian Bridget Christie in Nottingham.  It was in a lovely little theatre in an arts centre at the university.  We wondered just what she’d be up to in the 30 mins we were there before the show.  Maybe walking up and down with stress and anxiety?  Or chilled with a bottle of wine on the go?

Anyway she comes on in her evening gown (well alright then jeans and t shirt) and we’re off.  It was a wonderful cathartic hour of political and gardening rants giving her audience just what they (we) wanted to hear.  I don’t think there was anyone right of centre in the audience as I didn’t see anyone walk out and I assume they would have.  I’m pretty sure she must have had heckles in some of her shows – somehow I doubt she’d struggle to express her arguments tho.

Highly recommended.

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Elijah! We Went to See Elijah! Elijah! What did you see? Elijah! It was Elijah! Elijah you went to see! We did it was Elijah we saw. Elijah!

R sings in a choir.  She sings in a choir.  A choir.  She sings in a choir.  What does she sing in?  A choir.  Yes a choir she sings in.  She sings in, she sings in, she sings in. What does she sing in?  What does she sing in?  Sing in!  A Choir!

Last night at the Cathedral there was a choir.  The choir did perform last night.  Where did they perform? They performed at the cathedral. The cathedral?  Yes the cathedral.  What did they do there? They perform-ed.  What did this this performance entail? What did iiiitttt entail?  The performance at the catheeeedral.  Where they perforrrrrm…ed.

Well I can’t keep this up but it seems that your man Mendelssohn has no such qualms about what his audience may have to sit through, on creaky and uncomfortable wooden pews.  By heck it was repetitive.  The best analogy I can think of is being sat in front of an amazing classic painting full of wonder and invention and beauty and being made to sit there for 90 minutes when you’ve pretty much got all you’ll get out of it in say 30 minutes.

There were some great highlights in there but it could do with maybe a chase sequence and 30 minutes cut out.  And all the solos.  Dirge-like unmusical nonsense.  But there were some rousing and/or beautiful choral bits.  To give an example the second half started and 10 minutes of solid singing later they were still only about 7 lines into the lyrics.

Now R’s read this and thinks I hated it.  That’s not what I meant at all.  It was beautiful and moving and dynamic.  Just a bit repetitive.  Repetitive.

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BJC replayed

I went to a BJC!  Must be years since I attended one for more than just a show.  This year’s is still ongoing and in Nottingham again.  Best BJC I ever went to was in Notts in 1997.  Second best one was in 2007 – again in Nottingham.  Great.

Well actually we only went for the show and the “games”.  Normally the games are in a public place in the host town but unfortunately there was stuff on the market square on Sunday so it was taking place at the castle.  Still, never been to Notts castle – but I wasn’t expecting a £20 ticket to get in.

So we got there late, of course, cos of traffic and that.  And there were the games.  But I couldn’t see anyone I recognised.  At least for a bit.  So we did a bit of tourist stuff which ended up with R singing the Robin Hood theme whilst L ran up and down as if on a horse, whilst wearing a Robin Hood cloak. Over and over again.

That’s when Nicky and her wee lad (M) arrived.  Yay!  Not seen her for years now.  And after the initial shy kid act he and our 2 wee ones were off and playing.  And then Tom D showed up briefly whilst on his way to a camping shop.  And then ^Tom_ – blimey it’s a long time since we last met – we reminisced about hiking in the Lake District and various shows we’d seen (but sadly forgot to mention the carpet trippy up game at the Karlsruhe EJC).  And briefly Nick who I lodged with in London for a few weeks.  Sadly missed Dr Helen and Silver Paul.

We didn’t watch the games but stood and chatted until it was time to go.  And then, via a ridiculous walk, and meeting uncle D, to a pizza place for tea.

And then R, L and J were away home.  As was Nicky and M.  Hopefully it won’t be another 4 years before we meet them again.

Me, D and N were off to the show.  We were the last people to get our tickets and we’re off up to the circle to find some seats.  Considering there were few tickets left when we booked there were a lot of empty seats.  Ah well, we were in the middle near the back of the room so a good view.

Balloons were being knocked about and passed around as usual.  And there was an annoying kid.  Really annoying.  Very very annoying.  We also had a guy who had clear learning disabilities near us – shouldn’t have been an issue but he was loud and inappropriate – which the annoying kid thought was hilarious (whose mother had a weak stab at shushing him but totally ineffectively.  Grr.)

So the acts.  The first was some Brazilian bloke doing curvy sticks.  It was a bit like watching a modern jazz concert as occasionally people would clap for no discernible reason.  I saw a bloke moving sticks around awkwardly.  Others clearly saw more.  Ah well, my loss.  They did plug him doing a workshop the following day so you too could learn how to move sticks about awkwardly.

Then a girl with one blue juggling ring came on.  She did some quite nice moves and catches but the whole routine didn’t grab me.

3rd were 2 hat jugglers.  Some of it was pretty good and actually had some of the few bits of juggling in the show.  But sadly some of it suffered from the bane of hat routines which was quite a lot of droppage.

Last in the first half was a French bloke doing a 10 minute snatch of an hour long show.  He used 1 club and had quite interesting music.  But again it was 10 mins of start-stop manips and no juggling – oh no sorry he did do an occasional short sharp trick – and dropped these as often as not.

And then the intermission during which I got to meet Mamph and her nearly exactly 1 year old.  Aww – lovely to meet them.

Second half then – hoop lady from Sweden?  Quite funny at times – and some juggling – without drops as I recall.  Was ok.

Then Anni from Germany did her show “Paganini”.  You can tell I liked this one cos I can remember her name and the act’s name.  She tied her hands and did club balances and manipulations – it was funny and skilled and well choreographed.  Genuinely a lovely routine.  Very good.

Penultimate act (ok so the order of acts may be wrong) was a Cyr Wheel routine (linky to show the prop – not the same performer).  I know little about this skill and prop but it was very impressive.  N’s favourite act (apart from the headliner)

And finally the headline act “Guillaume Karpowicz” doing a diabolo routine.  My first thought was “Oh no his outfit perfectly matches his prop” so there’s a risk of not being able to see his prop.  But it was properly properly ace.  Brilliantly performed, very hard stuff done superbly.  Music was great and fat the routine perfectly.  Very impressed with this one.

The host (?Rosie?) had held the show together well with some humour and did the job IE told us what was happening and names and that.  Ducks and children was my favourite bit of her shtick.

All in all a show of 2 halves.  Could maybe have done with maybe some juggling in it…maybe.

And then we were off.  Bumped into Lizzah and MBM in the foyer and then off for D to whisk us away in his swish car to where we’d parked our car earlier.  Nothing like stepping out of an BMW M series car to get into an ’04 Zafira – the contrast was rather stark!

A lovely day with some lovely people.  Let’s not make it quite so long until the next time.

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Follow the Money

Series 2 of Follow The Money has just finished.  It’s the latest of the Danish crime dramas wot’s been on the BBC.

I wasn’t a massive fan of the first series but it was still a lot better than many other dramas I’ve sat thro.  But series 2 was very tense.  This tension peaked at the end of the 9th episode (of 10).  Oh my word.

Anyway the main guy is “Mads” who’s a copper who got drafted into the Fraud Squad in series 1.  The actor isn’t that great tbh – I remember one scene especially that looked like a drama student being asked to workshop “shocked” – I suppose they’ve pretty much run out of good actors by now – they’re all in the other crime dramas.  But he’s a nice guy with a bit of an authoritarian streak – but I guess that’s police folk for you.  His wife is lovely but has MS and, in this series, is pregnant in her forties – hence lots of heart to heart convos wanted.  But Mads is too busy – oh no!

“Alf” is the younger and much more intelligent Fraud Squad guy – he likes digging into files and accounts and sorting out the paper trail.

Claudia is a convicted fraudster (in series 1) who ends up working for a bank in series 2.  She’s there to screw over the guy who got her sent down.  Mind you she missed the fate of the main guy in series 1 at least.  She’s a super clever lawyer with a broken relationship and a son who doesn’t really want to visit after she got out of prison hence personal and emotional stuff.

Nicky is a mechanic and convicted (former) car thief.  He’s groomed by the creepy old guy “The Swede” into being a fixer for the higher uppers.  So he turns from being a nicish family guy running his own garage into a (rubbish) heavy – ending up as a killer – in the process losing his girlfriend and son.  More emo stuff indeed.

Bimse – a lovely but a bit dim best friend of Nicky.  Oh Bimse.  His story ended up the most shocking.  Poor Bimse.  Twitter was aflame!

But episode 10 just was blah.. After the tension of number 9 it was all a bit flat.  Such a shame.  But I suppose you can’t make a thriller out of people gambling on (or rigging) stock markets very thrilling.  Maybe you can but this wasn’t it.  Ah well I’ll remember it for episode 9.

Poor Bimse.

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Buffy series 20

Blimey it’s 20 years since series one of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  It was Aussie Tanya who got me into it when she bought the VHS box sets as they were released.  Top show full of inventive stuff (with occasional duff episodes – loads on series 1 and most of one of the later serieses).

My favorite thing ever online was Buffy related.  At the beginning of series 5 there’s a really rubbish episode called “Buffy vs Dracula”.  It’s really bad, properly awful.  Anyway you can skip 90% of that episode because there’s a scene right at the end when Buffy gets home and her “mom” says something along the lines of

“I’m going out can you please look after your sister?”

And she’s a teen girl and looks all surprised then grumpy and responds with “Oh mo-om!” as she doesn’t want to.  And so does her little sister who doesn’t think she needs looking after (she’s what 13-14?).

But there’d never been a little sister, at all.  Buffy was always a single child.

And the internet went mental.

I was looking at messageboards all over and people were doing their nut:

“Do they think we’re stupid? She’s never had a sister and we’re supposed to think she now has?  What do they take us for?”

And on and on and on.

Talk about making their own point.

And Happy Birthday to BtVS – still one of the best shows I’ve ever seen and still waiting for N to get old enough to want to watch it (so I can watch it all again too).

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Bron/Broen

A couple of months ago we started watching “The Bridge” – a scandinavian (Danish/Swedish co-production) police drama thing.  We rather enjoyed it.  But we’d started on series 3.  During this series the main protagonist “Saga” a Swedish police person joined with “Henrik” a Danish police person to figure out some complex crime that affected both countries joined by the titular bridge (The Oresund Bridge).

As with pretty much every police drama the main characters are in some way broken and damaged.  In this one Saga has some sort of social disorder (probably Asperger’s or something similar).  Henrik has a drugs issue and lives with a quiet woman who doesn’t seem to mind that he goes out on the pull every so often – what’s going on there then?

Anyway their interaction is what really makes the show work.  The main plot line is overly complicated really but does feature some very well drawn characters.  Saga is a wonderful flawed person.  Clever enough to recognise it but unable to really change herself.

We enjoyed the 3rd series rather a lot so I bought the box set for Christmas.

So then series 1.

A body is found at the border line on the bridge.  It turns out to be 2 half bodies, top half is a local politician, bottom half is a missing prostitute.  Over the episodes more deaths happen and seem to suggest the killer is motivated by concern for social issues.  Eg loads of homeless folk are poisoned – the message comes out that a few homeless folk killed points to the numbers that are dying because of the policies of the government etc.  It turns out that this is all a red herring and the whole thing is a personal vendetta.

One suspect came up as so because he spoke both Danish and Swedish.  This seemed an odd point to pin on him as people from both countries were happily working away together and chatting freely with only a cursory reference to any linguistic differences.

Saga was not as well developed and seemed too young for her character (at least at the beginning).  The social awkwardness is at first annoying then funny (although we’re not really laughing at her – more at the situations that she gets into) then sometimes sad and upsetting.  There’s a potential love interest but she just doesn’t seem able to do it.  Anyway at the end, in fact the denouement where her inability to lie convincingly comes to the fore and it’s played beautifully.  Very tense and upsetting.  Probably the best bit of telly I’ve seen in years.

Series 2 – A boat drifts off its course and hits the bridge.  There are 7 people chained to the wall below deck.  They’re all ill – in fact they all have some version of plague.  Again the culprits seem to be keen to get their message about unfairness in the world out there.  So we have poisoned prawns highlighting resource depletion through fishing and some other stuff…

The main 2 characters are better drawn and this kept this series alive.  The plot was more strained and the leaps of logic sometimes overly large.  This ended up with the most ludicrous final episode.  I get that sometimes things need to not make scientific sense, why let facts get in the way of a good story, but this was ludicrous.  We had a plane being at risk, we had a major EU conference at risk, we had a lab produced super virus as well.  All totally unbelievable.  A real shame as one ridiculous thing led to another.  Where were the intelligence services?  We’re talking major politicians being attacked.  A plane being attacked in flight.  No?  Ah well we’ll let the local Malmo police deal with this potentially lethal super virus then.

There were some good moments and one great character was pivotal in the end game.  All very sad in the end tho.

Luckily series 3 was better.  If I’d only seen series 2 then I doubt I’d have bothered with the others.

It opens with a dead woman who’s been placed in a macabre sort of diorama.  Turns out it was based on a painting.  More dead people end up in other dioramas.  All the paintings seem to be in the collection of quite a powerful business man.  There’s a parallel story involving a pregnant teenager – and how she links to the main story.  It’s all very subtle and difficult to figure out what’s going on where and with whom.

Saga is at her best in this one.  It’s all very good indeed.

And isn’t “Saga” a great girl’s name?

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Star Wars 7

A small bunch of us went to see the new Star Wars the other week.  I’d noticed that the Imax in Nottingham was showing it so we’d booked to travel there and see it.  Never seen an Imax fillum before hence the trip.   A big fillum on a huge screen, hurrah!

Walking into the place the screen was REALLY disappointing.  I expected some immense screen rather than a tad bigger than normal cinema screen.  Since then I’ve looked into it a bit and the Nottingham Imax screen is only half the size of the one in Manchester.  The image it showed was very good but considering the extra expense and the travel (and parking cost) I doubt I’ll bother again – an opinion shared by my fellow fillumgoers.

Anyway Star Wars 7.

Well it’s very bright and zippy.  And it annoyed racists and the anti-female idiots on the internet so that was good.  Why you ask?  Well the 2 main stars are, shock, a woman and a black man.  There actually are people complaining about this.  Unbelievable.

Yes it was a rehash of episode 4 with a dash of episode 6 but to its credit there was absolutely nothing of episodes 1, 2 or 3 in there.

There are great big silly plot points and times when better stuff should have been made of the characters and plot and the old characters; and the new baddie was rubbish; and the tacked on ending was NOT needed – leave it to episode 8.  So rather like the reboot of Star Trek then (same director).

But I bloody loved it.  Rey is a potentially ace character as long as she doesn’t end up being an invincible vessel of the force.  Finn has a potentially great backstory (which was mainly ignored this time round but hopefully will produce something nice).  As long as they don’t insist on shoving them together in a ludicrous love story then all is good with those two.  And the bangs and whistles were very very bangy and whistley.  Even found myself holding my breath at one point.  It was great big and bouncy fun.

Grand.

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Protected: Summer Holiday

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Waterfalls

We went out last weekend.  In the need of having a good walk in a nice place we ended up in Ingleton for the waterfall walk.  It was as pleasant as I remembered.

The weather forecast wasn’t at all good for the weekend but by far the better day was Saturday so we zoomed up and did the walk that day.  The kids seemed to like it although the smaller ones struggled a bit towards the end and I ended up carrying L for about a mile or so.

And then to the Youth Hostel.  We had a room to ourselves which was nice.  And this time rather than a huge group of teens listening to 1-extra or a room full on a stag do keeping us awake all night like last time.

They had nice beer too.  And the local chippy was very good.

And so to Sunday.  We’d seen that the forecast was rain and lots of it so we’d decided to spend the day further south in Halifax at the Eureka museum.  It’s a sort of sciency place for kids.

The signage was awful so we ended up briefly parking in the train station car park.  R took the kids from there whilst I drove off trying to find the car park.  And there were no signs to be seen.  Once I’d gone a good way I decided to head back to where I’d started – this time there WERE signs pointing to the car park.  And then once down the right side road there was another sign pointing into a car park – amazing!  But once in that car park it was obvious that it was for a hotel and not the museum.  Again great signage!

Eventually I got parked properly.  And then had to walk to the museum.  It was raining quite hard.  And once again there were no signs to the entrance.  Do I go to the right or to the left of the end of the building?  No idea.  Certainly there was no signage to guide me.  I punted left and was happily correct although even really close to the entrance there was no signage.

Grr.

And once in we had a look in the sound garden bit – very noisy and few of the things worked particularly well.  We moved on to another bit.  The rest of the place was better than our first impression thankfully.

We all sat through a rendition of Alice in Wonderland starring a girl playing Alice and a woman playing every other part.  It was actually pretty good. Quite impressed by the end.  Not sure it was quite there for the smallest audience members but every one seemed enthralled.  J and L got to play a bear and a fox respectively too.

Then the kids played in a fake M&S for a bit, then for ages.  And we had to think about coming home.

It was a rather good, if brief, trip away.

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