01 May 2013
It was the BJC a couple of weeks ago and it was up in Pickering. The big “gala” show was in Scarborough on Saturday. We couldn’t afford the time or money to go for the week but we did decide (ok I may have been quite pushy) to go for the show on Saturday. It’s a reasonable way up there, in fact it took us 3 hours to drive up, but we felt a day at the seaside would be fun for all.
We set off a little late but still got there at 1. Doors opened for the show at 7.00 so it gave us around 6 hours to play and look around. We played on the beach for a bit. N and J made a little sandcastle with the brief help of a little boy who got shouted out by quite burly looking grown-ups and then scampered off.
We had a lovely meal of fish and chips (for tradition’s sake) at a place that really did do gluten-free food on its menu but then ruined it by saying that fried gluten-free food is done in a fryer that also fries gluteny food. So that’s of no use to anyone then. We’d brought food for J along with us anyway so it wasn’t a major issue just an indication of the general lack of understanding that food places have.
I managed to leave both J’s coat and my camera at the caff as well. By the time I spotted this we were a good way away heading towards “Luna Park”. Sounds great but in reality a tired dump of over-priced, under-performing “attractions”. R took the kids whilst I drove back to get our stuff.
Once re-united we all played a bit in the park before it closed rather early. This happened earlier with the donkeys – N wanted a ride, “after food” we said. And the donkeys walked home, away from the beach, past us as we ate. She was glum. Twice.
Walking back to the car we bumped into BJCers who’d clearly just been bussed into Scarborough for the show. I saw a few recognisable faces and a few tedious show-offs (really please don’t walk around with a ball on your head – it’s little wonder you’re walking around on your own). We saw some young unicyclists bouncing up and onto some street furniture. And then Biskup yelled at us from over the road, yay for Biskup – long time no see.
A couple of other folk also said hello, hi Abby and friends. Sadly we missed loads of you.
The show was in a lovely old venue that suffered somewhat for having columns in the way for most seats on the balcony (certainly those seats on the side balcony). We picked seats that weren’t great but the area was quiet so hopefully the kids wouldn’t annoy too many folk.
As soon as the show started more people shifted down to where we were as their view was poor or became obscured by other people moving or standing up to see. As I said, the balcony views weren’t great. So what about the show?
I have no idea. I spent the first half fielding 2 kids, N was good and enjoyed the show. J yet again spent his time playing with the foldy-uppy chairs and running up and down the rows. L just cried and wouldn’t go to sleep.
We finally got her to sleep during the intermission so only had to cope with J running about. He didn’t want to be cuddled or held so carried on running and playing with chairs.
As far as the acts went I saw a bit of Steve Ragatz (very good), Eugenius Nil someone (very good), a pair of German girls (pair clubs, not as slick as could be maybe), a trick cyclist (N loved this one) and that was about it. The headliner was some Russian whizzkid apparently – can’t say I can remember anything about the act tho. And there was a poi act that went down a storm. Completely missed it.
Sincere apologies to those put out by the babies. I think we’ll wait a few years before the babies get to go to another show.
08 Apr 2013
So the nice bits of our Saturday night were as follows:
We had a steak at a place called “The Black Rock Steakhouse”. What happened here is we were given a big and very hot rock to cook our own steak on. A bit odd asking people to cook their own dinner but at least we weren’t going to get something miles overdone. Some reviews mentioned that the writers left smelling like a stinky chef at the end of a shift. I didn’t notice that so much. The steak was rather good as were the chips.
After this we headed downstairs to the comedy night. One compere and 3 acts. The compere was rather good. He even did a couple of improvised raps which were remarkably entertaining in a “Oh my god a 23 year old white, public school educated, radio 4 listening, no chin wonder is rapping” sort of way. He did manage to the line “of the genus brassica” in to one of them so he deserves some kudos.
First comedian was a grumpy flat character. Was ok but not hilarious. Some decent deconstructing of the genre. But my problem with the grumpy character is that he’s already having to work harder to get the crowd up.
Second was some Canadian guy. Much more my thing. Can’t remember a load of what he did but he managed to get boob flashed by a drunk girl on the street.
Last was some Londoner with a voice like a young Danny Baker. Not as funny but he did put himself in a situation where one of the local families could have beaten him up. You know the kind of family – loud and annoying – sorting drinks orders out whilst the guy was on etc…
Until we got back to the car it was a rather decent evening out.
18 Feb 2013
We all went to the circus this weekend. None of the kids have ever been to one (unless you count the last Nottingham BJC public show) before and it was close to N’s birthday so she brought a couple of friends along and off we went.
The pre-show for us was a pizza which slightly ran into the time we should have been at the theatre so it necessitated a quick dash to get there. This meant we had to struggle to get the double buggy up to the balcony – without a lift to get us there. Actually we weren’t allowed to take the buggy into the theatre, I assume for some fire hazard reason. But there was a new problem. L is fast asleep in the back of it. R took the ambulent ones inside and I dumped coats and that on the buggy. And now for L… As luck would have it she was tired enough to stay asleep as I scooped her up and carried her in. But unluckily enough not so sleepy as to stay asleep if I stayed still. So the first 20 minutes or so was spent standing behind the back row and keeping moving so she could rest a bit.
Whilst I was doing that J spent that time becoming obsessed with the tilting seats in the theatre. Lifting it. Dropping it down. Climbing up on it. Climbing down off it. Walking to another seat and repeating things again and again. Not sure he noticed that there was a circus ongoing at one end of the room.
The circus itself was the Chinese State. And jolly good it was too. Although it could have done without the tedious martial artists’ bits. I’d rather have had a traditional strongman act than two blokes waving bendy swords at each other and smashing weak sticks across each other’s back. Very dull. But for some reason people go specifically to see such acts – different strokes eh?
The older girls seemed to have a great time. N managed a fit of hysterics when there were a couple of chinese dragons on stage. Not sure that they were supposed to be objects of humour but what the hey.
Worth a look if they’re anywhere near you. Just don’t sit near a family of 2 adults and 6 children.
01 Feb 2013
It’s been a good while since I got up to York for a ChocFest but we finally managed to get it sorted this year, yay!
I think it’s the first time I’ve ever taken part in the Chocfest Chocolate Cake Competition too. We sorted a decent first ever stab at a gluten free cake for J and took that along.
Unfortunately we had to leave early to get kids home and to bed so missed the show and the cake comp judging. N very keen to find out if we won (we won’t have).
The day was spent chatting to Tom D, Fak, Naomi (another one), Nathan and family, and Silver and family. N and Fred played a lot, J had great fun and L was passed around to all and (occasionally) sundry. No juggling done of course but it was lovely to catch up with a few familiar faces. There were an awfy lot of unfamiliar faces there too. I spose that’s what happens when you don’t go to these things for ages.
We had dinner locally before coming home. I can’t remember the name of the place at the mo but it was proper classy. We had a telly on our table! It was showing the BBC news channel but N wanted CBeebies. I think it was after 7 so that wouldn’t have shown anything anyway so we got them to turn it off. Who really wants a telly at the table? Oh apparently everyone else who comes here. There were some properly big fat jabbas filling the house. The food was fatty and plentiful and cheap. Steaks were overdone, chips were good, ribs were ok. We left full but unsatisfied.
Hopefully we’ll be at more events this year, see some of you soon.
19 Nov 2012
If you’re ever wanting to eat out in Derby then I’d avoid the Broadway pub.
We’d had an odd day of cleaning up and doing odd bits. N was off with grandparents until 2 so we didn’t do much until she was back. After an afternoon trip to the park we headed out for a meal. We chose the Broadway.
We got there at 6ish. They were advertising “Food from midday ’til 10″. Great! Nice atmos in there and we’d had decent pub food there in the past.
They’ve also started doing daily “set-menu”s as well. Great!
We never bother with starters so that’s one decision less. N has picked and we choose for J. Sound.
Now for us. We both fancy a chicken roast. Nyom.
Ah they’re out of the chicken roast. How about the beef then? Out of that too? What’s left? Turkey? Ok we’ll have that. You don’t have that either? That’s all the meaty options from the menu isn’t it? How about the normal menu? Can we maybe have the haddock? No? Chicken pie? No? Jacket potato even? No?
Blimey this is all very reminiscent of the Monty Python Cheese Shop sketch (minus the bazouki music).
Steak? Surely you must have steak? You do? Excellent. Medium please, with peppercorn sauce. Ok so you don’t have peppercorn sauce, somehow I doubt I should be surprised.
So something like our 4th or 5th menu choice. Once it arrives there are no mushrooms as advertised. My “medium” is very definitely in the “well done” category, R’s “medium rare” is not far off “well done” either. J’s chicken dish is tiny. We don’t get many chips on our plates either. What is going on?
Around this time we start noticing that the waiting staff are getting grief from pretty much every group of diners. Meals are slow in coming (that’s being charitable), cold when they arrive and I’m sure other folk are as annoyed as we were about the total lack of many of the meals “available”. R mentioned that she heard one of the waiting staff saying that she’d had to go out and buy chips; notably later eaters were getting oven chips rather than proper chips with their meals.
To desserts? Set menu has 3 desserts. No Eton Mess eh? No shock there. How about the cheesecake? No? OK!
It’s not a cheap place either. Something had clearly gone drastically wrong when a food serving establishment hasn’t got pretty much all of the menu on that day. I pity the poor waiting staff having to deal with an evening of grumpy customers through the ineptitude of someone back-stage.
14 Aug 2012
Well that was an odd thing. Not that interested in sports. Not very patriotic. Don’t care about “winning”.
But I did enjoy the Limpics wot have just finished.
I think it’s my thing of just being impressed with people who are good at stuff. The “stuff” can be anything really, within certain limits. Not that fussed by the football or tennis (Why are they there? Why not go the whole hog and include golf and snooker too?), but I did enjoy a lot of the rest. The coverage could have benefited hugely by being less partisan but was still pretty good.
I think I was most pleased to see the women’s sports and, particularly, the more minor sports getting so much coverage. Now if the beeb spent their sport budget on these sports instead of rubbish like football and F1 not only would we have far more variety of our tellies but much needed money would be injected into these minority sports. And I’m sure it wouldn’t take a lot of cash for the Archery (for instance) to attract new talent and an upsurge in interest from the telly watching public.
Now the day that London got the Limpics way back when I did say that the Beeb should spend the intervening years showing us all these minority sports. Maybe start with an intro show telling us the background and history leading up to who are the world’s best at the mo and then showing us some tournaments and maybe following the UK team(s) as they prepare for the big event. This would have been brilliant but sadly no-one at the beeb listened to me. Tch. Typical!
Now we have to go back to rubbish sports like football and (dear lord) rugby for any fix of non-pub sports (yes darts and snooker – you don’t count – fun and entertaining as you may be).
14 Feb 2012
I was pootling about on the internets last night and landed on the 4od website. I’m shocked by just how much stuff is there. So far I’ve spotted all of the Inbetweeners, IT Crowd, Absolutely (magic Dressage sketch in the 1st show btw), Adam and Joe, Chelmsford 123, Vic Reeves Big Night Out and much more.
I may be stuck here a while.
21 Dec 2011
Seems I’m not the only one who wants to see people do well (as per here):
Lovely article in the Grauniad.
16 Dec 2011
I’ve mentioned before my approval of the show “America’s Next Top Model”. This does surprise people who know me (and probably disappoints others). I wasn’t sure quite why I liked it for a while but I figured it out yesterday.
People have assumed that I like it because of young and pretty girls being involved but that’s absolutely not it. There’s no creepy voyeurism involved at all, there’s just not that kind of content. What there IS is a group of young women who want to be models and then they have challenges, support and photo shoots. At the end of each episode one is voted off until there’s only one left at the end of the series. Through a series the remaining contenders get more and more input to their careers with advice from photographers, agents, magazine editors, designers, catwalk trainers and the like. In other words it guides them (a little, it’s not a school for aspirational girls). At the end the last 5 or so get some serious prizes such as travel abroad, challenges that win them shoots and campaigns across the world, one girl won herself a car this year as well as becoming the face of some bag designer’s new ads. So they are supported and the stuff that is created through the series’s photoshoots is some wonderful art and photography.
What is conspicuously missing is the leering theatre of idiocy that so infects stuff like “The X Factor” and “Britons Have Talent” (edited for grammar). There are no episodes of laughing at the deluded. This is what buggered up this year’s Britain’s Next Top Model. The producers clearly thought “Ha the X Factor is very popular therefore we will copy it”. And it was rubbish. I don’t want to point and laugh; I want to be impressed and see people doing well.
What happened last night was the final of “Masterchef: The Professionals”. It was wonderful. In fact since the semi-finals it’s been some of the best TV I’ve seen in ages. Technically the editing was spot on, the judges know their stuff and the contenders have bags of skill. The final was stuffed full of amazing skill and it was a shame that there had to be a “winner”. But there was and he was a very worthy winner. I want to eat some of his food. But then again I’d have been happy with eating food from any of the contestants. Again what we didn’t have was some deluded folks being laughed at. These were skilled people doing damn well and stretching themselves. Wonderful.
Can we have more like this please?
26 Nov 2011
Saw “Attack the Block” innit. It was well ….. erm I can’t do the youth speak nonsense that these tedious neets witter on with all through the thing.
I love my Adam and Joe whenever they’re on radio or telly and this fillum was written and directed by Joe so I was looking forward to it. I listen to Radio 5′s fillum reviews with Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo and heard reviews and discussion about the thing when it came out. As far as I remember it was very much “not as funny or scary as it should be”.
I don’t recall much at all in the way of comedy from it if I’m honest. Not much laughter from me. I did enjoy the fillum but only as a bit of popcorn fodder.
There were some startlingly obvious scene setting points. At one stage a kid wants to do some parkour style move where he jumps from a bridge to a stairwell but it’s too far and the other kids laugh at him so he doesn’t try. DING! He’ll manage that jump at some later point in the fillum then possibly whilst running away from the aliens. DING! Correct one point to me.
The main kid will realise through the peril he’s brought to himself and his block that he has to grow up a bit and take reponsibility for the effects of his actions. DING! Second point to me.
This second point was rammed home unrelentingly towards the end of the thing. First the girls in the fillum more or less tell him this. Then you’ve got the nurse who they mugged at the beginning more or less telling him this. And finally you’ve got scenes of him wrestling with it himself. All a bit linear and obvious really.
SPOILER ALERT (But remember that spoilers ENHANCE your pleasure of a story)
He may well save the planet at the end but he’s a horrible character. Drug running, mugging, violent piece of dirt. There may be a fillum out there that tells the story of why these kids turn out like this but this wasn’t it. One scene had one kid complaining that the cops just nick them “for nothing”. Oh “nothing” seems to include having the proceeds of muggings on them, knife carrying, drug carrying, carrying fireworks as offensive weapons etc etc… Not sure I want to root for such a lowlife.
And the sheer lack of ambition of these kids was very disheartening. R’s worked with neets and she said that the fillum depicted them very well, so point to Joe there. Makes me quite depressed thinking how we can dig these folk out of the holes they, to a large extent, dig for themselves. Talk about screwing yourself up. Ah but then it’s everyone else’s fault innit?
Nice aliens though.
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