I could tell you about the spider bite on my arm that looks like I've grown a third nipple. Should have caught the bugger and maybe had a new species named after me, but I was rather too involved doing the GEORF dance, alas. We were putting in a few new fruit trees to replace the poor old lemon which finally tottered over. Not that I'll see any fruit in my lifetime, but behold my optimism. Ah well, I like to think we were rescuing the wee trees from the supermarket and I'd rather see a shrubling than bare earth (unlike the neighbours whose Agent Orange scorched earth policy has to answer for my upwind dead lemons, oranges, quinces, plums, mangoes, etc).
So, theatre. At least I've still got pre-purchased tickets through to next year (though I'll have to sell my Hamlet ticket, such a cursed play for me, what with Toby Schmitz abandoning his long anticipated run as Hamlet last year, thus cruelling Toby Fest '13 forever and ever). I'll let you know when I pop it on Ebay (still holding out for a few more months, ever the optimist).
So, recent to last? Let's see if I can remember them.
There was the much anticipated and oh my god it's actually good Luke Mullins turn in The Glass Menagerie at the Belvoir. It was so well done, proof that the Belvoir doesn't always have to be a draining experience of uncomfortable silences. Just for once a little inventiveness actually worked, not clever for the sake of being clever, but bring that proper MAGIC theatre moment that so rarely happens. Here they had a set with 30s props and curtains, but they also had cameras set up and two screens, and with a fan blowing the lace curtain past a tear streaked actor gazing heavenwards, the screen would show an image that was such a piece of perfect 30s film, it was just really place and time setting more than a complete set (which the Belvoir really can't do, by simple logistics of being an old factory space). So wonderful, so atmospheric. The gentleman sitting next to me and I swooned over the effect in the interval.
The casting was also perfect. Luke Mullins brought a puckish sense of whimsy to a character I'd always found brutally self serving (we'd read it in school but without the obvuious gay subtext) and Rose Riley lifted Laura to poignancy rather that histrionic boat anchor. Harry Greenwood seems to have swalled Jimmy Stewart films wholesale in his turn as the gentleman caller, but made him a nice guy, not a jerk, but the piece belonged to Pamela Rabe who as the screeching southern stage mother hit so many nerves I threw up in my mouth.
Well, a bit more than that. I had to dash out in the interval and I was so sick someone knocked on the door and asked if I needed help. Well, I did but like hell was I missing the second half. I think it was just strees, having run around all week during an insane week with the worst time of the month in ages, not to mention having to do another fire drill, running down 50 floors in ten minutes (legs like jelly by the end of it) and standing around for two hours in the hot sun while they counted us off, though Queens Square is a lovely place to idle. Or maybe it was food poisoning, and Lil Darlin' did me a disservice at last. Or maybe all of it.
Whatever, it was distressing that I was so ill for a good quarter of the performance, but it couldn't be helped and I did love it. Most excellent.
It was, as the Herald said, breaking the drought as it had been a rather arid season from the Belvoir.
Other stuff was an RSC screening of Two Gentlemen of Verona, with scene stealing dog, and the National Theatre's Medea, which was magnificent. Helen McCrory's performance in Peaky Blinders made me think she might make a robust Medea and she did not disappoint. No dithering for this dame, hell hath no fury, etc, etc. I'm not sure it's a feminist text, for even with a strong Medea she's pretty much driven to her actions by the men she loves. For the love, and hate, of Jason, she does terrible things. Hardly feminist material (Girlfriend, get out).
But for a spiral into destruction and never letting up for a moment, Helen McCrory totally owned the stage, and the soul of everyone watching, as she shook and screamed towards the end. It's quite something when you know exactly what's going to happen and it's still shockingly awful (though since we were seeing it mid school holidays and the foyer was a screaming glitter bombed creche, I wasn't quite as horrified as I should be - smirk). It was, as the chorus said, hard to look away, even with mild distractions like Mrs Barnaby, harbringer of death that she is, in the chorus. No good was ever going to come of the presence of that particular crone - grin.
So that was pretty powerful, even for a filmed experience (not that it stopped himself digging noisely into his Malteasers packet but little does).
Then there was David Suchet, Poirot himself, on stage in a play about Vatican intrigue that played out as a heavily frocked old school parlour mystery but, by heck, there was Nigel Bennett on stage, Lacroix himself, and I had no idea he was in the cast so I nearly squealed out loud when he strode out. I think the bulk of it was lost on me, but if the comments wondering what the weird smell was were any indication, I wasn't the only proddy in the audience, so, well, whatever. One of those just going for the actor tickets. It didn't suck, but it wasn't a highlight.
Before that there was Children of the Sun, and that was funny because people have been talking about Fonzie style audience reactions when actors walk out, and there was a bit of that with Mr Suchet, but the actor who strode out to a ripple of very fond audience murmurs was Jay Laga'aia, and why the hell not. I, too, am fond of Jay, and there are no small roles where Jay is concerned (rapidly becoming NZ's answer to Brian Blessed).
There was also my beloved Hamish Michael, completely upstaged by his cricketer's moustache, which should have had its own billing, and Justin Clarke, as earnest as ever. It's funny/tragic/interesting how, when watching these turn of the century Russian plays, just how boldly the writing was on the wall for these people, much the same with late 18thC French literature such as Les Liaisons Dangereuses, and you wonder how history will see our era, and wonder how we could have been so wrapped up in manners and fashions to miss the bleeding obvious, being the unnatural, highly mannered and unsustainable lifestyles of the 1%. But there it is, fickle and childishly vicious kidults playing silly games and rolling towards the wars and revolutions that would destroy them, without being concerned about anything more than what was for lunch. If I was an English Lit student I'd compare this with something like Brideshead, or anything equally smacking of English folly, but you get the idea. Rich prats rolling towards doomsday. Vive la révolution!
There was also an encore performance of The King and I, which I think I mentioned before, blah blah racist, rascit, orientalist fantasy I coughed and sneezed through it sitting next to that fur coat.
Did I mention Oz Comic Con? Don't think so. I went to that still pretty much shellshocked over the whole unemployed for the first time in my life thing, but I figured I already had the ticket and if I just sat in on the panels I could avoid spending too much $$$ which I no longer have, though I did get a Warehouse 13 dvd signed as I'd already started. Couldn't afford to get the Veronica Mars dvd signed as well, bummer. That would have been six cast members, quite the coup.
Highlight was Mark Sheppard being Mark Sheppard, The first Warehouse 13 panel with Eddie and Joanne pretty much being 'as seen on tv' though the second panel was a complete train wreck, with Eddie being a prat, ditto the Buffy panel with Nick and Emma. William Shatner just went off on his own tangents, Orlando Bloom was a polished performer, but still rather sweet, the Stargate panel fell to pieces and the Veronica Mars panels were quite good, as I was digging the VM on cable at the time, very entertaining, the second one, I think the guys had warmed up a bit by then. Percy was particularly good at not letting Jason get away with one syllable answers which he tends to do, so all respect to Percy for really doing the hard work, panel wise. Percy should think about throwing his hat into the ring for some talk show gig, he has the chops for it.
That's it, live entertainment wise. Onto TV, then.
Well, Peaky Blinders S2 started last night, after such a shameful delay in screening that S1 only finished screening last week. Good to see that TPTB had the rare courage to go the 'if it ain't broke don't fix it' route that precious few of my fave shows ever follow. Not sure I like the new Tommy Shelby as everyone's butt-monkey version, though, but I have faith. And it was good to see Helen McCrory bringing it again, and Sam Neill, almost sinister enough to expunge the memory of his meat ads. Almost.
Then there was Outlander. First, to get it out there, I will splutter and protest about it being a bunch of stupid sterotyped and ignorant twaddle from some bored middle aged middle class middle American housewife with no more idea of the 45 than a lurid picture of Bonnie Prince Charlie she saw on a biscuit tin lid once, and it amounts to nothing more than the lurid exotic racist fantasy that makes The King and I such a squirm fest.
OKay, disclaimer: One of my ancestors was responsible for quite a few of those hideous high Victorian paintings of romanticised highlanders, and I do have ancestors that answered to the name of Fraser, one of which had both ears nailed to the kirk door at Inverness, nevertheless, the twee twaddle and never ending inaccuracies of gigantic magnitude constantly set my teeth grinding. Throw in the loss of the independence for Scotland (a synchronistic 45) and you've got me weeping into my oatcakes and Glenfiddich.
I'm not sure my grandmother meant to raise such an out and out nationatist, though I cannot say one way or the other, but the fact remains my Scottish granny sent out books, bonnets and trinkets meant to educate me in my history and give me pride in my heritage, and because these were such rare and treasured items of my childhood, well, she suceeded. And then some. You know, the way only the child of an ex pat can, being told daily that every thing was better 'back home' (true or not).
So, all that said, it was still fun to watch, I didn't even have to look it up to see that they were really truly filming in Scotland. I recognised it, I knew it, deep in my bones (I'd always wondered what it would be like to go to Scotland, to walk the ground, breath the air. In short, it felt like I'd come home).
The cast are rather prefectly cast, and the basic story is a mash up of my favourite after school specials (A Traveller in Time, Children of the Stones, Flight of the Heron). And, despite not being a fan of Ronald D. Moore's work previously, he's really actually made the tv show so much better than the book, which is a very rare and precious feat indeed. Way, way, way much better than the book (which is pretty much just curdled Mary Sue fic). So I was sorry when that finished on telly.
And yes, I am reading the books right now. Well, I'm halfway through #2. I'm sorry but Les Misérables was just too much for me right now. I needed the book version of comfort food, full of nothing but fat, salt and sugar. I'll save my serious tomes for my umemployment, when I can't afford to go to courses.
Oh yeah, it feels like I've made one of those damned monkey paw wishes, when I saw the pile of books I'd lined up to read last Xmas, still unread, and sighed. I did not mean to kill my job, my tablet and the pvr so I'd have nothing to do but read, you know. I was just hoping for more of a work/life balance, not be thrown from one extreme to another. Sigh.
Anyway, what else? Oh, Gotham started. If I'd ever wondered what a Southland/Smallville mashup would look like, I need wonder no longer. It's all serious cops arresting campy villains. Not quite sure it works (Himself last less than 10 minutes) but as my most beloved Sean Petwee and Ben Mackenzie, of whom I am fond, are in it, I'll give it a go.
Boardwalk is so boring now I can't even. When the storm struck and slammed everything to darkness, the Peanut Gallery was hoping we'd only missed one of those interminable childhood flasbacks of Nucky's.
Supernatural is back, which is worth watching for Mark Sheppard being Mark Sheppard. Not sure about 'demon' Dean. Mr Mark was dropping some large but possibly misleadiing hints at the con.
And there's Doctor Who. Well, there was the episode the other week that I loathed so much I almost damn slammed away from a lifetime of fandom, but otherwise it's been...serviceable. I know we've got a cranky doctor this time, and even my beloved Pertwee had his moments, but still, it's a bit of a gear shift to be back with a Doctor I neither love nor trust (and I say that as a lifelong fan of the show and Capaldi). And I seem to be going against the critical tide, too. I rather enjoed Tom Riley's Princess Bride homage as Robin Hood, and I despised the 'women kill babies' story that everyone else called a triumph. Quite liked the mummy on the Orient Express one, even if it was as daft as old buckets and even the caretaker had its moments. But, you know, there were a lot of duds in previous years, so I am being fussy and revisionist. And I'm not just talking Nu-Who. One word: Zarbi!
So that's it. Gloom and doom otherwise, and Wagnerian storm fronts. Been working a lot in the long neglected garden, but that's more of a job application avoidance thing (writing cover letters appear to be as an effective housework motivator as essays used to be).
Everyone has remarked on how calmly I've been taking it all, but really I'm just too tired (three bouts of whooping cough and all that churning to do 700% to try and save my job has broken me) and too shellshocked to have a carry on. A good howl at the moon is probably what I need, but for now I'm just the walking dead.
A very long list of things I found interesting
The Glass Menagerie review: Eamon Flack directs a compassionate and illuminating production
The Glass Menagerie
National Theatre Live Medea review: McCrory unleashes demons of rage
Children of the Sun review: Female stars set Kip Williams' stage alight
Sydney Theatre Company - Archive: Richard Roxburgh
Greek mosaic uncovered in ancient Alexander-era tomb depicts abduction of underworld goddess Persephone
Where Mud Is Archaeological Gold, Russian History Grew on Trees
Britain's greatest treasure hoard reveals how goldsmiths fooled the Anglo-Saxon world
1923 map shows every pub in Old Town Edinburgh
National Portrait Gallery shines light on William Morris
Oscar Wilde: Photos of prisoner he was 'attracted to' revealed
Lindsay 'The Doctor' McDougall quits triple j
Steven Moffat talks fan service: ‘You don’t give them what you think they want’
Family Feud under fire for 'misogynistic' question
Are Women Better Decision Makers?
Why it doesn’t matter what Benedict Cumberbatch thinks of Sherlock fan fiction
The Stradivarius Affair
Flatline – Doctor Who’s 250th story is an outstanding, gritty tribute to Banksy
Crooner in Rights Spat
10 unbelievable buildings in Scotland
Should We Read Douglas Adams’ Unpublished Manuscripts?
Ripper Street series 3: Period drama to return on Amazon streaming service
BBC America on Tumblr (Ripper Street)
Twin Peaks returns to television: 'We've waited long enough'
Twin Peaks season 3: David Lynch drama gets 2016 release date after 25 year break
Twin Peaks returns, 25 years on
David Lynch to make new ‘Twin Peaks’ series
Twin Peaks Miniseries Details: Returning Characters, How It Happened, and More
Supernatural Boss on 'More Personal' Season 10, Sam & Cas' Search for Dean
Chair that casts a monstrous shadow
Marguerite Sauvage’s Wonder Woman And The Slowly Changing Face Of Comic Book Fashion
Toby Schmitz trades Hollywood for Howie the Rookie
Edwyn Collins: 'I couldn’t really talk. The words I could say were "yes", "no" and "the possibilities are endless"'
A Best Seller Again, After a Boost From TV
Slang for the Ages
Gillian Anderson: Sexism is so inbuilt in modern society it's sometimes hard to spot
Sherlock Holmes mystery solved: Actor who first said ‘elementary’ to Dr Watson is caught on film
Why Do I Love Historical-Fiction Sex So Much?
The Knitwear On "Outlander" Is Possibly The Best Part Of The Show
Once Upon a Time's Josh Dallas: Charming Learns a Frozen Lesson, Gets a Rock Band Wig
William Shatner: 'Chris Pine's Captain Kirk reminds me of my mortality'
Seal spotted at Sydney Opera House
New marine species may have been found in north-west Hawaiian Islands after reef exploration
Incredible Close-Up Drone Video of an Erupting Volcano in Iceland
Images of Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution
Why People Used to Think Beavers Bit Off Their Own Testicles
Why are ‘Biscuits’ Different in Britain?
The Ill-Defined Plot - The New Yorker
Twin Peaks season 3 cast: Kyle MacLachlan essentially confirms return as Agent Dale Cooper
‘Twin Peaks’ returning to TV; MacLachlan looks to be on board
Twin Peaks Is Returning to Television. Really.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Data Reveals Great Risk Can Lead to Great Reward in Business
Sony contemplating a Robin Hood team-up movie?
Revisiting Kolchak: The Night Stalker
Supernatural's Jeremy Carver on Demon Dean and Whether Death Still Means Anything
Is HBO Foxtel's new worst nightmare?
For Sale: A $400K Apple 1 Motherboard and 15 Other Treasures of Science History [steampunk within]
This Is A 4-Day-Old Baby Hedgehog Being Hand-Fed. You'll Lose It
Batman casts a long shadow over new series Gotham
31 Oct 1939 - Special Dishes For A Hallowe'en Party
29 Oct 1934 - THIS WEEK'S RECIPE. SEED CAKE IS THE CORRECT CAK...:
29 Oct 1934 - FOR HALLOWE'EN. APPLE RECIPE AND MINCEMEAT HINTS.: (To make merry, a ring is buried in the potato, the finder of which is supposed to be married within the year.)
02 Nov 1966 - TEENAGERS' HALLOWE'EN PARTY:
It’s Alive! And It Grows Into a Jack-o’-Lantern
Giant mosaic floor uncovered in mysterious Alexander the Great-era tomb in Amphipolis, Greece
Mosaic uncovered in northern Greece could mark royal Macedonian tomb
Ian Curtis: ‘His lyrics were so dark’
Doctor Who: Who is Gus?
The “Real Britain” Postcards
This Comic Perfectly Captures How Feminism Helps Everyone
The Greatest Maps in History, Collected in One Fantastic Book
Sydney weather: thunderstorm rages through city
Scottish slang baffles celebs
Haunting Photos of Houses in Moonlight
Different Ways to Win the War (and the Oscar?)
Crooner in Rights Spat
Rare Iron Age Chariot Unearthed In England Called 'Once-In-A-Career' Discovery
The 16 lessons every traveller learns
Opal card makes public transport harder, less fun and more expensive
Workloads increase staff stress
Mikkelsen lied in Bond audition
The peephole parasol and the anti-garotting cravat … gadgets that never caught on
Day out at the gallows and other bygone photographic oddities
Half of Earth's water may be older than the Sun
Europe’s Insane History of Putting Animals on Trial and Executing Them
Outlander and Lena Dunham Prove Great Sex Takes a Woman
Neil Gaiman on Terry Pratchett: 'He is not a jolly old elf at all - he's angry'
AC/DC's Malcolm Young reportedly in care for dementia in Sydney
'Once Upon a Time' Stars Tackle 11 Unanswered Season 4 Questions
Spectrum Now festival launches with creative director Richard Roxburgh
Dark matter may have been detected – streaming from the sun’s core
Why aren't the British middle-classes staging a revolution?
The Appalling Responses To A Woman Who Wore A Fat Suit To Meet Her Tinder Dates
The Threats Against Anita Sarkeesian Expose The Darkest Aspects Of Online Misogyny
Ernie Awards for Sexist Remarks
Politicians reign supreme at sexism’s night of nights
Ryan Hansen on His Meta Veronica Mars Spinoff
What aging audience means for the future of network television
‘White Collar's’ Matt Bomer Gears Up for One Last Con in First Season 6 Teaser
‘Space Station 76' Review: Liv Tyler and Matt Bomer Find Lust in Space in This Parody-Melodrama
Matt Bomer's Robot Hand Won't Let Go of Liv Tyler's Breast in 'Space Station 76' Clip
‘White Collar's’ Matt Bomer Gears Up for One Last Con in First Season 6 Teaser
S.H.I.E.L.D. Recruits White Collar Vet Tim DeKay to Play Ward's [Spoiler]
Matt Bomer Arrives on 'Magic Mike XXL' Set - See the Photos!
Matt Bomer Flashes His Rock Hard Abs, Amber Heard Arrives for 'Magic Mike XXL' - See the Photos!
Space Station 76 REVIEW
Matt Bomer joins Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe in The Nice Guys