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Archive for the category “Travel”


Having gone to Hamlet and a couple of other things last year, I decided that this year I wanted to go to more theatre productions – and it all looks like it’s being pretty successful so far.

I’ve already seen Faustus in London, and seen Henry Rollins twice (not quite a theatrical production as such, but still qualifies for these purposes) but the bookings for the rest of the year are starting to look pretty impressive, including…

I’d say that’s a pretty successful list for the coming months, and certainly fulfils the target of “Getting out and doing more”…

More Travel

As I’ve said many, many times before, I can be a bit of an idiot – particularly when it comes to what I regard as ‘doable’ for travelling etc.

Today has proven that yet again.  Well, I’ve organised it all today, but it’s happening on Saturday.

Over the weekend, I saw some really good reviews and opinions about the production of King Lear that’s currently going on at Manchester’s Royal Exchange, with Don Warrington as Lear.  So today I had a look at whether there were any tickets still available.

Turns out, there were. Not many, but enough for me to book one to see it on Saturday afternoon.  And that’s what I’m doing.

I’ve also (in the name of something approaching a sensible idea) booked myself on trains to get up there and back. But I did seriously think about driving, too. A 350-mile round trip to see a play. Like I said, an absolute idiot.

The reason I’m not making a weekend of it is because I’m also in London on the Sunday – although not ’til the evening – for another hopefully epic meal.

I am indeed an idiot, and quite possibly a lunatic.

London Weekend – Faustus and stuff

This weekend was another London trip, although spread over two days rather than one, which made life a bit less chaotic than usual.

The primary reason was to see Faustus at the Duke of York’s Theatre. A friend of mine had got tickets, and as part of my 2016 mission to see more stuff and so on, I went too. I know the basic idea of the story of Faust, although I’ve never read it, so had that as a basic idea of the play, but no idea of what else to expect.

Faustus image

As it turned out, it’s a very good production – if also very strange. I liked a lot of it – but admittedly started off thinking “This is garbage”, although I did reassess that quite rapidly. It’s got a whole lot of interesting ideas and propositions within it, so it’s an interesting production.

Other than that, the usual large-scale wandering around London, reconnecting bits of geography I hadn’t seen in a while, and generally doing a fair bit of walking, as well as everything else. As it was a weekend away, I decided to stay in a (far more expensive than usual) hotel in the area, which I’d eaten in before, but not stayed in.

All told, a thoroughly decent weekend, and much enjoyed. I should try this culture thing more often…

Fish, Aylesbury Waterside

Last night, once I’d finished work I drove over to Aylesbury for a gig. Fish, the ex-lead-singer from Marillion was back in their home-town, and performing one of their classic albums, Misplaced Childhood, in its entirety for the last time, on a tour called “Farewell to Childhood”, because it’s the 30th anniversary of it being released.

I’ve liked Marillion – well, I liked the Fish-era Marillion – since their start, so seeing this gig was always going to be a good one. It’s just a pity it had to be in Aylesbury. Understandable, but a pity all the same.

First of all, I’d forgotten just what a benightedly scabrous shithole Aylesbury is. By the time I got there (just before 6pm) it was pretty much all closed. It’s always been a boil on the arse of Civilisation, and never seems to improve, no matter what the planners, developers and town-centre managers do to it. It’s an unremitting dollop of shite.

I truly don’t know what kind of sins you’d have to have committed in previous lives in order to deserve living in Aylesbury, but they must be truly epic ones.

Anyway, the Waterside Theatre itself is really nice. I’d not been before, but it really impressed me, and is back on the list of places to see stuff.  Again, it would be even better if it weren’t in Aylesbury, but there we go.

The gig was thoroughly enjoyable – my brain refused to store who the support act were, which is a disappointment, as I’d like to make sure I don’t see them again by accident. But once Fish and his band came to the stage, it was all good. They started with playing a number of tracks  from Fish’s solo career (which, admittedly, I’m less familiar with – but I’ll be rectifying that) before playing the whole Misplaced Childhood album, and finally closing with a couple of other crowd favourites.

I really enjoyed it – Misplaced Childhood isn’t my favourite Marillion album by a long chalk, but it was still a good gig.

All told, a good evening – despite the location…

Going Back

When I went back to Reading over the weekend, I also took the opportunity to stop off in Bracknell.

There was a vague kind of logic/sense here, in that I expected Reading itself to be solid, through having road closures etc. going on for the half-marathon itself, plus usual Sunday shoppers and so on, so it made more sense to get to somewhere else, and then train into Reading. I knew Wokingham station’s car-park is a bit of a cluster-chuff at the moment, so I went for Bracknell instead. And as things turned out, that worked really well.

Of all the places I’ve lived, Bracknell was probably the one I liked least. (I just tried writing ‘the most least-liked’, but that’s a phrase to make eyeballs bleed) I’m not a great fan of most of the area – I don’t mind Wokingham and Windsor, but the rest I could happily never really visit  again.  So it was also a chance to see if Bracknell had improved at all, or if I still disliked it.

First things first, there’s a whole new roundabout and housing estate on the approach to Bracknell, which was quite a surprise. I’d thought I knew where I was going – and I kind of did – but that did come up as a bit of a shock. (Even more so, as it also didn’t come up on the SatNav) I can’t imagine the driven commute between Bracknell and Wokingham/Reading was any fun at all while all that was going on.

Other than that, there’s a lot of regeneration work going on in the centre of Bracknell, which I didn’t get the chance to have a proper look at.  It wasn’t that high in my priority list – mainly because I’m still pretty sure nothing short of flattening it and starting again will do anything positive for the place.

Obviously I didn’t get to see all of Bracknell, but then, nor did I massively want to. The bits I saw were more than enough to convince me it’s still a scabrous shitpit, and definitely somewhere I’d never want to go back to for anything more than a couple of hours. In that context, it’s fine – much more than that kind of timescale, though, and it just becomes some kind of self-inflicted torture…

Negative Company

On Sunday, I travelled down to Reading, lending immoral support to a friend who was running the Reading Half Marathon. (and did bloody well!) It was her first time running it, and I was at the end of the last hill of the run, on one of the main junctions. As it was, I got to stand next to a couple who were the most unremittingly negative people I’ve listened to since my grandparents were around. *Everything* was bad. (I bet they read the Daily Mail. And agree with it)

Highlights were :
Well, I won’t be pleased for her if she’s running it this slowly” and “These people in fancy dress are just detracting from the seriousness of the race” Yes, they seriously said that – and with no sense of humour whatsoever.

However, my absolute favourite was her saying to him “What’s the next time marker?” and he responded “The last one was 1hr 55, so the next will be 1hr 60” (or two hours, as it’s known to most sane people) and said in all seriousness, not a stupid comment like I’d do. Pompous bellend.

The finale was when other people appeared and stood in their oh-so-precious sightline, to which he tutted loudly, and complained (loudly) about how some people were so selfish, it was outrageous, just turning up and standing in front of others. (Bear in mind that they could’ve moved forwards too, due to there being loads of room. But no, that would’ve been far too understanding)

I think my “muttered” comment of “Well, you could always fuck off” may* (*bloody well was) have been heard, as they tutted and sodded off quite soon afterwards.

Heavy Mileage

This weekend’s been a busy one, what with one thing and another.

Saturday was supposed to be quiet – because Sunday was already planned with a day-trip to Reading and had other stuff going on – but I wanted to do something. So, being an idiot, I opted for a day-trip to London, primarily to see the Wildlife Photographer of the Year photos at the Natural History Museum, which I hadn’t been to in at least twenty years.

The idiot part is primarily that I decided to walk there – from Euston to Natural History Museum. And back. That’s 7km each way, plus whatever else I wanted to do.  I just thought “well, I can do 5km easily, so the other 2km will be easy” – forgetting that 2km is another mile-and-a-bit.

Of course, I managed it, and I enjoyed the exhibition – but I’d miscalculated a few other things along the way. I’d not realised that it was in the school holidays, and I didn’t think there’d be so many people and children going to a museum on the first really decent warm/sunny day of the year.

So, having walked there, it was then a case of moving slowly through a 40-minute queue to get in to the place, which did an excellent job of reminding me why I’ve never wanted children. The exhibition itself was good – but by then I didn’t want to spend too much more time in the area, there were just too many people and spawn around.

That decision made – and having acknowledged that I was rather more knackered than I’d expected – I opted for walking back to Euston (see, I said I was an idiot) rather than the extra bit of walking I’d planned, to go back to the South Bank as well. That’ll wait ’til I’m next in London, which is only a couple of weeks away anyway.

Another 7km did pretty much stuff me, though – I can’t deny it.

All told, Saturday involved walking no less than 21km (slightly over 13 miles) – and I knew I was planning to walk a fair bit more on Sunday (of which more in another post) which made it all even sillier.

It was a good day, and I’m glad I did it, but yeah, Saturday night was pretty painful. I just won’t learn…


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