D4D

No, no, mister, not the rubber suit! I'm sweating!

Archive for the category “Do More”

More (and Less) Walking

The weekend just past is the one where I was supposed to be doing that walked Night Marathon in London.  I failed to complete it last year (as I’ve written about elsewhere) and this year didn’t start it – primarily because I just hadn’t been able to get in the practice and preparation that would’ve made it easily doable, so I’d made the decision to not take it on at the last minute.

So it should’ve been this weekend that I did it, and as it turns out, I’m actually quite glad I made that decision.  First and foremost, the weather was vile, and doing it while being cold and wet really doesn’t appeal.

Additionally, I’ve picked up a vicious cold (I really should stop having quiet days – they totally kill me) and been feeling rougher than a badger’s backside. To top it off, this week also involved a couple of foodie events (although I’d have rethought at least one of those if I’d still been doing the walk)

All told, I’m still (mostly) happy with the choice to not do the walk this year. I’m annoyed with myself for having let the time slip past, and for not doing the training and preparation I could have done.  But there we go, I didn’t do them, and while I probably could have just rocked up and completed it, I wanted to be better prepared this time.

I’m signed up to do next year’s one though, so we’ll see how we go from here to there.  And if I don’t do that one either, then I’ll most likely sack off trying again.

Brian Blessed, Cambridge Corn Exchange

On Monday night, I trolled over to Cambridge to see Brian Blessed on stage doing his “An Evening With” tour. Safe to say, it was a fun night.

I’ve been a fan of Blessed since his turn on Flash Gordon – which is now a very long time ago – which also gave him his most recognised phrase (and with which he opened the show) of “Gordon is Alive!

The entire show was kind of ramshackle and rambling, certainly nothing like the far slicker comedians and musicians that the audience was obviously more used to. I saw a few people with expressions of “What the fuck?!?” as it went on, because the were very few coherent stories, it appeared to be all more of a shotgun approach, as and when he remembered stuff.  (Without seeing the show again I have no way of knowing whether it’s intentionally shambolic, or that it’s just the way Blessed is)

For me though, I’d pretty much expected that, and it didn’t disappoint or disconcert me at all.

I thought the entire thing was a lot of fun (and also very loud, and sometimes sweary – also things I’m OK with) and would happily go and see it/him again.

I think the final note to leave on, though, is this notice on the doors.

Meaty Excesses

Last week was a very bad one food-wise. Not bad food per se, but more just that I was being bad by eating a lot of meat.

On Thursday it was the National Burger Day event down at Hawker House in London, which is something that’s been in my diary for the last three or four years. As usual, it was a good event, I got to see some people I’ve known from previous ones, and also meet some new ones who I hope to stay in touch with.

Then on Saturday and Sunday it was Meatopia down at Tobacco Dock in London – for my fifth consecutive year. Both days of that were great – personally I think I preferred the Sunday, which seemed to have a greater variety of meats and techniques than the Saturday.

All told, I ate a lot. But in some form of compensation, I also covered just over 110,000 steps over the week, amounting to just under 60 miles. In a week.

In short, I’m just an irredeemable idiot, with no real idea of what’s sensible…

Othello and Aristocrats

On Tuesday, as I mentioned before, I went down to London to see Othello at Shakespeare’s Globe. I’d not seen any previous productions of it, and it seemed like a good plan – particularly as it was only £5 for a standing ticket.

All told, it was OK. Standing at the Globe is OK, although the concrete floor is a lot less forgiving than the original’s mud, straw and whatever. I get that that’s less sustainable in modern London, but yeah, a bit tough when standing for near-as-dammit three hours, once you include arriving before it starts, interval, and leaving.

The play itself was good, and I had a decent view of the stage, albeit from the side. Going in with a pretty blank and basic idea of the play, it fulfilled most of that, and was easy enough to follow. I had always had the idea that Iago was a lot more panto-villain with hand-twisting moustachioed evil – although I suspect that’s just how it’s been built up over the years, as a lot of the irony of calling him “honest Iago” wouldn’t work if he were being blatantly manipulative and machiavellian – so it was interesting (and a bit jarring for me) to see the way it’s played by Mark Rylance as a much quieter role, more of a jealous little man, overlooked by those in power, assumed to be a nobody who couldn’t possibly come up with such intrigues. 

But I enjoyed it (although I feel the ending is another of Shakespeare’s more melodramatic dollops) and came out feeling I’d got what I came for.

Then, because I’m an idiot, I’d also booked to see Brian Friel’s “The Aristocrats” in the evening, at the Donmar Warehouse.  Which also conveniently meant I could go and have a quick dinner at one of my favourite places in that area, Chick’n’Sours (Fried chicken and sour cocktails – my kind of place)

So that’s what happened – a walk back from the Globe to Seven Dials, food, and then with plenty of time to kill I sat outside an empty building on Earlham Street, right by Donmar Warehouse, and just relaxed for an hour – which was lovely. It’s a really quiet street – surprising for being in the Covent Garden area – with enough people going past to be interesting, but not chaotic.

And then Aristocrats. Which, in my opinion, was sadly an absolute bag of bollocks. Apparently it’s Chekhov-esque, which apparently means “sod-all happens”. I’d seen generally positive reviews of it, but couldn’t find much to be impressed by in it, myself.  It was good to have seen it, and understand a bit more about the kind of plays I don’t like – which is always a useful reference point, so long as you haven’t spent an absolute shed-load of money to find out you hate it – but it’s definitely not one I’d bother with again.

Mind you, I was in a seat in the second row of the stalls, right by the stage, and it cost me £30.  So it could’ve been an awful lot worse than it was.

All told it was a good day, and not massively expensive. What more could one ask for, really?

Bat Out Of Hell, Dominion Theatre

Last weekend, I went to see Bat Out Of Hell, the juke-box musical based on the Bat Out Of Hell trilogy by Meatloaf.

It hadn’t been super-high on my priority list, but a friend of mine is running the lighting desk, and it was also in consideration as something to take my mum to later in the year, so I picked up a ticket to see what it was like.

I didn’t really know what to expect – and in many ways, I’m glad of that.  While I did enjoy it, it’s not one I’d go and see again (and also I’m not convinced that mum would like it) so it was definitely worth seeing as research first.  In fairness, a lot of people really like it and have seen it multiple times – and Meatloaf himself saw it a couple of days before I did, and seemed to be pleased with the entire thing.  It just didn’t really do it for me – it’s a subjective thing, and I’m never going to say to anyone “Don’t go”.  It just turned out to not be my thing.

The staging, set, lighting and so on are great, the music performances are pretty good – but the story itself is woeful, and seems to be there just as a kind of bare basic scaffold on which to hang the songs.  (I’m no expert on juke-box musicals, so this could be the case with all of them, I don’t know – and I’m not going to generalise based on a sample of one!)

But still, it was entertaining enough, and kept me amused.  I didn’t come out thinking I’d wasted my money, or disappointed in the production – but I still wouldn’t want to pay to see it again…

 

Busy Busy

I slacked off from writing posts last week – primarily just because I was ridiculously busy, and didn’t get round to it.

The week before had already been daftly busy, including travel to Newcastle for a couple of days, and then social and busy bits on both weekend days.

I can’t even remember now what I did on the Monday – I know I was out, I just can’t recall where/why. That can’t be a good sign.

Then Tuesday evening I was seeing The The at the Royal Albert Hall, and on Wednesday evening seeing them at Brixton Academy, as I may have mentioned before (on more than one occasion)  Both nights were great, but on neither occasion was I home before 1am, nor in bed before 3am. And also working during the day.

Thursday was no better, although at least it was more local, by going to the local Geek Night for a bundle of presentations and connections.

And then Friday was supposed to be quieter, “just popping out” for food at a local event, that then meeting friends and chatting, meaning I didn’t actually leave ’til gone 11pm.

Saturday was a day in London, starting with cocktails and lunch at one of my favourite places, The Alchemist in Bevis Marks (near the base of the Gherkin) followed by a play called “Sancho – An Act of Remembrance” at Wilton’s Theatre.

And today was another food event in Milton Keynes, and this evening I’ve finally stopped and been able to relax a bit.

So. That’s my reasons for not updating over the last week.   I think it’s a pretty good list, but other opinions may differ. 🙂

 

Danny Baker, Northampton Derngate

Seeing Danny Baker on stage was never one of the things on my to-do list. I’d never been overly taken with his character, or the (very little) I knew about him.

But last weekend, I heard an interview with him on the radio, and he seemed… less of a dickhead than I’d previously thought, and actually with a pretty interesting life.  So when I got home, I had a look at details for his current theatre tour, and saw that he was playing in a week’s time in Northampton. And there were still seats available.  So I thought “Well, why not? The most that can happen is I decide I still don’t like him“.  Ticket booked, and on Saturday evening there I was. In Northampton.

As it happened, the show was a lot of fun. And bloody long.  He’d said in the interview (and at the start of the show) that he’s taken over the mantle from Ken Dodd and so on for marathon shows.  (My parents used to say about Doddy telling the audience “I’m the only one who knows when you’re going home”, and this was much the same)  In this case, he started off at 19:45, there was a 15-minute interval at about 21:30, and he finally left the stage at 23:30. Pretty good going.

Also, it’s worth noting that this is the third tour of tales about his life, and by the end of it we were only just getting to where he started in radio at the age of 30. (He’s now 61)  So I’m pretty sure there’s material for a few more tours in him as well.

As it was, a good portion of the first half was concerned with filling out the information from previous tours, so people knew what and who he was talking about during the second half.  The entire thing was accompanied with photos to illustrate the events and places – all with bits being pointed out by the snooker cue he was using as a pointer throughout. He’s also incredibly energetic, constantly walking across the stage. God only knows how many miles he’s covering every night – but it’s certainly not an insignificant number!

The stories he told were pretty epic, with a fair amount of name-dropping and so on – but they weren’t all about being the Big I Am. Obviously there’s a degree of this, as it’s Danny Baker telling The Tale Of Danny Baker, but it’s not excessive, this is the stuff that has happened, and he’s the first to admit he’s been incredibly lucky along the way, along with not always being the hero of his own tales.

Not always funny (although more often than not) the entire show came together really well, and the only thing that actually made it feel as long as it was (Steady on, Matron) was that the seats at Derngate get bloody uncomfortable after a while.

I can’t deny, I really enjoyed the entire thing (poxy seating notwithstanding) and came out with a better impression of Danny Baker than I’d had on the way in.

If the tour is playing anywhere near you, it’s worth seeing.  And if he does another one, the odds are that I’ll go along again. It might even make it onto the to-do list!

 

 

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