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?


Decisions

Last year, I signed up for (and started) Cancer Research’s Shine Night Walk in London.  I didn’t complete it – various odds and sods conspired to make it impossible without sustaining a lot of damage – and signed up for this year’s one, at the end of September 2018.

I should have been out doing preparation for the last three to six months. Instead, I’m out of shape – with the heat we’ve had this year I haven’t felt at all able to sensibly get out and do the distance walks. I can still beast a seven or eight mile walk with no problems, but the marathon is three or four times that figure.

Right now, it’s five weeks away, so there’s not even any realistic chance I’d have of being properly prepared for it, either.

So I’ve made the decision – I’m not going to go through with it this year. It’s something I do want to do and complete, but trying to do it this year would again likely result in more damage than benefits.

I probably *could* do it – and complete it – but I’d be running the risk of hurting myself in the process, and I’ve done enough of that over the last couple of years.

It’s incredibly annoying, and I’m really pissed off about it – but also I’m acknowledging that it’s the most sensible option for now.

Next year, on the other hand…


Idiocy (As Usual)

Every so often, I realise that I truly am an idiot.  Usually only when it’s too late to do anything about it, but still – at least I recognise that I’m an idiot. And yes, I know, it’s nothing new or newsworthy

In the latest example, it all started easily enough – I saw that Shakespeare’s Globe is doing a production of Othello (which I’ve never seen) that had tickets available for a matinee performance. Cheap too, as they’re for standing audience places. And that’s all well and good.

Only then I also saw stuff about another play that’s on in London – “Aristocrats” at the Donmar Warehouse – which had availability for the evening of the same day. So I thought “Yeah, why not?”

Even that’s not too bad – it’ll be a long old day, but hey ho.

It was only when I looked at the calendar on my phone that I realised (again) that I’m an idiot – because in that same week, I’m also already booked in for a one-off cinema showing on the Monday, then the theatre stuff on the Tuesday, then out on Wednesday, and back at the cinema for another one-off screening on the Thursday.

And this is all while I’m still supposed to be doing less.

So yeah, I’m an idiot. A busy idiot, but still an idiot…


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…

 


Summer Cold

Over the last week, I’ve had another beast of a summer cold.  Entirely my own fault, having knackered myself significantly at the Ministry concert (long day in the sun, then an excessively hot gig, leading to a hefty dollop of dehydration and burnout) which weakened all my usual defences. Absolutely standard idiocy in my world, I’m used to it.

So it spent a fair amount of last week gestating, and came into proper being on Friday, and was at its worst on the Sunday.

On the Monday, I woke up at my normal time, and my entire body just went “Nope, sod off, going back to sleep”, and did so for another four hours.  (In fairness, I’d also slept abysmally up ’til that point, so it was understandable)  It made me late for work, but as that’s a moveable feast anyway, it wasn’t anything traumatic.

That sleep definitely helped sort things out – it’s still ongoing, but I’m definitely over the worst of it now.

As always, this is what happens when I slow things down…


Ministry, O2 Forum, Kentish Town

I’ve been a fan of the (very loud) band Ministry for a very long time – I missed their last gig in London due to other stuff occurring, and had made sure I got tickets for the gig on Saturday night at the O2 Forum in Kentish Town, London.

As I had nothing else planned, I went down to London early – I know the local area, and there are a few places very close to the venue where parking is free on a weekend, which makes the entire proposition even easier.  In light of my whole “not doing as much” policy, it was still a quiet and easy day – I had lunch, then found a couple of pubs to sit outside and either read, catch up on internet stuff, or do some reading.  With the weather the way it’s been, it was all most civilised.

For the gig itself, I got there in time to see the support act – a singer I’d not heard of before, called Chelsea Wolfe, and her support band.  Personally I wasn’t overly taken with them, but they were better than expected. (I generally expect support bands to be bobbins, but still go to see them if possible. If they’re better than bobbins, it’s a bonus. If they’re bad, then it’s purely as expected, and I don’t feel disappointed by that)

And then onto the main thing.  I don’t know what happened, but the venue suddenly got exceptionally hot, and stayed that way for the whole concert.  It was bad enough that I know a lot of people left early, it really was pretty intolerable.  The gig itself was great, and thoroughly enjoyed the entire thing – but was definitely sweaty and stinky by the time I’d also driven home.

I’d go again, happily – but ideally in rather cooler temperatures, or a venue where the air-con/ventilation was capable of coping with 2,000-ish gig-goers…