D4D

In the firing squad when the revolution comes

Archive for the category “Travel”

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…

 

Time Flying

Over the weekend, I had a thought about when I was living up in Manchester, and I wondered how long it had now been since I was living there.

The only easy way to be sure was to check on the D4D archives, and it turns out I left for Bracknell in December 2004.

Fourteen years ago, at the end of the year.  That’s pretty scary – how time flies, and all that jazz.

Lead Developer 2018

This week I was in London during the week, attending the 2018 Lead Developer conference.  I’ve been before, both in 2016 and 2017 (so I’ve only missed the first one, back in 2015) and this year was as good as the previous ones. It’s gone from size to size, and this year had 1,100 delegates – which also meant that it’s outgrown the QEII centre, so this time we were at the theatre in the Barbican centre instead.

I had decided this year that I couldn’t be arsed with frantic travelling, so instead went down to London on Tuesday afternoon, checked into a hotel in Islington (so I had plenty of opportunity to keep up with walking and so on as well) and stayed for two nights.  On the Tuesday I also darkened the doors of Mac and Wild, where I had a truly ridiculous (and rather excellent) off-menu burger. Following the first day of the conference I also walked to Mere (again – and I hadn’t remembered I’d done much the same thing last year until I re-read the post from then) and back.

On the Thursday, once the conference was done, I walked up to where I’d parked the car, and had dinner in Wahaca up there before driving home.  This had been planned, as it meant I left London just at the time that England started their kickyball match in the World Cup, which meant that the roads were comparatively much quieter than usual, and that the drive home was pretty easy.

Along the way, I’ve also been able to complete a full working week, allbeit crammed into three days rather than five. It’s been pretty tough, but at least it’s all done now.

After this weekend, things calm down a lot – and I honestly can’t wait.

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!

 

 

One Job – Admitting Mistakes

As a corollary to the whole “You Had One Job” post from earlier in the month, it’s only fair for me to also admit my own errors (on occasion)

I left for the airport last Saturday at Ungodly-O’Clock – an 08:30 flight required arriving at Heathrow by 05:30, so I left the house at 03:30 for an hour’s drive.  However, what I didn’t do was check Google Maps or whatever before I left, to check the traffic. “Half-three in the morning?“, I thought, “There won’t be any issues“.  What a fucking idiot.

So I got to Junction 13 (Southbound) of the M1, and – with no warning – the junction’s closed. Bugger.  But if it’s only the junction, that’ll be fine. Up the few miles to J14 (Northbound), go round the roundabout there, and come back down the M1 Southbound, past the closed junction.

Except. Except.  It turns out that it’s not just J13 that’s closed. It’s the whole stretch from 14 down to 11. So that’s helpful.

And then it also turns out that – completely unannounced or warned, even on the matrix signs in the run-up – J14 Northbound is also shut.

Cock.

So I ended up driving up to J15 at Northampton in order to come round that roundabout, down to J14, across to the diversion route, and down to J11 of the M1 where everything re-opened.

More galling in all this is that if I’d just looked at the map and seen that the M1 was closed, I could’ve done my own diversion that would’ve cut out all the hassle, and cut right through to the diversion route without anywhere near the hassle.

On the other hand, because I’m still also pathologically early on these things, I still managed to get to the airport on schedule. A little bit more stressed than I could’ve been, but still in plenty of time and all good.

So yeah, I do make mistakes. And admit to them. So there. 🙂

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