Monday, 21 March 2011


I've wanted to visit Japan for some time now. I have a few Japanese friends and am slightly obessed with Studio Ghibli and sushi. The people seem friendly and welcoming, the countryside looks beautiful, the cities mildly bewildering.
What has happened and is still happening there is heartbreaking. If you can, please donate to the Red Cross and help these lost, sad and mourning people begin to put their lives, and country back together. I'll be reaching deep when I get paid this week and passing some of my good fortune onto them. I hope you can do the same. Thank you.


What a weekend!! I've been here, there and everywhere. But I'm going to rewind a bit and start with Thursday evening.
I went to see Frankenstein transmitted live from the National Theatre to my local cinema (and dozens around the country). It's sold out every night at the theatre and I can see why. It's absolutely brilliant. Benedict Cumberbatch ( a man with a glorious name) and Jonny Lee Miller are alternating the roles of the Creature and Dr F. Both are stupendous actors at the top of their game, and they're showing it again next Thursday, get tickets and go.
Friday was a bit less glorious. I had a work away day/staff meeting to get to, over in Canary Wharf, the other side of London. I left extra time to do the trip, but due to London Underground and TfL's incompetence, it took 2 and a half hours to do an hours trip. Needless to say I wasn't a happy camper and they should expect 2 letters of complaint, one about the service and the other about the incredible rudeness of their staff. If I ever spoke to a customer they way I was spoken to, in any job I've ever had, I'd expect to be disciplined if not fired.
Anyway. It got better, the building was just down the road from the O2 and if you follow me on Twitter, I snapped a quick pic of the view. The free lunch was delish and the meeting bit was fairly brief. I work with some really nice people and it'll be a shame to say goodbye to them in May when my contract ends.
Friday evening found me on a train bound for Lowestoft, the most easterly town in Britain, and home of The Boy's parents. It was a long journey, but since we spent it sat in First Class, I wasn't that bothered.
We got there, headed to the hotel, snuggled up and watched Comic Relief. Then I experienced the worst night's sleep ever, mattress like a board, pillows like melting marshmallows, too soft.
The next morning found us both a little groggy. Restored by breakfast (and a refund on the room), we walked our way into the town centre, via a clifftop viewpoint, and then on to the seafront.
I thought I'd never been to Lowestoft before, but walking along the front, a flash of revelation, a few years back, before I became too pampered (and decrepit) to sleep in a tent, I'd been camping with some friends, and we had spent the day at the seaside, this seaside it turns out. Life is indeed very random.
After a delicious lunch cooked by The Boy's step-father (Thai chicken curry with jasmine rice or dan dan noodles), we went off to Norwich to see the touring Avenue Q. Absolutely hilarious and brilliant, another show I'm going to recommend you go see. Now. Right away. Quit reading this and go!
Our train back was empty, we finally made it home to bed at 1.00am. I slept for a large part of Sunday. Today was a day off from work, I needed a break.
Tomorrow I'm back in the office, and Wednesday is my second to last week of uni classes. Which is slightly worrying, as that means I'm almost done (3 essays and a dissertation to go).
But for now, I'm going to take a little rest and contemplate some stuff. Then do some work for class and off to bed. Hope you all had a great weekend too.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Bookworm: World Book Night

A few weeks ago I took part in the first World Book Night event. I had been selected to receive 48 copies of one of the 25 shortlisted books, Carol Ann Duffy's The World's Wife, a collection of the Poet Laureate's work based on fairytales and myths.
The opening event was held on a Friday evening in Trafalgar Square, and The Boy and I went as wristband wearing VIPs (as all givers had the opportunity to be). There were free smoothies from Innocent, demonstrations of the Kindle (boo, hiss) and mini bookshop tents from Waterstone's who sponsored the event.
Shivering in the bitter March wind the crowd gathered to hear a selection of authors read passages from their own work or that of others. Philip Pullman read from Northern Lights, another of the 25, and he did all the voices for his characters, at one point I closed my eyes and just let it wash over me. Alan Bennett read from his memoir A Life Like Other People's, about his mother's slow descent into dementia, it was sad but he has such a lovely voice. Rupert Everett, Sarah Waters, David Nicholls, Monica Ali and even Mayor Boris Johnson (who has an excellent voice and should he ever give up politics could very easily get a job reading audio books) were among the other readers. Margaret Atwood was my only problem, she doesn't have the strongest voice and her reading seemed to go on for ever.
It's a shame it wasn't warmer, standing there shivering was a bit grim. But on the whole a thoroughly enjoyable literary launch.
The actual day was the Saturday (March 5th). Following on from World Book Day a few days before, the first week of March should be declared Book Week.
I rounded up my glamorous assistant, Aleks, and we set out to hand out free slices of literature to all and sundry.
Harrow being a bit of a hole, the literary bods were not out in force, we jumped on a train and headed into London. In Soho we handed books to people sitting outside cafes, walking along the streets and hanging out in the square. A few went off to the hospital Aleks' mum works in, a few more to my uni friends and a couple of lecturers, including the head of department who was so taken aback at my gift, she gave me a big hug!
A couple are waiting to be sent to friends slightly further afield, including my funny chum Tyler, who was the first person to ask for a copy, and has apparently made a video about it (he makes hilarious youtube videos).
My work colleague Karen, who makes me laugh every day, got one, my boyfriend's mum will be getting one this weekend when we visit, the shop assistant in the massive Waterstone's in Piccadilly got one, another couple of friends who asked nicely will also be getting copies as soon as I can get to the post office. Aleks' friend who met us for coffee got one. Complete strangers got them.
48 books with new homes. Times a million. That's right, a million books were given away for World Book Night, and hopefully people rushed to their local bookshop and picked up something perhaps that they'd never read before.
I've already signed up to be a giver next year.
What book would you like to give away?? What book would you like to receive and what book do you always give/recommend to people?

Monday, 14 March 2011

Culture Vulture: Mogadishu

Last Thursday, my theatre buddy and I headed off to the lovely Lyric theatre in Hammersmith, where we have seen some blinding shows, Punk Rock and Blasted among them. We were going to see Mogadishu, script by Vivienne Franzmann, directed by Matthew Dunster.
It's a play about what happens when a lie is told, and spins wildly out of control, when all you can do is keep lying and what happens when it unravels and you're left with the consequences.
Set in an inner city school, Jason is a bully, and when caught bullying and told to stop by a teacher, Amanda, instead pushes her to the ground. Faced with expulsion for his violent behaviour, Jason claims Amanda assaulted him, he is black and she is white. His lie, which he forces his friends to go along with, becomes something much larger when his father gets involved and an investigation is launched.
The largely teenage cast were absolutely brilliant, Malachi Kirby is an intense Jason, full of anger and pain, lashing out around him, and Shannon Tarbet as Amanda's vulnerable and equally angry daughter, Becky is definitely someone to watch.
The adults were good too, Julia Ford, as Amanda, conveying the mix of frustration and hopelessness of people trapped by bureaucracy was very good. She doesn't want Jason to get in trouble, saying he didn't mean to push her, he was angry, yet knowing all the time that she couldn't protect him.
If you're in London, there's time still to see it. I highly recommend you do. Absolutely brilliant piece of theatre. Much like the rest of the output of the Lyric.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

In Which I'm A Bad Blogger

I am a bad blogger, I know, and I'm sorry. I haven't written anything in a while, mostly because I've been busy living it, and not writing it down.
I also haven't had time to get round to the blogs in my reader, sorry lovely bloggers. I'll try and catch up on all the things you're writing about as soon as I can.
There's been a lot happening in this damp (but drying out, hello sunshine) corner of London. I've been a busy little bee.
The things that were stressing me out last month are still there, more or less. But I'm trying this whole, take it as it comes thing. So far it's sort-of working.
There's been some good stuff (World Book Night (a whole post to come), The King's Speech (go see it, gorgeous film), trips to the theatre, fun times with friends, working things out and falling in love even more with The Boy, weekend away trips), but writing it all out could take days, and I just don't seem to have the time.
Last night I got in from work and went straight to bed, no dinner, and fell asleep. I'm completely knackered, falling a little behind on my uni reading because of it, am too tired to stress about it now, but come tomorrow morning I'll be a little ball of paranoia that I haven't finished The Road to Wigan Pier, let alone started I, Robot (for different classes). But right now, all I'm thinking, is quick call to The Boy and then bed.
Ah, bed. My faithful friend.
Best way to keep up to date, and keep in touch with me right now is Twitter. I tweet from my phone at all hours, my thoughts, feelings, observations and what I'm up to, even if it is just sitting in the office counting down the minutes until I can leave!
Hope you're all well. xx