Thursday, 30 August 2012


New Year’s resolutions are funny things.  Usually they are made in the knowledge that it sounds like a great idea but will never succeed.  I do not like failing and so have started to only makes ones which I am sure I will be able to keep.  This year’s was to go to the theatre at least once a month.  Two-thirds of the way through the year, so far, so good:

January:  A Round Heeled Woman
February:  Wicked
March:  Absent Friends
April:  Jersey Boys
May:  One Man Two Guvnors
June:  Abigail’s Party
July:  Sunshine Boys

The inclusion of musicals in my life isn’t something I would normally condone but if I can get a cheeky £10 ticket I'll go with an open mind and usually don't hate them.  As a rule though, I’m still against spontaneous singing.

Speaking of deals, that is how I ended up going to see the Jumpy matinee on Saturday.  I got restricted view tickets for a bargain £15.  Buying restricted view is always a bit of a worry if you don’t know the theatre.  I’d been to see One Man Two Guvnors in restricted view as it was the only way to see James Corden in the role in December.  How much I actually saw of him was dependent on the movements the man in front of me made while laughing and the handrail next to my face. 

So scared was I about buying restricted view that I had a dream a few nights before where I got to my seat and all that was in my line of vision was a wall, I was convinced it was going to be a nightmare.  I really shouldn’t have feared as when I collected my £15 ticket I got an upgrade to the Royal Circle.  That meant I saved £40 on an unrestricted view, happy, happy days. 

As much as I love a bargain, spending any meagre amount is still a waste if the play is no good.  

A loud burst of Florence and the Machine indicated the start of the show.  Immediately I was a bit concerned.  Blaring pop music to fill time as the actors re-arrange the set or to indicate a change in scene can sometimes feel a bit am-dram, thankfully Jumpy managed to shrug off that concern very quickly.

Tamsin Greig plays Hilary, a 50-year-old woman with a teenage daughter who is more concerned about going out than her GCSEs.  Hilary’s relationships with her child, her husband and best friend all disintegrate.  Her job is in jeopardy.  She is dealing with a life where aspirations remain unfulfilled as her daughter, Tilly, sets off on a journey that she does not understand will feature disappointment and compromise. 

Generally the acting was very well pitched although at times the daughter was just a bit too Kevin the Teenager for my liking.

Jumpy is on until 3rd November at the Duke of York’s Theatre, it's funny and touching and definitely worth a watch.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012


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To Be Norwegian

This blog has been abandoned the last few weeks.  Firstly due to a massive freelance job I had that was taking up every evening and secondly because of my long anticipated, very much needed Scandinavian adventure.   We started in Copenhagen, then Oslo for  the Oya Festival and then Gothenburg – all in the space of a week.  I was concerned all that travelling about would be stressful but it helped to break up the days and made it feel like the holiday was much longer, who doesn’t want that on a jaunt away?

Copenhagen was lovely, had great shops but horrendous weather.  En route to the Oslo ferry at Copenhagen docks we were planning on looking at The Mermaid, you know, the only thing anyone knows is in Copenhagen.  First of all the boy suggested taking a shortcut which led to us being greeted by some military fort that was entirely cobbled meaning he had to carry both suitcases rather than roll them behind him.  By the time we were back on smooth pavements he was incredibly grumpy from all the manual labour on holiday time.  This was then amplified by the downpour which led to him being “piss wet through” and therefore unwilling to walk further than was needed to see a statue about some story he hadn’t read anyway.

Gothenburg was somewhere I’d spent a few weeks when I was 18.  Due to being a poor student I didn’t really explore much the first time.  On a second visit it proved itself a thoroughly nice place but without a huge amount to do.  The highlight was undoubtedly when I managed to get us upgraded to a suite so it will always hold a special place in my heart.

Oslo was where it was really at.  Everyone is so well dressed, the standard of living is amazeballs (yeah, I said amazeballs) and even though it’s a major city it’s not all London and stressful on your arse. 

They also have the best building I’ve ever seen – the Oslo Opera House.  Now I’m not into architecture, I went out with an architect in my early 20s and in my experience, architects are pompous bores.  I love arty farty people generally and I am sure there are some delightful architects out there in society, I however have never met one.  Anyway, I digress, the Oslo Opera House looks like the future and you can climb up it, it's amazing.

The purpose of our stop-off in Norway was the Oya Festival which proved itself to be marvellous.  For instance, no-one was incredibly drunk and throwing cups of their own urine, something that puts me off all major British festivals.  I got to see my favourite Norwegian singer, Sondre Lerche, perform twice on the one day and we discovered Norwegian rap.  Something I was dubious about but now am finding myself mildly obsessed with.  See below for a combination of the two.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Feeling Very Olympic

Two golds have been won today by Great Britain, it’s making me feel very Olympic and patriotic – odd emotions for someone who isn’t generally either.

My air of Olympic-ness began, along with most of the country, during the Opening Ceremony when the whole world was shown the most perfect, quirky representation of Britishness.  The sheer joy I felt as the actual Queen Elizabeth II called Daniel Craig ‘Mr Bond’ was only tarnished by the fact I was clock watching during the proceedings due to an exceptionally early rise the next morning.  For the record, my definition of ‘early rise’ is anything before 7.30 on a weekday and anything before 10 on a weekend.  On Saturday I had to get up at 6.20.  Let’s all think about his for a second, that’s almost TWO HOURS earlier than I get up for work.  The fact I managed to do it and not die I view in the same league of achievements as Wiggins winning the Tour de France and the Olympic gold in the same fortnight.

I was up early to attend the first session of heats at the Aquatic Centre at 10am.  They recommend you get to the Olympic Park two hours in advance but the lines for security were non-existent and we got through in seconds.  Plus in an amazing bonus the helpers around the park were actually nice, not like those brutes that usually patrol big gigs and events.

Once inside the park I took obligatory grainy pictures of the sights before heading to the Aquatic Centre.  There was only one thing on my mind by this point - coffee.  Due to all that corporate sponsorship nonsense there is a fairly limited choice of food and drink.  I thought I had nothing to fear as Cadburys would be on sale and I could have some chocolate with my coffee to kick me up the arse into awakeness.  Alas, all they had when I got to the front of the queue was Nature Valley bars – thanks but no thanks kiosk worker.

Swimming just happens to be the sport we managed to get tickets for.  Prior to Saturday I’d never been overly bothered by it.  Seeing the heats didn’t necessarily make me aspire to be a keen amateur or want to go to watch more competitions but it was amazing to be a part of proceedings.  

Most of the heats we saw were of male swimmers.  Personally, men with very toned bodies don’t do it for me but seeing them all buffed and in their little pants gave me a real respect for their athleticism (not a pervert’s comment, promise).  As well as that, I hadn’t anticipated how people would cheer along and get into the spirit of things.  At points it was properly wild. 

I got to see Michael Phelps swim (he did not do well at the session I attended) but even better than that I got to see the actual Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip.  The royals are a guilty, guilty pleasure of mine – it was like hitting the jackpot.

Upon leaving the park I went straight home to watch the road race and I’ve been glued to my screen watching all kinds of sports I had no idea I cared about ever since.  Somehow just by living in the city that the Olympics are taking place in makes me feel a duty to watch it all, to ensure that we maintain what we started in the Opening Ceremony.  

Is everyone else feeling Olympic too?