After the craziness that was most of October, it's been a relief this month to take some time to do fun things instead and, if it doesn't sound too wanky and pretentious, to recharge my cultural batteries a bit. Ok, that does sound quite wanky, doesn't it? I just think writing the novel sapped a lot of my creativity and it's been nice to sit back and soak up other people's creative efforts a bit. So here's a mini round-up of things I've done/seen recently:
The Ides of March
Is this where I finally get on the Gosling bandwagon? Possibly, although I didn't go and see it for him, nor for George Clooney. I went because I am a political nerd and The West Wing is probably my favourite drama series of all time. When I say that this was like a decent episode of that programme, that's a compliment. I like political intrigue and shenanigans and the fact that no-one is actually a nice person. Shades of grey, not black and white. It was good. Not outstanding, but good.
Word of warning: don't go and see this with your dad. Even if he is quite cool and liberal and hippyish like mine, it's still a tad uncomfortable to sit next to him during gay sex scenes. That aside, I really liked this film. I'm very pleased it got a decent cinematic release as the subject matter isn't usually considered mainstream enough to get shown outside LGBT festivals (don't even get me started on how criminally underrated A Love To Hide is). It was just very honest and real. A little bittersweet, but isn't that how life is?
In 3D. Uck. I hate 3D. Not only does it not work properly with my eyes (and having to wear two pairs of glasses is never a good look), I massively begrudge having to pay inflated ticket prices, especially when it's a film that's been retrofitted and wasn't even meant to be in 3D in the first place. Grrr. But such is my devotion to Henry Cavill. I kinda dread the new Superman film coming out because he'll be all mainstream and I have had a crush on him for YEARS don't you know? Um yeah, the film... Entertaining enough I suppose but not that good and also quite a lot gorier than I was expecting! He's beautiful though so I don't really care.
Star Quality by Noel Coward
Fun, fun, fun. I do enjoy a bit of mid 20th century drama - the dialogue is generally very snappy and witty and that, my friends, is just my cup of tea. It's a play about a play and I always think that's good fun if done well because there's so much potential for bitchiness and melodrama.
Lovesong by Abi Morgan, performed by Frantic Assembly
People, go and look at their list of dates for the rest of the tour. If they're performing near you, go and see them. Please. I've been going to see them since 2006 when my friend Lee took me to see pool (no water) and haven't missed a show since, even if (as in this case) it means going to Leeds to watch them. Not that I have any object to Leeds you understand, it just adds to the cost of the day when you have to buy train tickets as well.
Anyway, the play! Superb. Frantic Assembly put on the most stunning pieces of physical theatre I've ever seen. This play perhaps doesn't have quite so much of it but that's due to the age of two of the four actors and when it is done, it's brilliant and perfectly in keeping. The play is about the beginning and end of a relationship and all I'm going to say is that there wasn't a dry eye in the house when it was finished.
Oh Jack, how I love thee. I went to see him in London last year when I think he was working on the beginnings of this show so I'd seen bits of it before but I still bloody loved it all. I thought Lee and I were safe sitting in the front row with Jack not being the sort of comedian who pokes fun at his audience...yeah, he asked us a question, didn't he? I had to very bashfully squeak "we're not a couple, we're best friends".
I'll say it straight off: I like comedy but I don't like one-liner merchants, I prefer story tellers. So why did I go and see him? Um, cos someone else bought me a ticket? He was great though. Yes, it's a constant stream of one liners but it's surreal and really cleverly done wordplay rather than just reeling off joke after joke after joke. His warm-up act was dire though and would have completely died on his arse had he not involved some audience members.
This was a bit of a speculative one to be honest. I've heard him on The Now Show (Radio 4 FTW!) and I love this song so I thought it was worth snapping up a ticket. I honestly didn't expect it to be as good as it was. He absolutely rocked through two full 45 minute sets of fricking hilarious songs. I thoroughly recommend going to see him.
So that was the cultural month that was. Do you have any recommendations for me?