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Thursday, 24 November 2011

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.


Jack Whitehall

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".

Milton Jones

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.

Mitch Benn

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?


  1. Heh I purposefully avoided Immortals! I do get to watch A Week with Marilyn tomorrow, rather looking forward to it. Agree with Ides of March, we only saw it cause The Help was sold out, I liked it but it went a bit over my head, I know shockingly little about politics, but George was nice to look at! :)

  2. I also liked Ides of March. I have a feeling a lot of people won't like it, but I enjoyed it for the same reasons you described.

  3. I have an ANTI-recommendation! Don't go see Breaking Dawn. Alas, such a disappointment.

    I have been in love with Henry Cavill for YEARS and really want to watch Immortals just for him. Ah, that man. And I know exactly what you mean - I'm dreading him becoming all mainstream.

  4. Great reviews - thanks so much, esp for the Ides of March one [I too adore West wing]

    My life has been culturally a little dull of late - but I thought TinTin was brilliantly done. I truly think Herge himself would have approved of it!

    blessings x

  5. There's an Alice in Wonderland exhibition at the Tate Liverpool. I'm hoping to get down there before it finishes. Also, if you're a fan, the new Kate Bush album is out. I'm such a big West Wing fan. I agree that a good episode of that show can be considerably better quality than several Hollywood films put together

  6. Sounds like you've had great fun. I've been to see Alan Carr recently which was really funny, I really wanted a spexy beast glasses case but they were £14!!!!!
    Glad somebody else doesn't like 3d films, I don't really see the point in paying more for something that's hardly different.....and don't get me started on 3d tvs! xxx

  7. I'm in envy! I saw Oh! What a lovely war with Black-eyed theatre, and wanted to see Midnight in Paris, and the new Musketeers film (yes, it looks ridiculous, but I want to see it anyway), and have you seen the Mitch Benn podcast? Tis fun :)

  8. Wow! You've been busy! I can't actually remember the last time I went to a gig, or the theatre. I am criminally under-nourished, culturally. I had NOT realised the The Immortals had Henry Cavill in it. This changes my entire perception of the film, which I had thought looked a bit shiteous to be honest. Now, it suddenly looks marvellous. Funny, that. Arrrgh now I want to watch back-to back episodes of the Tudors and perv out massively. I'll be off, then...


  9. Blimey Alex, busy bee or what?! I haven't done anything cultural in forever and I definitely feel the worse for it. The Nutcracker came to my little town theatre for one night only and unfortunately that night I was in Dublin!

    I saw weekend on Film 2011 and it looked brilliant, but ... did you really go and see it with your Dad?! :O xxx

  10. Great round up. We've been a bit preoccupied with family stuff lately. But really MUST get out more. Would really like to see the Noel Coward play. Funny about The Immortals though. Number One son was raving about it a week or so ago. I don't think he saw it in 3D but he seemed to love the reworking of the Greek myths. Although he did mention the violence and his stoic girlfriend muttered that it was OK really (between gritted teeth).

  11. 2 words: Ryan Gosling ;)

  12. As a drama student with a love of physical theatre, and having skim-read Frantic Assembly's advice to devised-thematic groups, I am so desperate to see something by them it's unreal. Might have to arrange a visit to my friend's in Cardiff to coincide with this.

  13. I love Milton Jones! Took my Mum to see him in October - we loved it. He cracks me up :)

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