Saturday, 3 January 2015

Actual as opposed to virtual blog

Just for a change, and not because it's the new year and I may or may not have made a sort of resolution, I'm going to write my blog entry in my actual blog as opposed to in my head. You've missed out on a lot of rumination and probably some rubbish, but while I warm up my fingers for some other writing, you get the benefit of deciding for yourself whether the following is rumination or rubbish. Or, potentially, both.

So today's entry is a sort of cultural corner. We actually went to the cinema yesterday. I could make some corny joke about how it's the first time this year, but as we didn't get to the cinema at all last year, you wouldn't really see the funny side. The particular irony is that we have a load of free tickets to our local cinema courtesy of our bank (long story, let me know if you're really interested, it could be a different blog) that we were given back in July and this was the first time we used any of them. The film that prised us out of the house - The Theory of Everything, about Professor Stephen Hawking. Hawking apparently told Eddie Redmayne (who plays Hawking) that at times he forgot he was watching an actor and thought it was himself. I did at times find myself wondering how on earth Redmayne managed to contort himself so convincingly and I see from IMDB that he was in considerable pain after some shots - not surprising. A brief anachronism early on in the film spoiled the OH's enjoyment a little, as he kept wondering what else was wrong, though of course, as with all films, it is 'based on' Hawking's life, not an exact representation. Certainly the amount of theoretical physics was kept to a minimum, for popular accessibility I suspect. Definitely worth leaving the house for, though. Watch out for Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones (Jane Hawking) in the Oscar nominations.

Earlier in the week was a rather different experience, a theatre trip to London to see 'Golem'. We'd previously seen 'The Animals and Children Took to the Streets' by the same company and thoroughly enjoyed it, so when we saw they had a new show out in London, off we went. As with 'The Animals and Children...', the show is a multimedia affair, with a small cast playing against, and interacting with, an animated backdrop, and with two of the cast also providing the sound-track. (We're still hoping at some point to get the soundtrack from the previous show.) Golem is adapted from a traditional tale though it echoes Professor Hawking's recent pronouncements concerning Artificial Intelligence. A clay 'man' is created to assist with daily chores and by learning more about the world about him, gradually takes on more than was required. I won't say anymore for fear of spoiling it, though it's only on in London until the end of the month. The reviews have been good, so it's quite possibly going on tour ('The Animals and Children...' did)  in which case, look out for it.

At a more individual level, I've been trying to catch up on some reading over Christmas as well, not least because my wish-list was targeted quite heavily and so I need to move books rapidly from the TBR pile by the bed to a bookcase for lending out. At the moment, I'm about two-thirds of the way through the third part of the MaddAddam trilogy by Margaret Atwood. I read 'Oryx and Crake' quite a while ago and had forgotten much of the detail, but by the end of 'The Year of the Flood' enough ends had been tied together that I remembered much more. Although you have to pay attention quite closely to the chapter headings in 'The Year of the Flood' so that you know the time-frame and the narrator of that chapter, the gradual reveal of information is, unsurprisingly, very well done. The language is as usual beautiful and the premise scarily plausible. I'm finding 'MaddAddam' less satisfying at the moment as so much of it seems to be backstory for the characters from 'The Year of the Flood'. Perhaps it will all come together yet; I do still have around 100 pages to read. Then it's back to some historical fiction - I have some Elizabeth Chadwick to catch up on and several Karen Maitlands!

What films/plays/books have been distracting you from the extra washing up and laundry this holiday season? And would you recommend them?

1 comment:

  1. Nice to read a couple of posts Nikki...we haven't seen many films, although we might be tempted to Lyon this weekend for the Benedict Cumberbatch film (can't remember the title - the one about Turing) , or the Theory of Everything. Also we want to see Into the Woods, being great Sondheim fans. It's just a caseof finding them in VO. The last film we went to see was "Before You Sleep" which was very good.
    No plays, unfortunately, and I'm afraid most of my reading is less than very edifying. I'm enjoying the new Elizabeth George, although she uses too much Italian in the book (just to show that her characters are Italian) - sometimes unexplained so one has to guess at the meaning.
    I keep wondering about taking a writing course - a friend has done one or two - but I fear that I wouldn't give it my full attention, either through lack of time or possible lack of motivation and confidence. Maybe I'll wait till I retire.