Friday, 19 September 2014

How time flies when you're enjoying yourself


I've been gently scolded by one or two folk as my rate of post posting has fallen dramatically.  I suspect that one or two others may be grateful at my lack of productivity, and the rest give don't give a hoot.

The week before last was the last 'supermoon' of the year...that's when its a bit closer to the horizon so looks ginormous.  I practiced my photographic technique (put the light meter on centre spot, or stop-down - in this case by a massive five stops).  I'm supposed to be doing a photographic course, but of the twelve modules, I've completed just two, so David Bailey has nothing to worry about yet. Anyway, these were the two pics, taken a couple of hours apart


I also re-edited one of my Angel of the North pictures so that it actually looks as I want it to


We went to a friend's 50th last weekend, and in true Essex fashion it was elaborate...a fabulous quartet played on the balcony whilst we supped champagne and then moved into a giant marquee where we were entertained by a Beatles tribute band.  I was amazed at how many of their hits you can dance to.  It was fancy dress, with a 1960's theme, so of course, The Cat's Mother went to town and I did what I could

It was a memorable party, most enjoyable, but a terrible mistake to decide to walk home when the local council has decided that to save money it's OK to switch off the street lights....

I don't remember doing anything else this week, and as there's nothing in the diary I can only assume we had a quiet few days at home in the evening.  That seems most unlikely, especially as I know we missed The Great British Bake Off.  Of course, from a work point of view, it's been busy because it's The London Design Festival, so I went to various events that have been more or less inspiring.  A discussion about designer makers, a discussion about co-creation and co-design, and a reception for an exhibition for new designers.  No wonder I remain tired and exhausted...


Saturday, 13 September 2014

A marvellous fortnight

Over the last two weeks, it has been a game of two halves, with The Cat's Mother's birthday, and my trip to Edinburgh as the half-time snacks.

I am sure I've mentioned that our cultural tastes are different...complementary some would say.  By some coincidence, last week was all me, and this week have been all Cat's Mother.  So, I dragged her out on a guided tour looking at London lighting...no, not special lights, just how light is used in the urban environment, and the effect it has on the way we behave.  Our guide was a very mad American, who decided to describe herself as a night time designer.  In some ways that is a fair description, as without light, our night lives would be very much curtailed.  Light brings with it a sense of safety and security, as well as creating different shapes and shadows.  It was quite fun.  Really.














Then we went to Greenwich to see the new production by Shunt...the immersive theatre company. The current production, called The Boy Who Climbed Out Of His Face, takes place in a series of shipping containers, and essentially is a series of scenarios designed to discombobulate you.  I shouldn't say any more, as I'd hate to spoil it for you should you decide to go along, suffice to say The Cat's Mother came out with a face that said, "Really?" and I came out with a large grin.  Apart from the performance, there was a lovely bar serving delicious food on the side of the Thames, so we could both relax and enjoy that.












The Friday night was The Art of Dining as I mentioned.  It was fabulous with colour-coded food, cocktails and lighting.



This week, we went to the Art Fair at the RCA, with paitings and sculpture from £500 - £500,000. We do like to go because it was one of the first things The Cat's Mother and I went to went we became a couple.  Usually there's plenty of great stuff, and plenty of nonsense.  Much is over-priced and very little would I want on my walls.  The exhibition is full of a certain type....arty trustafarians who can make interesting viewing, but truthfully wouldn't be much missed if the RCA fell into a very deep pit.

The next night, courtesy of UP we went to late night Proms to see Rufus Wainright. I can't say I was much looking forward to it as he's not someone whose music I have much enjoyed in the past and I had a cold to boot.  But The Proms always sizzle, and I have to say the concert was fabulous...he was quite endearing, and his final song 'Somewhere over the rainbow' (Wizard of Oz is indeed on limited cinema release at the moment by coincidence) was mesmerising.  Lovely.



And then last night we went first to the Paramount restaurant - it's the one at the top of Centrepoint -to celebrate a 21st birthday and then on to see Once.  Views and food at The Paramount are stunning, so highly, highly recommended.  Once was also surprisingly wonderful.  There's the merest shadow of a story but some fabulous songs, beautifully sung, a terrific set and a very engaging performance overall.  Cleverly too, you can go up on stage at the interval where they have a bar...so that'll be the third West End stage we've been on...a lovely, lovely night out.






Father Muffin has read somewhere that we (that's you, me and everyone else) are using fewer and fewer words in day to day conversation.  The net result is that some words are becoming endangered, much like pandas (although there's some debate about whether we should bother with pandas anyway, as they are completely useless at everything, except looking cuddly).  Two of the endangered words are marvellous and fortnight.  I hope I have helped redress the balance and kept them alive for a little longer.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

An angel in the north

It is the most extraordinary time to be in Scotland...will they won't they?  It easily beats Eastenders for a plot line.  I've always said that they would go, as much because I couldn't see the 'stay togethers' marshaling the arguments to encourage a continuing Union..and so far it looks as though I'm right.  If he strongest argument revolves around the Pound, then I too would be voting for an independent Scotland.  I've also always argued that the wrong question was being asked, and it would have been better to seize the initiative and ask the whole Union about a looser, federal-style state...it would allow each country to develop a strong identity with policies specific to each region within a stronger United Kingdom...though as I've said before, a lack of political vision by the political elite (aka political pygmies) made the likelihood of that becoming a reality remote.  If the Scots should panic and stay at the last moment what's likely to happen is the creation of an even more skewed political system that is not good for anyone south of Hadrian's Wall...and ultimately that is likely to cause real problems in the short-term.

So with that as a background, it was an interesting weekend taking McFred as he will henceforth be known up to Scotland.  But before that, Friday night we celebrated The Cat's Mother's birthday at a pop up restaurant.  The themed night was called 'The Art of Colour' so you can guess that each course...and there were five...were each a different colour.  Delicious.  As usual with things I organise we, and our friends, were the oldest there, and it may not have been coincidence that we were put on a separate table to the rest of the attendees.  It was a late finish which mean that when we rose in the morning I was rather more bleary-eyed than I would have liked for a seven hour journey.  Hey ho.


I had thought of renting a car, or perhaps renting a car one way and flying back as I thought my beloved Jeep was probably not a long distance cruiser.  But expense, inertia and something else, meant that the Jeep was called into service...after all it is just 344.3 miles from home to Edinburgh.  It was packed to the gills and we left on a sunny Saturday morning (just) eventually arriving in the trendy dock area of Leith at about 6.30.  Having checked-in we had time for a wander and a beer...I suspect he wanted more than one beer, but I though a gentle break into student life was called for.  The next morning we headed across town to his halls and under the stern watch of various marshals unloaded quickly and installed him into his room.  Compact yet comfortable.  He had a lot to do, people to meet, places to be so I departed with a tear in my eye...I hadn't expected that as this wasn't the first time he'd left us, but I guess it is a new era...an exciting one for him...and knowing how he works, he will throw himself into it 250%.  I don't doubt that by the end of the first term he will have adopted a Scottish accent, and who knows found the family tartan.















I headed south, stopping only to admire The Angel of the North - it had long been my ambition to see it, and I was delighted that my expectations were met.  Spectacular.  The Jeep proved to be an adept long-distance cruiser, and particularly enjoyable as the sunshine enabled me to remove the roof...I may even have caught a tan.  removing the roof takes quite an effort...undo a couple of clips, turn half a dozen levers, unscrew two locking knobs, remove the two sections and store in boot...something not doubt if here is any possibility of rain!

So there are a couple of pictures I like more than most...the fisheye ones make The Angel look as if he is embracing the people and land around, and the very, very overexposed one gives the wings a translucent effect, almost like a dragonfly..