Friday 26 December 2014

2014 and all that

So nearly at an end of another year.  To paraphrase a phrase known to was the best of years, it was the worst.  Obviously the blog is not what it used to be...which saddens me..perhaps it had become just a habit, perhaps I've been otherwise focused...I'm not sure.  Who know what 2015 will bring...

Anyway, it's often said that The Cat's Mother and I are always out and about, so it seemed fun to write down what we've been up to (mostly cultural)....what can I say...aren't we very, very, very lucky indeed:


Secret Life of Mitty - the only Ben Stiller film I've ever enjoyed.  Great fun

Inside Llwellyn Davies - Brilliant.  Especially if you understand about the cat

Who Framed Roger Rabbit - the original in a Secret Cinema event.  Jessica Rabbit.  Jessica Rabbit

The Book Thief - not liked by the critics...we did though

Grand Hotel Budapest - mad and brilliant

Millers Crossing - More Secret Cinema, more fun in the round

The Double - certainly appealed to me very much if not the rest of us who went to see it.  Surreal

Calvary - vies with Inside Llwellyn Davies for my film of the year.  Devastating

The Trip - yes we saw it at the cinema with a Q&A with Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, as well as on TV; very well done...not as good as the first series

Rio2 - I didn't see this.  I don't think I missed anything

20,000 Days - Nick Cave talks us through his life.  Worth it to see Kylie driving along Brighton sea front.  We celebrated The Cat's Mother's 20,000 birthday too this year

Box Trolls - great animated fun

Rush - motoring racing turned into a great film about James Hunt...The Boy and I loved it

Imitation Game - Benedict does what Benedict does very well.  Surprisingly good, very British

Paddington - Brilliant.  Really.  Loved it

The Hermitage - a film guide to St Petersberg's most famous Museum.  Strangely compelling and enjoyable


Emile and The Detectives - kids stuff; I snoozed through most of it.  But it's very popular

The Duchess of Malfi - a Jacobean drama in a candlelit Jacobean theatre.  What's not to like?

August Osage County - no, not the film, but The Cat's production in Exeter.  We travelled through floods to get there, and would do again

Coriolanus - a phenomenal production at the Donmar; we watched it live stream

King Lear - I was in a minority not liking this, even if it had Simon Russel Beale in

Taste of Honey - 1950's England revisited...and very well done indeed

Life of Mozart - the great man's life revisited at the Wannamaker - well done, but not really my thing

Knights of the Burning Pestle -  riotous fun.  Unbelievably written five hundred years ago.  Fab

Oh what a lovely war - great to see at the original theatre (Streatham Playhouse).  Sadly it hasn't survived the passage of time

1984 - at the Almeida.  The critics loved it; we thought it mediocre

Another Country - you can't keep a great play down.  Very, very well done

Grimm Tales - immersive theatre in the Shoreditch Town Hall basement...what a wonderful thing this was

Ellen Terry - I didn't see this, so can't say one way or another

Sonnet walk - Shakespearean actors performing sonnets around the streets of London; sadly I missed this year's one, but loved it last year

Hamlet - at The Globe.  Blood, guts, ghosts, Yorrick.  Perhaps not the best

Testament of Mary - another one The Cat's Mother saw and I didn't.  Sad to have missed it

Billy Eliot - amazingly I hadn't seen it before.  Glad to have ticked the list, but it's lost the sparkle

Onorous - classical Greek story in rhythmic pidgin English.  Much, much more enjoyable than we expected.  A highlight

Benvenuto Cellini - at the ENO.  Some spectacular moments, just not enough of them

Cabaret - one seen by The Cat's Mother in New York...if it was as good as the version we saw last year, it was brilliant

Titus Andronicus...more blood and guts than you can imagine in my favourite piece of Shakespeare

Norman Conquests - the Cat's second outing, this time in Camden; one play three different perspectives...a triumph

Medea - the critics raved, the audience raved, I quite liked it

Annie Get Your Gun...went to prove that Jason Donnovan could sing and act.  We were wrong

Shakespeare in Love...everyone else had seen the film, this was my first introduction and I loved it...but didn't enjoy the film as much when I watched it on DVD afterwards

The Boy Who Climbed Out of His Face - an immersive experience in shipping containers.  Not surprisingly the household was split.  I had a fab night.

39 Steps...I was taking The Boy to Edinburgh, so good job I'd seen this and enjoyed it before

Once - oh yes.  Surprised I loved this

Streetcar Named Desire - a towering piece of theatre, although not quite as I remembered it from O Levels

Bally Turk...lots of shouting and a programme that said you didn't need to understand it to enjoy it.  I did enjoy it, not sure I enjoyed it

'Tis pity she's a whore - more Jacobean theatre involving incest and death. Great performance

Alice in Wonderland - The Royal Ballet performing one of the greatest productions.  Second time we've seen it, and there's still nothing better at the RoH

Charles III - we'd both wanted to see this for ages, so it was a shame some of this was risible, some of it was obvious and we should have left at half time

Monty Python - most of the old team, still making everyone laugh, although a bit more slowly and nothing that's cutting edge (not surprisingly)


Easystar All Stars - everything I was hoping for from the 25th Anniversary show of reggae Dark Side of the Moon

Rufus Wainright - I'm not a fan, but I strongly suggest you search YouTube for the clip of him singing Somewhere Over The Rainbow. Sensational

Mari Wilson - a small intimate venue, Crazy Coqs, was ideal for this lovely evening

Black Rivers - Two-thirds of Doves.  I so wanted to like this, but in truth it wasn't as good as it should have been...back to the rehearsal studio please

Temper Trap - in my eyes they can do nothing wrong.  We didn't agree about that

Bastille - actually we preferred the support and bought her CD.  Again I had a bug so was not having a great time really

James and Starsailor - a concert that truly restored my faith in concerts.  James were phenomenal....the best concert I've been to for years from a band that I hardly knew.  They understood how to entertain and delivered with aplomb


John Richardson - he was very funny indeed.  And I don't like stand up comedy!

Julian Clary - music or comedy...well both really at the Crazy Coqs again.  Another highlight


Henry Moore - just up the road from us is Henry Moore's old home estate, and we headed there because there was an exhibition on contemporary artists - I needed some pictures for my photo course and got them.

History of Germany - at the British Museum.  Fantastic, truly much to see and learn.  Loved it

The art of the brick.  Love Lego.  But it's not art.  No matter how many times the artist told us it is

Ansel Keifer - an exhibition that I was dragged along to kicking and screaming, but left feeling that I'd had a perfect couple of hours

Turner at The Tate - you've seen one, you've seen them all...well not quite, but perhaps I have no culture

Other stuff

Palace to palace cycle ride - a lovely day out with good early start, stags in Richmond Park and beautiful scenery along the Thames

Drumming at Lewes Bonfire celebrations...five miles banging on a drum fairly rhythmically surrounded by burning barrels, flaming torches and loud bangers.  For me the achievement of a long-held ambition.  So pleased to have done it

Sandringham on the Orient Express...another of The Cat's Mother's day trips.  A carriage of Essex girls on a posh train.  Would have loved to have been a fly on the wall

Ghostbus - a spooky tour of London that scared the living daylights out of Muffin minor...I should have gone on to a 100km cycle ride, but a bug that would subsequently last for 2 months kept me low

Tower of London Poppies - I planted, I picked, and we visited.  A remarkable and remarkably moving event

Sacred Monsters - Akram Khan and Sylvie Guillem giving a phenomenal performance at Sadlers Wells

Two book readings/ with the irascible Lynn Barber and the other with the talented Tony Parsons

I might also include my weekend of bobsleighing with Team GB

And I might even include getting a diploma in Photography

Charity run round the Olympic Park counts for something too

There are a few things just plain forgotten...but can you blame me?