Thursday 11 April 2013

A cast of thousands

We have some new faces in the fact so many that I have been squashed into the corner and barely have the courage to poke my head out from behind my computer monitor.  I feel you should be introduced...although I've not yet worked out their foibles, so giving them names may be a mistake.

Firstly we have The Apprentice.  She's a feisty young spirit from Croydon, who seems to be a quick learner and will soon be a fearsome opponent for anyone who messes her around on the other end of the phone.

Then we have Mrs Mop.  She likes the place tidy, and is happy to fill the dishwasher with the dishes and mugs that would normally spend several weeks getting grimier and grimier until the mould sprouted and they would walk around by themselves.

Next is WAG.  Yes she does indeed come from Essex and is blond.  But she's not perma-tanned, nor is she dripping in gold and designer labels.

The Omen.  Actually he's been around for a while, and only comes in occasionally.  When he's not doing double entry book keeping, he's learning to be a chiropodist.  I think.

The Bishop.  She's lovely, quite gently, and her husband is currently treading the boards with the RSC in Stratford. Her only peccadillo that I can fathom so far is her worry that the filter in the kettle needs to be changed more regularly....she thinks algae will grow and we will all die a horrible slow death on the floor of the office writhing in agony.  She went and bought a new one, even though we have a box of a dozen sitting in the cupboard.

So a new cast, and I hope they get up to all sorts.  None of the names are meant to be derogatory in any way, quite the opposite in fact.  There's a busy, buzzy atmosphere here now which is lovely, and it's super to have them here.

I wonder what they think of me?

Wednesday 10 April 2013


Technology is giving me headaches.

The email on my phone corrupted this week, and as having email wherever I am is important to my job I needed to do something about it.  Repairing the email didn't seem possible even after an extensive search of the interweb, so I had to download a whole new application...and then work out the settings.  Pleased I managed it, but what a time waster.

In updating my laptop, Photoshop stopped working...I needed to re-register it I was told.  But the online registration wouldn't work, and after several attempts at calling adobe and being told my wait was "less than two hours" I've given up.  I'd been sent some photo editing software for me to review on the blog, but the PR never managed to get in contact to show me how to use it, so it's been sat idle for a few months.  However, I was a bit desperate so I've started fiddling and am beginning to work my way around is remarkably complicated and not in anyway intuitive (but then neither is Photoshop), but I'm getting there.  Slowly.  The first photo has been worked on so that you can see everyone on the back looks a bit artificial, but at least it's there.

And well done to Hippo for working out the comment are a determined man indeed!

This has turned into a week of reunions.

The consequence of last nights one being the most stonking hangover I've had for many a year.  It was the annual reunion of my friends from school.  We're a mixed bunch...amongst us was someone who drives a white van and repairs garage doors, one a £1 million a year city financier, one a two-times BAFTA award winner, a GP, and the mother of a former drug addict.  It makes for an eclectic conversation, so no wonder bottles and bottles of white wine were consumed.

The day before was the family gathering, again an annual event.  We met up at a restaurant that I hadn't been to for 45 years (I would guess).  It was a lovely event with an age range from less than ten all the way up to just short of a century.  Seeing all our family together is such a privilege even though we were struggling to work out whether we were second cousins, first cousins twice removed...does anyone know how that all works?  And how fortunate we were that the sun came out.  Lovely.

And tonight we're off to see a friend who I met during the Olympics...we became best buddies throughout the rehearsals.  As we're men, it's taken us this long to get our act together and meet up.  I'm very much looking forward to it...but wonder whether it might be like those marvellous people you meet on holiday who just seem different when you are in a different environment...I hope not; I expect it will be fun

Tuesday 9 April 2013

No comment

I managed to miss a crucial event...well not crucial, just an important milestone for The Boy last month.  He led the biennial review of the School's CCF.  As with all things military, it was full of pomp and circumstance.  I'm very proud of his achievement - he won two awards for his leadership and that shows a strength which will see him through life I hope.  On the other hand, I retain the fear he may end up with a military would break my heart and those of his family too.  Difficult.

It is an enormous risk to step into the discussions about Margaret I won't. In the last 24 hours I have seen a torrent of uneducated, ignorant comment - both for and against her.   But I will say that to see people dancing and celebrating her death is unseemly.  They should be ashamed.  Death is a terrible thing, particularly for those close to the person who has died.  We have all experienced the death of someone close at some stage in our lives, and I am sure would be distressed if we thought that people had cracked open the champagne to celebrate their passing...what if it happened to us...I'm sure we've all offended and upset people as we travel through life. For me, the best thing I've read so far was from the BBC "It is astonishing to think that when Margaret Thatcher first joined the Cabinet in 1970, the Wimpy hamburger chain still banned women from coming in late on their own on the bizarre grounds that only prostitutes would be out at that time of night."

Talking of uninformed comment, we went to see 'Oz, the great and powerful' at the weekend.  I'm glad we could see a children's film without the children in tow.   It's dangerous, as the makers knew, to go anywhere near the sacred Wizard of Oz, so they must have known the claws would be out.  Surprisingly, the cinema was pretty full on a Saturday evening - not bad for a children's film.

We enjoyed fact, the opening scenes, in black and white, are fabulous, capturing the essence of the original perfectly...beautifully filmed and produced, the acting is pretty good too.  Of course, as we moved into Oz, the screen erupted into the bright colours of the fantastical land.  It tells a good tale, the vivid colours serve the film well and the plot is pretty good...not bad considering you know the ending from the outset.  Or at least you should.  On the downside, I think today's over-produced films can feel a tad sterile and unemotional, and that was the case here, and it would have been well served by some judicious editing.  But huge fun, worth a visit...and an encouragement to see 'Wicked' on stage if you haven't done so already.

And the bad reviews?  The worst one was from The Guardian:

"It does have flying monkeys and the Munchkins, but crucially it lacks Dorothy and Toto; the Cowardly Lion, the Tin Man and the Scarecrow; songs by Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg; and Margaret Hamilton either on a bike or a broomstick."

In other words, it's not the Wizard of, it was never meant to be!