Saturday, January 23


Mom: [munches on pear]
Dad: [makes strangled 'argh' noise]
Mom: What?
Dad: How can you eat a pear like that?
Mom: Like what?
Dad: From the top down!
Mom: [stunned]. What? How do you think you should eat a pear?
Dad: [in disbelief] -- like an apple!
Mom: But it's not an apple. It's a pear.

Saturday, November 21

[something witty here]

I have been busy running around London doing and seeing things. Too busy, in fact, to write about them.


Sorry backed up with American haiku. Why not?

Friday, October 9

No excuses

Haven't posted forever. Lots of films, drinks, plays, dashing back and forth to the midlands. Oh, and some Ed Byrne.

This week saw "The Fastest Clock in the Universe" at Hampstead Theatre. Fantastic. Eating of cake will never seem innocent again. Do see it if you can, it's quite arm-pinchingly good for such a fringey (albeit lovely, and friendly) theatre - right next to Swiss Cottage station. Production wowed us within 5 minutes. That and the whiteness of the underpants.

Just booked to see Othello (the one with Lenny Henry) which has moved down from Leeds to the lovely Trafalgar studios. Also going to give 'Speaking in Tongues' a go.

And booked 4 films, plus won a free screening as part of the droolingly huge selection on offer at this year's Times BFI London Film Festival.

Sunday, April 19

Take your seats please..

I keep intending to set up my 'theatre savings' i.e. do my bit for recycling by converting say, a finished coffee jar into a home for stray fivers, from which I can fund the odd 'best available' seat watching Real Live Actors! Gosh.

Instead I seem to be a bit all over the place and still not quite seeing everything I want to. I've never had the courage to go by myself either, so a lot of trips are dependent on finding a theatre-buddy. Since I last posted before Crimble however I've managed to catch the following:

No Man's Land
A week or so before Pinter's death. My first Pinter play, my enjoyment of which was only slightly dampened by the bored mutterings of “I don't know what the fuck is going on” from sixth-formers in the seats around us. The severe dampening award instead goes to their co-ordinated exclamations of “Dumbledore! Filch! Walliams-gay-in-the-village!” Kept repeating to myself : it's good to get younger audiences into the theatre through the telly/film link. It's good to get younger audiences into the theatre through the telly/film link. It's good to get younger audiences into the theatre through the telly/film link....... (Well, I didn't have a paper bag).

Blood Brothers
Gosh, a musical? Moi? Yup, went with the parents on one of their trips away from the provinces. And darn good fun it was too. My brother and his girlfriend also recently made a trip down to the Big Smoke and saw this. Their endearing reaction was of of immense surprise that the theatre was so busy – nay, full! - on a Tuesday night....

On the Waterfront
After I'd stopped sniggering at my good fortune to be sitting snuggly in the stalls with completely gratis tickets, I settled down to enjoy a heavily stylised, clean-staged production that had a lot of energy, laughs, and only one actor who's accent pissed me off. Good fun, and we'll never be able to look at pigeons in the same way again. And on that note, I think I might have to start educating myself a bit more on theatre theory just to give these reviews a little bit more depth...

Duchess of Malfi
A few days after the Waterfront  a completely different experience of a small production in a room at the back of a pub; the audience getting northern-line-friendly squidged onto a couple of benches. Some amazing performances by the BlackSun Theatre Group, even better for the proximity of the action. Most admirably the actors did not so much as flinch when the chants of the rugby-final fans in the main bar sounded up, and they probably got their own back with the lunatics-on-the-loose scene (no one would blame the neighbours for calling 999 hearing some of that).

What's next? Plague over England, Waiting for Godot...

Friday, April 17

Oh dear, back again.

TV update

Well, I'm continuing to ignore the Apprentice whilst tuning into Holby City and the odd Eastenders (and isn't it) so still not quite steady on my high horse.

I would say Mad Men continues to be the biggest lure to the Box in any one week. Sharp as ever, and whilst I'm starting to feel like joining Betty for her large glasses of red wine (which appear every time she finds herself sitting around in her white negligee – now that's a stain waiting to happen) as the unfulfilled/betrayed housewife ennui circles on and on, you have to applaud the show that can also fit in that absolutely perfect shot of Joan rubbing her red raw shoulders at the end of an unappreciated head-held-high and body-held-in day at the office. Elizabeth Moss continues to do everything by almost doing nothing at all, and the recent Ken/Sal tease was played just right. I'm still not quite sure about Colin Hanks' guitar-playing priest, but I'll sit back and see how it develops.

I started to watch Skellig, the Easter special on Sky One. Sure, it's a family film, but who can resist a cast of Tim Roth, Jon Simm, Kelly MacDonald and one-of-those-kids-from-Son-of-Rambow (Bill Milner)? Sadly I got bored 15 minutes in. I know, I know , I'm usually the uber-advocate of “don't judge 'til you've finished it” and even then I like to be tactful. But on the other hand, I'm increasingly feeling I need to reduce the amount of time spent sitting in front of the ol' telly and poor Skellig has suffered at the hand of this latest policy. Tsk. Equally I'm afraid Robin Hood has gone the same way after I spent the first five minutes of the new season in stitches (very childishly) at the new hairlengths of our eponymous hero and his rival Guy, and their sudden inability to speak at any level below “roar”.

Doctor Who was watched of course, with all the attention I could muster. But then that's more of a religion that a past-time isn't it?

I still have “Five Minutes of Heaven” sitting on my iPlayer so verdict on that to come.

More to follow.

Saturday, December 27


I would like to say I've been rather too lazy of late to write, but the truth is for once I've been too busy (and/or without my trusty laptop). Reports on No Man's Land and Xmas TV surely to follow (how fascinating).

But for now, lots of sitting around with lempsips and nicely plodding my way through the Gormenghast trilogy...

Happy Crimble x

Sunday, November 23

Glued the screen, that is. I had to giggle at a repeat of the great Doctor Who 'Wire' episode that so royally (haha) took the piss out of us telly addicts.

So has anything been worth watching recently? I can't comment on Einstein and Eddington yet, as it's still sitting on the iplayer. Little Dorrit has also passed me by, though that wasn't a conscious avoidance. I certainly approve of the Dickens revival on the Beeb when it could have just been more Generation Game-type entertainment, or worse, Pop Idol...

The Devil's Whore is worth tuning in to just to laugh at the title (not quite in the Channel 5 realm of unsubtlety, but then, what is?). Performances are generally good, and visually I think a good bit of work went into making it look pretty cinematic, hooray. Some critics have commented that it doesn't quite seem to know what genre it's aiming for – historical drama, period romp, surreal biopic (the devil himself tends to appear occasionally lurking unsteadily on tree branches and Christ Church's roof...)? I'm a fan of mixing it all up a bit though and finding it all rather good fun. I wasn't utterly convinced by Sexby's (played by John Simm...oh shush, that's not the only reason I'm watching) instant attraction to our heroine, viewed as she was across a windy courtyard. Sure Angelica's a gutsy feminist-out-of-water who doesn't mind a good fight, but he didn't know that from one second of silk clad giggling, so it's just lusting like any other bloke at Court at that point. Never mind, he gets to still hang around being broody, and waiting for it all to kick off (not his exact words), whilst a young dashing Cromwell (played by Dominic West. Who may have been the other reason) and other revolutionary chums give the gentry what for. And let's face it, Andrea Riseborough is just fantastic in every way so far. Did they just pull her out of a painting? Great choice.

Just when I was lamenting the loss of Breaking Bad on a Sunday night, FX have come up with John from Cincinnati which sounds like a Paramount sitcom, but is another strange HBO genreless picking. Lots of swearing, drug abuse, suicide attempts and trafficking of illegal immigrants goes hand in hand with random levitations, naive-alieny-visitors spouting protentous offerings and, last but by no-means least, a helluva lot of surfing. Yeah, I'm staying tuned for a bit...

I saw Quantum of Solace a few weeks ago, but other than to say it was enjoyable but not incredible, I'll let people make up their own minds.

Oh dear. Empire Strikes Back is on. Is it really worth spending a couple of hours of your life watching a film you've probably seen 10 times already? Hmm....Well, I'm finding myself hooked on the Beeb's Merlin so there's obviously no sense left in me for rational arguments when it comes to my TV viewing. It's not even as if I'm snowbound this weekend unlike many I'm sure. Tsk, tsk.

I'd like to add that as of this week I will have been to the theatre twice in a fortnight, so I'm not completely devoid of non-Sky+ based culture this winter. No, not completely...

Wednesday, November 12

I'm making lots of pointless and uninteresting "I can't *believe* it's mid-November!" comments at the moment. Most evenings seem to be whizzing by without anything to distinguish them from one another, except maybe the TV schedule. But maybe that's just bad weather and the occasional winter bug for you.

November 5th however was enticing enough to get many of us out and about for Bonfire Night. Time Out had identified about half a dozen big displays on the Wednesday, and we'd picked Southwark Park for supposedly having it all - fireworks, food, entertainment etc. In actuality it had a display that seemed to last about 3 mins (including a very slow beginning), three hot food vans with huge queues, and nothing whatsoever to keep you in the park once the fourth minute came along. Very very dissapointing :-(. I've never been more nostalgic to the old evenings at my primary school!

So with all these nights in front of the box, what's been going on? Breaking Bad came to an abrupt halt (writer's strike, or just a short season?) which is going to leave my Sunday evenings a bit desolate.

Dead Set was great fun, grade A gore, and hats off to whoever okayed the nightly space in the schedule. Charlie Brooker's name is certainly becoming known in wider circles. All the Big Brother cameos were brilliant, although I was happy not to notice most of them :D

Heroes carries on like a bad holiday season : yet another surprise family relation is rolled out each episode, haha. My funny bone was definitely tickled by Hiro's canteena reference a couple of weeks back, the puppet-guy brought a nicely creepy element to the rogue's gallery, and it's always nice to see Peter running around playing the bad-ass with his shirt off. Afraid to say though that I was unconvinced by Sylar's volte-face, and the Suresh storyling is too much of a rip-off of The Fly for me (okay, let's call it an 'homage'). Tall Blonde Hero Girl, in whatever incarnation she is in this season, still seems a weak link compared to all the fun of the fair possible with the Parkman character. Anyone who wasn't A-list in high school though is surely delighted at the knowledge that the Cheerleader will in years to come be embracing her inner goth.

I've been tuning into Grey's Anatomy s.4 a bit more recently, but it's a love-hate thing as Meredith's tritevoiceovers piss me off *almost* as much as Carrie's in SATC.
But then, I never miss a Holby City, so maybe my opinion doesn't rate in most people's eyes :D.

Saturday, November 1


Well, the world continues to implode : financial meltdown, DR Congo erupting again, bombs in India etc.etc. In all this you might be worried that a little bickering about a phone prank by overpaid manchilds might not get the coverage it deserves. Fear not Britain, it's been nicely settled on the front pages for a week, and our justice-seeking journalists have ensured that Mr Brown is aware of the nation's outrage.

(Actually Ian Hislop had a nice little sound bite about how all this complete toss is evidencing democracy in action on Have I got News for you. Catch the repeat if you can, if not for that than for Tom Baker's fantastic hosting).

Out (briefly) on the town last night the conversations pretty much went:
"Well, so what do you think of all this with Ross and Brand?"
"I don't give it a second's thought really"
"Yes, yes of course there are more important things-"
"-*but*, that aside, if we imagine ourselves living within the microcosm of the media world, do you think they should have been fired?"
(Silence as I try and shake the revulsion of imagining myself living within the microcosm of the media world)
But then another guy in the bar started hurling glasses at the barman's face, so everyone rushed to gawp at Real Life for a second. Unluckily for the poor bloodied barman (London Ambulance services and the police were ridiculously quick to respond, hurrah for them on a Friday-night Halloween in Islington. The bouncers were initially more Dawdlers).


I watched Sunset Blvd for the first time this week. Hey, don't yell, I am but young and have a way to go on the (irritatingly changeable) "films to see before you die" list. Of course, it was fantastic, and of course it emphasised (as if it were needed) just how crap most of the big releases are these days. We all know this already, but it didn't stop us from watching Transformers did it? In literature, music, TV and film there will always be the Art with Depth and the superficial Guilty Pleasure. The trick is trying to keep the balance of right. Recent news items, let alone viewing figures,seem to suggest we're still for style over substance, bowing and scraping for a bit of glamour, our own tragic Norma Desmond.


It's grey, raining and feels effing cold (by recent British autumnal standards, I'm not saying it's Muscovite conditions out there). I declare that the only effective remedy is an extensive regimen of eating out, more hot Mochas and cake (rather than refrigerated beer with crappy little lime), and evenings basking in the warm glow of the cinema screen. So say we all, haha.

Wednesday, October 29

Baby it's cold outside

By London standards anyway. Brr.

FYI Breaking Bad continues to be excellent - the last couple of episodes have been focusing more on family relationships, and the two main characters' struggles as individuals, which has been a good counter to the crime-caper elements of the opening eps. The cooking should be back next week though, with the stakes a lot clearer in the viewer's mind. We have two characters who both want control of their lives - "a choice", as Walt's brilliant explanation went this week (once he had the Talking Pillow). He wants to choose how to live what life he has left. Jesse wants to choose to Just Say No, but is slipping fast. If you want to catch up on the season so far (we're only a handful of eps in) you can download from iTunes.

I checked out the new season (seven) of Spooks this week. Whilst it's lovely to see the Beeb have permitted Richard Armitage to play a grown-up (with Russian-prison-tats and everything) after all that PVC-clad angsting in Robin Hoody (hey, I hold my hands up: I've seen every episode), the storylines fail to convince any more. Don't get me wrong, when Spooks started (years and years before 24 thank you *very* much) it was lovely dark and edgy stuff. These days though Joe Normal can get the Terror Alert level (red? amber? a nice duck-egg blue?) 24/7 on satellite news. We're all a bit clued up (or as clued up as they want us to be mwahaha) for dialogue basically going "we think the Russians are about to unashamedly attack Great Britain!" "Oh really? Cripes. We need some intel - why don't you go and do naughty things to that oligarch Ros and see if he doesn't tell you everything." Maybe a few more data-sticks going missing might help the authenticity....

On a different note I have already ranted once today about the press coverage on the funding 'crisis' for HE in the UK for next academic year. So I'll just repeat myself:

"Tsk. The media seem to hate universities. They simultaneously object to the 'social engineering' of 50%+ participation in HE by evidencing how badly it all works and is 'dumbing down' education (e.g. no funding, students 'w/o a word of english' all 'sailing through degrees', degrees in Beckhamology etc.), whilst conversely still going for that old chestnut of saying they are still bastions of elitism and unfair practice (Laura Spence -poor girl for becoming an abbreviation for post hoc ergo proctor hoc arguments for unfair admission-, admissions tests, bad statistics on state school participation). Tsk I say. Tsk."

Rant done. I'm sure Mike Baker will do it more justice. He's a sensible, well-informed gent.