Saturday, 31 May 2008

As far as carbon goes, I have huge feet

We have been discussing as a family what we should do to cut our fuel costs (or, should I say, I have been nagging the kids about turning lights and computers off...). This led us to discuss what we should cut back. I find that I have two treasured luxuries that I am prepared to bankrupt myself to maintain - my tumbledrier, and deep hot bubbly baths.

Even worse, I am still, very guiltily, using free plastic bags from Tesco, mainly because otherwise I would have to buy bags to wrap my rubbish in to throw away. This gives me an excuse to show you this Tim Minchin video......

It appears I am an environmental monster.

What do you think I should make my priority to give up?

Monday, 19 May 2008

I grow old, I grow old...

I went to see David Calder in King Lear at the Globe a few weeks back. It was very good and have been mulling over the experience since. Here are the edited highlights from my mullings….

1. We haven’t seen enough of David Calder since he played Bramwell’s Dad.

2. I couldn’t hear David Calder’s words very clearly at all, but I don’t know whether that is down to his enunciation, the position I was in, or just boring, creeping middle-aged-ness.It didn’t matter that I couldn’t hear the words clearly, David Calder was like a force of nature and even though I hadn’t seen the play before, I think I still got the point

3. I’ve finally stopped thinking of Green Wing every time I see Sally Bretton, although I’d have liked to see Goneril played with the wicked sexiness she had as Kim.

4. The eye-gouging is splendidly gory with groans and eurwrgh sounds from the audience. Brilliant.

5. My first visit of the season reminded me how much I love this theatre for its mix of informality, silliness, and sudden intensity. My favourite place is in the middle gallery on the side, where you can watch the groundlings, usually composed of teenagers, tourists and the small band of determined die-hard regulars, with an occasional razor sharp fashionista refugee from the Donmar. They start off milling about, jostling for the best spots near the stage or finding a wall to lean against, standing with arms crossed, fidgeting, chatting and smirking. Gradually though, they stop fussing over their sweets and cans of lager and by the end there is nothing but intense concentration and quiet.

6. Thinking about quiet, the Globe should go back to selling sweeties in little tubs, rather than the crinkly bags they are using these days.

The main conclusion I draw from all this is that if sweetie packets are starting to make me cross, it’s time to call out my inner teenager by playing a bit of suitably bolshy music really loudly.

Although not so loudly as to upset the neighbours.

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Mostly Bollocks, Though Interesting

I was subjected to a Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) analysis at a training day last week.

My first problem was with the questionnaire which is an either/or tick boxy thing. In most cases I could have chosen either box, depending on my mood at the moment, and the situation I was imagining myself in. For example, did I prefer (a) thinking or (b) feeling? Well BOTH actually.

The result of this dodgy questionnaire is that I was categorised into one of 16 personality types. This brings me to my second problem with the whole thing – the descriptors of the different types read like horoscopes, and actually, I could identify with bits from most of them.

I asked the ‘experts’ what they thought about this and here is a brief summary of our discussion….

Me: Can you explain why the either/or questions are used, rather than trying to elicit more graduated responses?

Expert: Oh, your type are always the ones that query the questionnaire process. I expect you also object to being put into a category when you feel that everyone is unique?’.

Me: Erm…….yes.....

Spot on actually. I thought it best to sit quietly for the rest of the day

Sunday, 4 May 2008

The Truth Will Out?

I’ve just finished reading Bill Bryson’s take on Shakespeare. It is a fairly slim book in the field of Shakespeare scholarship, and this is because he sticks to the FACTS. This is so refreshing I forgave the sloppiness which allowed the same facts to be repeatedly repeated just a few pages apart. Clearly, if he hadn’t done this he wouldn’t have had a book but an article.

I particularly enjoyed his quietly efficient demolition of the 'Shakespeare didn’t write Shakespeare' theories, although it reminded me that Mark Rylance (one of my acting heroes and ex-artistic director of the Globe), based his Chichester Festival play on this very point last year. Although I keep hoping Rylance is being ironic I can’t find any evidence to suggest it – how depressing.

Coincidentally, I also read The Shakespeare Secret, a junky thriller of the Da Vinci Code school this week*. It used a fair number of the authorship theories and added some more of its own for good measure. Although the author had the decency to point out that the theories are speculative nonsense, you had to read the note at the back to find that out, so I’ll bet there are a few more people out there believing there can’t be smoke without fire.

I’m clearly lacking the believer’s gene. This may be because I have also been a civil servant and the experience quickly confirmed my view that any real conspiracy will come to light one way or another, usually through cock-up or someone just not able to resist sharing how clever they have been.

Or am I just missing something really important?

UPDATE: Mark Rylance obviously felt that I needed clarification on his views. Bacon? Bacon?

*I know, I know, and it was just as awful as it sounds. In my defence I didn’t have anything else in the house I hadn’t read, apart from GCSE revision guides on To Kill a Mocking Bird.

Saturday, 3 May 2008

Oh Noes

I was going to add a witty caption but I feel too fed up. Anyone else care to have a try?

UPDATE: No takers then? Well I have to say that the lolcats caption idea seemed appropriate at the time, but given that the 'lol factor' seems to have been one of the reasons for voting for him (See here and here and here) somehow it doesn't seem funny any more.