Thursday, 31 May 2012

Love, Love, Love

I will refrain from the obvious puns about Mike Bartlett's play, Love, Love, Love, now on at The Royal Court Theatre in Sloane Square, but it was really excellent! Continuing on my mad theatre run, it was another girls night out at a play. And people say the young only drink to excess and watch too much television.

I read Bartlett's Earthquakes in London earlier this year and it blew my mind. The intricacy of the plots and snappy dialogue was irresistible and I am so sorry not to have seen it performed, because I really want to see that set! Is an overcrowded, overflowing, decadent stage a set designers dream or nightmare - perhaps a little of both? If anyone ever hears of this being performed, please tell me immediately. But I digress, because this post is about Love, Love, Love.

Picture from www.RoyalCourtTheatre.com, click for link to site

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Hay Fever on the Brain

No, not allergies, but the entertaining Noel Coward play of the same name. This farcical romp through a night in the life of a well-to-do, artistic family and their unfortunate house guests was a thoroughly enjoyable way to spend a Saturday afternoon. The Bliss matriarch, former actress, but always theatrical mother, Judith, leads her novelist husband, nude painting son and outspoken daughter through a night filled with high drama at the expense of the guests each family member has invited down for the weekend.
Image from www.HayFeverLondon.com click to go to site.

Monday, 28 May 2012

There's Joy in the Air and a Song in Your Heart

Oh, yes, my loyal (and not so loyal) readers, it's that wonderful time of the year again. It's Eurovision! A celebration of pure joy, silly dance moves, suspect lyrics and all that is good in the world. Oh, Eurovision, you are the twinkle in my eye.

Unlike others, I am not here to complain that Sweden won (again) with a rather dull song with really weird posing instead of dancing. Look, Waterloo it wasn't, but who cares? I'm not even here to complain that all Ireland (the winning-est country ever - no lie) could field was Jedward for the the second year running. I am here to celebrate. To sing the praises of what can only be described as one of the most entertaining nights on television. A competition that makes Jedward look normal, calm and ordinary or at least slightly less insane can only provide lots of entertainment.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Posh

This time a week ago I was sitting on the sidewalk outside the Duke of York's Theatre on St. Martin's Lane in central London. It was an hour and a half until the box office opened. I was wearing my winter coat with mittens and earmuffs on standby.

Today is a very different day. To begin with, it is hot in London! Shorts, skirts, t-shirts and sunscreen are the order of the day. Love it. That, however, will be another post. One which I will relish writing, but today is about Posh, my new theatre love.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Digital Angst

I've been on Twitter for all of a month and I think I have a problem. I have discovered that I actually care how many followers I have. Do I care who's tweeting me or whether people are interested what I have to tweet? No, I am obsessed with the number of followers I have. No, strike that, I don't care how many followers I have (1 or even 0 would be fine), I just care that some people have stopped following me. That's right: unfollowed me.

Stopped following me? Why? What have I done wrong? What have I failed to do? It's beginning to sound like a good self-flagellating prayer, but my guilty confusion is somewhere near what Sister Maureen used to make me feel about not going to church every Sunday. Out of hand? Oh, I think so.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Happy National Flash Fiction Day!

Woo hoo! It's National Flash Fiction Day! A day to celebrate the short and sweet. My granny always said, "Good goods come in small packages." (We tend toward the short side) And she's right. Some of the best stories come in at under 500 words.

So, here's my little contribution to the day. Albeit, perhaps not my best, but my other half reckons it's one of my odder pieces, so that will have to do. So here it is, celebrating both the beauty of getting to the point and oddity, my own 264 little words:

Sunday, 13 May 2012

An Old Liar

That's what I am: an old and boring liar.

First, I am a liar because only a mere three days ago I wrote complaining about water waste and drought conditions. Only two days ago it was announced that we are no longer in drought. Indeed. I stand by my water waste statements, even if we are not officially in drought. Also, here in London, at least, the hose pipe ban is still in effect. As near as I can tell, in my neighbourhood, this only affects the Park Plaza, who for some reason has an inexplicable need to pour obscene amounts of water all over the sidewalk at the back of their hotel in the name of cleaning it. An excellent use of water, no doubt. The rest of us don't even have gardens, never mind hose pipes.

However, all of that is a complaint for another day. Joy to you, I know you were concerned that you might miss out on another ecologically driven rant. Just to keep you on the edge of your seat: I have a little number on recycling up my sleeve, so stay tuned.

Today, though, today is my shamefaced admission that I am getting not only getting older but old (and boring). Last night I found myself at a 28th birthday party surrounded by people both older and younger than I in a chain pub in central London. As I took the Tube to this lovely event I thought to myself how downright brilliant I looked in my tea length white skirt, sparkly flats and black top with just a hint of bondage in its metal eyelets and black ties. Yep, I even had my hair highlighted for the first time there a couple of weeks ago and I was feeling pretty smart. Hot, even.

When I arrived, a young, 23-year-old friend of mine complimented by outfit saying, "I love your dress. It's so casual!"

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Springing Forward

By now, most of you will know my almost utter obsession with the coming longer days. I am so excited to say that we are officially in daylight savings time. Last month we "sprung forward" and I am loving it.

Living in London is fantastic. It's hard to believe that we're almost hear a full year, now. It has just flown by, due in no small part to the amazing weather that I have tracked in this blog. Naturally, I am excepting the entire month of April, which was the rainiest since records began. I wasn't in London for most of April and since we had lovely weather in Ireland, I am counting that instead. At the beginning of April, London instituted a hosepipe ban because we were in drought and even after all this rain, it would appear we're still in drought.

Shocking. How can that be? You read on quizzically. Well (ready yourself for an environmental rant, here), it's because all this lovely rain can't find its way into the ground because there's too much concrete and tarmacadam creating runoff. The rain falls and go straight into London's over worked Victorian aged sewers.

This amazed me as London has so many parks and is renowned for its green space. Hyde Park, Greenwich (I thought the entire borough was a park!), Kensington Gardens, Green Park, Regents Park, St. James's Park and the infinite number of private gardens in the ritzy neighbourhoods. Surely that would be earth to soak up a bit of rain? Nope. No it isn't.

There's also all this talk about allotments here, which is twice as interesting. People sign up to waiting lists, which can be years long, to get the use of a little plot of land to grow plants outdoors. So why all the bricked over patios? If all the terraced houses in London took up the stone in their little back gardens, imagine how much more earth would be exposed. I'm no environmental expert, but it seems to me that there are a couple of issues that would be easy enough fix and might make a difference to the water shortage.

Boston gets far less rain than London, but we only ever had droughts in the heart of the hottest driest summers - unlike any weather ever seen here. So why does Boston only have droughts in extreme weather, but London has had one beginning in late spring for the past two years running? Of course, I'm sure that the amount of rain actually falling from the sky has at least a minor role, but there are a couple of controllable factors, too.

As I've said, a little more appreciation of personal green space that's actually earth based, not just in pots and planters might not go astray. Get those fingers dirty!

But, how about conservation? Everywhere in Boston, you seen water saving measures; low flow shower heads (no, no compromise in how it feels, just as powerful), low flow toilets, aerators on all the taps (they mix air with the water so you use less) and eco-friendly appliances. Now more enthusiastic people like me also go in for dual flush toilets and rainwater barrels, but perhaps the most effective method of conservation is the good old water meter.

My North American readers are probably now looking quizzically at their computers screens, but, indeed, not everyone has water meters here. I should clarify that I do mean ordinary city homes, here, not country homes with their own wells. We haven't had a water meter in either of the flats we've lived in in London. We pay a water bill, but it's a flat rate, not based on the amount we use. The system practically encourages people to use as much water as possible. If you don't, you're not getting your value for money.

I want to propose what will no doubt be a controversial idea: Water meters for all. You use it, you buy it. See how fast sales of water saving devices increase when people have to pay for all those little droplets. Not to be soon, I fear.

Instead, London will build bigger sewer pipes, dump more into the Thames and look out the door at the rain bouncing off their bricked over patios while they fill their watering cans at the sink for the indoor potted plants.