June 29, 2005

Raisin in the Sun

One more month till Spain. If only I'd worked on my base tan, maybe I could look like this.

I've heard of taking a leather bag to the beach, but really ....

June 26, 2005

I'm Still Here

(please supply your own links, I'm tired)

Antbiotics, a couple of sick days, fun with the NHS, and a heat wave that came and went (and I didn't even get to enjoy it, cause I felt like shit).

Saw Justin Bond's new show, had a quick visit to the dark place, back on the vitamins, finished watching Casanova, WigOut is still fun. Almost finished As I Lay Dying. Batman Begins is aces. Marshall cut out a bad guy's eye, with a spork, on Alias tonight. Quality television.

Caught up with mom over the past few days. Seems she thinks LOL means Lots of Love, so she's not really been laughing so much. But what makes me LOL is wondering how many people have typed LOL to her, and she's been thinking they've been sending "lots of love." Bless.

Sleep sleep and more sleep.

Back to Dublin tomorrow. Boss says I don't see enough of him, so I might be spending more time in Brussels.

5 weeks to Stiges. Huzzah.

June 17, 2005

Waterfront Dining

That was our view during dinner last night. Nice, eh? Norm got his Yorkshire Pudding, Rose declared hers better (natch), and we all had lots of wine, an amazing meal, and a perfect ending to a great visit.

I've also decided that I'd like to live in the top of one of the towers of the bridge. It'd be a very fitting counterpart to my penthouse in the Chrysler Building.

June 16, 2005

BB Blather

You can press the red button on your remote to vote for eviction. Too bad there's not a button you can press to eviscerate someone. Kemal is working my last nerve. And I'm not even watching it that much.

However, bookmakers had placed him at the top of the list to win Big Brother? In the subtle words of my all-too-eloquent sister, "Are you fucking kidding me?" I so don't get this country's BB voters sometimes; can't believe they booted Leslie out. Yeah, she might have been a bully. So what? I'd go out drinking with her in a heartbeat.

Sad that I can't think of anything more exciting to post about than turkish trannie wannabes and banished boobs.

That said, can Sam please go tomorrow night?

It's interesting (to me at least) to see the difference in house dynamic between the UK version and the US version of the show. In the UK, the viewers evict one of the nominated housemates. On the American show, the housemates vote themselves out of the habitrail ... makes for a more cutthroat and deceptive game, I think.

Speaking of housemates getting ready to leave, tonight is Norman Rose's last night at M2. Three weeks has flown by, and I think it's going to seem a little empty without them. We'll be having farewell fare at Butler's Wharf Chophouse tonight. Normy's bound and determined to get his Yorkshire Pudding. I hope it doesn't disappoint ... especially after their €16 club sandwiches in Paris yesterday. Ooops. They (sort of) enjoyed their day trip to the continent, but were glad to be back in England last night, "where people are civilized."

I say good on them. How many 67-year olds do you know that, having never been to France, would scoot off to Paris for lunch (overpriced as it was, bless them for not looking at the menu first)?

In other news, I'm half-way through As I Lay Dying. I decided 10 pages a day was doable, and if it's good enough for Oprah, then why not?

Poor Addie, if I had a mess of a family like she did, I'd have jumped in the river long before they ever thought of building me a coffin.

Big Brother and the Bundrens ... two very dysfunctional families. Who says I'm not finding balance?

June 14, 2005

Step-Ball-Chain Smoke


Was standing outside the theatre last night waiting for Norm and Rose (who I'm slowly renaminmg Norman Rose, sorta sounds the same, eh?) and Stephen Daldry walks by. "Hmm," I think. "That's odd for the director to be around once the show's opened."

Norman Rose show up 45 minutes late (an honest mistake, as it's easy to confuse Victoria and Piccadilly), and we grab a quick pint (as one does) for our pre-show dinner.

Walking toward the theatre, I see a limo pull up, a bodyguard jump out and escort a chubby, bewigged and bespectacled pop-culture idol from the street to the lobby. No, not Liz Taylor ... the other one.

As he's being rushed past us, I grab Larry's arm and say "Look, it's your ex-boyfriend."

"Which one?"


"Really, where?" head spinning around, eyes popping out, very Linda Blair. It must have been a devilishly good night they spent together so many years ago.

Hmm. The director and the composer are both in the house, a couple weeks after the opening. Something must be up with tonight's performance, I reckon, silently congratulating myself on my Keen Sense of the Obvious.

Sure enough, Elton and his lapdog partner/executive producer (is it just an optical illusion that the bigger Reginald gets, the skinnier that David becomes?) walk on stage, to well-deserved ballyhoo from the crowed. Turns out we're in for "a very special performance of Billy Elliot" (oh no ... Billy's being played by Corky?), as tonight's show has been underwritten by and 100% of all of this sold-out performance's ticket sales are going directly to Elton's AIDS Foundation.

Very cool. I look at Larry to congratulate him on the philanthropy and well-chosen night to buy tickets ... getting a "who knew?" shrug in return. Apparently we just fell into it; and we had good seats too. Bonus.

So Norman Rose got to see a big (really big ... maybe he should try South Beach) celebrity, and a huge crowd-pleaser of a show.

Hadn't read any of the reviews, as I knew I'd see it and didn't want anything to spoil it. I'd heard good buzz and seen a BBC documentary on the boys who were cast in the lead. So I was very excited.

It is wonderful. There are a number of suprises in the transition from film to stage, and I'm glad I didn't know about them. The score is good (although I think I heard Funeral for a Friend at one point) and there are some instant cabaret classics (We'd Go Dancing, Expressing Yourself and Electricity). There is a lot of derivation homage in the show ... a blatent 'razzle dazzle' rip-off from Chicago, some Chorus Line 'music in the mirrors' in the form of riot shields, and Les Miz goes to the mines.

A couple parts distracted me (really strained numbers between the dad and the older brother, a forced heartstring puller from dad during Christmas, a terrible wig on "grown up" Billy, and the horribly annoying thought that Karen Ziemba might get the part of Mrs. Wilkinson when they launch it in NY), but at the end of the night there was nothing but singing and dancing and chain-smoking joy.

I want to see it at least twice more ... I think each of the Billys deserves a viewing. I doubt the show would be much different, but from watching the tv special, each of the boys has their own charm, so I'm really curious to see how that plays on stage.

There are 3 Billys (we saw Liam last night). There are also 3 each of the characters Michael (what a fun, camp role for a kid to have) and Debbie (last night's was a rubbish actor). I wonder if they've got Billy and Michael paired off, or if the kids are working with different kids each night.

I'm also wondering what it's like for the adult performers in the show. They really can't get too set in their performance if their co-star is a little different every night. I think that makes for great theater ... if not a little challenging for the actors. And you know that Haydn Gwynne has to have her "favorite" ... it'd be interesting to see the show a few times and see how the chemistry changes with different kids in the parts. Or maybe it's so tightly directed that they're all giving cloned performances (which I totally doubt ... not the direction, but the cloning).

Who's got the inside story?

June 13, 2005

Adventures in Cirrhosis

Monday morning and the London fog we’ve all heard so much has moved from the atmosphere into my head. The weekend as I remember:

Friday night was dinner at Sketch Gallery. Really lovely to catch up with our friend John, enjoy an amazing meal, several bottles of wine, and a charming waiter named Rory. Sanctuary is now Eclipse, I think (could it be part of a chain?), with a whole new downstairs and the same tiny pours of vodka up top.

Saturday was a bit of a sleep in, what with all the wine and vodka from the night before. Those less young resilient than myself complained about headaches, while I washed down some Aleve with my coffee and hit the day running. Norm and Rose went to wish Betty Windsor a royal birthday, while the nephews headed off to a matinee of Ewan and Jane in Guys and Dolls. It's a really understated production, which is great, but we were way too high up in the long and narrow Piccadilly Theatre to really get the benefit of the toned-down production values. Ewan's voice is a little weak, but he's charming. Jane was a kinder, gentler, kitten-with-a-headcold-whip Adelaide. Douglas Hodge sang Nathan really well, but his characterization/speaking voice was like a cartoonish Ed Bundy. Jenna Russell was amazing. I've never thought much of Sarah as a character, but, like Obidiah, I've been converted.

And, in a really gay moment, I started crying during Sit Down You're Rocking the Boat. You know, the really sad, touching, dramatically moving number that everyone pulls their tissues out over. I think it was a mixture of the following:

a) an excellent production number that totally worked … very I Can Hear the Bells

b) so much happiness on stage, which put an amazing energy into the house

c) Martyn Ellis was perfect

d) I started missing being a part of something so cool as a cast of people, all choregraphed into 5 minutes of theatrical perfection

e) I started missing New York (which has happened a couple times over the past few days)

f) I'm just a big girl

Anyway, the number was genius ... totally stopping the show, and I was a little misty right through the end of the show. And I don't think I'll ever see a more perfect, subtly directed Marry the Man Today. Just lovely.

Dinner and more drinks after the show, with some nice chaps from Out and Out (second event much more worthwhile that the first). Special appearance at The Yard by Nick and Ed, which brought a smile to the faces of some of the O&O gentlemen.

"Who are they?" I heard one of our theatre companions whisper as N&E walked in and we air-kissed hello.

"Who cares ... they're adorable," said his conspirator. And yes, adorable they are. Norm and Rose are now under their spell as well/

Sunday led to a stroll through the Marylebone Summer Fayre and a very smart celeb sighting: Cate Blanchette, with an unhappy child (Dashiell, I believe he's called) at my favorite bookstore. After awarding her the "mother with the most amazing cheek bones ever" trophy, I headed down to Trafalgar Square to visit the bike fest, then ambled to St. James Park, where we picnicked with Norm and Rose, the aforementioned adorable boys (who pack a lovely basket), and the crème de la crème of Nebraska's high school crooners. And if that weren't enough, we ended up at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern for a dose of Dame Edna, who taught me my new favorite retort for an unbearable situation.

A retort which I shall save for a more suitable time.

And so, yes, another weekend of boys, booze and bawdiness.

I have no idea why I'm tired.

Billy Elliot tonight. I'm totally psyched. Also very much looking forward to Justin Bond next week and Hedwig the week after.

June 10, 2005

Seek Assistance

Riding the escalator from the tube platform into Liverpool Street station this morning, I was all about being aware. The Asian guy with way too much product, hair spiked and jeujed into a sculpture (really faggy or just fashion victim?). David Schwimmer looks dopey as ever in the Some Girls poster. Canary Wharf is soulless. I ought to call my mom. There’s some stray pet hair on the jacket of the man in front of me. I miss my cats, but we get Gypsy in a couple weeks. I wonder which Sketch we’re being taken to tonight … the expensive one or the ridiculously expensive one. I guess I have to wear smart clothes, either way. Ugh.

I’m calm. I’m breathing. I’m zenfully watching my thoughts, being aware of my surroundings. I pull out my wallet to “touch out” my Oyster card, touch it against the yellow disk, and walk right into the gates which have stubbornly not opened.

*Beep*. “Seek Assistance” says the red light.

I look down at my hand, and realize I’m holding my work identification, not my wallet. In my heightened awareness, I’d reached into the wrong pocket, pulled out a thin plastic card, not my thick leather wallet, and continued on autopilot, going through the everyday exit ritual from the tube.

I guess I need to hone this “being aware” skill.

June 9, 2005

Pin the Face on the Name

When you're reading a novel or short story, do you consciously cast someone based on the author's description of the character, or is the character more a nebulous "soul" in your mind? Does your imagination have a big central casting file (made up of friends, family and/or famous people??) and do you match descriptions to fit the actors who inhabit it, or do you just read and go with the flow.

I think I do a bit of both, but I tend to not have concrete, exact pictures of people in my head when reading about them.

I wonder .. what did Mr. Darcy look like before Colin Firth? What's Jack Reacher really look like? I've got a picture of him in my head, but (even if I had the artistic skills) couldn't draw a portrait of him (if Jason Stratham had a bigger brother he'd be a good casting choice). Are Dickens characters real in your head, or exagerrated cartoons/charicatures?

Tell me how you see people when you read. How "real" do they get? If you write, tell me what you try to get your readers to see.

June 8, 2005

Home Cooking

I went home for lunch today. Found it on an online whim, and it's the best choice I've made in a long time.

Spent a long lunch catching up with one of the key consultants who helped me start the big Brand This! project a year and a half ago. She's tipping her toe back into the work pool, after having her 3rd baby 7 months ago. She's smart, funny, brilliantly creative, cunningly shrewd, and has no tolerance for synthetic fibers.

Except for the birthing thing, I still want to be her when I grow up.

Why U B So Mean :-(

"U R so naff"

"Gimme ur lunch £ now!"

"ur hair sux"

"U have as much talent as Myleene Klass"

Tough words indeed. And to get them as text messages on your mobile ... it can be earth shattering. I guess that's why Myleene Klass (who??) has launched the very informative and soothing www.stoptextbully.com.

And with this on every page, well gee, I'm sure the little victims feel better already ...

If you or someone you know is being bullied like this, or if you’re worried it might happen, this website will help you sort it!

I suppose it's a real problem ... but still. Come on kids, just don't read the stupid messages.

I wonder if I'd get if I'd get in trouble for sending this to Ms. Klass: u r just a kelly wannabe

Anybody got her number?

June 7, 2005

The White Hos

Saw this on Fishbowl DC this morning. Oops.


And speaking of O'Donnells, anybody been reading Rosie's blog? She's a poet now. Who knew? And, apparently, a tortured one.

June 6, 2005

Speaking of Books

Thanks Alex, I'll take "Ambitious Assignments" for $300.

Oprah has tapped Faulkner to be America's summer reading list? Oh.My.

I'm all for the enlightenment of the middle-American housewife, but really ... isn't asking her to take a trip to Yoknapatawpha a bit far reaching?

Maybe she'll get everyone to read Middlemarch next.

Reading Lists

Was chatting up my friend L. here at the office, discussing the subtle differences between watching art and getting slapped in the face with the third reel. Apparently The War Zone is right up there on the fence between compelling and just too gruesome.

Conversation turned to books, and we decided to swap impromptu lists of ten titles we think everybody should read, just off the top of our heads.

Mine are ...

The Poisonwood Bible
Bastard out of Carolina
Confederacy of Dunces
The Time Traveler's Wife
Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
The Ciderhouse Rules
The Phantom Tollbooth
The Handmaid's Tale
The Mysteries of Pittsburgh
Lovely Bones

And hers ...

God Bless You Mr Rosewater
Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah
Oscar and Lucinda
Diamond Age
Wuthering Heights
The God of Small Things
Pobby and Dingan

1st 2 of Gormenghast Trilogy
Jamaica Inn

And yours ... ???

Might be interesting for you all to comment or email me your lists, and I'll compile and post the results.

Or not.

Breakfast (and Canvas) Included

When I'm bored in a hotel room, and without a book or Internet access, I usually just raid the mini-bar and flick through rubbish cable channels.

Now I know better. I have to start packing some Sharpies in my luggage so I can create Secret Wall Tattoos.

June 5, 2005

Mysteriously Grim

I wonder if I'm losing my edge. ( I wonder if I have an edge?)

Saw Mysterious Skin this afternoon and thought it was a gratuitous shocker ... let's take a taboo subject and see how uncomfortable we can make the audience sake of "art."

I seem to recall I didn't love the book. And I hated The Living End. So when an in-your-face, allegedly "brave' director takes on another challenging subject, I guess it's not for the squeamish.

My dad used to say "I don't like to have to think when I go to the movies, I just want to be entertained." I have a friend who won't go to see movies about 'losers" or when bad things in the world (Sophie's Choice is not on his hit list) ... he just wants to have a laugh and feel good about the world.

I don't mind being challenged. I like the dark ... I usually get a kick out of what I used to call "theater that makes you squirm." But this was just dark and unrelenting and lacking in anything redemptive. It didn't show me anything I didn't know ... pedophila is bad. So is teenage hustling, especially when you get raped in a bathtub.

I left the theater feeling uncomfortable, disturbed, and angry. But it wasn't about the poor kids who are abused ... that would be justifable anger and sadness. I can't put my finger on it ... maybe it's because I feel assaulted. So, perhaps it was an effective film?

I don't think I'm becoming my dad ... I do like films that make me think. I guess i just want a little redemption at the movies.

Or maybe I'm just afraid to admit that I wasn't abducted by aliens and that my little league coach didn't find me attractive.

June 3, 2005

Coming Soon ...


How come every time I see this picture, I can't help think it's for a new Paris Hilton bukkake movie?

Cockney in a Cage

Seems that, and forgive my rubbish Latin, draughtus lageris helps reduce the symptoms of my sleeping sickness. I'm guessing it's one of those medical anomalies like giving speed to hyperactive children to calm them down.

Norm and Rose decided to meet me after work yesterday, and I took them for a walk around the City, ending up at Ledenhall Market for a couple of pints.

"I've never seen so many people," was Rose's less-than-surprising response. And businessmen drinking beer in the open air! Oh my stars, you'd think we'd uncovered a new species.

lim_canopy.gif Meanwhile, back at M2 (I told you the new place needed a nickname) I was woken up by delivery men this morning. Hot.

The new bed we ordered several months back has arrived this morning. The moving crew are huffing and puffing up the stairs right now, getting ready to put it together. You'd think grown men who make a living delivering furniture wouldn't be so afraid of a few flights of stairs.

I'm making them tea to calm their nerves. Yes, I'm a giver.

Larry's on business trip to Liverpool (Nice, eh? Relatives come, he nips off to the north), so I'm thinking the cute one with the near unintelligble accent might have to give the new bed a quick test run. Just to make sure the frame is sturdy and the cage canopy works.

June 2, 2005



I think one of these bit me. It's the only logical explanation why I can't seem to stay awake today.

Some may fly off the handle and say I'm a hypocondriac, but don't blame me when the test results come back and I say "see see I told you so."

June 1, 2005

London comes to London

I've been planning to write some clever comparison of a) Larry's Aunt Rose and Uncle Norm moving into our flat for the next three weeks and b) the crazies moving into the Big Brother house; sort of a London, England vs. London, Ontario spin. You know ... editing people into their most lovable and annoying characteristics, posting daily updates of the otherwise mundane, asking all important questions like Will Norman really go off the fags in London?, and keep tallies on factoids like how many times Rose says "so much history" or "so many people".

But I can't be bothered.

Work's busy, I'm overflowing with lung batter (again), and I'm just not feeling that creative, clever or energetic.

That said ... having houseguests who are visiting a new country always affords the opportunity to see things through a fresh pair of eyes, which is really cool. And when they take you seriously on the mi casa, su casa thing and have dinner on the stove when you get home from work ... BONUS!

Dinner on the table is totally worth not walking around the house naked.

I loved our trip to Windsor over the weekend. I want to go back and spend more time in the castle and the village ... feels like we were in and out in no time at all (this coming from the lad who did the Lourve in 20 minutes ... a schedule is a schedule, after all).

Eton is also lovely. I'd like to learn more about the uniforms (tails to class? Ugh.) and what means what in the world of waistcoats and jackets give. That and give about 90% of the mop-topped boys a haircut. All that money and they can't afford product?

Ended up dancing and giggling the night away at Booteeq on Sunday with Mar. Seems London has its own Amanda Lepore, and a silicone-grab was free for the asking. A good mix of people ... not too circuity, not too freakish. Some old favourites spinning in the lounge, and some rocky remixes on the bigger dance floor. Very fun. Norm and Rose were such great sports ... both taking turns on stage practicing their poll dancing skills. I swear, give those "seniors" half a hit of x and you never know what will happen. Good times.

Speaking of poll dancing ... I'm not sure I like the refurb at Village. A modernization I can understand. But the pollectomy in the front bar was uncalled for. Putting strippers out of work like that ... so.not.right.