Had quite a fine weekend. On Saturday, Katie and I got up ridiculously early to catch the first train into London, only to be foiled by the evil level-crossing (may all its camels die). So, instead, as a cunning amendment to our plan, we caught the second train into London, with a brief change at Richmond, where our raid on the vending machine was almost, but not quite, foiled by our, er, lack of money. We got to Victoria at abut half-past-six and met Jackie, and waited for a mere three and a half hours for the box office to open. I read “Are You Dave Gorman?”, which is jolly funny.
We got our tickets and went home. Can’t really remember what we did for the rest of the day, but there was napping and watching TV and eating soup. We got dressed up and bopped back into London. Wicked was fantastico to the power ten, and I love it very, very much. Randomly ran into one of the doctors there, but one of the nice ones, so it was all fine, and there was some chattery. We caught the train home, and played Qui Suis-Je?, that fine game. Or did we play on the way into London? Can’t really remember now. It matters not.
On Sunday we arose with the dawn (well, at about ten), and went to church. Get us. As in keeping with the Church of England, there were about a dozen people in the congregation, and Katie and I lowered the average age quite substantially. We had jolly good hymns, though, and the sermon was extremely interesting, though I love the way that the C of E is basically the only place that will tell you that organised religion may not be the way forward and you don’t really want to get too caught up in the whole thing. Class. We segued up to the Giraffe where brunch was forthcoming and I made the fatal error of Changing My Order. What was I thinking? Why did this strike me as something of a plan? I am a fool. Giddy Giraffe, I love you. I will never cuckold you again in this manner. Pray love, forgive.
It was tipping it down, so we ran for cover in the library. I played on the internet for a bit, and Katie was kind enough to get I, Coriander out for me, which I have been wanting to read for ages. Oh, and earlier we went into HMV and I succumbed to series one of House (it was a mere £20 and I could not resist) and also series two of Murder One, with Anthony LaPaglia, which I absolutely loved when it was on back in the day. Also new bedlinen from Laura Ashley. We went to see The History Boys which was fabbity fab, and should be seen by everyone. In the world. Not least for the comedy French.
Incidentally, on that theme, does anyone remember a TV series from the very late 90s (or maybe very early 00s): a courtroom drama type thing that was an American import (aren’t they all?). I think it only ran for about one season, and was very cynical about the justice system. I seem to recall one plotline about a woman who was divorcing her husband and there was contention over the pre-nuptial agreement, which was resolved when it was proved that she had been lying about her age for years and had in fact been under 18 when she signed the agreement, so it was unvalid. Or was it the children? And she got the children, only it was completely the wrong decision because she was a complete bitch and they were heartbroken at having to leave their father. Is this ringing bells for anyone?
And on a comedy note, has anyone seen the new poster ads for Virgin trains in the tube (or anywhere else, for that matter)? The general idea seems to be “Virgin trains: give you time to think”. I love how they’re trying to make being chronically unpunctual into a positive. Bless them.
I did the prize enigma thing in this month’s Prospect. Get me. I usually look at it and go pah, but this time it was straightforward algebra: the trick is always formulating the right equations with the information given. Nice bit of quadratic equation followed by simple substitution – you’ve got to love it. Have actually emailed answer in. Feel accomplished.
So, did people see the thing in the newspaper this morning about pub clients being asked for their fingerprints etc before actually buying a pint? It’s a pilot scheme in, I think, Yeovil, that has cut their drink-related crime rate by 48%. Plans are afoot for extending it. Obviously, this has provoked reaction from anti-ID card type groups on the basis that it is an infringement of our civil liberties. Which, let’s face it, it is.
It’s tricky, isn’t it? On the one hand, how can you argue with a 48% decrease in drinking-related crimes? But then, you have to remember that back in the day, Iraq (to use an obvious example) was a reasonably law-abiding, family-oriented society. Yay for them. It was also an oppressive dictatorship. Seems to me you can’t really have it both ways. The price that liberal democracy has to pay is that it can’t control its citizens in the same way that a more repressive regime can. We are at more liberty and thus, being crappity humans, are more likely to do things we shouldn’t. But I would rather have it that way. I would rather the decisions for our actions lie with us, rather than with a central government. So I say no to ID cards, and no to finger-printing before doing something that might, conceivably, possibly, lead you into wrongdoing. We should take responsibility for our own lives and our own decisions, and not abnegate them to the government.
On the crappity human front, I had a thought the other day. I saw a t-shirt I liked which was a picture of a robot. The text said “Kill All Humans”. Ah, the literary/cinematic view of robots in the future: they will be our undoing. They become sentient, and take over the world. It’s an old story. We know it well.
But what’s fascinating about it is not anything to do with robots per se. It’s about our own natures. Robots of the future are a mirror for our own existence. We will build ourselves, but we will make us better and stronger. The robots are built in our image. And what do we see them doing? Destroying the bits lower down the food chain, so to speak. Is this how we see ourselves? Is this who we are? Give us an inch and we take a mile: give us an advantage and we will *take* advantage?
Anyway, so keeping up to date with my theatre record-keeping plan - What I Have Seen This Financial Month:
*The Voysey Inheritance (September 2006) – National Theatre*
Once again, see how HGB leaps upon the theme of the hidden self. This was jolly good. What a swiz to have your papa turn out to be a wretched embezzler, and not just to square what *his* father did, but because he got a kick out of it. I liked how whatshisname (Dominic West’s character, whose name escapes me) grew a bit of dash and daring after being a wet sock.
*Exiles (October 2006) – National Theatre*
Ah, James Joyce. I sort of enjoyed this play, but not quite so much as I had hoped. I found it quite hard to relate to the main two characters and work out quite how their relationship worked. But we saw it in the Cottesloe which was a nice change. The set was very good.
*Tom & Viv (October 2006) – Almeida Theatre*
This was a fantastic play, and the Almeida is such a groovy little theatre. It was about TS Eliot and his first wife. The acting was tremendous, it had many a fine line (“Her teachers said she had the best Cockney accent in Tunbridge Wells.”), and the staging worked really well. Highly recommended to all (though be speedy because it finishes in early November).
*Wicked (October 2006) – Apollo Theatre*
Well, we queued for day seats for many, many an hour, though actually it was just like a Saturday morning bopping around not doing much except outdoors in the rain rather than indoors. We read, played a bit of the Game, searched out new and unhealthy food. But yes, the performance. It was so fab. Better than when we went last month, which is only to be expected. Helen Dallimore had improved vastly and was really a match for Idina Menzel. And it was so much better going into it knowing the music etc. Will be going again. Oh yes.