Tuesday, September 26, 2006

"So. Farewell then
You were the Theatre Museum"

I've started something I don't want to finish over at Londonist regarding the decision to close the Theatre Museum. I've not visited the Theatre Museum in years and can't think of anyone who has been at all. I wouldn't make a special trip to go there as I'd rather be doing something else in Covent Garden, like have a nice dinner with friends or go on a cocktails and shopping bender - but I'd make a detour to see what it had on show if I was at the V & A for something else. I'd be in a museums and exhibitions frame of mind if I was at the V & A, and I'd probably enjoy the Theatre Museum collection much more because of it.

Although I focused on performing arts, I covered a lot of museums and galleries work while at City University for my postgraduate course and it was fascinating stuff. I can feel bits of my brain stirring and I'm itching for a debate about museums and galleries, about location vs. environment, government subsidy and... stuff like that. C'mon. Fight me. I'm in the mood. Throw some punches here or over at Londonist.

Friday, September 15, 2006

"See you in six months."

Said goodbye to my flatmate this morning who is leaving for 6 months in Afghanistan. His diplomatic passport came through the post in super-super special packaging and he's bought himself an electric coffeepot and a sleeping bag that can fit into a sock. That's it. Farewell. Until you come home, we'll look after your post and make sure no one squats in your room, keep an eye on your bike(s) and honour the house ritual of never sitting on the sofa or armchairs but sprawling out full length and falling asleep on top of the remote controls whenever we've chosen to stay at home instead of going to the gym or go rowing or go running or taking on an after-work cycling tour of the Thames.

I'm very sad. There will be one less person to hover behind me in the kitchen while I cook, leaping up enthusiastically everytime I put down the wooden spoon in case, yes, *now* dinner is ready.

There will be no one to hang around with on blurry Saturday mornings, sipping treacle thick espresso from the quirky stove-top pot, talking bollocks about nothing much and repeating like a mantra "I suppose we should do go out and do something."

There will be no one to step over, sprawled out asleep on the big blue cushion still wrapped in an old bedsheet (because I never did make the cushion cover I promised to make 2 years ago).

There will be no one to fill the cupboards with pots of homemade marmalade everytime I look away.

There will be no one to accompany me to the theatre at the last minute.

There will be one less person to have "one quick drink" with after work then realise it's too late to cook and we're not capable of dealing with pots and pans anyway and end up staying up too late on a work night, watching DVDs and eating takeaway dinners.

Noisy card games. Elaborate meals cooked in our basic kitchen with varying results. Sunday papers on the patio and cursing the pigeons that nest there. Chucking those little paper bangers around and giggling after a sober morning observing Chinese New Year rituals. Reading the John Donne extract at our wedding. The early days of 5.00am departures and 8.30am returns to collide with me in the corridor, dragging sweaty lycra and a few pints of the Thames in with you. The later days of bicycle maintenance by the front door. Messages in bad handwriting left propped against the microwave ("Have a doughnut!" "I owe you money" "Is this yours?") Speaking of microwaves, remember the mini-microwaveable cheese fondue I brought back from Amsterdam? Yes, I've tried to forget that evening too... The annual marrow festival, where you bring the bounty of your dad's allotment to London, to feed the Chinese community. Kinder Egg toys and tourist tat from abroad decorating the stereo. Plums on toast. Your drawings hanging on our walls. Honorary hen at my hen night and then a more gender-accurate stag at Will's stag night: after 3 years of living together so happily, how could it have worked out any other way?

Goodbye Flatmate. Take care of yourself in Aghanistan. We miss you already. Come back safe to our home; we'll be waiting for you.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

"I gave them a sword..."

Another amazing night at the theatre, in a series of amazing nights at the theatre. First Fuerzabruta (more on this later) and now... Frost Nixon. Not only was I lucky enough to see My Favourite Actor Michael Sheen "do" David Frost, I was also privileged to see Frank Llangella play Nixon. This was acting of the highest quality - Llangella had the awkward Nixon hunch and oversized hands making grumpy gestures right down to the finest detail. And in the final close-up, beamed above him on a bank of TV screens, he was Nixon, in the bulging eyes and the sweat on his top lip and the haunted look of a man who knows he did the wrong thing, however much he may insist he didn't.

Michael Sheen as David Frost was magnificent too but as I'm less familiar with David Frost, Sheen's performance kept recalling Austin Powers for me. A colleague who had to listen to my breathless, rave review over coffee this morning pointed out that Austin Powers is rather like vintage David Frost and it wasn't in any way incorrect for me to have made this association throughout the performance.

But the best thing of all about last night's trip to the theatre? Having Mr Hypatia Avenue with me, enjoying the play possibly even more than me. Though he appreciates good script-writing, can spot and enjoy high quality acting and directing and doesn't mind making time for the theatre when he finds something he wants to see, he doesn't have the same dedication to the art form as I do. Not for him the here, there and everywhere, anything and everything approach I have to the performing arts - he's far more select. And I felt very honoured and privileged and happy to have him with me last night. A good play was made even better by seeing it and experiencing it with him, my husband.

And on the subject of being married (because that is what the thinly-disguised previous paragraph was, in case it was not thinly-disguised enough) congratulations to Sir Humphrey and his soon-to-be Lady Humphrey who got engaged this past weekend, in the most unbearably romantic, Oxonian, literary fashion. Hurrah and dare I say, Huzzah!