Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Dick Twittington 20: Y u no obey the laws of physics?

This week on my Twitter feed: A cat! Like on everyone else's Twitter feed!

Today's corporate madness: We're all working in a different branch today because my boss figured out she could get a free lunch.
2:12 PM - 24 Jul 13

Upside: New selection of Cute Boys In Suits. And the aforementioned free lunch, obvs. Mmm, chicken katsu.
2:13 PM - 24 Jul 13

Nothing confirmed yet, but fingers crossed the Evil Corporate Machine may still want me beyond September, when my current contract runs out.
4:06 PM - 24 Jul 13

Monday, 29 July 2013

Book review: The Buddha of Suburbia

This is another of those cases where a well-known book has been around for a while (since 1990, in this instance) but it takes a special offer to get me to catch up with it. Worth a read though in the case of Hanif Kureishi's The Buddha of Suburbia, a coming-of-age novel about Karim, a bisexual mixed-race boy of English/Indian heritage growing up in the 1970s. The starting point is his father Haroon's midlife crisis, which unusually ends up affecting many more people than his family circle: Reinventing himself as some sort of vague mystic, he leaves his wife for another woman, but his pronouncements are taken to heart by the people of the suburbs who flock to him for advice. Moving with his new girlfriend to somewhere more central, they take Karim with them the couple of significant miles into London, and he tries to make something of himself in his late teens and twenties.

It's an entertaining book built largely around a cast of eccentric characters, both British and Indian in origin; some of its story of course comes about as Karim encounters different responses to his race - being narrated to by someone who's so obviously English in outlook and attitude it's almost bizarre to have him be treated as either excitingly or dangerously exotic by others. But a lot of the story's flavour is dictated by the setting rather than the characters' racial makeup, the fashions and politics of the '70s defining Karim's life as much as anything else. As such it works on a couple of interesting levels.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Dick Twittington 19: The universe's plan for me

This week on my Twitter feed, the Globe is full of actors (and not just on stage) and I'm full of cake. Also, some woman is no longer full of a baby.

Just had to get a new Oyster card for the first time. Think the ticket office were shocked the old one had lasted so long.
7:17 PM - 17 Jul 13

Propeller are dealing with the weather by doing the interval entertainment outdoors.
9:02 PM - 18 Jul 13

Theatrical Spot: Hipster Tranio at, funnily enough, Shrew at Hampstead. He's wearing a vest. Calm yourselves, ladies.
9:11 PM - 18 Jul 13

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Dick Twittington 18: #toplessmuddywrestling

This week on my Twitter feed it's my annual slightly longer trip to Stratford-upon-Avon. I usually spend the time there grumbling about how there's nothing to do between theatre trips. Have a guess what I do this time. Also it's quite warm out, did you notice?

7:19 PM - 10 Jul 13

Young businessman types at the next table are asking each other "how are you going to make History?"I thought the #apprentice was yesterday.
12:30 PM - 11 Jul 13

Also, there's a primary school party in the canteen. Who thinks "let's go on a school trip to an accountancy multinational?"
12:34 PM - 11 Jul 13

Monday, 15 July 2013

Book review: Down Among the Dead Men

The Kindle daily deal does lead to me choosing some unlikely reading material at times, like when at some point I must have decided a memoir of life in a mortuary sounded like fun for all the family. (Or maybe without realising it I have a thing for medical memoirs, what with this and Sirens a few months ago.) In any case Michelle Williams' Down Among the Dead Men is a pretty interesting read, if not perhaps quite as much of a revelation as the author seems to think (maybe I'm just immune to how bizarre people can really be by now.)

In her book, Williams is working in a care home and not particularly satisfied when she sees a job advertised in a mortuary. Soon she's cutting open and disemboweling cadavers, and dealing with the relatives the dead have left behind. Her attempts to argue that her choice of career doesn't mean she's an especially morbid person aren't exactly successful - I hadn't particularly assumed she would be on the gothy side until she brought it up, I'd just assumed the profession attracts pretty pragmatic people, which she and her colleagues clearly are. There's some sad and funny stories around death, and for the most part it's entertaining, although I thought the sheer level of hilarity that greeted a man who'd hanged himself in an auto-erotic asphyxiation accident while wearing women's underwear took its supposed humour from a trans-phobic place. Overall it's interesting enough, although I don't think Williams is uncovering quite as alien a world as she thinks - even if it's one I'd rather not have to work in myself.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Dick Twittington 17: Friday means lots of things

This week on my Twitter feed, my current job gets in the way of my tweeting. The nerve!

12:38 PM - 3 Jul 13

In all this Snowden business everyone seems to be ignoring the key issue, which is that I Would.
7:42 PM - 3 Jul 13

Finally in the new Southwark Playhouse main house. Is it really bigger than the old one? I guess appearances are deceptive.
7:57 PM - 3 Jul 13

Monday, 8 July 2013

Book review: The Lost Books of the Odyssey

Growing up in Greece, with Greek mythology someting I've been very familiar with all my life, I'm generally interested to see it reworked and reinvented, so Zachary Mason's The Lost Books of the Odyssey seemed interesting, and often it is. The idea behind it is that it presents fragments of lost versions (not just of the Odyssey, in fact, but quite often of the Iliad as well) which occasionally provide a different angle or context for the events in Homer's epics, but for the most part present an alternate universe entirely: One where the Greeks lost the Trojan War, or won it much faster, or in a different way; Odysseus' journey home ending with Penelope having long since married one of her other suitors, or Ithaca deserted, or his travels going on forever.

Inevitably not all of the stories were to my taste, and the ones where Mason opts for quite a self-consciously literary style didn't do much for me, but there were a few alternate worlds I really liked - some of my favourites saw Odysseus' travels end as the Odyssey says, only for him to be unable to settle after so long away and set off again to revisit past glories and disasters; a retelling of parts of the Theseus myth that for the most part seems unrelated to the Odyssey until it slots in as quite a vital element; and a story that mixes Greek and Jewish mythology to have the invincible Achilles as a golem created by Odysseus to help the Greeks win the war, and the ways that affects the Achilles myth as we think we know it.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Dick Twittingon 16: Things are gonna get classy

This week on my Twitter feed it's London Pride. So I go to it. I don't tweet much about it though so that's all kind of irrelevant. Here's what I did tweet about.

Oops - got an email to say The Drowned Man's been cancelled tonight.
1:42 PM - 26 Jun 13

Alex's umbrella isn't for the rain, he's protecting himself from daylight #apprentice
9:11 PM - 26 Jun 13

Myles clearly trying to rip off Horrible Histories there. But with horrible food. #apprentice
9:13 PM - 26 Jun 13