Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Twitaceous Era 2: A terrifyingly powerful farter

This week on my Twitter feed, booking tickets for A Streetcar Named Desire is a baffling ordeal.

Good People's "society's poorest playing Bingo in desperate hope of some extra cash" storyline is looking well timely right now.
9:25 PM - 19 Mar 2014

Theatrical Spot: #heppletattoo in Soho.
6:51 PM - 20 Mar 2014

Glad to see Southwark Playhouse ditching the 8pm start times but interested to see how they'll coordinate opening both venues simultaneously
6:51 PM - 21 Mar 2014

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Book review: The Goldfinch

With Donna Tartt only writing about a book a decade, there's always quite a lot of fuss and expectation when the latest comes out. One way she avoids too much comparison with her much-loved debut is by going for a different genre every time - where The Secret History was a literate thriller, The Little Friend was a sort of Southern Gothic and now her third novel The Goldfinch is a personal odyssey for one young boy from Manhattan, who grew up not too badly off but spends his teens first among the very wealthy, then with a gambling-addicted father outside Las Vegas. The catalyst that sets his life in these directions is a terrorist attack at an art gallery, from which he salvages the titular painting. Not handing it in immediately, the longer he leaves it the bigger trouble he thinks he'll be in if he does, so the painting becomes a constant, secret companion.

In a way The Goldfinch is the story of Theo's life as told through the prism of the painting and his relationship with it - when it's out of sight, out of mind for a few years the story skips forward until it comes back into his life again. As well as this inanimate companion that's always there, Tartt creates a number of memorable characters that pass through his life, often returning to it when it seems like he should never meet them again. I can't say much more without giving too much away but if you're prepared for Tartt's often too-dense prose (Theo seems to spend several chapters walking through rubble at the start) it's a rewarding, moving experience and there's a couple of characters in here who feel classic already.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Twitaceous Era

This week on my Twitter feed: Another anniversary, this time marked by a pornographic flower.

Coming back to my desk after a sunny lunch break is NOT made any easier now we're in a windowless room.
3:03 PM - 12 Mar 2014

Theatrical Spot: Nick Hendrix (clothed) in Notting Hill.
7:04 PM - 12 Mar 2014

Right, who left Audrey II's vagina in the middle of Canary Wharf?
3:01 PM - 13 Mar 2014

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Dick Twittington 52: "buttonhole rose"

This week on my Twitter feed our department at work gets moved to, basically, a cupboard..

The evil corporate air conditioning is broken, I'm sweating like a 1970s DJ in a creche :(
3:40 PM - 5 Mar 2014

Theatre review: I Do
10:55 AM - 6 Mar 2014

I used the phrase "lapel rose" in that review because "buttonhole rose" sounded like a euphemism for "anus."
11:00 AM - 6 Mar 2014

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Dick Twittington 51: Hot desking

This week on my Twitter feed is dominated by my libido, which I'm sure is a big change etc etc.

Sleb Spot: Martha Plimpton on The Cut.
9:25 AM - 26 Feb 2014

Congrats @stewartwpringle - Stewart Pringle appointed artistic director of Old Red Lion
11:32 AM - 26 Feb 2014

This fire alarm is all very well as long as it's cutting into my work time and doesn't steal my lunch break #priorities
1:40 PM - 26 Feb 2014

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Book review: The Cuckoo's Calling

J K Rowling's second post-Potter novel, and the first in a new series, has of course been most famous for the fact that it was published under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, a disguise that was uncovered a lot earlier than she'd hoped - although she's going to continue writing the series under the Galbraith name as originally intended. But The Cuckoo's Calling also turns out to be a good murder thriller in itself. Having got used to using exotic character names her new protagonist is the son of a rock star and a hippie groupie, which leaves him with the unusual name Cormoran Strike. It's a provenance that's inconvenient for who he now is, a former military policeman who lost a leg in Afghanistan and is now a private detective, but finds it hard to blend into the background when people find out about his famous dad.

Hints that this is written by the most famous living author continue to the plot of The Cuckoo's Calling, which extends the celebrity theme with the supposed suicide of a supermodel. The murder mystery part is well plotted and there's a shady group of characters to fill the pool of suspects, plus an obligatory plucky assistant for Strike in Robin, a temp secretary he's hired, sort of accidentally, and can't really afford. And knowing who the real writer is makes it fun to see if there's any clues to her identity - Strike seems to have a different nickname with everyone who knows him, which is apt for a pseudonymously-authored story; and I liked him confronting the killer with the truth, only to be told it was so fanciful the detective should take up writing fantasy fiction instead.