Monday, 30 April 2012

As bad as it gets in Hampstead M&S

What could that possibly have been? Perhaps the rogue E-stealer had taken the plastic forks also.

Foster the People at Brixton Academy - 27/04/12

Having never graced Brixton Academy with my steely presence, I thought there was no better excuse than for a band I’d never heard of, accompanying two old, and more clued up, school friends.

After a delightful little dinner at ‘Grace and Flavour’, a sweet and unadorned little cafe in Brixton village which sells a good range of mezze and wraps, we headed to Brixton Academy.
The exterior of the venue is impressive; the flouro-signs and columns giving it a retro feel. Inside is similar.
The two support bands, We Barbarians and Mini Mansions, were great. Energetic and pleasing on the ears, although there is not much that would distinguish them from other similar bands. They were a perfect support to FTP, however, and got the audience suitably pumped. 
LA-bred Foster the People’s entrance to the stage was clear even to the layman as they were met with ecstatic screams; from all age groups and genders. 
The audience was actually quite noteworthy. Having not been to a gig for a few years, since my Reading Festival days, I was expecting a sea of baby emos. Mais non, apparently audiences have changed over the years I have been absent; or possibly I have just moved back through the ranks. 
From my place at the back with the other adults, or young people who thought themselves too mature to be in the “mosh-pit”, I watched their set. I was pleasantly surprised - unsurprisingly as I had no prior expectations of the evening or band - that they were really good. Incredibly catchy music and unbeatable energy from all band members, especially 
their lead singer, Mark Foster. As indie-pop bands go, they were pretty damn good.
They must have done something right, I have just downloaded their album from iTunes. Musically and technologically behind the times as ever. 

National History Museum

If you are at a loose end on a rainy day with no money in London (I grant this would be a somewhat unlikely and unlucky position to be in), head to the Natural History Museum. 
Free entry into one of London’s most entertaining museums. Whether you are into fossils or mechanical dinosaurs, there is something here for you.
I went on a whim on Monday afternoon (yes, unlike many museums it is open on Mondays) with my sister, as we were in a similar scenario as described above. We spent a good few hours entertained by the minerals, the animal facts, the skeleton casts and the impressive array of taxidermy. I think our favourite part was the mechanical T-Rex which is surprisingly realistic even at this age, and it is hard not to envision some kind of Jurassic Park dystopia. Or possibly this animal...
Before this particular trip, I had always remembered the blue whale to be the museums piece de resistance but I was underwhelmed by this part. It is undeniably vast, but sort of unfathomably so. Furthermore, I’m sure it has been said that humans can swim down the veins of a blue whale so I can only imagine that this must have been a relatively small one or else their vessel structure must be somewhat different to our own.
Check it out, you have literally nothing to lose. And if you are in a marginally better financial situation, go to the Animal Inside Out exhibition; another of Dr Gunther von Hagen's disgusting exhibitions, which was described by a friend as "the best exhibition she's ever been to'. She even bought the book. 

Monday, 16 April 2012

WORDFEST - Spring 2012

This weekend, the literary and academic elite gathered in Cambridge for the Wordfest. 

Started by Cathy Moore, the literary festival has grown immensely in size and popularity in the ten years since it began. 

Spring 2012 was no disappointment. I went to a few inspiring talks, including Michelle Hanson. Though she was great, Fiona Shaw absolutely stole the show for me; providing me with one of the most sensational hours I can remember. 

It was only due to a passing comment expressing interest in seeing the well-known actress that I ended up sitting down at 6 o clock on the Sunday evening in the main chamber for the last event of the festival. I was feeling rather pleasantly dozy at the prospect of an hour listening to a speech about love poems, after a pint of cider and a weekend of scheduling and attempting rendezvous. 

I think it is safe to say no-one knew what they were getting themselves in to. Firstly, I had no idea Fiona Shaw herself was so incredible. She was hilariously funny; much of her perfectly-timed wit relating to her birthplace, County Cork. She was spectacularly clever; spending much of the hour casually reeling off chunks of poems and plays; from Shakespeare to T.S.Eliot’s The Wasteland. A justified idol, she rode the audience participation wave with perfection; listening and commenting on audience members favourite love poems when they read them to the group. It was quite spectacular - due to Fiona Shaw’s last minute confirmation, the audience were unprepared for this contributory requirement. However this was apparently not a problem for the average Wordfest goer, who it seems has a good poem or two stored in their incredible brains. 

It was a interesting, inspiring and emotionally charged hour; one of which I will remember for a long long time. 

Larder than life

Total food stores in the family home this sunny Monday:

Friday, 13 April 2012

Observations of the day - 13/04/12

1) This year is going very fast.

2) I have never seen an offer that could be used in conjunction with another offer.

3) Those dating adverts that say something like "Is Mr Right sitting underneath this advert?" are hilarious. I don't know how they attract Mr-comically-Wrong every single time.

4) It's Friday the 13th.