Friday, 24 August 2012

As You Will Like It

As one of the Shakespeare plays I am less familiar with, it was the idea of the evening as a whole that attracted me to the Cambridge Shakespeare Festival production of As You Like It at Girton College, Cambridge, rather than purely the theatricals. However, the play turned out to be possibly the best part.

Set in the beautiful quad in Girton College, the stage was simplistic; a sheet in a tree was pretty much it. The actors used the green space, the paths between the audience and the college buildings in a way which effectively involved the spectators.

The eclectic group performed the story; full of farce, pretence and forbidden lovers (unlike Shakespeare) impeccably. The story, which is mildly challenging to follow at the best of times due to the disguise element and the fact that  Shakespearean troupes usually play multiple characters so it is hard to distinguish whether they are masquerading as a different person or are actually meant to be a different person, meant it took a little while to distinguish and retain the knowledge of who was who. This wasn’t helped by the vast spread of picnic and beverages which was brought out by one of our group during the opening.

It was a brilliant cast, all in all; the more serious characters complimenting the more jestful. I thought no-one covered both sides of this coin better than Phoebe, whose distainful rebuttal of Silvius and goofy attraction to Orlando was hilarious (and the latter, understandable). Orlando was also performed very well; an entertaining and believably depiction of a love-struck teen. Or as believable as it can be when the story rests on the plausibility of a man not recognising the woman he loves in the flimsy guise of a forest-dwelling boy.

A fabulous evening. Beautiful setting, great acting and a good picnic. Exactly as I like it (barf).

(Last performance tomorrow, go -

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Mouse Mystery

I am absolutely baffled as to how this scene, which I just discovered in my family kitchen, came to be...

I am forced to mull ... Has the cat has become more nimble-fingered and able than I thought, and learned to make her own dinner? Or is a member of my family capable of cruel rodent-murder, all in the name of a sick joke? 

I'm not sure which is scarier.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Port Eliot 2012

When it came to the Thursday that I usually go to Secret Garden Party, I was questioning my decision to go to a relatively low-key literature festival in Cornwall. Partly because I love Secret Garden Party, partly because about half of the people I’ve met and are related to in in my life were going, partly because Port Eliot meant a four hour train journey after work on the Friday. All things considered, it was a curious decision - but one that paid off. 

When we arrived into St Germans, the little wooden station in Cornwall, I was bracing myself for taxi queues, people queues, every type of queue. In reality, there was almost no queue at all - nothing during the short walk from the station to the site, and very little once there. This pill was sweetened by our pals coming to meet us, with a bottle of Prosecco and some plastic glasses on hand. From there we made our way to our “bell tents” - something which is no nearer resembling a tent as I know it, as it is a bell. With tea lights lit and talk of lobster in the chilly air, I realised this would not be a festival as I know it. Thoughts of Secret Garden grew fainter. 

After a cracking first evening watching legendary DJ, Gaz Mayall, and wandering about the exciting and surprisingly dry site, I had the coldest night of my life. Tent space is not one’s friend in terms of keeping warm, apparently and the word “glam” in glamping is refering solely to aesthetics. It was of those mornings you are a bit suprised to gain consciousness due to the alcohol consumption and Arctic climes weathered in the previous twelve hours. Anyway, gain consciousness I did - to a sunny morning with The Guardian (my mother, no not really - the actual Saturday Guardian...and my mother) and Eggs Benedict. I was struck, when drinking Prosecco doing the crossword in the sun in front of the beautiful aquaduct, that I am on the brink of being too old for having life changing experiences in the portaloos in Abbots Ripton (site of SGP, and not really something I’ve done but an acquaintance). And not really too old, but appreciating the finer things in life seems like a more pleasant prospect - and the finer things in life no longer measurable in grams. 

The weekend flew by in a perfect daze of Prosecco and sun - with a spattering of talented authors, bands, comedians and fashionistas. Favourites were probably Mary Katrantzou - who gave an inspiring talk and explanation for her infamous prints, and preview of her new Port Eliot dress. Also, fiddly troupe, Maniere des Bohemiens (, they did an awesome set on the Saturday evening which had the whole eclectic and varied clientelle up and dancing. Comedien and gentleman rhymer and his posse, Mik Artistik's Ego Trip (, had crowds in hysterics with his clever and mischevious songs. Marcel Theroux's quiz on Saturday night was a blast also. And then there was the talks about Greek Philosophy, myriad other talented folk, and interesting people around to talk to. 

(not my image - from

My favourite reaction to an event was a pal coming back from speaking to the race horsing monks (or somethign similar): “What. The. Fuck?” He had written “gold is power” in their book of thoughts though, so I fear he didnt get what was intended out of the experience. 

The grounds were beautiful, the people - performers and watchers - were gracious and great, the stalls were interesting, the weather pulled through incredibly - as was visible by the freckles and sun burn on our faces when we drove into West London horribly early on Monday morning. There is nothing like pre-Olpympic traffic to bring one back down to earth, but the memory of the weekend kept me relaxed and happy for days to come. Topped up by the news that Secret Garden had been a bit of a wash out.

(Individual reviews to come...)

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Sophie Morgan at Bloomsbury Art Fair

Bloomsbury Art Fair 2012 was a great affair; an eclectic mix of beautiful art and photography in Goodenough College on Mecklenburgh Square. 
Though the level of talent being exhibited was truly fabulous, one artist in particular caught my eye. It was initially the paintings of water that captured my attention; having focused on Hopper and water in my A-Level art, I appreciated that depicting water is no easy feat. The painter was Sophie Morgan. 
I spent some time looking at her interesting and beautiful pieces; in an incredible range of media - pencil drawings, blind drawings, paintings. It was only after a few minutes that I realised Sophie was in a wheelchair. In the way I think everyone does, I was immediately curious as to what lead to this. I did not realise her story ( would be so incredible. Every time I think about it, I want to cry. It does not seem, however, that Sophie has dealt with what life has thrown at her in this way. That doesn’t stop one wanting to cry - but it becomes not out of sadness for her but for utter incredulousness at her unerring bravery.
I think Sophie’s story struck a chord with me (as it probably does for all, for a variety of reasons) as I have sisters at that stage in life. Furthermore, I have felt on that brink of the next “stage” having recently finished university. I find it very easy to get too wrapped up in the banal trials and tribs of day to day life but in the same way a friend’s death last summer did, Sophie’s story gives one perspective. It feels silly to beat yourself up about not managing to write a blog post everyday, to be irritated at smashing a face powder, at an expensive phone bill. It gives you a shake up and is inspiring in a way that catches in your throat every time you think about it.