Sunday, 27 November 2005

Set-building at Rhoda McGaw

Set-building at Rhoda McGaw

Constructing the set for our production of The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe.

Performance times and box office details here

Friday, 25 November 2005

RIP Bestie

Yes, he spent the last 30 years trying to live up to his first 29, but I don't care.

George Best was the greatest footballer this country has produced and one of my regrets is that I'm not old enough to have seen him play.

Don't sully the memories with the stupid things he did. Just remember what a genius he was on the football pitch.

Manchester United - The Official George Best Story [2001]

Master of my Domain

The Soup Nazi, Moops, Mulva, Festivus, The Opposite, Bizarro Jerry.

If you don't know what I'm on about, you're probably not acquainted with Seinfeld. And if you're not now, you never will be, but you should...

The latest box-set of the original series (seasons 5 & 6) is released on November 28th (in the UK). My copy has been on order for, ooh, months now and can't wait to get my hands on it.

The quality of extras on the whole series has been exceptional - the BBC could learn a lot. Their own shoddy release of Fawlty Towers, in particular, was most disappointing.

But, the top-notch writing and performance of Seinfeld blows Fawlty Towers away. Cleese and Booth's masterpiece is often regarded as the best British sitcom ever (I would disagree - Porridge stands the test of time far better) but Seinfeld is consistently rated, by fans and comedians alike, as probably the best sitcom ever made.

The adventures of Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer were treated disgracefully by the BBC, who used to run it around midnight (though never at exectly the same time twice) on BBC2, when it deserved a prime-time run.

If memory serves, Seinfeld was usually followed by The Larry Sanders Show - almost as good, but still miles better than My Family, My Hero, Blessed, 2.4 Children, The Worst Week Of My Life, or any of the other anodyne pap that passes for comedy on the BBC [Lord Ricky Gervais - the honourable exception, except for Politics, which is arse].

Thank God for ITV4 (for God's sake) who are currently repeating Garry Shandling's masterpiece. Now - anyone prepared to re-run the fantastic, but never repeated It's Garry Shandling's Show?

Do yourself a favour and get Seinfeld here:


Seinfeld: Season 4
Seinfeld: Seasons 1 - 3

Wednesday, 23 November 2005

Tick Tock

There aren't enough hours in the day. Honest, there aren't. Or do I just over-commit myself to things? No, I don't think I do. I have done in the past, but I've learned my lesson.

Nevertheless, this week is (and has been) very busy.

Sunday: Stripping paint from the bathroom walls. Install Office and Publisher on the new PC. Wardrobe rehearsal. Chat about Habeas Corpus in the pub.
Monday: Work. Copying data/documents/setting, etc, from my two old PCs to the new one. Moved sound and vid-cap cards from old PC to new. Installed the relevant software. Decommissioned one of the old PCs.
Tuesday: Work from home. Finish copying data from the other old PC. Can't decommission it yet as The Wife needs AutoCAD and her documents, which aren't on the new PC yet. Move printer, scanner, webcam, Bluetooth, USB hub over to the new PC. Start plastering over the holes in the bathroom. Watch United fail to beat someone in Europe, again. Keep checking progress of a work-related job I'm running, except the broadband connection goes off and stays off between 9pm and 1am.
Today: Log into work from home (broadband's back in action) to check my job ran OK. Off to work. Spend time blogging at lunchtime. This evening I have an appointment at my chiropractor. Also off to a meeting about the rejuvenation of Brook Hall.
Thursday: Work. Get the bathroom as close to finished as I possibly can - more plastering, sanding and (if possible) undercoating - because the In-Laws are coming over on Friday. At the same time, keep an eye on another job I need to do for a customer. Pray that broadband doesn't go pear-shaped again. Change the sheets on the bed.
Friday: Work. Home for dinner with The Wife and her marvellous Parents. Give Bill his present. Put up the In-Laws in our room - we're setting up camp in the living room. Plan to rob a bank so I can afford a decent place to live.
Saturday: Not enough sleep! No work (hooray!). Carry on painting the bathroom - with any luck I should finish today. Dinner in Woking, probably. Off to the theatre to see One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest with The Wife, the In-Laws and Delmonti.
Sunday: To the Ottershaw Players Hut at 9:30am (when?!) to start loading the set in the van. Then to the theatre by 11:30am to take the keys and get hand-over from the theatre's get-in team. From 12:00, unload everything, start building the set. Finish off around 10:59pm when they come to throw us out.

Next Week on Now What Happens?:

Monday - Sunday: Work/Theatre/Bed. Repeat until knackered. Realise it's still only Friday - there's still two shows to do on Saturday and a get-out on Sunday.

Blogging may start getting sparse for the next 10 days. I usually post from work, but I'll be using my office time for sleeping...

Tuesday, 22 November 2005

Pinhole Cameras

If you like B3ta, you might like this.

Found Photographer has built a medium-format camera and a 35mm camera out of Lego. You can see some of the pictures he too with them at his Flickr site. Pinhole cameras can take very moody images, I think you'll agree.

Friday, 18 November 2005

Do Drop By

You know I hate to big myself up (whatever THAT means!), but I'd just like to say that I recently discovered that, for the very first time, I've been BlogRolled by someone whos isn't a friend, acquaintance or member of my family.

So - many thanks to the lovely Mary B - who surely can't be old enough to have a 22 year-old daughter.

I also urge you to check out her Wildgoose Chase - the story of an 'ordinary' British soldier through the First and Second World Wars. I've only had a chance to dip in so far; but I'm sure that I'm going to have to spend one Saturday (or a quiet day in the office) reading the whole lot from the beginning.

Update: Oh, Lordy. I think I've started an international incident! Please, please do visit the punky, funky, spunky (in an American way) Mel Joy who was definitely my first international reader, even if she hadn't sorted out her BlogRoll before today (due to Mr Bush's evil foreign policies)...

Thursday, 17 November 2005

Bad Santa

In the run-up to Christmas (note: not "The Holidays" as some idiots keep calling it), I can recommend a lovely, heart-warming, fluffy film called "Bad Santa".

It stars Billy-Bob Thornton as a con-man, thief and alocoholic who unwittingly befriends a small boy. It has swearing, dwarves, swearing, violence, booze and a very odd child - everything that the modern-day cynic could ever want in a Christmas film.

I suggest you should buy it now - it's awfully good:

Alternatively, sign-up for's rental service:

And, as the lovely Mel recommends it, here's the unrated "Badder Santa":

NB: If you're outside the USA, this is a region-1, NTSC DVD, so make sure you've got a multi-region DVD player and an NTSC-capable TV!


Nothing is more boring than listening to other peoples' dreams. But that's tough 'cos I had an odd dream last night and I'm going to tell you about it.

I was at a friend's funeral. Not sure whose, but he was a good friend. I was sitting in the pew when I noticed my friend Jon standing in a tiered-stand at the side of the church.

"That's a good idea", I thought, "we're his best mates. That's where we should stand". So I went and stood next to Jon.

That's when I noticed I was stark-bollock naked. If you know me, you'll know that's not a good thing.

[Although, as I looked down at my dream-self, I was less fat and hairy than the real me. Quite buff, in fact. I only needed the one hand to preserve my modesty though - dammit!]

Then all my other friends (back from university days) turned up to stand with me - including Fil who died earlier this year.

Now, I only mention this dream because of something that happened the other night. The Wife woke up to find me standing in the bedroom doorway. Again, I was stark-bollock naked. It seems I asked her why she hadn't woken me up. She calmly explained that as it was only 4am, it was a little early for work. She then asked what I was doing and I said:

"I'm standing here so everyone can see me". Or words to that effect.

After that, I went back to bed.

As far as I know, I've never sleep-walked (slept-walked?) before. But I do know I really don't have any secret exhibitionist tendencies.

Wednesday, 16 November 2005

New Blog

Obviously, I'm going to be devoting quite a bit of time to directing Habeas Corpus soon. So I've created a dedicated blog to it here. It's also in my BlogRoll in the sidebar.

Update: In order to placate Delmonti, I'm going to try to avoid any spoilers in the new blog.

Monday, 14 November 2005

Update. Hmmm... Dates!

OK, Mr Delmonti, you're quite right - I have been very remiss in my blogging frequency lately.

[It doesn't help that I feel I can't compete with his humourous, yet moving entries.]

A few days ago, I asked my readership to give their opinion on which play Ottershaw Players should do next June. By an overwhelming majority of 2 to 1 (that's number of votes - not a ratio!) you voted for Habeas Corpus by Alan Bennett.

Luckily, the play-reading committee agreed with you - so that's the play I will be directing next year. Which actually means that I need to start working out a timetable and talking to my chosen set-designer, erm, now!

In the meantime, we're putting on The Lion The Witch And The Wardrobe. Come along and bring the kids to see it.

I'm stage-manager; which means I'm in charge of everything from the technical rehearsal onwards (in about two weeks time). I thought I'd enjoy the job, but I haven't, very much. Things will probably change in the production week when I'll be ridiculously busy (which is what I like), but at the moment, I get a little bored with "running the book" and organising bits and pieces. I feel a bit hypocritical because, when I was last directing, I would have killed to have someone doing the job I'm doing now!

It doesn't help that I've missed more rehearsals that I'd like. I've had a stinker of a cold for the past 3 days which means I missed yesterday's run-through.

The next big task is convincing my work colleagues that they won't mind me working form home for the production week. I don't know how I'm going to get to the theatre in time otherwise...

Thursday, 10 November 2005

Fruit Flies Like A Banana

Golly gosh! It's the 10th of November already, and I haven't posted here for simply yonks. I do have an excuse - for half the time, anyway. I was away working in Liverpool.

It's a very nice place. Currently lots of rebuilding going on (presumably for when the city becomes the European Capital of Culture in 2008.

The city is certainly smaller than I expected. And about as rainy as I expected. It was only the awful weather that prevented The Wife and I from exploring more fully.

Bad timing, and a lack of space in the hotel's restaurant meant that we missed the Mersey fireworks spectacular. We didn't see many of the fireworks (except for this one), but we certainly heard them.

The fireworks display meant that the city centre was practically desserted on Saturday night, which gave us the chance to grab a table at Piccolino on Cook Street.

A bit pricey (for my wallet) at around £90 for the two of us, but it was worth every penny and the meal jumped straight into the top 5 that we've ever had.

Where to avoid
: The Tate in Albert Dock. Full of modern 'art', 95% of which is pretentious bollocks.

Where to go: The Walker Gallery. Marvellous 'proper' paintings from down the ages. Even if they do have a propensity for displaying pictures of the Virgin Mary getting her boobs out.