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Neverwhere

Am back. I've just about caught up on you lot, but I skimmed, so poke me if I ignored anything important.

Was down in London from Friday to Sunday night, staying with friends I hadn't seen in ages, and it was lovely to see them. (And great, because he now works at Penguin and I got free books. Yay.) Friday afternoon J met me and took my suitcase back to work with him, and I wandered around Old Spitalfields Market. Went off to find a cash machine, and ended up circuiting around the area. I always like London because practically every street is famous somehow - I went up Brick Lane and back down Petticoat Lane before I found Something Square with a map in it, and got myself back to the market. (I also got excited about places like Neasden, because they're in the Borribles books. And we were on the Jubilee line, so I got to trot out the interesting fact about St John's Wood, which I didn't feel was treated with the appropriate enthusiasm.) I promptly bought two T-shirts (one that says "Internet Junkie" and one that says "Truth is freedom") and five little prints for my walls - three film posters for musicals (Guys and Dolls and High Society films, and an Eastern European one for Cabaret with Liza Minelli's limbs arranged into a swastika, which is freaky and bizarre) and two promo posters for the Monaco Grand Prix in 1930 and 1934.

Friday night we went to see Mark Thomas on tour. He's a political comedian, if you haven't heard of him, and he's brilliant. And kind of sexy, but I always find intelligence and passion sexy. It's a two-part show: the first part is about his protests against the new law that requires demonstrations within a mile of Parliament to be licensed by the police in advance, and it's hysterical. He's also got a business up, McDemos - if you're not in London, you can pay Mark and his mates to apply for a licence and demonstrate on an issue of your choice. Hee. The second half is based on his new book about the arms trade, and his undercover investigations into it. It's a bit more serious and very scary, but also has plenty of laughs. He's a great performer, and he could take the audience in a second from laughter to stunned silence.

Tate Britain on Saturday; saw a bunch of contemporary and modern stuff (*is not very knowledgeable about art*) and the Chapman exhibition, which I loved. (Possibly not worksafe; body parts and brains and, um, things, but it's in bronze...)We spent ages trying to figure out how the machines worked.

Saturday night, Lord of the Rings musical. Technically, it's nowhere near the best musical I've seen. It's pushing it a bit to call it a musical, in fact - you get maybe six songs and a couple more random verses in a three-hour show. And the plot's decimated, although that's not really their fault! But anyone who knows the material may find themselves giggling at entirely the wrong parts - we found Aragorn persuading Denethor to fight highly entertaining. The accents can be a bit wobbly, the acting isn't the best, and only a couple of the songs are at all memorable. But! I still enjoyed it SO MUCH, and I'd utterly recommend it. It looks gorgeous, both stage design and costumes, and it barrels along at a healthy pace. They're a bit too excited about their hydraulic stage - I'm surprised the actors don't get dizzy, the amount of rotating it does. Bilbo's disappearance is great, and Shelob is fabulous. (I couldn't help thinking it is what the Racnoss in the Who Christmas special should have been like.)

Who on Saturday, watched when we got in: wonderful. Stephen Moffat should write everything, ever. I loved it. I don't really understand why we need an episode with no main characters, since American shows manage to film 22 eps with all the characters in, but I'm not complaining if they're as good as this. Lots of love for it on the "People" part of my friendslist, and a link to a lovely commentary on the fandom-related meta here. I did snigger when my friend pointed out "Lawrence Nightingale", hee. And the line about just sending them into the past to just live to death gave me chills.

Sunday, Regent's Park, sun, cygnets, a lot of flesh (not from me). Got sunburnt, sigh. I did the normal "Scottish person preparing for the weather" thing, and took two jumpers, a jacket, a pack-a-mack and an umbrella, but no sunglasses or suntan lotion. Oops.

I was impressed with my grown-upness (I wanted to say adultery there) - I managed to get the plane down and back on my own, with no major catastrophes. And the bus into town and back. Prestwick Airport security is dreadful; they didn't even check my liquids that I'd spent ages worrying about. And then when I got back to my parents' at 11.30 last night, my brother had stayed to see if I wanted a lift back to Glasgow. Yay.

Cute Boy Downstairs was round again to check if I'd done anything about the plumbing, which I hadn't, apart from discover that if you run the cold tap in my bathroom long enough, you get hot water. Oops. So I got the name and number of a plumber off him, who I must remember to phone tomorrow. Also tomorrow: new office, which everyone has been raving about. Hurrah! We will have lockers and a kitchen, so I have bought Whittard's hazelnut coffee. Also, inspired by my friends at the weekend, I bought some girly-ish summery clothes. Whether I wear them remains to be seen.

Comments

( 13 comments — Comment )
zotz
Jun. 11th, 2007 06:39 pm (UTC)
his protests against the new law that requires demonstrations within a mile of Parliament to be licensed by the police in advance

I actually have a big problem with that. I used to really enjoy Mark Thomas, but he bangs on about that all the time now, and he actually misrepresents it horribly. It's a nasty controlling law that's completely unnecessary, but he overeggs the pudding incredibly - a lot of what he says is misleading or actually untrue.

It isn't, for a start, aimed at Haw - he's still there, with the appropriate permission. And it isn't about actually stopping protests - there are at least as many as ever, and I've not actually heard of anyone getting refused permission, which I'm sure we would have done if it was happening. Thirdly, you've actually needed police clearance for demonstrations anywhere in the country since 1936 - the change here is that it applies to even single people rather than groups of (I think) 20 or more. Now, there's no need for that to be done and it's really just a bit of control-freakery, but that doesn't mean that anything said about the law becomes true.

I've been a big fan of Thomas in the past, so it really sticks in my throat.
pickwick
Jun. 12th, 2007 06:00 am (UTC)
Interesting. From what he said, the law was aimed at Brian Haw, but they screwed it up, basically, because in court his lawyers argued that his was a continuous protest so the law couldn't be applied retrospectively to it. I haven't verified that, though.

I don't think anyone has been refused permission yet, but - as with a lot of the other things Labour has brought in - my problem isn't so much what is happening now, as what the law has the capacity to do in the future. People COULD be stopped from protesting.

I saw the exhibition of all the billboards and things they took off Haw, in the Tate Britain. I can see why they thought they were making the place look untidy, but I'm still a bit uncomfortable about it.
zotz
Jun. 12th, 2007 06:14 am (UTC)
in court his lawyers argued that his was a continuous protest so the law couldn't be applied retrospectively to it.

They did argue that, yes, but they lost the case on appeal. I understand that he's petitioning the Law Lords to grant him a final appeal, but until and unless that happens, SOCPA applies to him as to anyone else, and the Met have given him permission to continue his demonstratio, although he objects to the conditions attached (most notably, only to have a 3-metre length of banners and placards).

Mark Thomas knows this very well - he could hardly not - but is always very misleading on the point.

People COULD be stopped from protesting.

People could anyway. The police already had the power to deny permission for a demonstration, as long as it was going to have 20 or more people. It's a bad law and it should be repealed, but it's far more limited in its scope than people generally imply.

I can see why they thought they were making the place look untidy

The argument was that the police on the Parliament side of the square couldn't see what was going on on the green or across the square, and given the location this was a security risk. I'm not sure I'm convinced by this, but then I'm not convinced that Haw needs more than a ten-foot-wide hoarding to make his point either. A hundred feet seems a little excessive.
silentbob037
Jun. 11th, 2007 06:52 pm (UTC)
* poke *

No real reason for poking. Just sounded like it would be kind of fun to do.

* poke *
pickwick
Jun. 12th, 2007 06:01 am (UTC)
Hee! I think it's Facebook's fault - you can poke people on that frequently.
silentbob037
Jun. 12th, 2007 11:33 pm (UTC)
I'm not on Facebook.

* poke *
san_valentine
Jun. 11th, 2007 10:04 pm (UTC)
It sounds like you had a really good weekend. And flying to London ! How much more expensive than the train - or was it ?

I thought 'Blink' was terrific too - definitely one of the high points of the season.
pickwick
Jun. 12th, 2007 06:03 am (UTC)
It was cheaper than the train! At least, only because I left it too late to buy train tickets - if I'd got them more than three months in advance they'd have been cheaper, but as it was it was going to cost me over £100, whereas the plane was about £70 plus a £14 bus trip into the centre of London. It wasn't all that much quicker, to be honest, because of the checking in and travel to the centre and so on, but it was less confining.
momentsmusicaux
Jun. 12th, 2007 07:04 am (UTC)
Mark Thomas is ace. I wish I could be in London on a Wednesday night sometime to join in the demonstrations. (Maybe something Magritte-ish, like "Ceci n'est pas une demonstration"?)

Who was ace. One of the very best. (Though why not just smash the statues?)
Has a reason ever been given for the "lite" episodes? Is it really just to give the leads a break? I assumed it was so RTD could really go to town on his whole "how the Doctor affects other people's lives" thing, which he lays on with a trowel anyway.

Oh and yay for grown-upness!
pickwick
Jun. 12th, 2007 08:20 am (UTC)
Heh, yeah, I wanted to go to the demonstrations too.

The "lite" episodes are filmed at the same time as one of the other blocks - in this case, this episode was filmed at the same time as the last two, I think. So they only have a couple of days where they can use the Doctor and Companion.
spiderpixie
Jun. 12th, 2007 09:38 am (UTC)
yay for more contact from Cute Boy Downstairs, long may it continue :) do you think you could sneak a photo?? lol.

and Who was wonderful...until we got to B&Q on sunday to get our shed and we had to walk past the garden statues.....eeeep! And the 2 Eps before were cool 2, I am v.impressed with this series, it is seriously creeping me out, scarecrows, statues and the creepy schoolboy *shivers*

Sounds like you had a cool time in London, hope J are all doing well and treated you like a princess :)

spiderpixie
Jun. 12th, 2007 09:40 am (UTC)
sorry thats meant to read "J and all are doing....". I will learn to proof read my work before hitting post one of these days. Maybe.
pickwick
Jun. 14th, 2007 11:10 am (UTC)
Heh, damn, I should have snuck a photo while I was putting the plumber's number into my phone!

This series of Who is so much better than the last one. The last three eps have been wonderful, and the next three should be fabulous too. Oh, I wish we got 22-episode seasons over here...
( 13 comments — Comment )

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