Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Interval Ice cream & the Long Commute

As well as a couple of trips to the pictures - The Rum Diary (v.funny, catch on dvd), 50/50 (laugh out loud jokes from Seth Rogan but bring your tissues, I cried alot), My Week with Marilyn (amusing in places but also quite sad, it's an interesting glimpse into Monroe's fragility, Michelle Williams is excellent) - I recently went to the theatre to see The Lady Killers. Verdict: you should most definitely see it too, whether you've seen the original 1955 film (or the bizarre 'remake' by the Cohen Brothers) or not, it's a brilliant version to be enjoyed in it's own right. Graham Linehan (Father Ted, IT Crowd) is the man behind the adapted script and additional hilarious situations created for the stage production. The witty dialogue is expertly delivered by an excellent cast, most notably (I reckon) Ben Miller and Stephen Wright as Louis and Harry respectively. Lastly, the revolving set is superb, from Mrs Wilberforce's subsiding house to the inspired depiction of the heist half way through the first half (I won't say more than that). And, although it's available at most theatres, the ice cream at the interval is always appreciated and makes a nice change from popcorn.

Stage show line up compared the original film cast below.

What is (if there is one) the plus side of an hour or so commute? Answer: I get to read a lot. (It is the only  good thing about the journey). I've rattled through a mixed bag of books including the 3rd part of Stephen King's The Dark Tower Series (now I've started it must be finished), Iain Banks' The Wasp Factory (a v.disturbing, isolating story with a good twist), Norwegian Wood by Murakami (it's interesting and despite the fact that I disliked all the characters, it's pretty morbid and the ending - if that's what you call it - was v.odd, it's made me want to read another of his), a collection of short stories by Neil Gaiman (most were surprisingly grim but the story that has stuck in my head was in the introduction, a creepy short about a wedding gift which I ordinarily would have missed as I rarely read book intros) and most recently Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood. I've read a few of her books and what I've found is that opening one you haven't read before is like speaking to a good friend you've been out of touch with. It's familiar in a sense but also exciting because there's lots of new things to catch-up on, and most importantly you know that whatever they're going to say will be interesting. 

Oryx and Crake is a brilliantly, compelling book. The reader is plunged into a dystopian future where mankind has been wiped from the planet by a virus created by a possibly mad, possibly genius man (probably both) named Crake. The only human standing left standing and forced to survive on the post-apocalyptic Earth is Snowman, formally known as Jimmy. So, yes, it's science fiction and hence ticks several of my boxes. It's set in an 'end of the world as we know it' time but there are plenty of flashbacks (courtesy of Jimmy as he pieces the story together) to the world before human extinction but even that time is quite unlike our own, or rather an exaggeration of it, where we might end up if we're not careful. Atwood is a bloody awesome writer not just because of her imagination but her ability to put it all on the page in such a way that her stories linger with me a long time after I've read the last line. Talking of last lines I'm sure you can imagine my disappointment when I finished Oryx and Crake (as with all good novels), I mean this was the book that got me through a lovely district line journey where the train randomly stopped and the driver announced that he lost traction and wasn't sure why, how or when we would be moving again. My response had been to thumb the unread pages of the novel and calculate that we'd have to be stuck for at least an hour before I ran out of book to read (after which I probably would start to panic). Alas, I actually finished it the next day a third of the way through my commute but the good news is I've more Atwood in the pipeline...

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