Tuesday, 20 February 2007


I saw the Vortex last week, starring Will Young. It's an intriguing play, where very little actually happens, with the emotional journey taken by the characters very much a consequence of their feelings rather than events.

The first act was certainly weak in places, though this probably was at least partly due to an understudy taking the part of Bunty, which must have affected the energy and chemistry somewhat. Will Young fit the character of Nicky well, but his piano-playing did rather let him down. He plonked away rather unconvincingly for someone who supposedly loved playing the piano more than interacting with people. The gramophone on stage did help cover this sad lack, and the high camp staging encapsulated the era portrayed. The kiss between Bunty and Tom (the only major occurrence of the play), moved the play into a higher gear, both in terms of the drama and the performances given. Enjoyable, if rather fluffy, and visually splendid.

Friday, 16 February 2007

Addiction to paper

I am afflicted by a strange attraction. Paper. I look old books, new books, notebooks, paperbacks, hardbacks, cloth-bound, leather-bound, recycled, and shiny white. Surrounding myself with paper is akin to surrounding myself with possibilities and opportunities. What will I do with it all? What will I learn as I fill or read those pages? Which pen will I choose? Comforting questions.

Paperchase, Waterstones and Amazon are filled with wonders for me, but places I must avoid until payday. Until then, I make do with the paperless pages of Wikipedia and Blogger.

Thursday, 15 February 2007

Italian verbs

I like Italian verbs. They're much friendlier than French ones. OK, so I've only actually attempted 3 tenses, and only one of these (the present) in detail, but so far, so good. Some of them are actually fun. Is it worrying that my favourite verb so far (due to its long line of vowels I hasten to add) is morire? I also love 'rimango', but i think that's mainly because of the happy fruity thoughts it inspires. Mmm, mango...

Wednesday, 14 February 2007

The mystery of the haunted tap

The hot tap in the kitchen of my office is haunted. I'm not sure who/what by, but after washing up my dirties (when not at home, am terribly domesticated...) it drips. A lot. But as soon as I raise my hand to tighten the tap, it mysteriously stops.

As I scientist, I've tried to test this hypothesis of course, but without a control hot tap (the cold tap is plumbed to a different system and has a different mechanism so could not really be called a control) this hasn't worked so well. I have attempted to catch it out, by leaving the kitchen with it still dripping then rushing back in, but it manages to stop dripping at the exact moment my hand reaches out to it every time. Is it watching me? How is it watching me? Why is it doing this? I guess it is quite boring being a tap, but that is no excuse. I shall have to perform an exorcism, though not sure how I'll explain that to whoever pops in to do the tea-round mid-ceremony...

Imp of Fun

So, you know you've seen too many adverts on TV when that's the form your dreams take, and that you've played too many online games when that is what your dream-advert is about...

In my dream was a simple game, though I have no idea if it exists or even if it would work. A grid of squares, all grey except for one white, nearly filled the screen of the TV in my mind. To play this dream-game, you clicked on a square adjacent to the white one, which turned this square and the three adjacent to it white. The aim of the game was to turn as many squares white as possible, which was dependent on the strategy you used. In that handy dream way, I understood all this as though it was something familiar. I also knew that the game was on the website for the Independent newspaper (this is odd as I don't read the Independent, or use its website - I'm a Guardian girl through and through!).

Once the game was on the screen, the voice-over started. David Mitchell's mellifluous tones decreed:

"You know you like fun. You like fun so much it's as though the Imp of Fun has grabbed you by the shoulders and given you a damn good shake! When you realise we can give you twice as much fun you will..."

And then I woke up. I love that my unconscious mind came up with the 'Imp of Fun' (or has it occurred elsewhere? Does it scamper through reality causing hilarity where'ere it skips?). Unfortunately, I am still rather curious about what we will do when we realise the Independent website and David Mitchell can give us twice as much fun!!!

Tuesday, 13 February 2007

Comfort books

When it all gets too much, the world's getting me down or there's so much to do it feels like no space left in my head, I still have to read. Nothing can make me stop. Ever. I do have a set of books that I go back to again and again, usually in times of trouble. I know them so well my brain goes into auto-pilot and I just enjoy the rhythms of the familiar phrases and let it flow over me until the world (or whatever it is that's bugging me) goes away...

'Welcome to Temptation' - Jennifer Crusie
Pretty much anything by Terry Pratchett
Again, anything by Douglas Adams
'Gloria' - Keith Maillard
The Kate Brannigan series by Val McDermid
'Cold Comfort Farm' - Stella Gibbons

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