My photo for me, art and photography.

Saturday, 20 December 2008

The Update


I know I haven't written on here in absolutely ages, I've not really had time - For someone who spends a lot of time on their arse I've actually been doing quite a lot! I'm currently working on an oil painting of Katharine Hepburn. I'm absolutely determined to do it and do it WELL because I've already tried to paint this bloody woman about 6 times (same picture) and every single time she ends up looking like someone else completley, or extremely manly. It's those killer cheekbones! they look stunning and she looks hot, but trying to translate that to a canvas is an absolute rodding nightmare!

The main news though, is this: I started off trying to update my gallery on my website and got a bit sidetacked: I've signed up to a website called 'DeviantART' which is like a creative mecca for me, it really is! it's got everything there! people post EVERYTHING from cartoons and things like that to poetry to digital art to photography to paintings.. it's crazy! what I love about it is that it gets all these creative brains in one place and it's a really active and friendly community where people give you tons of feedback on your work... it's just GREAT basically! :D
So I've been spending... a..*cough*.. FAIR amount of time uploading stuff to there, taking pictures for there, replying to messages people have left me ON there and working on paintings and things to put on there too - so basically this past week or so, my life has just been DeviantArt... I know that sounds more than slighly geekazoidical (ooh, good word!), but there is method to my madness.

The thing is, when you upload stuff on there - it's not like flikr or photobucket or anything like that where anyone can just steal your work - this place gives you the option of slapping something called a 'creative commons licence' on your work so if anyone does try to steal it and pass it off as their own and make money from it, it's got a digital signature type thing that will stand up in court(!) BRILLIANT! - that's brilliance part 1. Brilliance part 2 is that you can sell prints of your work there. How great is that? yeah ok so for like a regular sized photo the buyer will pay like $1.99 and you'd get 39 cents of the proceeds, but still, it's all money! I just need to figure out my own style and how I can get really good at photography/painting before I attempt that kind of malarkey. But still... creative outlets and all that ;)

Here's my best photo so far! and a link into my gallery on DeviantArt so you can have a look for yourself - you'd actually probably be better off looking there for the time being as my gallery on my website really is a complete mess at the moment.
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QuickPost Quickpost this image to Myspace, Digg, Facebook, and others!

Hope you enjoy! and please feel free to leave me any feedback on there, on 'the fridge door' on my site or on here to tell me what you like/don't like etc etc!

Friday, 21 November 2008

Every Girl Loves a Fella With A Big Moustache

Several reasons for this - firstly, because moustaches are just basically awesome and I can't grow one, so I have moustache envy of every man with a handlebar. Aaaaand, I'm not really going anywhere with this train of thought, but I thought I'd donate a post in my blog to the moustache.

Speaking of donations, this leads me to my second, and much more important point: one of my good friends is growing a moustache for a fantastic cause - prostate cancer.

I'm not saying DONATE MONEY TO MY FRIEND BECAUSE HE'S GROWING A MOUSTACHE (well, you can, if you like, and I'm sure he'd be extremely grateful - I'll provide his registration number here in a mo[no pun intended] if you are insterested ) but rather... I dunno, to raise awareness of the charity incase you do want to join in next year or wish to sponsor anything/anyone - I personally think it's a great idea! random and fun and a lot safer than taking a run-jump out of an airplane which more people seem to be aware of as a regular hands-on charity thing, but which, understandably, is not everyone's cup of tea.

so. Here you go - Grow a Moosh for Movember!

then afterwards, should you enjoy the experience and decide to take your moustache growing to a whole new level, you could always join the Handlebar Moustache Society you absolutely MUST check out this website anyway, because they have a fantastic song on there which is where I've got the title of this blog entry from

Movember - Sponsor Me

for a different charity, and for those of you of an American disposition, there is one called 'mustache march' which I believe, from the brief blurb I've read about it is more to do with giving the moustache growing culture a boost in production numbers.

And just in case you do fancy donating, then I can't think of a better person to sponser than Ollie Dunn, who is a star in every single sense of the word. Here's his reference number: 1404541, and the place you do it is here

and now, two gratuitous pictures of some truly excellent moustaches:

For those of you unable to grow your own, in true Blue Peter style, Here's one I made earlier, to help you out:

Happy Sprouting!

Saturday, 15 November 2008


I'm at my happiest when I'm creating something. I'm nowhere near as good as I used to be, because I am SEVERELY out of practice. I did quite a few drawings last night and I'm swaying towards people at the moment - focussing on nudes and trying different styles... I think I'm going to go to some form of art gallery next week and take my sketchbook along to see what happens, and see what I can learn from the REAL artists :D heh heh.

here's what I did last night anyway - click on the pictures to make them bigger :)

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I liked the shape this guy made

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Quick hand study

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Quick light study

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Sheep skull from life (excuse the pun)

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My poor attempt of a visual transcription of a Botticelli.

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Judy Garland.

Also, discovered by random chance, this artist, who I quite like - she's still in school (?!) but She's way better than most pros that I see! I think I need to really do some work on drawing from life, it's something I've always found next to impossible to do... the only 'life drawing' I've done in the load above is the skull. The rest of it is just pictures I've found on the internet or in books. Can't really compare nature to photographs can you.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Photos on the Internet

People have very different opinions on putting their photos up on the big wide web, and I'm just kind of curious about it (sorry, I really can't think of how to phrase this well).

I know youngsters are discouraged from it by their parents for safety reasons, to protect them from paedos and fraud and the like, and my parents feel exactly the same, even now, and I'm 22! - they flipped out when I told them about facebook, which i found hilarious! saying it's not safe, people could steal my identity and I'd be arrested and god knows whate else.

I dunno... I'm very incautious about using my photo on the net, and possibly this is a bad thing, I dunno, but the way I see it, is that... ok: so hundreds, possibly thousands of strangers will see my photo on the internet every day- some of them may know me in person, but a majority of them won't... but I can sit in a lecture at uni, or walk around bluewater shopping centre, or walk through Waterloo station during rush hour, and hundreds, possibly thousands of strangers will see me in the flesh - some of them may know me, but a majority of them wont..... so I personally don't really see the difference, apart from the fact that one me is in 4D and breathing, and the other me is considerably smaller, 2D and made of pixels.

But also, at the same time, I talk to anyone and everyone anyway - real or pixellated, so I dunno what that says about me... it could be a student thing, because all the students I know talk to absolutely everyone from generally chatting to little old ladies on the bus to asking punk rockers in Camden Market how they get their hair to stick up like that (I've even asked them myself!) or asking hells angels if we can try on their jackets and have a photo taken with them- and the internet to me is just an extension of that, but isn't limited to London or Kent - I know people who live all over the world and I consider them all my friends, and I'd never have got the opportunity to meet them all if it wasn't for the net. All my friends at home know what I look like, so I don't see why other people should be spared the same punishment.

Obviously personal details like phone numbers and the like I'd never give out over the internet willy-nilly coz that is just STUPID (I had a go at one of my friends about that when she started getting wierd phone calls - christ woman, what do you expect?!?) but apart from maybe legal reasons, like if you're a victim of a crime or a criminal or in witness protection or some such thing, which is completley understandable, also, if you're just shy, and shy about your appearence, then that is absolutely understandable too; but in general terms, I don't really get what the difference is between a stranger on the street or on a bus seeing you in real life, and a stranger from, say, Italy, seeing your photo on the internet.... am I making any sense here?

I'm just kind of waffling and hoping I get my point across somehow coz I dunno how to say it more conscisely.

Basically, I'm just interested in how other people see this same issue.. is it a generation thing maybe? because none of my friends are particularly fussed about having their photos put on the net (as long as they look nice and there are no 'nostril' shots or double chins). Although parents try to be very strict and warn their kids about the dangers of the net; possibly as an act of rebellion? I don't know, but girls particularly around 14-17 have been very criticised on the news not so long ago for encouraging paedophilia by putting provocative photos of themselves up on places like myspace. In my opinion, they shouldn't be repressed into not using such sites at all, but should be encouraged to exercise a lot more discretion in their choice of photos.... because it portrays them (and young girls in general) in a very bad light, and the world is a corrupt enough place as it is without them helping to encourage it, whereas my parents, and even my cousins who are in their 40s so are by no means 'old' are very hesitant about anything to do with the internet! even places like ebay and amazon, which EVERYONE uses, they are extremely hesitent about, expecting a call from their bank any minute saying someone has stolen their card details and bought a ferrari in Hawaii or something.

I personally think the internet is a wonderful thing and a great way to link like-minded people. It opens up a whole new way to research, 'network' I believe is the savvy term for it, and to share your interests - whether it be model train collecting and pylon spotting (yes, there is such a thing apparently) to sky diving and extreme motorsports.

so... yeah... what are your views on this?

Monday, 20 October 2008

Dried up.

Sorry there's not been anything to read about for a while - I've been housebound for a few weeks now, so I haven't really had anything to write about. On the flipside, I'm currently churning my way through my photos on my external hardrive.... there is about 6 years worth of them, so It's going to take me a little while yet, but keep your eyes peeled on the gallery on my website in the very near future, as there will be more things headed its way. Secondly, I'm orf to see some form of play with Michael Gambon on Thursday (probably) so expect some form of feedback on it here! I don't actually know what it is - the fact that it has Michael Gambon in it is good enough for me!

I've also started painting again... sort of. I'm still in love with Alec Egan's expressionist style work, so I've decided to try to break out of my little box and try something different. It's hard!!! it's a LOT harder than I ever expected it would be! I've done a painting of Times Square and tried to do another one, but I gave up half way through - which is unusual for me, because I never leave paintings unfinished! I just don't like it - I can't put my finger on why. I'll post both, and let you do the judging I think. Let me know if I should finish it or not!

That's the first one. Some of my friends have said:

"I like it. It's kind of like a city in turmoil but no matter how terrible things may get it remains vibrant with its culture and people and it never stops moving."

"Oooo I could tell it was Times Square right away! It's so bright and colourful, but it also looks like a city in turmoil. Sort of creepy and happy at the same time"


"I know this is too much analysis of your fun quickly done painting. BUT the curviness of the buildings reminds me of the movie Dark City "

Well.. I guess this means it's a success, right? if it's ilicited some form of response, but the darkness? that was something I wasn't expecting! the curvy lines are because I can't draw straight lines if my life depended on it so I thought if they were going to be wonky, they should look deliberately so! LOL ah well..

secondly - and this is the one I can't bring myself to finish:

I dunno about you, but to me, it looks like something a 5 year old would do. Should I finish it?

Hope all my readers are keeping well,

Monday, 13 October 2008

Accents - mainly English and American. Origins of.

I was having a discussion with some of my American friends about the way they say certain things. The main thing that was bugging me is their use (or misuse, whichever way you want to look at it) of the vowel 'a'. For example - where I say (with my pristine clipped English accent, of course) apple, camera, Natasha.... they would pronounce it 'eapple, ceamera, Nateasha. Why the E?!? there is no e before any of those 'a's so why pronounce it like there is one?! accents have always fascinated me since I was a kid - I've always tried to imitate them (some successfully, some less so) but I've never really stopped to think about the origins of pronunciation- WHY people say things the way they do.

I haven't looked into this properly yet - i only really had this thought 2 nights ago and haven't really had time to explore the whys and wherefores of it in depth and with actual facts to back it up, so I'm just calling it as I see it from the point of view of young English person who half paid attention to history classes in school.

The English accent goes way back- we have quite a varied history - Vikings, Saxons, Normans etc with their short harsh sounding native accents because of their germanic base which we stole some words of and still use today.... mainly the rude ones from the anglo-saxons, which is why swear words seem quite harsh sounding... fuck, c**t, shit etc from the germanic base. Then then the Romans with their blunt sounding Latin,.... all of which has helped shape the way the English sound - the celts and the gaels have helped the Irish and Scots develop the sing-song accents they have today.

The American accent is a baby if you think about it - the yanks have been 'american' for what, five hundred years tops? they've not had the time for their accent to develop and mature to the extent we have and although it is (now) extremely multicultural, the foundations of it are basically a kind of a mishmash of English and Irish (mainly) coz of all the immigrants that went over there, during the 1700-1900 period right? just in time for the revolution and the potato famine, and great depression. But - to go back to my original point, I can't think of any Irish words where 'a' sounds like 'ea'. Fair enough, I've never actually BEEN to Ireland, but I have Irish family, Irish friends, and in school, Irish teachers - I'm guessing they're not ALL from the same part so I think I have a reasonably broad base for comparison.... so where the heck does the 'ea' come from? is it just something Americans have just made up by themselves? and if yes... for what earthly purpose?!

Some of my American friends deny doing that - and insist they have a 'neutral' accent - but to my english ears, just because it's not as pronounced as, say the south, whurr thuh ceaow bwoys suy 'ceeayat' rayther thayan 'cat' doesn't mean its still there - they just say ceat not c-eat - a shorter word - not as drawn out.

anyway, so cutting to the chase (I am actually interested in this now - I think I'm going to have to find a book about it) one of my americans sent me this quiz.

and here's what I got:

Which American accent do you have?


This could either mean an r-less NYC or Providence accent or one from Jersey which doesn't sound the same. Just because you got this result doesn't mean you don't pronounce R's.(People in Jersey don`t call their state "Joisey" in real life)

Personality Test Results

Click Here to Take This Quiz
Brought to you by quizzes and personality tests.

I'm guessing that sounds about right as the New Englanders are the first invaded and oldest established part, aren't they - first contact - most English/anglicised, therefore most likely to have an accent closer to that of the motherland? *shrug*

Try it for yourself - let me know what you get and if you agree with it! :)

Wednesday, 1 October 2008


Was the name of the play, the Almeida theatre, the playwright - Harley Granville Barker.

the website can be found here

this is what the back of the leaflet said:
'A scandal half-stifled is worse than a scandal'

Radical politician Henry Trebell sees his personal and political lives collide.

An affair with a married woman threatens Trebell’s power and passionate ideals; her insistence on a woman's right to choose bring private scandal into the public spotlight.

Controversially banned by the Lord Chamberlain on its release, Waste is a rich portrait of early 20th Century society with strong resonances and relevance for today.

let me put it this way: I walked out in the interval.

I've never done that before, and I have seen some pretty dire operas and plays in my time, but really - I have actually watched paint dry, and it was far more interesting than this. I'm not going to do a Ben Brantley-style review here, I am going to give credit where credit is due, and criticism where criticism is due.

To start: The set was beautiful - the first one was a drawing room on a summer night - big french doors open to let in the fresh air and the moonlight (which was really well done), a grand piano, sofas, books, and a lamp, with the sounds of birds settling down for the night. The set seemed to be on some kind of revolving floor, so it turned round and became an office, which was also beautifully done - what I thought was a really nice touch was that it had two doors off to the side - one of them was closed, and the other one, to the right was open - now, normally when this is done like that, it's just blank behind, either with a blackout curtain behind it, or just the wings.. but the designer had turned it into a tiny little room, with green wallpaper, a picture hanging up, a little desk, and an actor pottering around in there, so it gave much more of a feel of an office, rather than just a set. I really do take my hat off to the set designer - Peter McKintosh- he has done an absolutely amazing job! I'd love to see more of his work in other productions!

Jessica Turner and Helen Lindsay. Photo by Johan Persson

Act 1, scene 1. the lights come up. There are 8 characters on stage, which is already far too much for my brain to cope with. It is set in the 1920s. The costumes are brilliant - I'm a bit of a period costume geek, and am very pernickity about getting details right, but they did a grand job. My only criticism is that one of the actresses had her bob too long, but that doesn't really matter too much.

Then they started to speak. And instantly I lost interest. Politics isn't really my game, but I tried to pay attention, thinking it might develop into an actual storyline, but it didn't.

I did A-level history, which was basically studying British History from 1785-1922 (ish) and then the war years (1927-1950 - Hitler's rise to power to the end of rationing in England) so I should have had at least some vague idea about what they were talking about, even though I'd missed five years. No such luck - absolutely NO idea what was going on.

I think if you are really really interested in and knowledgeable about british politics, and the personal histories of all the policical figures of the 1920s, this would be right up your street. Sadly, for me, it was not. The gossip about these politicians would have been vaguely entertaining if it shed some light on their characters, to give me something to be able to connect to, but it didn't, and really was just a bunch of people sitting around talking shop.

Fortunately, the play was injected with humour, and the wit was absolutely razor sharp, and well delivered, so to me, that was its saving grace, or I would have actually fallen asleep during it.

The acting was pedestrian, at best. Not one of the actors 'shone', or stood out for me. The main character, played by Will Keen bored me absolutely senseless - everything he said sounded like he had the script in his hand and was just reading it out. Peter Eyre has an absolutely fantastic speaking voice - rich, deep, well projected, melodious... but his intonation was that of a priest reading a sermon. Nancy Carrol was the only member of the cast who seemed to put in any effort into her part, and seemed to be the only one who was a half-way decent actor... but the character made me want to throttle her. Every single time she came on stage I found myself rolling my eyes and squirming. I don't know if the playwright intended to create somebody so bloody irritating or not -

I thought we were supposed to feel sympathy for her - I mean, she is married, hasn't had sex with her husband for over a year, has, in fact, left him although is still technically married. She has a brief affair with a politician (Will Keen), gets knocked up, doesn't want to keep it because she thinks a baby will ruin her life, because she doesn't ever want to have children (so you have sex without protection? yeah coz that's NEVER going to get you in that situation you stupid woman) because she doesn't want to see them growing up which would only serve as a constent reminder to her that she is getting older... and apparently at the end, she kills herself after trying to have an abortion.

She's pretty messed up, so I should feel pity, or disgust, or.. I dunno.. something! right? But she is just SO neurotic and bipolar, clingy, self absorped, and needy that all I wanted to do was to scream.

"do you love me? you hate me, say you love me, i love you"
he says he loves her
" i hate you, you're just lying, if you even loved me a little it would help... am i pretty? why don't you love me?"

AARGH! for fucks sake!

In the first act, which was about an hour and a half long (it felt like eternity) about an hour of it was just her doing that. The whole time.

Absolutely did my head in.

I never wear watches - I don't even own a watch, and I very rarely carry my mobile phone around with me, because I'd rather not be constantly reminded of the time. I wore a watch for a week once, and by about wednesday, I found myself looking at it every five minutes - I never want to become a slave to time again. But sitting in that theatre for that hour and a half, I have never wished, more desparately in my life, that I had a watch. I was craning my neck to see if anyone else around me had a watch that I could see, to see how much longer the torture would last.

What didn't help was the actual theatre itself. The seating is crammed. The little plaques in the back of each seat saying who it had been donated by was a nice touch, but the leg room is a joke. My friend and I are short - I'm 5ft 3, she's 5ft1, but our knees were right up against the back of the seats in front. The guy sitting next to her had to sit sideways in his chair, and I'd say that he wasn't much over five foot 7 or 8.

Also, there are far too many columns - I'd say if you are going to go and see something else at the Almeida, to very carefully choose your seats, because there are pillars everywhere. It was no skin off my nose that I couldn't see half the stage for this production, but I'd have been quite put out if it was something that I was actually enjoying, or I'd paid more than £6 for my ticket.... the fact that it was so cheap made it very easy for me to walk out at the interval with no feeling of guilt whatsoever. If I'd paid a bit more, I might have stuck it out to see if it got any better and to feel like I got my money's worth, but I'd have willingly paid the usher £6 on top of my ticket, just to let me out.

Monday, 29 September 2008

HAHAHA now THIS is what a call a good chain letter!

Are you tired of those sissy "friendship" poems that always sound good but never actually come close to reality?

Well here is a series of promises that actually speak of true friendship.

Y will see no cutesy little smiley faces on this - just the stone cold truth of great friendship.

1. When you are sad -- I will help you get drunk and plot revenge against the sorry bastard who made you sad.

2. When you are blue -- I will try to dislodge whatever is choking you

3. When you smile -- I will know you finally got laid.

4. When you are scared -- I will rag on you about it every chance I get.

5. When you are worried -- I will tell you horrible stories about how much worse it could be until you quit whining.

6. When you are confused -- I will use little words.

7. When you are sick -- Stay the hell away from me until you are well again. I don't want whatever you have.

8. When you fall -- I will point and laugh at your clumsy ass

9. This is my oath..... I pledge it to the end.

Send this to 10 of your closest friends,
Then get depressed because you can only think of 4.

Friendship is like peeing your pants, everyone can see it,but only you can feel the true warmth.

i'm basically just going through all the old things i used to be part of and now never use, like windows live spaces and myspace and all that rubbish - some of the blog entries there are kind of funny (well... to me, anyway), so i'm adding them on here as backdated entries.

Saturday, 27 September 2008

You want a GOOD Equus review? (& some interviews with the stars)

Watch this:
Three people, with varying opinions, giving a decent review of the play - so it's not all positive, they don't all recommend it, but they give credit where credit is due - like a GOOD reviewer, and UNlike that ben person

interview with Daniel Radcliffe : he seems like a nice kid... bit peculiar how he seems to have issues looking people in the eye when talking to them though..

another video interview with many of the cast

Friday, 26 September 2008

Appalling Equus Review in the New York Times by Ben Brantley

Find the full 'review' here:

I'm just going to pick out a few of the passages which have made me come to the conclusion that this reviewer is a twit.

"Mr. Radcliffe’s Alsatian-blue gaze, very handy for glaring down otherworldly ghouls if you’re Harry Potter. Or if you’re Alan Strang, for blocking and enticing frightened grown-ups who both do and do not want to understand why you act as you do.

"I had forgotten just how much is made of Alan’s eyes in “Equus,”..."Fortunately it projects as big from the stage as it does in cinematic close-up"

"Mr. Griffiths does banality beautifully...He resists the temptation to play hotdog surfer, riding the purple waves of Mr. Shaffer’s symbol-saturated monologues"

"The problem with such well-considered acting is that it throws a clear and merciless light on the hokum of the play as a whole"

" for all the prancing horse-masked dancers on the revolving stage with its Stonehenge-like blocks — I never felt a ripple of vicarious passion."

"a garden-variety sexual identity crisis dressed up for a night at the races"

"It doesn’t help that Ms. Sharrock has the supporting cast members turning directly to the audience to make such announcements (things along the lines of, “Well, now that you mention it, he did keep this strange picture above his bed.”). These performances are infected with the let’s-out-British-the-British strain that often happens to New York actors mixed with English actors in English plays."

"Carolyn McCormick and T. Ryder Smith offer broad emotions without the refining detail of individual character. Anna Camp is appealingly natural as the young woman who unwittingly leads Alan to his acts of destruction."

"Kate Mulgrew, as the magistrate who is Dysart’s confidante, is alternately as plummy and mannered as a society matron in a Maugham drawing-room comedy and as portentous as a sinister housekeeper in a creaky-old-house chiller. Ms. Mulgrew, for the record, was the only cast member awarded with exit applause before the final curtain when I saw the show (this after a particularly flamboyant declaration to Dysart). Personally, I winced whenever she opened her mouth, but I think the audience was hungry for the sort of campy grandeur she provided."

"There’s no question that “Equus” has dated, particularly in its presentation of psychiatric investigations (something Mr. Shaffer humbly admits in a program note). But taking it too seriously may not be the best way to serve it in revival. This version had no crackling artificial fire to match the annoying smoke that kept rising through the stage floor. And as much as I admired the sensitivity and intelligence of Mr. Griffiths’s and Mr. Radcliffe’s performances, this revival might have been better off if everyone had just gone for the Gothic."

A poor excuse for a review if ever there was one. I have seen 12 year olds do a better job (no, really... I have.) I can't believe this guy gets paid to write this garbage. What is this? free association? There seem to be no real direction this 'review' is going in... for two pages. It just waffles and switches from one train of thought to another.

I know my ramblings are like that too, but that's just what they are meant to be - ramblings. To review something, and to review it well, you have to be concise - there was far more to this bloody play than Harry Potter's blue eyes and his cock. I feel a bit sorry for Radcliffe, because he is never going to get past the Harry Potter label. As for the reviewer, I have rarely come across anyone who talks so much yet says so little. Big, words which are seldom used in the every day vocabulary of the populus do not maketh the man.

Firstly: The only thing 'natural' about Anna Camp's performance was the birthday suit she wore. She overacted so much it was at times, quite painful to watch - the accent was dreadfully put on - and in a cast of mainly British actors, she stuck out like a sore thumb. NOBODY in England talks like that. Not even posh people.

Secondly: "Campy grandeur"?!

Sorry, I must have missed the part where Kate Mulgrew whipped off her clothes, revealing herself to be a 7 foot drag queen dressed as Liza Minnelli, and belting out a rendition of "Maybe This Time".


Ok, so Ben Brantley didn't like Kate Mulgrew - that's fine, fair enough, that is his opinion. I don't like Ben Brantley or Anna Camp, those are mine - we're each entitled to our own opinions. But to say he winced every time she opened her mouth? that's hardly constructive criticism, is it? What earthly purpose does that serve anyone?

Her performance could have been weak, she could have fluffed her lines, she could have had an horrendous British accent, she could have mumbled, she could have turned up drunk and staggered onto the stage.. but to include in a serious review for a good newspaper that he didn't like her voice?!?..... what's next? does the style of Richard Griffiths beard offend thee, my good sir?

Jesus Christ.

I'm half-tempted to write an essay on this review, pulling it apart and analysing it like I had to do at uni, because it is SO full of holes that I'm suprised it hangs together on the page and doesn't have great big gaps in the print. How this got past an editor and got published is beyond me. I expected better from the New York Times. If I wrote something like this in school for an english class when I was 12, I would have got it back with red pen all over it, and a nice big D at the top of the page.

So basically... the play was shit, the director was shit, the cast was shit, the style was campy, the actors couldn't act, harry potter was in it, so were his alsatian blue eyes, harry potter is the only reason why this play was any good, the audience were stupid and are there purely to be insulted by pithy reviewers, kate mulgrew was a trannie in disguise, richard griffiths was in it too, some horses were blinded, some vague connection to Mozart, Anna Camp was 'natural' and au naturel, and Graeme Malcolm doesn't exist and wasn't even in the play.

Poor old Graeme Malcom! how come he didn't even get a mention! He was just as good as any other member of the cast - probably better than the guy who played Mr. Strang, AND he is such a nice man too! such a shame for him, but it's probably a good thing he wasn't mentioned because he'd have just been slagged off like all the others were.

Did that critic even see the same play I did? coz it sounds nothing like the Equus I saw twice O.O

I think Ben has got the idea of his job description a bit warped - a theatre critic is not just a person who criticises theatre. There's a slight difference between critiquing and criticising, and don't think he has quite found the balance yet... maybe he's new, or is the work experience kid or something.

I suppose that, at least, is something the English do well:


You'd never find such garbage in the The Times over here.

Thomas Hardy, Jane Austen, Geoffrey Chaucer, William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens....

....Ben WHO!??

Thursday, 25 September 2008

poetry and phoney psychics

Digging For China
By Richard Wilbur

‘Far enough down is China,’ somebody said.
‘Dig deep enough and you might see the sky
As clear as at the bottom of a well.
Except it would be real – a different sky.
Then you could burrow down until you came
To China! Oh, it’s nothing like New Jersey.
There’s people, trees, and house, and all that,
But much, much different. Nothing looks the same.’

I went and got the trowel out of the shed
And sweated like a coolie all that morning,
Digging a hole beside the lilac-bush,
Down on my hands and knees. It was a sort
Of praying, I suspect. I watched my hand
Dig deep and darker, and I tried and tried
To dream a place where nothing was the same.
The trowel never did break through to blue.

Before the dream could weary of itself
My eyes were tired of looking into darkness,
My sunbaked head of hanging down a hole.
I stood up in a place I had forgotten,
Blinking and staggering while the earth went round
And showed me silver barns, the fields dozing
In palls of brightness, patens growing and gone
In the tides of leaves, and the whole sky china blue.
Until I got my balance back again
All that I saw was China, China, China

FIRSTLY: didn't we all do this? ok maybe not so much the barns and fields things, but I know as soon as dad told me that, I went straight into his shed, half-inched his trowel and spent the next three hours trying to dig to china until I hit London Clay, then I gave up.
Just watched a documentary on this self-proclaimed baby mind reader called Derek Ogilvie who says he can read people's minds. I personally agree with the guy who does the commentary on this video on youtube

BUT on the documentary, they hooked him up to this machine in a lab to read his brain while he was 'psychically communicating' with a kid, and the readings showed that the part of his brain that is linked to non verbal communication was in a highly active state. I'm not sure how he'd fool a scientist to make this happen, but I still don't think he can read babies minds - I reckon he cold reads - conveniently, the kids he 'reads' are too young to go 'listen mate, you're chatting crap, what I'm actually trying to say is that you're freaking me out with your wierd shouting and jumping around, and I'd quite like a chocolate biscuit and a nap'

I DO think he genuinely believes he is communicating, but to be honest - isn't it possible.. or LIKELY, even, that the reason that part of his brain is hyperactive is because he thinks he's communicating psychically?

Par example: if I'm looking at a person and saying things at them in my head... say, "for fucks sake, does the whole bus really need to hear how drunk you got at the weekend? do we care, bus people? NO! WE DON'T! Jesus Christ, why can't they ban mobile phones on public transport?"'...

wouldn't that register as being nonverbal communication if someone hooked me up to a computer?

hmmm... not sure what to think about psychic-ness.... I don't want to dismiss it, because things have happened to me before - psychic feelings, if you will, like, I know when something bad is going to happen - I feel it, and I just *know*. And then it happens. That, I can't explain, so I try my best to put it down to coincidence, otherwise, I'd totally freak out - but yes - the human brain is such a complex thing, that we are only just beginning to explore and to understand, and there is so much in the world, and in 'life' that we can't explain, that I can't dismiss psychic abilities out of hand, but at the same time, when I see guys like this who shamelessly capitalise on people's weaknesses - and guys like that Derek Acorah and those other ghost whisperers who prey on people's desparate longing to be connected to dead loved ones, it does make me angry and I don't believe in them.... In my opinion, if they were genuine psychics, they wouldn't exploit people and capitalise on them... but then this is the age of 'dog eat dog', right?

I don't even know what I'm talking about now- I'm just waffling- so I'll just shut up. The basic gist is that I am remaining agnostic on the subject of psychic ability.

Actually, there is one more poem I want to share today - maybe it'll get you thinking too!

Wagtail and Baby

A baby watched a ford, whereto
A Wagtail came for drinking;
A Blaring bull went wading through,
The Wagtail showed no shrinking.

A Stallion splashed his way across,
The birdie nearly sinking;
He gave his plumes a twitch and toss,
And held his own, unblinking.

Next saw the baby round the spot
A mongrel slowly slinking;
The Wagtail gazed, but faltered not
In dip and sip and prinking.

A perfect gentleman then neared;
The Wagtail, in a winking,
With terror rose, and disappeared;
The baby fell a-thinking.

Thomas Hardy

Friday, 19 September 2008

Adsense nonesense part 2

Right. So basically this is all I have managed to figure out about this whole blog hosting thing - for anyone who, like me is just starting out so you know nothing either. Basically - this is VERY VERY basic stuff I've gathered so far about what you're supposed to do with a blog (please someone correct me if i'm wrong - i need all the help i can get with this!)

1. get yourself a blog account, make it look pretty, blah blah blah.
2. tag anything you can think of that might be relevent in a search
3. ping it. I'm not exactly sure what this means, but there's a thingy called pingoat that you can save to your favourites and every time you click it after goin on your blog, it 'pings' a bunch of sites. I think it's like sending your butler out to leave your calling card with the joneses so they know you're in town... that kind of thing. here's the site anyway:
4. in google you get the dashboard thing and webmaster tools. I really haven't got these things figured out just yet, but the basics appear to be, to put a meta tag, which is a link or a file given to you by the google webmaster toolkit in the header of your page (before the < body > part) and then you go back to the toolkit (you can't see it on your site btw, so it's not going to bugger up what your page looks like) and click 'verify'. This seems to mean that google recognises that your page exists, and the meta tag thing seems to be like a homing signal wildlife people put on geese's legs to track them.
5. creating sitemaps. there's a website that does this for you - i can't remember exactly what it's called, but its an xml document that you upload to your server and that tells google how many pages and links and whatnot you have on there. I'm still having issues with mine - it says it's fine, and then the next minute i get an error signal, so i don't know what is going on there.
6. getting yourself on a google searchengine. i'm not entirely sure how to do that. I've managed to get myself on the first page of the google search results when i type in "natashapage".. i think that was more luck than strategic planning to be honest. I've got no idea how that happened, sorry.

7. if anyone who is less of a technophobe than me can provide any further information (in idiot-terms please - we're not all cyber-savvy you know), please please comment on here with ANY advice on how to make these damn things work and explain various... er... webmastery-type things for those of us who are less in the know.

well... that's me all adsensed and googled out for tonight i think. To all you newbies starting out - i'd say the most important lessons i'm learning from doing this are firstly, to have an endless supply of patience, and secondly determination. I think it is sheer stubbornness now that is making me persevere - i'm not goin to be defeated by a bit of plastic with buttons, dammit!

haha awesome!

I can make myself look like Judy Garland, Or... Shrek! with just a click of a button! beautiful. (

c70222d8_sg13.jpg and IMG_5025.jpg Faces Combined Together -

IMG_5025.jpg and Shrek Faces Combined Together -

ok I've been bored today, ok? my life this week has been sticking really small labels onto well over 1000 CDs (opera cds) in a tiny little room with some shelves, a skylight and very little else. All on my own. All day. I think it is making me go a little crazy. Actually that's a lie - I had to cover the switchboard lady for half an hour so I actually got to communicate for a little while LOL I can't really complain - it's getting me money to pay off my credit card and put towards my '10 week acting class in New York' fund.

can't believe that it's only been a week since I came back - not even a week yet... it feels like months ago

oh! I forgot to mention - my art gallery site is fully stocked and up and running and pretty up to date.. I think.... I still have a lot of things to photograph and post up there though, and I should really start painting again because I really do love it - I just don't have very much time these days - I complain about being bored, but it's a bit of an oxymoron because I'm charging around like a woman posessed trying to be in 8 places at once doing 5 different things. None of them particularly well, I might add.
Anyway, here's the website if you want to check it out:

I'll also try to upload some more photos to my gallery:

let me know what you think :D

off to Canterbury tomorrow to see one of my best friends who I've not seen for over a year now because she was living and studying in America for a year - San Diego of all places! yeah, I know - talk about unfair! bet she has a lovely tan to go with that degree. Alright for some - some of us are just pasty - and peeling after only havin one day of true sun exposure.

and now for some music exposure: janacek's cunning little vixen
absolutely gorgeous.

though not performed half as well as the students at the Royal College of Music did it.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

The Secret Man

Saw an article about this on the news last night- it's awesome! this guy handed out some blank postcards with his address on the back to some randomers for a couple of weeks, telling them to post back a secret they have and decorate the front of it with pictures to emphasise their point, and so he got a few back and thought that was the end of it and stopped handing out the cards after a couple of weeks, but however many months later, he's getting over a thousand things in his mailbox a WEEK!
here's the link to his site

- it's so cool! if I had a secret I'd so write it down, but then it would hardly be a secret, would it?

Friday, 12 September 2008

USA day 8: New York

Got up at 7, showered, dressed, watched the weather, went down to breakfast. Ike is now a 2 and gathering power. It's still quite far out in the gulf, but they're evacuating Huston and all the surrounding areas. Took the shuttle to the Federal Circle, airtrain back to Jamaica. Why they don't just pick people up from and drop them off at Jamaica is beyond me - it would make much more sense than having to pay $15 to get a cab from the hotel to take you there, and would make SO much more sense than this:

ANYWAY. So I went to Manhattan and paid a visit to the Stella Adler Conservatoire and picked up some leaflets. They didn't have any info about this year's summer school, but they've stuck me on the mailing list so when they know, I'll know. Looks like the intensive is also for all abilities, so I probably won't have to audition to get in- which is perfect, if I'm doing this just as a taster, but I'll have a phone interview. *shudders at the thought of phones* It's in a pretty cool part of town too - W27th & Broadway. It's in the 'flower district', so it's not packed to the rafters with tourists, like Times Square, but it is still very much buzzing. From there, I headed uptown and made a pit stop at the Empire State. 40 bucks got me my ticket up there and a 'skyride' which is a 15 (ish) minute virtual helicopter ride over and around New York.

It was pretty cool although half the time I didn't have a clue what was going on. One minute we were cuising over central park, then there's a ble flash and we're off the radar being boosted backwards into outer space, then we're back, then we're going through some sort of wormhole and come out the other end the size of a giant bug wreaking havoc in a toystore. All of this while seated on an hydraulic platform (oh yes, and there was a virtual rollercoaster section too) it was fun. Bizarre, but fun.

Then on up to the top floor of the empire state. 86 floors, ladies and gentlemen. It took a good few minutes to ride the elevator up there. (Elevator!? god, I'm starting to sound like an American.)

I wouldn't say the view was spectacular, because I don't really get "turned on", as Nick would say, by cityscapes. The Scottish Highlands are spectacular, Glen Tanar and the Grey Mare's Tail are spectacular - a sunset over Canterbury Cathedral from the roof of my student flat was spectacular. A bunch of buildings reaching up to the sky is not spectacular, but is still pretty damn cool. Felt a little disappointed that it wasn't like it was in 'On The Town', coz it was all enclosed by a metal screen thing like at the top of that monument to the fire of London one of my exes made me climb up. You could see stuff, but it felt kind of like being in a bird cage.

Bought a cool little charm for my keyring - oh, and when I was walking up from the Stella Adler, I bought one of those I♥NY T-shirts from a market stall for $3 (I had to get a kids one - the grown ups ones were just far too big - the small just looked like a dress on me! hahah I'm SUCH a tourist. *hangs head in shame*) and exactly the same tshirt in the shop at the top of the Empire state, for a kid, would have set me back $16. Hmmmm... which to chose... $3 or $16? bought a hoodie like my Uni one, only saying NEW YORK, rather than University of Kent. I really don't have enough hoodies - Before I came here I only really had my uni one, and when that was in the wash, I was buggered - forced to wear jumpers, which i hate.

Anyway. so that was the Empire State. (oh yes, and it's going through some sort of revamp inside coz it was pretty much stripped bare whereas the rest of it was all gray and brown marble. V 1930s deco. I actually don't think they've changed it in there style wise - apart from kitting it out with the tourist stuff since the 30s)

There's 86 floors, right? so you've got the lobby on the ground floor, and floor 2 the shop and the skyride, then the very top you have the bit where you go on the roof.... so what's on the other 84 floors? offices? if yes, what for? maybe apartments? disgustingly expensive ones... well I hope whoever is in them has a head for heights and I feel sorry for the poor sod who has to clean the windows.

As I said: onward.

After the Empire State I had a Judy in The Clock moment... kind of.
Went to Madame Tussauds - met a guy in the queue called Jurien? Jurian? Urien/an? Yurien/an? HOWEVER you spell it - from Holland, a voice actor, and completley off his rocker and fun to be around - found myself going round the whole of Tussauds with him.

Everyone in New York seems to be an actor - but I don't really get how they can say that when they're working and doing anything BUT acting... to me, you're not an actor if you're 'resting' - you're a 'trained actor doing a real job' - you're only really an actor, in my humble opinion, if you get off your arse and get yourself work in a theatre/tv/film... whatever, but as long as you ARE acting. Yeah yeah, I know the acting industry is tough, but really - the number of people you see working in places like Starbucks, and they're like 'yeah, I'm an actor?' no you're not - you're a coffee boy. Shut up.

Anyway - went round Tussauds. Judy Garland didn't really look anything like Judy Garland, and one of her eyelashes was coming off. She didn't look particularly small either - I think they must have gone with the MGM fictional measurement of 5ft1. Her hair and nose were totally wrong. I don't think the people who did her did their research very well - the only thing they got right was her shoes.

There was also a 4D cinema playing some David Attenburgh doco about the sea. Had to wear these silly glasses which really didn't do all that much. Got squirted with air and water and poked in the back by 'snakes in the water', oh yeah, and it was snowing when we came in - like real, melty snow - not just soapflakes. Also had bubbles so that was nice - but the image was hardly 4D - it was barely even 3D, and it was blurry. luckily, it didn't last long. Gave the chamber of horrors a miss. the NY tussauds is a LOT smaller than I remember the London being... Perhaps why it was $35 to get in and London is £35 to get in. I'm the same height as Jodie Foster, an inch taller than some Jockey chap (lester Piggott?) I come up to some Lakers player's elbow, and Emma Bunton is a carnie - her hands are half the size of my friend, Nicole's, and we say SHE has doll hands! she's an absolute midget! (Emma, not Nicole) - I can't believe that model is accurate Had all the other Spice Girls there too... apart from Geri. I wonder what the reason for that was....

After that, went for a wander round new york with Jurien (that's how I've decided his name is spelled) - says he's mainly a voice actor and done some work on space chimps, which is pretty cool. Anyway, so he was fun to hang out with for the day - turns out he was going to see Equus tonight too, so we bid adieu outside the Carnegie Hall, where Judy Garland played her most famous and critically acclaimed concert :D on 55th street. To be honest - I dunno why, but it wasn't quite what I'd expected - I dunno if I was expecting something visually equivalent to the Royal Albert Hall or something (not round, but big, flashy and ornate), but it was a very unassuming building - kind of like the London Coliseum - if Jurien hadn't pointed it out to me, I'd have walked straight past it. The main difference was above the poster things... i don't know what the technical term is for them - the little showcases for them, had 'Carnegie Hall' written on them. I don't know what was playing there - some opera I think, so there were only 2 small posters - not 6ft high neons like there would have been when Judy was there. Funny to think that tiny little thing I had just seen immortalised in wax was standing on the stage in that place, with it's quiet, unassuming exterior, giving it her all in the performance of her lifetime, one which would go down in history as being one of the greatest broadway concerts of all time, and one which people would still be paying for recordings of well over 30 years later. It's kind of humbling in a way - that two, maybe three normal things could come together to become extraordinary- even legendary: the Holy Grail of Garland Fans (ruby slippers aside).

Jurien had to get changed for the show, so he went off, and I had to feed my face because I was starving. Went to some Italian self-service place which was really nice- had my first ever Stromboli, which is basically an apple strudel made out of pizza - so cheese and pepperoni wrapped up in a pizza base. it was delicious! also had my first proper New York cheesecake, which was also too good for it's own good, but at 560 calories a slice, I think once was enough. 560 a SLICE!

Basically that meal tasted like heaven, because it was a heart attack on a plate- especially after having had lunch at the golden arches.

I think I probably did enough walking to have at least the cheesecake relatively guilt free - i'd spent the day walking back and forth between w26th and w57th - 30ish blocks should count for something, right?

So. Oh yes, before any of that, I went to the Broadhurst to pick up my ticket and popped into the office across the street to pick up an application form for a job. I need to go to the embassy when I get home and see if I can get myself some form of student visa so I can work when I'm out there. I think this is something I really have to do. New York is SO unlike London! I love new york about as much as I hate London, and anyone who knows me will be able to tell you that that is quite a lot.

So. Yes. La Theatre. or 'Teatro' as I think the Italians call it.




Got there so early - about..well... er.... well over an hour anyway - I was so warn out from walking around all day, and was so stuffed full of cheesecake and stromboli I physically couldn't persuade my legs to go any further - I practically needed a crane to get me off the chair in that resteraunt! - so I just stood outside and waited.

I've practically been brought up in a theatre - one of my earliest memories is of crawling across a stage, and being lifted up to press the red and green buttons to make the curtain go up and down - I'm 22 now, and the magic still hasn't worn off. I just love standing by a stage door, watching people coming and going - nothing quite beats the buzz you get backstage just before a show - it's fantastic - so much positive energy!

So I positioned myself by the stage door and got into my little 'zone', when I noticed a rugged sort of man with fantastic eyebrows emerge from the stage door and stand there with a coffee.

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So me being me, and stupid, thought he was just a random member of the crew, and went up for a chat, thinking I could get some useful advice out of him about how much experience I'd need to have to be able to work in a theatre in the states - so i said I'm thinking of going into the theatre, is there any advice he can give me?
"don't" he says.
"why not?" i says.
chatted for a bit and he asked me if I was looking forward to the show
I said yes, and i've seen it once already
he said 'really?' what did I think of it?
so I said that Richard Griffiths mumbled so much I could barely hear a word he said - Kate Mulgrew was the only person I'd had absolutely no trouble hearing throughout, and that Daniel Radcliffe was good too, but I still really don't like him very much.
"you can't say that to me!" he says, gasping in mock horror
"why not?" i asked "you're not his agent or something are you?"
"i'm in it"

open mouth, insert foot.

"i'm really sorry", I said, "but who were you in it?"
he said he was the stable owner (his name, the actor's name, is Graeme Malcolm), and looked a little put out that I hadn't recognised him, considering I'd already seen it but as soon as I'd (hurriedly) explained that i'd been sitting in the stage seats and couldn't see a thing apart from the tops of people's heads, and could hardly hear anything either, he didn't mind at all LOL

He asked me whereabouts in England I'm from (he too was English, but his accent was a little strange - I got the impression he's been living in America for quite a long time) so I asked him if he knew surrey, and he said 'yes, i know that area very well''
"you know Epsom? well, i'm from near there"
"yes, I know Epsom - I grew up in Cheam" he says.
"Are you serious? I'm from North Cheam! I only say Epsom, because nobody has ever heard of Cheam, and they know Epsom coz of the Derby"

There was a long pause while he stared at me, astonished, eyes wide and mouth open...

"fuck me."

I had to really hold back the laughter when he said that - that's possibly the best reaction i've ever had! I've never seen anyone look so surprised to find out something like that before in my life. I mean, sure, I was surprised too - but from his reaction, you'd think I'd said I came from Pluto or something LMAO

so we went off on one for about an hour comparing notes on my home town, and his old stomping ground, which school he went to, which one did I go to? why did I go to that one and not the one nearer Cheam?- on the then and now, and the ins and outs of working as an actor in the states, and the complaints about Richard Griffiths mumblings, and how the Director had given them all a good bollocking about it- especially Griffiths - and told them to speak up.

A couple of people came up and asked for his autograph, and gave me a very peculiar look - kind of awed, and nodded respectfully at me - like I was having a chinwag with Lawrence Olivier or something or being Cary Grant's close personal friend or something - to be honest, I had absolutely no clue who he was until he'd told me! I can't remember my exact words, but I made some remark along the lines of does it feel weird when people come up to him and talk to him like that- kind of venerating - like the way people talk to priests?

And he said that it was actually really refreshing talking to me, compared to how people usually tend to be, because it was great to actually have an interesting conversation with someone, and clearly I'm not shy about talking to people I don't know, which is really good and will take me far - and said maybe he should stand outside the stage door with a coffee more often, because he doesn't usually do that, because he just gets the 'usual' people. I told him maybe he should - you never know who you're going to meet. I said that if I came here, and spent the week in my little shell, not talking to anyone, I would never have met any of the wonderful people that I've met this week, and I wouldn't have had such an amazing time. He asked me if I was on my own, or if I had any friends over here - I said I'm on my own - I do have some friends who live in the states, but they're over in Chicago and California, and I was just doing the East Coast this trip. He asked how old I am, I said 22. He looked at me thoughtfully and said that I was very brave to do that, especially on my own.

People keep telling me that - I don't know why! I told him this too - I said I really don't get why people say it's brave - courage has very little to do with it - it's selfishness more than anything - I wanted to do something, and I wasn't prepared to hang around waiting for other people to maybe or maybe not come with me, and get off their arses and do something. So if you wanna do something, just do it - life is far too short to be hanging around on ' maybe one day' s.

From the look on his face, I think that little speech earned me quite a lot of respect O.O

Chatted a bit more, and he asked me where I'm sitting tonight - I told him at the front. Where? I pulled out my ticket - orchestra right, A6.
where's that? he said lol
'you're the actor, you should know!' i said
'no, i mean where in relation to me?' he said
'well i don't know - where are you? it's 1 row away from the stage, stage left, if that's any help?'
he said he didn't normally take his bow that side, but he'd keep an eye out for me. He had to go in now to sign in, and go into wardrobe and makeup, but it was really great talking to me, and good luck with everything in the future, and gave my hand a good, firm shake. I said likewise, it was great finally meeting a real actor, rather than someone who just says he's an actor, and actually works in starbucks lol - he laughed, i said 'break a leg' 'thank you' and he went in.

so that was that.

The play itself absolutely blew my mind - I can't believe how much I missed out on by sitting in those crappy stage seats, I really can't! the staging was incredibly simple, but so effective - it was brilliant that they managed to do so much with four little blocks, rather than having an elaborate set to detract attention away from the plot and from the actors. The girl still annoys me, my new Broadway star friend was, of course, brilliant, Griffiths, I could actually just about hear this time, but there were still big patches where he'd just mumble still. I think he thinks he's still working on Pie in the Sky and has a microphone attached to him so he doesn't need to project. PRRRRRROJECT, DARLING, SOME OF US CAN'T HEAR YOU! Mulgrew, again was wonderfully crystal clear all the way through. Harry Potter was ok - I still think he is good, but he tends to feel the need to shout his way through things. If Yvonne Wells (a wonderful voice coach I knew, who sadly passed away a couple of months ago) had got her hands on him, she'd have had an absolute field day with him. There is a difference between projecting and shouting.

There was a funny part at the end of act 1, where a horse is standing centre stage, two stirrups come down from the fly tower, which are to be attached to the horses' sides, so Daniel could jump on and go for his 'haha' which i think translates roughly to riding a horse bareback til he ges so carried away he cums. Well.. that's what was implied anyway. But he had some issues getting the stirrups attached - fumbled for about 5 mins - i really felt like laughing, because this horse who up until now had all the body language of a proud and noble beast, had suddenly sprouted arms and was trying to help LOL they eventually managed to get it to work, and they did the scene, the lights went down, everyone applauded, the houselights came up... and the horse was still standing there struggling to get out and 3 people came on try try and untangle him LOL poor guy!

second act passed uneventfully (shame, I love it when things go wrong - it's a great test for an actor to see how he'll cope - I remember seeing a performance of Figaro where Figaro and his Girl sat down on a bench, and the whole thing went crashing to the floor!)

I couldn't bear to watch the scene where the horses got their eyes gouged out - from behind, it was bad enough, but from the front, when they stepped towards the stable door, the way they were lit, it looked like their eyes were glowing, which is the first thing that freaked me out - then 'that' music, and the screaming horses.. it was a bit too much for me. I'm a sensitive soul, alright? so I stared grimly at the foot of the person next to me for that bit.

End of play: the actors came out for their bow- i honestly didn't expect Graeme to remember me, much less where I was sitting, but sure enough, he sought me out, i gave him a grin and lifted my hands up to clap higher, he gave me a nod, and went down for the second bow.

Was absolutely on cloud nine all the way home - I think the people on the subway must have thought I was a little special, coz I was just sat there smiling away dreamily to myself for over an hour LOL I was WELL chuffed! nobody else got a nod from any of the actors apart from me!

I know I'm goin to sound totally big headed, but I felt kinda proud - I know when i see things like that in theatres, I wonder who the person who is, who is being nodded at by the member of the cast.. I wonder how many people were wondering who he was nodding at!

I did keep an eye out fo Jurien during the interval (which apparently was 15 mins long, but that was NEVER 15 mins - it was 7 mins at an absolute maximum!), but it was such a crush - absolutely packed out theatre, I didn't see him, and I scarpered as soon as I could get out of the theatre, because it was late, I didn't know how late the subways ran, and I didn't want to be stranded in Manhattan all night - as fun as that would have been, so I didn't find him after that either. Who knows, maybe he'll read this and drop me a line to say hi *hint* - hope I find him again though some day, he was a good laugh to hang around with :)

so that was my final day in New York, tomorrow, an absolutely funpacked day of waiting at the airport for 10 hours (no point going back into manhattan, coz by the time i get there, it'll be time to turn around and come back.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

USA day 7: New York

Absolutely KNACKERED! Pulled into Penn Station between 4:45 and 5 because the traffic was so bad getting into Manhattan.

I've determined that upper west side - you gan get to about w97th and anything much above that gets a bit more grotty and more and more like Morden as you get nearer to Harlem.

I still think Harlem is less threatening than Lewisham. It seems that the people in New York - the ethnic minorities, are trying very hard to transcend the stereotypes, and rise above them, which is very much to their credit - whereas in London, they are trying to live up to this image they have - the Harlem 'gangsta'.. THING, where poor is cool and 'street' and whatever, which by all accounts is a dying breed here. It's kind of funny, that all these London kids are trying so hard to be something they think exists in New York, but they've got it absolutely backwards. Bit pathetic when you think about it really - to live up to a stereotpe that no longer truly exists.

So... yeah. Pulled into Penn around 4:45/5, got on the subway for well over an hour... felt close to two hours to be honest - got off at Jamaica and took the airtrain to JFK. Couldn't find the damn hotel shuttle. It was like 8pm by this time, had to call mum in England to call the hotel because I can't figure out how to call US landlines from my mobile - I've tried every code I can think of under the sun, but I just get some annoying american woman going 'sorry, the number you've dialled is incorrect. Please try again' - or words to that effect.

Had to go BACK on the airtrain for another 15 mins to C station - Federal Circle - and get the shuttle from there. It would have been a little bit helpful if the expedia people or the hotel people had included something about that in the details they send out!!! thoroughly peeved about that. The shuttle leaves every hour or so -so had to wait 20 mins for the airtrain and then another 20 for the shuttle. Finally got in between half past 10 and 11 - starving - I hadn't eaten anything all day apart from a breakfast muffin at the starbucks in Boston at 10am - but I was so knackered I couldn't be arsed to eat - climbed into bed and watched the weather channel for the latest on Ike, while writing this. Ike is turning out to be an enormous fucker! on the satellite pictures, you can't even see the gulf coast - that whole horseshoe is just a white swirl! the experts have labelled it as a catergory 2-3. I'm not sure what that means, but it's bad. The whole of the gulf coast is on red alert.

It's WELL noisy in this hotel - and it's a bit skanky, but what do you expect for a 2 star airport hotel?

Apart from the aircon smelling like incontinent grannies, I have no real beef with the place. It is perfect for what it is - an airport hotel- plus you get free internet and breakfast and airport shuttle. Oh yeah - and the water still tastes absolutely vile - even in Jamaica (which fyi, is out in Queens) Just tastes like pond water. Have to slum it tonight because there isn't really any place to buy bottled stuff from - by bags were heavy enough as it is without having to lug around 100 litres of Dasani.

USA day 7: Boston

Boston-> New York

Got up at half 7 this morning to go in search of the CHEERS pub. It is so bloody easy to get lost in Boston - it's just as bad as London, if not worse.

Anyway - took a walk around Boston Common. I don't know exactly what I was expecting, but whatever it was, was a lot bigger than this - took me about 7 mins - if that - to walk from one end to the other (and this was while I was walking slowly). I think I was expecting something akin to Nonsuch/Hyde park, and instead got Cheam Park. It WAS pretty though, I'll admit that - and clean, no litter lying around like in the parks at home - and it had some nice monuments and the swan boat thing - but it was a LOT smaller than I'd expected, considering the size of the green blob on the map... may be it's actually that Boston is tiny, so the Common looks huge in comparison?

here are a couple of pictures anyway - you can find more in the photo gallery in my website:

Dragged my suitcase around the T again. One arm is now considerably longer than the other. No bloody lifts or anything to help weary travellers. Urgh.

THIS is what I had to put up with:
(not my vid btw - I wouldn't have wasted the memory on my camera on the Boston subway)
Imagine trying to lug a 14 tonne suitcase onto one of those!

Am on a bus to New York now - for four hours.

OVER four hours!!!

This one is a megabus - only costing me $12 to get from Boston to New York - that's what, £6? six quid wouldn't even get me from Epsom to Waterloo on the train - (if memory serves, that cost me £13 and only took half an hour... and that was about 6 years ago, before inflation and before train fares doubled) it smells really nice on this bus too - kind of like Vanilla... hopefully the toilet will be a little less scary than the one on the Peter Pan bus from NY to Hartford O.O seats are far more comfy with tons of leg room too - not that I can really complain about leg room ever anyway - I don't really have that issue of tall-personitis.

I can't wait to be back in New York City - the DADDY of cities! In a way, I'm really nervous because I hope that it wasn't just jetlag and sheer excitement of being on holiday etc that was talking before and clouding my judgement - and that I've got some crazed rose-tinted and sleep-deprived idyllic view of New York that I expect it to live up to this time around. Nervous too, because I'd hate to find out that my first impression was absolutely skewed and a complete illusion/delusion fuelled by.. no sleep, adrenaline etc etc etc, and that in actual fact, New York is just as shit as London, and the people just as arsy, because if it is, I'll be horribly disappointed and discouraged.

Fingers crossed, eh?

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

USA day 6: Boston

The doors in this hotel are crazy - I've never seen anything like it in my life - I feel like I'm in a safe! What the heck is with these?!

Went whale watching which was very cool. Saw a mother and her calf - they're not as big as I imagined - humpbacks - I don't know what I was expecting exactly, but it was something of epic proportions like Jonah's wale, capable of swallowing a ship or something lol

Befriended a really nice couple from Canada called James and Margot. James reminded me a lot of Phil (PHil, not Fil) and Margot reminded me a lot of my cousin's wife, Sue - she looked a lot like her!

We went out on a catamaran and went so fast that Margot could lean back about 45 degrees at least, and the pressure of the wind held her up!

So that took up 3 hours of the day. Went to some place called 'Legal Fishing' (?!) which is a private thing where 9 out of 10 fish aren't let in, apparently. Not exactly a chain, but there are several of them dotted around New England. Had Clam Chowder or 'chowdah', as it is pronounced, which was divine! (considering I don't normally like seafood very much) very creamy, and had a long long long long.. LONG discussion with the waiter, whose name I didn't catch (because I was sat at the bar) and a guy called Tom, who looked exactly like Mickey Rooney as Lampie in Pete's Dragon, but with a shorter beard

We talked about religion, philosophy, books, travel, politics etc. Tom said he used to be in the military, but I can't say I entirely believe him - he's very much an old salt, but I'd never put a set of dog tags around that neck of his. I love the conversations I have with people over here - you CAN actually hold a conversation with someone, unlike in England where it's a struggle to get two coherent sentences out of most people.

The Long Wharf trolley was pretty cool too. Ran into a squall on the boat on the way back into the harbour and the rain persisited for the rest of the day. So the legal fishing place was pretty much where I spent most of the rest of the day - it was also the place where I had my first taste of Lobster -Tom got me to try some of his lobster roll - it tasted like coleslaw, but had the consistency of really good chicken - the 'melt in your mouth' kind of chicken. Dunno if it actually tastes like coleslaw or if that's just because of the sauce they put on it, but it was seriously good - If I ever came back to Boston, I'd definitely have that again. The trolley was a welcome respite from the rain, and conveniently waiting right outside the restaurant. It wasn't really a trolley - it was a very wide square bus kitted out inside to look like a trolley - basically all wood interior with park benches screwed down to the floor and lamps from the ceiling.. it looked good though!

Took in some of the sights and learned some of the history, though I can't remember most of it. If I was to sum up Boston in terms of colour, it would be Raw Sienna, and Black. Bricks with black frames, doors and ironwork. The 'history' had about 2 pre-1700 points, but most of it was around 1800 - alright, but it aint got a patch on Canterbury, city of my soul. The 19th century buildings there are the newer ones! LOL

Kinda makes me appreciate a bit more what we have in England. The trollyman was boasting about a couple of houses there that were built as far back as 1880 and 1780 and I was thinking... but in London, pretty much every other house was built from around 1780, and in Canterbury, the average 'built in...' date is about 1450. Kind of puts things into perspective a bit really.

Er... yeah. so that was Boston. It appears I was staying in the snooty end of town, because the people and everything else in the long wharf area (apart from the weather, obviously) were quite nice.

Monday, 8 September 2008

USA day 5: Boston

Bad Point 1.

Boston does NOT cater for people with suitcases AT ALL. Had to lug my frigging suitcase up half a million flights of stairs. The 'T', as they call it looks terribly run down, dirty, badly organised... They say it's being renovated, but I see absolutely no sign of them doing anythin to it - to be honest, it wouldn't surprise me if that sign saying it's being renovated was put up in the 60s, because it certainly doesn't look as if they've done anything to the place since then (at the latest). The carriages themselves even, are relics of the dark ages - the sort of thing you'd find in the london transport museum, or the science museum, if you were in England - somewhere between the steam train and the old routemaster busses. Inside, it was all orange lino on the floor, that horrific 1970s fake wood lino on the walls etc... urgh. Makes the Northern Line look like the batmobile of transportation systems in comparison. Someone REALLY needs to pour some serious money into the American Transportation system to bring it up to speed. It is in DIRE need of an update. A further gripe about these 'Ts': They have 3 steps... BIG steps up. So little me + big, heavy suitcase + BIG steps + big heat (must've been about 36'C in there at least and airless) = very pissed off and dishevveled Tash.

Got out of the station eventually and was instantly lost - even with a map. Asked a guy who looked like he worked there if I was heading the right way for the Boston Park Plaza hotel - he just rolled his eyes at me and grunted. Charming. Day 1, and already I don't like Boston. It is just like London. I spent however many hundreds of pounds, and flew for 7.5 hours and howeever many thousands of miles to the left, to escape London!!

It is very snooty here - the people - even the staff look at you like you're scum. The girl behind the concierge desk was so falsely nice I felt like saying something. "Thank you, have a nice day" my arse. Ok so I was sweaty and dishevveled, but after lugging a suitcase that weighed more than I did up a hundred and eight flights of stairs, I was hardly going to look like a movie star, now, was I?! Just because I looked like a tramp and probably smelled like one too, there's not need to look down your nose at me! People like me pay your fucking wages, wench!

In a nutshell, Boston thinks it's Old Bond Street - only nuveau, so seriously pretentious. They chose the wrong part of London to emulate - if they chose Camden, I'd be having the time of my life.


Went for a walk for a junk food fix to cheer myself up and did something incredibly stupid, which I'll not go into here incase my mother reads this and flips out - needless to say, if I wasn't in the middle of the sidewalk in Boston surrounded by people, I'd have slapped myself. Anyway. Went to Borders to buy a book to write my travel notes in, so I have a copy here and a hard copy incase... I dunno... the internet vanishes mysteriously without a trace one day. Made friends with one of the guys workin there - he's coming to England soon, so I offered to be his guide of Canterbury if he wanted to go. I can't remember his name just now, but I've facebooked him - as I did Ned, the lovely Harvard guy I met on the bus from Hartford, and who carried my bag down the stairs at the Subway for me - He carried it like it was a feather - it's sick!

The hotel is frankly not worth the money they're charging. For all their snobbery and their put on airs and graces, the place is in serious need of a refurbishment. The walls had this dodgy brown wallpaper, the plaster round the aircon looked like someone had been kicking it in, the were wires hanging down from the underneath of the aircon, there was a pen on the floor by the bed (a non-hotel one) so clearly they hadn't bothered to hoover the floor. The radiator in the bathroom was scabby, the mosaic floor ( I say 'mosaic', it was just small blue/grey and white tiles) was pulling apart in the middle like they'd been in an earthquake or something, grey skirting, then nasty goldy brown wallpaper and where the tiling normally is on a shower wall, it was just a sheet of plastic made to look like tiles... ok, so this saves on cleaning time - no grouting to worry about, but they could at least have stuck the thing on properly - it just looked cheap and nasty in a supposedly posh hotel. The toilet pissed me off, because I spent about 3 mins trying to figure out how to flush it - basically you have to put the seat down to find the handle, and it's this tiny switch. Stupid. Absolutely stupid.

This is also a joke:

Very posh hotel... very small door.

I feel I should also tell you that I have small feet - I'm a size 4 uk (37eu), so that's like what, size 6? 6.5 USA size? I'd love to know how someone on the fat side is supposed to fit through that.

In short, the hotel looked incredibly shabby and not worth the 4* rating it apparently has. They even had a a thingy on the bed saying 'in an effort to aid the environment' beds would not be changed every day, but made. An effort to aid the environment?! in other words, they're too lazy to change the beds - it then went on to say that should youwish to have clean sheets, you need to leave that note on the bed that wants changing.

"HMPF!" is all I have to say to that.

USA day 4: Hartford


Absolutely LOVED the Goodwin!- it is now the stick I hold other hotels up to to see how they measure against it. Maybe it's because my taste is pretty old fashioned, but all that black marble and modern claptrap in places like The Millennium Broadway just does not float my boat - I feel really out of place there, but here - maybe it's the layout or the furniture or the general decor or what, but it felt much more like my type of thing - more my taste- and felt more like an actual bedroom than just a sterile, uniform hotel room - and my GOD was that the most comfortable bed in the world or what?! you sit on it and you just sink! it was like sleeping on a giant goose down pillow! I swear, I got in, lay down and didn't so much as twitch until the next morning! ok so the jetlag may have helped a little there, but still - that is the most comfortable bed I've ever slept in in my entire life - even more comfortable than the bed in my ex's mum's study, and that is saying something! every time I hit that, I was out like a light in seconds (those who know me also know that I'm a complete insomniac - a few of my friends even joke about me living on 'Judy-time' because Judy Garland, my heroine, was also well known for being a night-owl....O.o

Doesn't that make you just want to crawl in there with a really good book?

also, check out this sexy bathroom!

(I'm expecting Phil to make some comment about bathroom fetishes when he reads this.. I like nice bathrooms ok? it makes a change from the scabby holes I'm accustomed to! the only nice bathroom aside from the ones here is my one at home! everywhere else.. I dunno... they never seem to get cleaned properly - the last place I stayed in had ginger pubes on the side! *gags at the memory* )

It doesn't show up at all in the photo, but this bathroom was huge! I'm talking MAHOOSIVE! and there was a telephone by the toilet? why would anyone want to make a call from a toilet? ... more the point why would anyone think that anyone would want to recieve a call from someone on the toilet?

"Hey Steve, what's up?"

"Oh nothin' much, just watching the game, having a Bud... what's that noise in the background?"

"Here? Oh, I'm just standing by the Niagra Falls and dropping some pennies into a wishing well"

"Cool... take a photo and make a wish for me while you're there"...?

... I mean come on! can you imagine!?? the ONLY excuse, in my opinion, for having a phone next to a loo is if you have a really old or disabled person who needs help if they get stuck or have a heart attack or something - in which case an emergency call button would serve just as well.

Probably better, in fact, as said old person wouldn't have to scrabble around trying to find, and put their glasses on so they can read the tiny buttons on the phone by the loo to see which one they have to press to get the concierge desk.

Anyway - some more about the hotel: I thought the lobby staff were initially quite brusque, but I think it's a kind of small-town mentality rather than any genuinely intentional rudeness - as soon as I'd spent a little time talking to them and saying hi and bye to them as I came and went, they warmed up soon enough - a bit reserved/cautious around strangers perhaps? I can sort of back this theory up: The evening of the first day I got there, a new guy arrived and the lady behind the concierge desk yelled 'HEY! how are ya?" to me, and was all friendly, but to the guy she was checking in, she barely said two words to, and was as brusk to him as she was to me when she checked me in. So I think Hartford is one of those places where once you knock on the doors a few times, they let you into the warm.

Had a REALLY nice pizza there - think it was garlic, olives and feta cheese and peppers... basically a Greek salad but in pizza form - delicious, MASSIVE and so filling! Spent an hour or so chatting to the barman while he tried to explain American football to me... either I'm too dumb to understand it, or I was staring so much at the size of the chicken salad the woman next to me was tucking into that what he was telling me went in one ear and out the other, but either way - I know as much about NFL now as I did before. Seriously though - that salad was humungous! I don't know why they didn't just serve it in a bucket O.O


Hartford is not designed with pedestrians in mind At. All. They have all the crossings in place, and you can press the button as if your life depended on it, but there's no guarantee that the litle 'walk' man will ever appear, or if he does, that drivers will pay any attention to it. Like in New York. The timings are absolutely absurd too - by the time you've waited for the 'walk' sign, you could have built a sodding bridge to take you to the other side.


Say you have a really fat road - four lanes to cross (to me that is a very big road, but in America, this seems to be pretty average) - the 'walk' sign flashes on. You walk quickly - get halfway across, and the 'dont' walk' sign comes on: " You WHAT?! but it's only been 'walk' for 3 seconds!'"...And people start beeping at you to hurry up (you could sprint and you wouldn't get all the way across before the 'walk' man disappeared - I know. I tried), or they just start driving, gesticulating at you as they pass to further demonstrate their annoyance and impatience.

Traffic ligths and stop signals seem to be just for decoration in this country - nobody pays the blindest bit of attention to them.

Cabs are pretty cheap, which is good, when you're trying to carry around a baby elephant in your suitcase.

THE BEST THING BY FAR in Hartford is

The Hartford Belle.

I strongly urge anyone who is in Hartford to go on this boat! the scenery on the Connecticut River isn't exactly spectacular - y'know - you're not cruising down the Rhone or the Nile or anything, but nothing.. absolutely NOTHING beats chilling out on a little wooden boat with the sun on your face and the breeze in your hair on a hot summer day! - None of that fancypants mini cruise-ship nonesense with posh tinted windows, overpriced food and sun loungers - this is the real deal.

Bill, the deckhand is an absolutely great guy - I spent the best part of three hours chatting to him about anything and everything - from dreams to cartoons to tomboyism to teaching, to wanting to drive a big-rig and.. well.. everything! He is very easy on the eye too, but he's married, ladies, so don't even think about it! His daughter, Morgan who was there too, is a great kid! she actually reminds me a lot of myself when I was her age (about 8 or 9), which kind of makes me feel really really old. Brad, the Captain was also pretty cool! we spent a good fifteen minutes comparing what people eat for breakfast . Brad, if you're reading this, I still firmly believe that having mashed potato as a side dish for breakfast is not only wierd, but WRONG! that's not breakfast, that's lunch! and Bill, If I get into that drama school next summer, I'm definitely taking a trip to Hartford to chill out on the 'Hudson' with 'you guys' and the Belle(no worries! ;))! and keeping an eye out for eagles!

Here are my two handsome Hartford chaps: Bill on the left, and Brad on the right (photo taken by Morgan)

Two absolutely lovely people and the best three hours I've spent in America so far!

Hartford itself is a bit dead. It stops - everything stops at 5pm on a Saturday.

Apart from The Lady Katharine (we don't like that boat - that's one of the aforementioned posh boats) and the Hartford Belle (which we DO like) and the classical guitar under the stars concert (which I sadly missed most of - I had to leave early because it was getting very dark and I only had 5 bucks on me...bucks? good god, I'm even starting to write like an American... which wasn't enough for a cab fare ) which happened to be rescheduled to Sunday beacuase of the tropical storm - the remnants of Hurricane Hanna sweeping over most of New England and Connecticut - there is absolutely bugger all to do.

Had a really great thay though, and got sunburt for the first time in my life... my pasty british skin hasn't seen the sun for 3 years because summer keeps skipping over us.. we've had 3 days of real 'summer' this year, and I think the hottest day of the year was about 25'C (don't ask me what that is in 'F)

check out my Connecticut sunburn!

the woman at the concierge desk was really nice though and gave me this amazing aftersun called Solarcaine - I didn't even feel burnt the next day - I mean, I was still a bit pink, but nowhere NEAR as bad as I would have been without it.

Am at Hartford station now, waiting for my bus to Boston. Have had to switch to my credit card now - joy of joys - I can't wait til my bill comes in at the end of the month :S

Bought tickets to see Equus again on the eve of the 11th, which is what has bankrupted me on the other card. $116 or something like that anyway.. At least I have good seats this time - orchestra right, row A, seat 6 - so right at the front - so even with my shortsightedness, and lack of glasses, I should still be able to see the cast. Still have about $85 in cash to get by on in terms of taxis and emergency funds etc.

On a side note and back to the Belle, Bill has decided I should get a boat called The Canterbury Queen so we could work together and show the Lady Katharine what real boats are!

Also, another side note, got called 'The English Princess' and 'the prettiest girl I've seen out of England' by James, the dude at the breakfast bar. I must be the ONLY girl from England he's seen then! LMAO I mean there's working the room for a tip, and then there's sheer cheezy comedy! it was brilliant! LOL He kind of reminded me a bit of the Fonz, but in a hawiian (ok I've tried typing that word 5 different ways now and they all look wrong, so I'm giving up- YOU know what I mean) shirt. He wasn't wearing a .. 'that word' shirt, but I can totally imagine him being in one of those places with the grass beach huts, drinks with lots of umbrellas in and many girls walking around in bright bikkinis in the background! LOL Charles, one of the doormen was absolutely adorable and I spent a good 3 hours chatting to some lady called Diane? (or Diana) about art, feet and useless men! She actually reminded me a lot of my Ex's mum - had the same quiet way about her.

Saturday night we had Tropical Storm Hanna, which wasn't anywhere near as crazy as I'd imagined it would be - when they said 'tropical storm' the mental image I had was of palmtrees being practically bent over 90 degrees, crazy light displays and thunder and rain like the end of the world is nigh.
Was it? no. It was no worse than your typical English summer storm, but with warm rain. I was very disappointed - I was expecting something a lot more impressive - I fought jetlag to watch that - I felt thoroughly cheated. Still, at least it got the humidity right down from 95%.

Overall impressions of Hartford (downtown anyway - I can't speak for the whole place)

It's a bit dead - nothing is easy to get to unless you have a car - the town is crap, basically, (I was in the business district which could explain that), but the people here are absolutely lovely!