Sunday, August 29, 2010

No wonder standards are falling

I don't watch the X Factor but heard a feature on the radio about last night's episode where they casually mentioned that one performance received a score of "one million percent".

Is it any wonder that young people lack basic skills in maths?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Why can't I? You just can't, ok.

For every disaffected youth who plays their music loudly on the bus because it is the only way they can feel they have any power in society, at the other end of the scale, there are educated, allegedly cultured people whose over-inflated sense of their own importance makes their manners just as bad.

Volunteering at the Globe brings me into contact with a lot of this type and some days, all it seems that I do is deal with people's whose egos mean they don't think the rules should apply to them.

You aren't allowed to take photographs during the performance. Is this really too much to ask? What theatre are you actually allowed to take photos? None. But lots of people try at the Globe, possibly because they see it as a tourist attraction, more like Buckingham Palace or Trafalgar Square, than another theatre. When caught, many will try to argue that they don't see why they aren't allowed.

So for any wouldbe rule breaker, here is a comprehensive explanation. There may have been some issue about image rights, authorised images etc, but more importantly, it is distracting - to other members of the audience and more importantly, to the actors. The actors are working, doing a great job, delivering all of those hard to remember Shakespearian lines and it is disrespectful to have a flash going off in their face. How would you like it if someone came to your place of work, while you were negotiating a sale or working on a difficult spreadsheet, and someone stuck a camera in your face. Bit hard to to concentrate?

(On a side note, if you were going to sneakily take a photo, doing it without the flash on would be more subtle. And you probably don't need a flash anyway, what with the Globe being roof-less, it is like being outdoors anyway).

Then last week, the two girls stood at the front of the stage who both had their mobile phones on and were texting constantly. Rather than stopping, they argued that the "turn off mobile phones" sign didn't apply to them because they weren't talking on the phone, only texting. But they were at the front by the stage, so in full view of the actors, the people behind them could see the lights on their phones - it is rude and disrespectful. If you aren't interested in the performance, go. You've only paid £5 for a standing ticket anyway.

But the bottom line with all of this, is that these are the house rules. They aren't up for debate.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Years ago I worked with a woman who when asked her nationality (I can't remember the situation) described herself as European. I would never have felt comfortable saying that and the trip to Bruges brought this feeling home,

I loved Bruges and the Flemish people were great, but travelling through France then Belgium , I became aware of how un-European I felt. I'm not anti-EU, one of those people who is obsessed about preserving the pound and I can see the benefits of all clubbing together. But since we on our little island here, I don't think we will ever feel as much part of Europe as people who grow up on its mainland. No matter how many tunnels under the water we have, we aren't living as close to each other as the rest of Europe are and our collective lack of language ability adds to this feeling of separation.

I wonder if the residents of Hawaii feel the same about being part of the United States of America? That they are apart of it, but not as much as someone in, say, Kansas?

Monday, August 09, 2010

In Bruges

I'll admit that our decision to go to Bruges was based on loving the film In Bruges. Partly because it was cheap and convenient on the Eurostar, but mainly it was because of the film. However, we didn't encounter any Irish hitmen. Our trip did include the following:
I took a lot of photographs of the picturesque views, especially the canals.

We did a brewery tour and drank a lot of Belgian beer.

We went to a free music festival, where the audience seemed to consist mainly of glum clowns

I drank an "interesting" coconut beer from a coconut bowl.