Sorry it’s been a while. The computers at work have been on the fritz all week with the result that shifts have been rather longer than they’re meant to be, leaving me a bit on the tired side. And since (the utterly, utterly lovely) Natasha Tripney described Postcards as “passionate, humorous and intelligent” in her Guardian blog, I’ve been feeling a bit like I’ve got something to live up to - which is hard to do when news-soaked and sleep-deprived.
Also, what with the Northern Rock farrago taking up every last inch of newsprint and with the blogsophere mostly split between further dissections of A Disappointing Number and the rolling discussion about blogging versus reviewing - both of which I’ve already had a say about - it seemed like as good a time as any to be overtired and under-productive.
That said, I did come across what is possibly my favourite ever personals ad in TheLondonPaper on Thursday. No, I’m not looking. But, as literary forms go, the personal ad is hugely underrated - little haiku-like mini-windows onto rolling vistas of desire and despair and all in 160 characters (unless it’s the LRB personals, which are in an altogether different league). What more could a bus journey need? Certainly I’d rather read a page of personal ads than yet another account of a hapless pop moppette having a few too many in one nasty nitespot or other. The ad reads as follows:
“Exotic Asian princess, late 30s, fashionable, vivacious, kind, seeks tall, slim, dark hair/eyes, single, quiet, Catholic man, 38-45, for...”
For a Graham Greene novel, surely?
Actually, what she’s after is “friendship” - if any of you dear readers do happen to fulfil her stringent requirements and want such a chum, her number is 0904 245 0200 with the voicebox 08569. Just don’t come complaining when it turns out that she has been working for the communists all along, and became a nun once she realised that she had fallen in love with you - the man she had been sent to betray.
Nanny State Gone Mad!
Elsewhere in the papers this week, aside from the endless soul-searching over the “first run on an English bank in 148 years,” the police seemed to be getting a good kicking. Mostly over the rather depressing tale of how two community special constable types were instructed by their superiors not to dive into a lake to save two drowning boys because they had not had the necessary training. Having scented blood and established a theme, however, the press do like to expand a one-off into a trend. So it wasn’t especially surprising to see a story about Greater Manchester Police being banned from using bicycles surface in a few papers this morning being paraded as a further example of health and safety regulations Gone Mad ( - a prize of some conkers to the first person to spot a “conkers banned in school” story this year, btw).
That said, the last we heard from the police was their clamour for more firepower. It’s come to something when anyone thinks that a bike is more dangerous than a gun.
Celebrity Love Lost
While we’re here, I should also put in a quick plug for the discussion that I’m producing and appearing in at the Finborough Theatre tonight. It is on the subject of “celebrity casting” in theatre. It starts at half seven. If you happen to read this in time, do come along if you’re not busy. No doubt a more detailed post on the subject will appear tomorrow.
Aside from some lovely new stuff from the usual suspects in the blogosphere (names listed to your right), a couple of arts pieces did catch my attention over the weekend:
In a recent Financial Times, Clement Crisp’s review of Tango Fire is worth a read if you’re interested in critical writing. I hardly ever remember to read dance reviews properly - partially because the prose style of the ones I’m more usually exposed to isn’t really my bag - but this struck me as fascinating. Obviously I’ve no idea how likely he is to be right, or even whether its accurate - but it's great to read engagement with a largely separate artform being conducted in a different idiom. It makes me keen to read up on the debates that surround dance criticism, and see if they compare, or if there are lessons to be learned.
Also on the subject of critical pursuits, Mark Kermode’s piece for the Observer about his battle to overcome his film-centric ignorance of television is something to which I intend to return when I have time to read it properly - interesting to note, in passing, that he refers to the recent Nick Hytner/theatre critics rumpus. Obviously even those without a vested interest were taking notes.
And finally, anyone with a taste for the sublime and ridiculous should immediately read this remarkable interview with 17-year-old actor Nicholas Hoult off of Skins talking with great enthusiasm and frankness about his obsession with Nando’s:
"I do romantic meals with my girlfriend. Lit candles and everything. But I take her to Nando's too. She knows that I'm obsessed with it, and she's pretty understanding about going there for dinner."