Writing from May 2005

First time floating voter

I never thought I'd be a floating voter. I've never understood how anyone could be so dithery as to have no idea who to vote for. My family's always been solid Labour, but when I reached voting age my friend Carl, a Tory, suggested that as I got older I'd probably drift right and see the error of my lefty ways. I didn't believe him of course -- I couldn't imagine not being Labour. But back then I couldn't imagine Labour not being Labour.

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In Personal on 3 May 2005. 6 comments. Permalink

Ten days of Tiger

After ten days of use, a few initial thoughts on Tiger, Mac OS X 10.4, and whether it's worth upgrading.

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In Mac on 10 May 2005. 5 comments. Permalink

Acting classes

Last year I began taking a few acting classes, and I've been meaning to write about the experience since. Thinking about a subject for too long makes the potential writing grow over-long and over-stale; there's a lot to be said for writing something short and quick, particularly for those unfortunate enough to be faced with reading it.

First things first: why am I doing acting classes? A few reasons, in vague order of importance...

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In City Lit on 11 May 2005. 2 comments. Permalink

Royal Mail spam

The Royal Mail is constantly battling against all those modern private companies who want a slice of its action. In theory I'm all in favour of some kind of monopoly on the universal delivery of post in the UK. Just as it makes sense to me that one company should run a rail network, it seems simplest to have the Royal Mail run the mail. But every time the post(wo)man pops a bunch of junk through our letterbox I want to see the company die a little.

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In Misc on 13 May 2005. 12 comments. Permalink

Europa and Hackensack

I do like some soppy songs, and Fountains of Wayne's Hackensack is one of them. It's not just boy loses girl, but boy loses childhood girlfriend who then becomes famous and successful. Somehow this makes the song even sadder and it reminded me of Thomas Dolby's Europa and the Pirate Twins (and its less good sequel Eastern Bloc):

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In Music on 15 May 2005. 1 comment. Permalink

Classic travel

I'm hopeless at going on holiday -- I can put it off forever unless there's a reason to go for a specific event. But I liked Paul Theroux's description of why he travels in his article in the Guardian on Saturday, about a trip to the Colombian jungle:

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In Misc on 17 May 2005. Permalink

Lorca: A Dream of Life by Leslie Stanton

I scanned a couple of biographies of Federico Garcia Lorca to look for information about Blood Wedding, and specifically anything that might relate to the part of Bridegroom, which I'm currenly trying to get the hang of. If I had more time I should probably read the whole biography...

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In Books, City Lit on 20 May 2005. 2 comments. Permalink

The cast

Before my first acting class began I was apprehensive about my future classmates. I wondered if they'd all be overly-excitable, precious wannabes, desperate to become famous, rather than to develop any skills. I'm not sure where I acquired this image of drama students but, if it's true, maybe it only applies to youngsters at proper drama schools, because most students I've come across in City Lit classes have been ego-free and down-to-earth.

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In City Lit on 20 May 2005. Permalink

Introduction to acting

I was looking forward to performing, and the first two or three weeks of the Introduction to Acting class, in autumn 2004, didn't disappoint. Given various criteria our small groups had to come up with short scenes and perform in front of the rest of the class. It was such a thrill to do this, working closely and physically with people on something fun. It felt much more like playing rather than serious acting and, despite their nerves, most people seemed to enjoy it.

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In City Lit on 21 May 2005. 2 comments. Permalink

The endless musical relay race

Dan Hill inflicted passed me the Musical Baton, an endless chain letter of musical blather. But it would be wrong to turn down the opportunity of talking about music I like. Desert Island Discs without the drawback of Sue Lawley.

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In Music on 25 May 2005. Permalink

‘An Actor Prepares’ by Constantin Stanislavski

Because I'm usually immersed in web stuff, it's interesting to read a text whose ideas are still relevant to its target profession 70 years on. It was mostly a more enjoyable read than I expected -- it's written as if by a student of acting, reporting on a year of training. It makes clear how much more there can be to acting than just "pretending to be someone else". Unfortunately I kind of lost it around two-thirds of the way through, when he starts talking about transmitting "rays" to each other, and things get a bit hazy and repetitive. Maybe that stuff makes more sense when the preceding chapters have been properly absorbed and used. (Also see my notes on Sanford Meisner on Acting and Uta Hagen's Respect for Acting.)

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In Acting books, Books on 27 May 2005. 101 comments. Permalink

Royal Society of Chemistry’s new website

The Royal Society of Chemistry recently re-launched their website with tasty XHTML/CSS templates constructed by me. As with a previous project, Wood Mackenzie, design was by Wilson Fletcher and the turning of the static templates into a functioning website was done in-house.

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In Personal, Web Development on 31 May 2005. Permalink