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w/e 2023-03-19

Good evening. This week I visited my parents – including a nice amble across London on the way – and then Mary and I had a lovely couple of days in central London to celebrate my birthday.

§ Obviously astrology is nonsense but I’ve always had a surprising number of good friends who are also Pisceans and on Friday I shared a 145th birthday party with two excellent examples, Alice and Russell, which was very much fun.

It was definitely the most covid-risky thing I’ve done in three years – many people in a small space, talking loudly for several hours – and I can imagine some of the people I see anxiously discussing covid online (e.g. on MetaFilter), who are still barely leaving their houses, still wearing masks outside even, would have a fit at the idea. But, I guess, when do we start living our lives again? We did go to a pub for a birthday lunch last year but this felt like the first proper celebration, as if all that never happened, that I’ve been to in three years.

I paced myself, alcohol-wise, by alternately drinking Cokes which I guess is why I remained wide awake until 4am, giving my brain plenty of opportunity to agonise about people I forgot to invite. Well done brain!

Other than that though, such a very, very good evening with so, so many lovely people. 🥳

§ Looking for something to do on the Saturday I’d almost ruled out any theatre trips because nothing grabbed me enough to justify the cost. But during the week I read the Guardian’s review of Guys & Dolls at the Bridge Theatre and the reviewer said they’d probably have enjoyed it even more if they’d been in the standing section close to the action.

I’m not into musicals at all but I love Guys & Dolls. When I’d looked at tickets there were only a handful of seats, scattered around the place, all too expensive. I’d discounted the “Immersive” standing tickets because (a) standing and (b) immersive – I am not a fan of immersive theatre and feared I’d end up being made to enjoy rolling dice with actors pretending to be gamblers or something. Don’t immerse me, just tell me a story! But that review swayed me, and I booked standing tickets, and the show was excellent and we didn’t have to interact with anyone!

The staging works really well in the round, with the actors on sections of floor that rise up as needed so there’s always a decent view. We felt very close and involved without, you know, actually being involved. Great performances, especially Marisha Wallace as Adelaide, and Daniel Mays who was just right as Nathan Detroit.

It was our first time at the relatively new Bridge Theatre too, which seemed nice, although the front-of-house was a little chaotic: all standing audience members have to check coats and bags at the temporary cloakroom, and there’s no queueing system, so it’s not great. And no one actually asked for our tickets at any point, which seemed odd.

§ A photo of the Barbican Centre's Lakeside Terrace in the sunshine, taken at a jaunty angle
I happened to pass throughh the Barbican during a few moments of welcome sunshine

§ I think this was the first time we’ve both spent time walking around London since we moved and so we had a lot of “What used to be there?” as we passed various new businesses or giant holes in the ground. It’s only been a bit over three years but so much has changed already.

I’m always bemused by the queues that form outside apparently random cafés etc. when there are alternatives that seem much the same only a short walk away. Why queue outside this coffee shop when there are so many decent ones you can just walk straight into?

But we enjoyed walking around and seeing so many things and people, and had a couple of lovely breakfasts at Lantana, and a nice birthday dinner at Andrew Edmunds. Good work, us.

§ Possibly like you, we finished watching season one of The Last of Us this week and enjoyed it a lot. It seemed very good although I found it hard to watch like a normal TV show because I was comparing it so much to my vague memory of the game, and trying to think how a non-game-player would view it. Despite the two flashback episodes being good, they did hold up the narrative a fair bit but, then, I dislike most flashbacks anyway, so 🤷🏻‍♂️

§ We are now back in the countryside so it’s back to normal, one year older. Stupid time.

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