As part of her Christmas present, I booked me & The Girl onto a tour of BBC Television Centre, and we went along on Sunday.
As probably everyone in the country knows, the BBC have sold this wonderful old iconic building, and have been distributing the teams across the country. Many up to Salford and many over to the new extension of Broadcasting House in Portland Place, so this really was the last chance to look round the place before it gets turned into a hotel or knocked down or something!
As almost all the teams have moved, there’s not really a lot going on in the building now – so we didn’t see any live action, but this really didn’t detract from the enjoyment.
The tour guides are specially trained, and there is still some interaction – luckily for The Girl (who wants to be a weather girl), the weather team are still currently based in the building, and so we saw a couple of them recording their broadcast – and even better, she got to have a go herself!
We went inside one of the studios too, and they explained the process of setting-up and filming etc, although I was rather dumbstruck by all the lights on the ceiling!
When we got to the end of the tour, they had a little room that had everything set up so that someone could be a newsreader (although everyone in our group was apparently too shy!) or for 3 people to do a quiz.
I volunteered for the quiz, whcih turned out to be on BBC show intros. I surprised myself for being quite quick on the buzzer. I got eastenders, and then Casualty, and then Last of the Summer Wine, at which point I decided I wouldn’t buzz, but the guide asked me whether i ever go out.
“I don’t even watch any of those shows!” I replied. “So how do you know the theme tunes so well?” “Well, they come on and I think “I’m not watching this rubbish!” and turn it over!” I answered!
I still won a pen, which The Girl happily took off of me
If you get the chance, I highly recommend going round. At £11 / adult and £6 / child it was a very reasonable and enjoyable couple of hours – and you wont get another chance there. The last tour date is 8th Feb.
I will definitely be booking up for us to look round New Broadcasting House when they start the tours in April!
I’m not sure how I came about this book – I think I remember seeing a tweet about it somewhere…but don’t hold me to that.
The marketing splurge of it being ‘Neverwhere for the next generation’ really drew me in, as I absolutely adore Neverwhere.
I can see what the connection was – it has the whole ‘alternative London’ going on that straddles this world with another secret one inhabited by the faeries or Fey, but at the same time it’s nothing like Neverwhere at all!
It starts when a very normal Londoner is going about his very normal life and suddenly has a heart attack on the Tube. He is revived by a woman who allows him to call her ‘Blackbird’ – and tells him that he has ‘come into his powers’ and is no longer safe.
I loved this book. I loved the tiny glimpses of London. I love the way that the author took real, slightly odd London rituals/happenings and built up a fantastical reason for them occurring.
At first, I felt that the story was rather convaluted and wasn’t ready to buy into it, but without me realising, I had suddenly really bought into it, quite early on and just eagerly looking forward to finding out what happens next. I know that this is meant to be one of a set (not sure how many yet) and I will definitely be reading the next one after I have read my next book club books.
I was lucky enough to get a signed copy of this book sent to me by the author to review (which was nice!) and was rushing through the awful Like Bees To Honey so that I could read it.
If you like your Victorian romps, then you’ll love this book as that is exactly what it is. It definitely isn’t a ‘murder-mysetry’ though, as the murderer is revealed in the second chapter…although all is not as it seems, so it is more of a murder-thriller.
There are two voices used to tell the story throughout the book, and one of these is the one that starts the story – that of Corney Sage, a proper chirpy chappy Londoner type. An orphaned, carrot-topped comedian, clog-dancer and clown whose life revolves around his shows and the theatre/circus life.
At first, I found his ‘voice’ a little hard to get into – but that only lasted a few pages, and then I was immersed.
In the true style of Victorian romps, there was enough carriage travel, hurried letters, acquiring rooms etc to give a real feeling of movement around the country.
I loved the twist in the tale which keeps things interesting all the way through. I’ll definitely look out for any more of Ann Featherstone’s books – in fact it looks like there’s one coming out soon!
I have been going to Lovebox for about seven year now I believe. I remember when it was just one day and was over in Clapham.
The main reason for me having loved Lovebox all these years wasn’t just the fantastic mix of chilled but partying atmosphere but mainly because it was run by Groove Armada – who have been my favourite group for many years.
This year’s Lovebox was always going to be different. It was in Victoria Park, hackney, same as the last few years, but for the first time, it was on for THREE days…and no Groove Armada! I was worried that the absence of Superstylin’ might spoil the whole experience for me – but it didn’t.
I went on the Friday with one mate, and saw some fab bands who I hadn’t even heard of before, and which I’m going to have to look up because I can’t remember their names now. Friday was very chilled, and not as packed. It’s the first time Lovebox had done a Friday, and it really did feel different – more like a day in the park with some music going on
The day culminated on the main stage with the Noisettes (with their totally mental lead singer, singing whilst doing a crab at one point), Chase & Status and the Dizzee Rascal, who was brilliant and brought it all to a grand first day close!
On the Saturday (with 2 different mates), I was gutted that I Blame Coco were on so early, which meant I HAD to be back there for 1.10! But it was worth it. Other highlights of the day were the always fantastic The Nextmen who we danced energetically to til my dodgy leg started playing up. We saw latin bands, rappers, soul, quite a few MCs, then we wandered down to watch Paloma Faith, who was well worth it. She was bouncy, flamboyant and pitch perfect.
There was one of those moments where you just couldn’t have planned it. She was doing a cover of I Need Your Lovin’ and she’s got to the first “I need your lovin’……like the sunshine…” and just as she said sunshine, one major beam of sunlight suddenly spotlighted her on the stage. She grinned, shouted “Thankyou sun!” and got a huge cheer from the crowd
As always, Lovebox had fantastic weather. in fact in all the time I’ve been going, I think I’ve only ever seen a little rain. Last year during Florence & The Machine, it rained for 5 minutes, and the next day, while Doves were on, me and my mate were dancing at the Relentless stage, and there was a fine drizzle that we hadn’t even noticed, LOL
So, who else did we see on saturday? Grandmaster Flash, some weird people doing the Kama Sutra (we just missed How To Survive A Zombie Attack and Stavros Flatley), we went on the Just Dance stage and did a brilliant Rocky routine to Eye Of The Tiger. We went to see Mark Ronson, but decided after one song that he wasn’t what we were craving, so we went and saw the brilliant Yeasayer (and missed Duran Duran joining Ronson on stage – but we saw them last year, so that’s OK)…we then also decided that Roxy Music would be too much of a come-down, so we stayed and saw Empire of the Sun – and the atmosphere was electric.
I had a weekend pass, and was planning to go on the Sunday and see Hot Chip and Grace Jones, but two full days on my dodgy leg were just too much in the end and I actually spent Sunday on the sofa, barely able to walk.
But oh, was it worth it. Everyone in London should experience the fantasticness that is Lovebox. I can’t wait til next year
Being a North London girl, even the title of this book actually gives me shivers. To go ‘south of the river’ I have to remember my passport and make sure all of my jabs are up to date. There is probably an even bigger North/South London divide than there is a North/South England divide!
That aside, I liked the blurb on the book, and was expecting something light and Tony Parsons-esque. And seeing as the story begins on the night of the 1997 general elections, I thought it would all be scarily relevant.
And it started really well – the election results and people’s reaction to the change of government was so eerily similar to what we had all just been through in the UK that I coasted through the first few chapters. But then I kind of hit a wall.
The story is set out in chapters from each person’s view – and there are five main characters. Nat, his wife Libby, his Uncle Jack, his best friend Harry and his former student Anthea. However, the Jack sections were so disparate from the rest of the story that they just didn’t flow – in fact for ages, I couldn’t see what relevance the Jack sections had, until I re-read the back of the book and saw ‘Uncle Jack’ mentioned.
And I thin that this sums up what the book was to me. It didn’t feel like a complete integrated story, it was a collection of a few short stories and ideas, loosely bound together to make them feel they belonged in the book together. This was aggravated by the fact that Harry, Anthea and Nat are all writers, and there were also examples of their work wove in.
Perhaps some readers enjoy this, perhaps it’s a welcome interlude from the ‘main story’, but if I am in the mood for reading a loosely-themed collection of short stories, I will pick up a compilation of short stories!
I didn’t even like any of the characters. It felt that their flaws were examined so deeply that instead of seeing them as characteristics that made them more ‘real’, it just made them completely annoying, unlikeable and I ended up wanting them to have something horrible happen to them. All of them.
It took me ages to finish this book – I wouldn’t recommend it.
I was looking for some things to do with The Girl last week, and found a show that I thought she’s enjoy. Unfortunately it started Friday night, and ended tonight – which was a weekend she was with her dad. I begged and pleaded and he agreed to drop her to me at the Southbank this afternoon so that I could take her.
One of the best £22.50 (for both of us) that I have spent.
If you get a chance, do go and see these three amazingly talented Finnish guys (especially if you have kids). Petit Mal by the Race Horse Company is cool, ‘urban’, humourous and simply breathtaking. we saw it in the Queen Elizabeth Hall, which I haven’t been to for years.
The three performers come from different backgrounds – one studied contemporary circus and specialises in the Chinese pole (red trousers in the photo) – he can do amazing things, holding incredible poses and free-falling down the pole from a great height to stop just an inch or two from the ground. Another is a former Finnish breakdancing champion and has combined this with an art of falling (you have to watch the video to understand). The last specialises in trampoline acrobatics, which converts to huge bouncy balls too.
I can hardly describe it. The Girl was mesmerised and shouted, clapped, whooped and got completely over-excited. there were a few minutes that were a bit slow, but I think that was to incorporate the fact that they really are a young, 3 man show and had to set everything up in-between sequences, so tried to put some ‘filler’ in whilst they were doing it – but i don’t think they’ve quite perfected it yet.
I’d love to see how they develop their skills – and will definitely be taking The Girl to see them again.
as I couldn’t really describe it – just watch the video to get a small flavour of the show.
Maps are fantastic. In the highest technical sense, it’s fab to stick my X10′s GPS on and watch myself wandering around the streets of London (usually trying to find a random bar that a friend has sent me the postcode for!), but at it’s absolutely least technical but most amazing, there are maps like this.
How much time must have gone into completing that masterpiece. ‘The Island‘ must have taken more time, patience and willing than I can imagine having for anything at all!
Oh, and here’s my bit. I LOVE the way that Walthamstow Village is tagged as ‘The Middle Classes’ LOL. (Make sure you click on it to see it full size)
I met up with an old colleague (E) on the spur of the moment last night. she is someone that I worked pretty closely with for many years, and someone who is very well known, liked and respected at my old workplace.
Her daughter (L) also used to work in the same department as me, and we too forged a pretty good friendship.
So, me and E were having a lovely catch-up in Camden – drinking, gossiping and she was giving me the lowdown on what was going on there. and LOWdown seemed to be the right word for this, as everything seems such ‘bad news’ at the moment, and noone seems to be particularly motivated about anything.
Anyway, we’d had a few drinks, and this sleazy guy came over and started to try to chat me up. Which I found cringey and E found hilarious. she then wanted to go to the loo and I wouldn’t let her, as i was worried that the guy would come over and corner me while she went. luckily, at this point, L called her and said she was in a bar in Charlotte Street and that we should go over and meet her.
So we did (E still busting for a wee). When we got there, I was surprised as there were a few people from my old work there, and I hadn’t realised they would be.
And they all looked miserable. All of them (apart from L who was a bit drunk by then, and is a very happy person anyway…and works from home a lot, which probably helps).
It made me feel so grateful that I left. It was a hard decision at the time (after 17 years there), but whenever I speak to people still there, I love the fact that my life is so busy but stress-free at work. the fact that I am appreciated, listened to and the fact that things get done without reams of red-tape, working parties, procedures for everything and the fact that my directors are inspirational, motivational and innovative.
Best move I ever made.