Monday 24 December 2018

I haven't made a gingerbread house in years but I was entranced this afternoon by the Gingerbread City of more than 70 buildings created by architects and engineers and on display at the V&A until January 6. (If you can find it, badly signposted and tucked away on the 4th floor.) Mostly grown-ups there this afternoon and it wasn't crowded but as it's free for children, I think it's the best value Christmas outing in London. (£6 for accompanying adults.) I thought I'd drop in for half hour but there was so much intricate detail that I went round four times giggling over Polo mint bicycles and gingerbread apartment blocks  furnished with allsorts and a sugarloop high line. I'm inspired!

Sunday 2 December 2018

Did anyone else struggle with this? It's got all the ingredients - Occupied Paris casting a long shadow over the present - but it simply didn't work for me and at times seemed to be veering perilously towards time travel/magic realism which seems a lazy way out for a writer of Sebastian Faulkes's calibre. Not one of his best, for sure.  3* if I'm being generous.
There's a running joke about the characters' difficulties with the French language that made me smile, though.

'After we had the onglet and the anglais,' said Julian, 'I invented a story for Hannah.The quand one. Do you remember?...
'It was something like ... Quel cant qu'on raconte quand que le Comte est con qui racompte ses comptes. Quant á la conte du concombre, par conséquence, quand il danse le can-can dans le camp á Caen.'

Which does sum up rather neatly why we English struggle as soon as we cross the Channel. Hein? 

Saturday 1 December 2018

I can't tell you how much I enjoyed seeing The Favourite last night: Olivia Colman is brilliant as gouty, petulant Queen Anne - it's clever and funny and the costumes and candlelit palaces are heaven for someone like me. There's a small display of costumes from the film in the cinema foyer. (Everyman, King's Cross)
There was so much to take in - I wanted to linger over every detail and wished I could shout, 'Hold that C18 cake! Lady in Row F needs a close-up!' But before the film started, they carried in a vast blue and white cake - if you look at the trailer, you'll see the Queen stuffing her face at 0.32 - and cut up big slabs for the audience. A taste of the movie ... that's a trend we should encourage!
Now I really want to see it a second time. (And not just for more cake!)