Monday 26 October 2020

Lovely to be back at the Coliseum yesterday - not looking quite like this, but a very enthusiastic, socially-distanced audience was clearly thrilled to be there for a 'secret' Mozart concert to test drive the new normal. (Perhaps not that big a secret as I'd read about it online! Free tickets in the dress circle - what a treat!) When the artistic director urged us to use the facilities - to trial the lavatory queue algorithm - we felt quite guilty that we'd been before we set out! I'll admit I was doubtful about how social distancing would work in such a huge theatre - everything I've been to recently has been on a much smaller scale. I don't know how many hours and how many algorithms it has taken - but what a smooth operation! And there was something so joyful about being in a theatre again.

Friday 23 October 2020

Arriving damply at St John's, Smith Square, yesterday, it struck me that lunchtime concerts during the pandemic are akin to Myra Hess's concerts at the National Gallery during the war for keeping the spirits up. I'm not the most musical person but I've been trying to go to something every week - and this was the most ambitious so far with the entire string section of the Royal Philharmonic rather than a single lonely cellist/pianist. And the music - all C20-C21 British works - was exquisite. Finzi's Eclogue brought tears to my eyes.
I'll admit that I'd never even heard of Doreen Carwithen (1922-2003) whose career was overshadowed by her husband's(same old story!) but who composed the scores for over thirty films;I just love the title of her overture ODTAA ... One Damn Thing After Another. Yesterday we heard her Concerto for piano and string orchestra: 'Rachmaninoff might have written it if he had belonged to the same stable as Vaughan Williams,' said a BBC producer in 1952 - and that was what intrigued me enough to buy my ticket! So lovely to see a queue to get in and a concert hall full of people as damp as I was - it felt like London was coming back to life.

Tuesday 20 October 2020

Well, that's £11 I'll never see again! I went with low expectations that were amply fulfilled. If ever a film didn't need to be made - and if ever it was totally predictable that I'd go out of curiosity! Even Manderley looked totally wrong. 

Kristin Scott Thomas as Mrs Danvers is the only one who can actually act. Simpering, silly Lily James and Armie Hammer - I thought that was toothpaste! - look as if they've ambled in from playing stock characters in an Agatha Christie murder mystery. There's so much snogging in the South of France that when Mrs van Hopper says,'You're a quick worker,' you're inclined to agree. Caroline de Winter's portrait on the staircase - surely by Gainsborough?  - has been revamped into a sexy Sargent swagger portrait ... nooooo! And as a friend has just reminded me ... Maxim is wearing a vest!I mean, can you imagine it ... Rebecca in her gossamer nightdress and he keeps his vest on!

If this is Rebecca for a younger generation ... they don't know what they're missing. 

Monday 19 October 2020

 Can't say I was overly impressed at Frieze Sculpture in Regent's Park this afternoon. This, um, is a sandwich: pallid concrete Wonderloaf, indeterminate filling. Standing in opposition to traditional public sculpture, its horizontal configuration - inviting viewers to sit - opposes veneration and pomposity through its prosaic absurdity and functional accessibility. 

Which sounds very pompous to me! It's by a Young British Artist who must now be a Middle-Aged British Artist looking forward to her bus pass. But oh, the colours in the park, especially in the English Garden - which always feels so very French. The kind of day that makes me think of this.

Wednesday 14 October 2020

At last ... something I want to watch on TV! I'd completely forgotten that we were due a second series of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials - hurrah! This series covers the second book The Subtle Knife and opens with Lyra's arrival in the deserted city of Cittàgazze - so brilliantly recreated that it's exactly as I imagined it. I've only seen the first episode but five minutes in and I was enthralled again by parallel worlds and glamorous, dangerous Mrs Coulter; it's so good that I might forgive BBC for the absolute dearth of anything worth watching through the pandemic. 

Monday 12 October 2020

You wait seven months to go to the cinema ... and luckily Supernova, with Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci, was absolutely terrific! (Bring tissues!) It's London Film Festival this week... no marquees, no celeb sightings, no last minute cheap tickets, but on the plus side in normal years this would have sold out weeks before I got my act together! So nice to be back in a cinema that was (almost) as full as social distancing permits. There's a review here but I'd give it 5*

Friday 2 October 2020

 Feeling a bit sad that I've no reason to make one this year. I was very proud of that mouse!