Category Archives: Current Events

What’s the buzz?

Thanksgiving Recipe 2014

London Thanksgiving Dinner
1 Portuguese
1 Australian
1 Briton
1 Irishman
1 Dutchwoman
1 American
8 supermarket trips
3 hours of cooking
5 Thanksgiving dishes (divided)
2 holiday candles
3 bottles of wine

Mix for 3 hours, stirring in 20 minutes’ worth of stories explaining the origin of Thanksgiving holiday and traditions (Optional: add 1/2 cup skepticism and a healthy dash of snark).

To make gluten-free or historically accurate, may substitute alternative Thanksgiving accounts.

Serve hot.

The Making of Harry Potter: Warner Brothers Studio Tour

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At last: my birthday gift to me!

I laughed.

I cried.

(Well, nearly.)

And I wandered Leavesden Studios in a daze, remembering with fondness every moment of Harry Potter mania – the seven books, the midnight release parties, the costumes, fan fiction, and hushed spoiler whispers – and the anticipation of the films that brought the magic to life.IMG_1132IMG_1065On the Warner Brothers Studio Tour, eager fans (e.g. yours truly + Marijn, my trusty comrade in arms) can revel with abandon in the literary and cinematic masterpiece of fifteen years of Harry Potter – from the 1997 publication of the Philosopher’s Stone to the box set release of all eight films.

Props, sets, costumes, interviews, pranks and quirks, production secrets and behind-the-scenes gossip – soak it all in, children of all ages. The magic lives on. IMG_1124

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Waiting for Godot

“Have you not done tormenting me with your accursed time! It’s abominable! When! When! One day, is that not enough for you, one day he went dumb, one day I went blind, one day we’ll go deaf, one day we were born, one day we shall die, the same day, the same second, is that not enough for you? They give birth astride of a grave, the light gleams an instant, then it’s night once more.” -Pozzo, Waiting for Godot, by Samuel Beckett

Time is a funny thing. A week can pass by in an instant and an instant can seem to take a week. In this rushed and busy city filled with rushed and busy people trying to keep one appointment before striding purposefully off to the next, time is always on the mind yet never considered.

There just never seems to be enough of it.

Last night a group of us went to see Samuel Beckett’s classic drama Waiting for Godot at The Cockpit Theatre in Marylebone. Just as Beckett himself intended, the play encouraged me to stop – for two hours – and ponder time. Time and existence and sanity and boredom and human rights and striated society and companionship… But mostly time.

As I have felt overwhelmed by the speed of time’s passage these last few weeks, it was refreshing to be afforded a chance to pause and reflect.

“We have time to grow old. The air is full of our cries. But habit is a great deadener.” – Vladimir

Without a place of my own until this week, I have struggled to develop routine – that great structure to which I cling for calm and comfort – and yet I am grateful for the spontaneity that six weeks of wandering has offered. I am grateful for London theatre and friends who will invite me along. I am grateful to be in a rushed and busy city, but too, I am grateful for my flat that offers me a degree of sanity and security. I would hate to wait for Godot night after night after night.

“Nothing happens. Nobody comes, nobody goes. It’s awful.” – Estragon

Authenticity

“I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”

Many will recognise the cadence and application of these words, yet among the greatest human debates – following ‘why am I here?’ and ‘is there a god?’ – is the question of what is truth. As some have argued, truth is merely that which is perceived by each individual, thus allowing even conflicting stories and fantastic mythologies all to be ‘true’. There’s some philosophy for your morning coffee.

Nowhere does the truth debate shine more strongly than in the criminal courtroom. There, truth is on trial, even more than the accused.

Take, for instance, the murder trial of Amanda Knox. A British university student named Meredith Kercher was found dead in her room on 1 November 2007 and her flatmate Amanda stands accused. Beyond those two undeniable points, the story gets muddled, the facts conflict, and characters feature or fade depending on which version of truth is on the witness stand.

The intrigue surrounding the trial is perhaps more true than the murder case itself, and that is exactly what director Michael Winterbottom and writer Paul Viragh attempt to portray in their upcoming film The Face of an Angel.

Theirs is a true story.

The script follows the character of Thomas, a Hollywood film director trying to produce a film about the Amanda Knox trial. He begins with a book released by a Rome-based journalist who has been covering the trial. Here the viewer begins the ultra-meta journey of the director and writer themselves. The book and its author actually exist and they served as the starting point for this film script. Thus the viewers watch Thomas, embodying Michael, ‘the director’, watching the journalists, ‘the media’, watching the court case, ‘the instrument of truth and justice’, continuing on through a rabbit hole collection of perspectives – the boyfriend, the eerie landlord/blogger, the disengaged English art student, the family of the accused, the family of the victim, the slew of witnesses, the lawyers, the Hollywood production team, Thomas’ family in Los Angeles, and on and on.

Each presents a true angle. More importantly, each wants Thomas to select his own angle by which to approach the script and make it digestible to audiences seeking the truth. Thomas (Michael and Paul) struggles to reconcile that there may be many truths or none at all. His version of the trial story will be but another ‘true’ perception, a presentation with all the supporting frills and emotional appeal to make it marketable to the blockbuster world.

The Face of an Angel may be one of the most authentic (if one can use the term) trial portrayals: a critique on media and presentation and, I would argue, our understanding of truth itself, the film is a story of love and loss. It is not for everyone – a bit of a self-indulgent mindfuck – but nonetheless fascinating, beautifully made, and a reminder that the jury is still out on the truth question.

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Routemaster

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Happy 60th birthday to the London double-decker!

He For She campaign launch

I decided that I was a feminist and this seemed uncomplicated to me. But my recent research has shown me that feminism has become an unpopular word. Women are choosing not to identify as feminist. Apparently I am among the ranks of women whose expressions are seen as too strong, too aggressive, isolating, and anti-men. Unattractive even. […] And if you still hate the word—it is not the word that is important, it’s the idea and the ambition behind it.

 UN Women: He For She

Scottish Referendum

Watching the results roll in all day today!