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Kevin Spacey may be seeing red over it, but by the time I first sampled I'd Do Anything I had turned purple.
Perhaps I mean Purple - for I saw the show on the big plasma screen at a new Birmingham hotel, branded, like many trendy things these days (think bullring and brindleyplace) without capital letters.
The purplehotels chain is a self-proclaimed "no frills chic" brand launched by the Real hotel company (some of that may be capitals as well, but I've given up trying to sort it out). The company line is that they want "to bring a touch of style and cool to a hotel sector previously only defined by price".
It's been almost two weeks since my last posting - sorry about that - but I've been ill.
And being ill when you've got a not-yet-two-year-old in the house is, I've discovered, an art in itself.
There was l lying motionless in the back room when my husband slipped me a cup of tea. "Arch doesn't know you're here," he whispered.
I knew that my chances of resting would be blown as soon as the ever-perceptive toddler heard an untoward noise, so I hid, listening out for the best opportunity to sneak to the loo.
Being sick with a child, proved to be about balancing the difficulty of keeping cover against the stress of being kissed and jumped on and pulled,
By the afternoon, I decided I just about had enough strength to sing Wind the Bobbin Up and allowed myself to be discovered.
I've no doubt my recuperation was hindered as a result, but what can you do? Any tips on being poorly when you've got a little one will be gratefully received.
Meanwhile I see it is a condition worthy of psychological study. A paper has been written "Drawing on social construction theory, we explore the meaning of being an ill parent, highlighting the tension of being a parent and patient."
That's some consolation. But I just want to know how to sleep with one eye open.
Birmingham tuned in to wireless revolution reported this august organ on Monday and since I posted a long screed declaring the current wifi provision in the city to be a bit rubbish the other week I feel the need to respond.
Since the actual report this is based on appears not to be online we only have Steve Pain's article to go on, so let's Fisk this beast and figure out what it actually means. (No offense intended to Steve here, I hasten to add. He's just reporting what they give him.)
Whatever David Sullivan and Karren Brady have done to attract the attention of the City of London Police and their football corruption enquiry here's a few things they've not done:
- Looked after the old fans in preference to corporate newcomers. I used to have a season ticket in the old Main Stand, great seats that we had way before Steve Bruce and the Prem became a possibility, and we were surrounded by people who'd had their seats for much longer. Then we had a letter telling us that those seats would become premium seats, and as such thousands of pounds a season. We were offered season tickets elsewhere in the ground, but at that time the ground was full and available seats were not in good supply. Our group of four decided against keeping up our season tickets. Although I still go down occasionally, I sit in the Kop and laugh at the empty (but now comfortably padded) seats opposite.
- Priced tickets reasonably for the opposition. While blues fans enjoy winding up villa fans, in a friendly way of course, charging ÃÂ£45 for an away fan to visit us isn't nice. It doesn't foster goodwill around the country. It's about money, the sort that football is both awash with and simultaneously moaning about not having enough of. The obsession with money that turns a play-off game into a "ÃÂ£50 million game" rather than one about glory, about promotion and struggle. Blues don't have to try so hard to be like that.
- Publicly denounced the 39th game idea. Although it was David Gold that ended up de facto spokesman for the stupid plan to add a Premier League game to be played abroad, after all the other club owners sensibly shuffled away, it wouldn't have taken much for either of these high-profile media figures to say "I don't think that's a great idea".
A late night following the Birmingham Forward AGM and Deal of the Year certainly loosened the tongues of the city's business leaders. One might have expected the conversation to turn to the economic climate, the deadly rivalry between city firms, or to debate key Birmingham issues such as transport or civic leadership.
Hell no. Amongst the revelations over dinner were that Crosse & Blackwell baked beans were better than Heinz, and that Sainsbury's on Broad Street offered better networking opportunities than Spar in Brindleyplace.
Although I've never heard a better argument for work/life balance (guys, you need to stay in more and learn to cook), it's wonderfully refreshing to have such normal conversations with the people driving forward our city economy. The fact that they can gather around a single table and are happy to share such personal information bodes well for Birmingham's future.
But if an army truly marches on its stomach, Birmingham's professional services community won't get far on Pot Noodles and Ginsters pasties.
Food parcels at the ready girls...
I've been hanging on, just in case my first thoughts were hasty, but now I have to say it - Dr Who has had it.
Standing in the VIP area of the South Bank Centre yesterday, I felt distinctly uncomfortable but also rather proud to be British.
I'd gone to witness one of the handover ceremonies for the Olympic flame which was being marked with a music, dance and acrobatic extravaganza. Around 500 performers of all ages had spent the morning rehearsing beside a snowy Thames to be part of a moment in history. I doubt that they had bargained for quite what a moment in history it turned out to be - or indeed how close it came to not happening at all.
From our vantage point in a SBC office (after all, VIPs should never be exposed to the elements for any length of time), we had a spectacular view of proceedings, as well as an impromptu running commentary from the very affable host Michael Lynch and the increasingly concerned Jude Kelly, Chief Exec and Artistic Director of the South Bank respectively.
Which was just as well as it was well nigh impossible to see the Olympic torchbearer amidst the sea of blue (Chinese), yellow (Met Police) and black (special branch, I assume) uniforms as it arrived. One wag wondered if it was the security services' attempt to out do the colourful protestors, who were being very vocal about China's appalling human rights record and the brutal treatment of the Tibetan people.
Rather than bringing the torch to the stage, it was whisked away behind security cordons as Chinese security thought it too much of a risk to expose it to the waiting crowds. Yes, you did read that correctly: Chinese security was calling the shots yesterday. Thankfully, someone was able to convince them to bring out the flame, albeit nearly 50 minutes late, by which time many families had moved on, leaving increasingly bedraggled performers and a crowd of protestors. Tiny Vanessa Mae looked rather perplexed as she held the flame aloft, surrounded again by the multi-coloured security posse.
So, was it worth the trip to the capital? Well, I felt enormously disappointed for all the performers and South Bank Centre staff who'd obviously worked so hard to create an artistic spectacle which didn't quite live up to expectations. I also felt somewhat disappointed by the Olympic flame, which was curiously diminutive and unimpressive. Watching the television footage later, I felt very disappointed by the brutal treatment of some of the protestors - ironic, given the nature of their concerns about freedom of expression under Chinese rule.
But I also felt proud. Proud that so many people acknowledged the legitimate concerns of protestors but also realised that the Olympic spirit had to rise above things.
We can never truly separate sport, culture and politics, and we're naÃÂ¯ve if we think we can. However, we can use sport and culture to bring about change. Sporting embargoes made a massive impact in apartheid era South Africa. Let's use the Olympics to highlight issues in China, at the same time as celebrating human achievement. We owe our athletes that much, don't we?
And as the sun (and snow) sinks slowly in the west, we say goodbye for 18 months to our very own Midland Arts Centre.
The three-day farewell was very low key, in truth, but hugely enjoyable in classic, laidback mac fashion, a manifestation of the centre unassumingly living up to its community ideals.
Saturday's workshop to make and decorate bamboo butterflies was great fun for all the kids and hovering parents and ended with a real bang. Lots of them, actually, as Brum samba band Bloco Louco led a parade of butterflies (and more ambitious flowers) and a giant caterpillar round the park.
Today (this is being posted on Sunday evening) the highlight was a very short but amusing encounter with a sailor trapped in the body of a shiny silver whale with a maximum audience of two at a time. I went in with a grandchild and exited with a blue origami whale.
But the highlight of the weekend, indeed of my year at the mac to date, was PiggeryJokery (above). Go to www.handtomouth.co.uk for a full breakdown. Legendary Punch and Judy man Martin Bridle literally carries the show on his shoulders as partner Su Eaton provides hurdy gurdy accompaniment, medieval references and postmodern irony.
The Green Man presides over a tale of the seasons, involving a brilliantly realised bucolic everyman, the dance of life, growing, dying and tasty sausages. It's a style of perambulating theatre as old as puppetry itself, with the Jack in the Green updated by his nifty green wellies.
The kids laughed hysterically at the knockabout fun and the grown-ups picked up on all sorts of folkorish and archetypal references - including the pigs with the voice of Punch. A fantastic, magical, mythical and multilayered show that you must catch if you can.
It was a privilege to have the Green Man and his Traipsing Woman in Saturday's parade with us.
With the mac closed, the samba band will now be setting up their workshop at Moseley's Jug of Ale. See www.blocoluoco.co.uk for details. Take your own earplugs and green hair dye.
What with various ailments of family members keeping me close to base this week, it's been time to catch up on some films.
A strange phenomenon has emerged from my DVD sessions. I seem to be watching more and more films which, in theory, are interesting, quirky and out of the ordinary, in other words, worthy of the attentions of a cultural commentator.
They turn out to be well crafted but ultimately annoying because the narrative just doesn't ring true. They seem to be coming out of some film factory specialising in interesting, quirky and out of the ordinary movies. They are simply trying too hard. Which ends up as plain trying.
Let's cut to the chase. The trio of movies watched in a row which brought me to this frustrating conclusion were Hallam Foe, Brick Lane and Edmond. The first two are based on books, the third is a version of a David Mamet stage play.
The really annoying thing is that all of them feature terrific performances - from Jamie Bell (above), Tannistha Chatterjee (above) and Satish Kaushik and William H Macy respectively. Writers and directors seem to be letting down indie film audiences while the actors are giving us a reason to watch.
Notes on a Scandal is another example which springs to mind. I want to see great movies, not just great performances.
Am I being unreasonable? Anyone agree with me?
Guillemots have made me look seriously at stars. No, not birds, nor heavenly bodies but the band (above) and the classification system many publications and reviewers use to rate the merit of books, plays, films, music etc.
I think stars are skewing our appreciation of and approach to all sorts of things. They are becoming the York Notes of cultural life. Want to know all about Hamlet for your GCSE or whatever, but can't be bothered to read it? Get the Notes, go to Wikipedia.
A recent survey (yes, another one) showed that students are no longer reading set books, but watching films. Quite how you answer questions on Romeo and Juliet when your sole source is the Baz Luhrmann version (much as I like it), I don't know. Various takes on Jane Austen's novels by Andrew Davies simply miss the point or skew the emphasis of the originals.
But reading, say, a Dickens novel big enough to hold open the heaviest door, is tougher than a quick sweep through the web for enough info to answer a question. What it won't give you is the joy, the depth, and the unique voice of the original.
That's all very understandable in the world of grades, but is doing nothing to the level of cultural appreciation in this country.
Trouble is, it's a standard of coolness to have a viewpoint to trot out on everything, from Dawn Porter's hilariously exploitative TV journalism to the latest REM album.
Critics do it as well as punters. If you're a reviewer you'll be aware of the general opinion of fellow hacks. And the quickest way to peg that is count the stars rather than plough through a well-argued and perceptive review (the sort of thing Christopher Morley and Mike Davies turn out for the Birmingham Post newsprint version).
The problem can be when the star rating is not matched by the words. This usually works in the so-so area of low star levels. While many writers give a two star rating, the words are often much, much kinder.
And so to Guillemots. A friend, fan and supporter of the band and no stranger to the art of reviewing, thinks he detects a slight backlash against the ornithological outfit, with new album Red, getting some really low star ratings.
As I say, it appears to be a version of aesthetic flu, very easily caught and reviewers are famously frail creatures who want to be in with the gang, especially in London.
I've always admired Guillemots and the very individual music they produce. Red seems to me to develop further on previous efforts. How many bands could authentically conjure up and inhabit so many styles on one album, even within a track? That's what they do on Red, and many critics seem to distrust them for it.
The last band who could pull off that trick with zest and a true sense of pioneering were my all-time favourites, The Beatles.
And having listened to Red intensively for some days, I think Fyfe and friends can now be mentioned in the same breath. And this time out I finally pinned down certain characteristics of the Dangerfield vocal style - it's a 40-60 blend of Lennon and McCartney.
Stars for Red? Gotta be five.