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jt-304Part 1 of my Gatsby weekend was attending the Saturday matinee performance of a new ballet based on The Great Gatsby by The Northern Ballet at Sadler’s Wells. Wonderful mix of modern and more traditional dance styles, incredibly clever sets, jazz and fabulous costumes. Enjoyed it very much indeed.

1A wee bit of culture via one of the great literary adaptations with wonderful music by Prokoviev. I try to see this every time it’s performed at Sadler’s Wells and it never disappoints. This was the turn of the National Ballet of Canada  with new choreography and glorious visuals – a series of Renaissance paintings brought to life. Really, really lovely and gloriously moving.

Signing up for the 2010 Graphic Novel Challenge gave me the perfect excuse (in case I really thought I needed one) to re-read the Neil Gaiman Sandman series from scratch, alongside the fascinating-and-occasionally-dipped-into-but-never-properly-read Sandman Companion by Hy Bender. And of course you start at the beginning, with Preludes and Nocturnes.

The thing about the need for an excuse is that my TBR pile (which with my tendency to be unable to avoid buying books plus all the stuff the Book God has in his possession) has actually become a TBR room, if not taking over the whole house, and so any re-reading has to be carefully thought through because there are just so many new(ish) books waiting for me to pick them up.

This is a problem that will not go away for two reasons:

  • the Book God and I currently have a combined age of 106, and if you assume that we both started buying our own books as teenagers (let’s say arbitrarily 15) then that’s potentially 76 years of book buying

Which brings me to reason number 2:

  • I am constitutionally incapable of getting rid of anything vaguely book shaped. At all. So I almost certainly have just about everything I have bought since I was a teenager

So you can see my problem.

Nevertheless the draw of Sandman was irresistible and I ploughed on, really enjoying the opportunity to get back inside a world that I have always enjoyed. And then  another issue hit me – how do I review this? I mean, I can’t really review this as if I have come to it fresh, because I haven’t, and it is such a well-loved series and so many other bloggers have written about it all so eloquently. So I’m not going to attempt the feat at all.

I love it still, and if you haven’t read the series I urge you to have a go.

———–

I’ve also had a couple of relatively rare outings this week (I don’t count cocktails with Silvery Dude and friend on Wednesday because in my simple little mind that’s the sort of thing I should be doing every day); no, this is proper going out for the evening stuff, involving:

  • on Thursday, the Birmingham Royal Ballet performing Sleeping Beauty at the London Coliseum – wonderful stuff with costumes based on the court of Louis XIV and a classic fairy tale on stage the way it should be done
  • on Saturday, The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers at the Royal Albert Hall, with the full score performed live by the London Philharmonic Orchestra – and lovely to see Howard Shore, the composer, take a bow at the end.

And then home to Dr Who and River Song. What more could a girl want?

So here we are, another birthday; I am 48 today, and can remember when that seemed impossibly old! No matter, I’m still 17 inside my head and have had a lovely birthday weekend, only slightly spoiled by Andy Murray’s failure to won the Australian Open.

I always try to do something special around my birthday, and this year it was a trip to the theatre to see War Horse, based on the novel by Michael Morpurgo, and recommended by my good friend the Silvery Dude. It’s a simple story of a farm horse sold to the army and sent to serve in World War One; what makes it exceptional is the puppetry used to bring the horses (and other animals –  I became particualrly fond of the goose) to life on stage. Really enormously clever and so convincing in movement that I pretty much forgot they weren’t real. There is a DVD about the making of the production which is apparently well worth watching. 

And of course with birthdays go presents and the Book God was generous as always and gave me several books:

And now that the major project that I’ve been working so hard on since last February looks like its nearing fruition, I think 2010  might turn out to be quite a good year…..

Romeo+JulietSo it’s all been a bit quiet here at Bride of the Book God apart from the occasional meme (thank you Thursday Thunks) and a little bit of book buying, but not much reading going on I’m afraid. Work is very busy at the moment and I must admit that my daily commute has turned into standing (almost inevitable these days) with my iPod jammed in my ears vegetating to (admittedly good) music as a means of setting me up for or unwinding from the day. I will try to do better, especially as I am behind in various challenges….

However, all of this doesn’t mean that interesting things haven’t been happening; lots of movie-going (as covered here). There is also football (St Mirren narrowly avoiding relegation on goal difference), TV (catching up with Heroes and eagerly awaiting the season finale of Fringe which is on tonight), and theatre which is where we come to yesterday’s big treat.

I was lucky enough to get a ticket to Sadler’s Wells here in London to see the Northern Ballet Theatre’s performance of Romeo and Juliet, set to Prokofiev of course (one of my favourites) as part of their 40th anniversary tour. I have a love-hate relationship with some of Shakespeare’s plays and R+J is definitely one of them – why don’t they just run away I cry to myself every time I see it. But I think it really, really works as a ballet because the heightened emotional stuff is more convincingly portrayed in dance – to my mind at least. I thoroughly enjoyed the spectacle and had a little cry at the end, being hopelessly sentimental as I am.

But I really do have to get back to that tbr pile….

fotr-liveIt seems only fitting that during Carl’s Once Upon a Time Challenge (when my mind is on all things fantasy) I had the opportunity to experience something really quite unusual – a screening of Fellowship of the Ring with Howard Shore’s complete score performed live by the London Philharmonic Orchestra  at the Royal Albert Hall. The film was shown on a huge screen with subtitles so you could still follow the dialogue, and I don’t think I can find the words to describe just what a fantastic evening it was. From where I was sitting I had a clear view of the conductor’s podium, and could see the laptop giving the musical cues that allowed Ludwig Wicki to bring the orchestra and choirs in at the right time. Magnificent stuff and if any of you get the chance to see something like this you should really go along. They are planning to perform The Two Towers next year and I’ll definitely be there if I can.

tennant-hamlet1So Saturday night was interesting; the Book God and I having our first grown-up evening out for what seemed like ages, heading off to the bright lights of London to see the RSC’s production of Hamlet. I bought the tickets for this back in the summer, largely because of a strong desire to see David Tennant in the flesh (what can I say, I’m at that difficult age) but also because I love going to the theatre and don’t get enough of a chance to do so despite working on the edge of London’s exciting Theatreland. But of course Mr Tennant (like the Book God) has had a back injury and not been performing. Still, RSC productions are always well-worth seeing, and I was looking forward to the evening.

And I was right, it turned out to be an excellent production, particularly Patrick Stewart as Claudius and Oliver Ford Davies as Polonius. But two events turned a good evening into a great one: (1) spotting Sir Ian Mackellen in the audience (99.9% certain it was him; even the Book God, notorious for not recognising anyone, said “Isn’t that Gandalf?”) and (2) the producer coming on stage at the beginning to announce that David Tennant would be performing after all! And he was even better than I expected….

_45343451_newdoctor282Then we rushed home to watch a recording of Dr Who Confidential to find out who the new Doctor would be.

I think the choice of Matt Smith is a really interesting one, and having seen him interviewed and his obvious enthusiasm for the role I am now definitely looking forward to the post-Tennant era.

And I promise that’s the last word on Dr Who related matters …… for a while at least.

Yesterday, a warm and sunny Saturday afternoon in London, I had the pleasure of seeing one of our greatest living actresses performing in Joan Didion’s play based on her memoir The Year of Magical Thinking, which I read back in March 2006.

I was very impressed with the book which deals with Didion’s reaction to the sudden death of her husband, John Gregory Dunne, and I think I read it virtually in one sitting. The play expands on the book by covering the illness and death of her only child Quintana which happened some 18 months after Dunne’s death. So I jumped at the chance to see how it would work on stage.

The play opens with these lines:

This happened on December 30, 2003. That may seem a while ago but it won’t when it happens to you.

And it will happen to you. The details will be different, but it will happen to you.

That’s what I’m here to tell you.”

I found the play deeply moving, and Vanessa Redgrave was as wonderful as I had hoped she would be, a commanding presence on a stage bare except for one chair and a backdrop depicting the sky (which changed at various points) holding everyone’s attention for the whole 90 minutes of her monologue. A fantastic experience.

Bride of the Book God

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Scottish, in my fifties, love books but not always able to find the time to read them as much as I would like. I’m based in London and happily married to the Book God.

I also blog at Bride of the Screen God (all about movies and TV) and The Dowager Bride, if you are interested in ramblings about stuff of little consequence

If you would like to get in touch you can contact me at brideofthebookgod (at) btinternet (dot) com.

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