excited, histor

Some stuff I saw at Edinburgh!

Starting with notes from the two-man Macbeth since I know someone who's actually interested; more shows under the cut. These are slightly-tidied "notes to self".

Macbeth: Tim Fitzhigham and Thom Tuck, with a different guest director every day. Ahh it was so fun! I wish I’d gone a couple of times to see different directors.

In the basement of a cafe, so Fitzhigham’s kid firmly shut the door on the audience until they’d finished converting the room from cafe to venue (someone in the queue behind me said appreciatively “He has a great future in front-of-house”.)

“Two actors and one hour is arguably not enough to do Macbeth”. Tech problems at the start- no sound or light- "we did have a tech, but he refused to work with us"; (I got leaned on as T. looked for a number on the lights).
Directed by Canadian Chris Betts, as a family sitcom. Most characters got a round of applause for coming on, audience provided canned laughter. Messenger was comic postman.
Fitzhigham as Macbeth-as-Fonzie (stealing Banquo's normal leather jacket and looking quite sexy). Ross as, well, Ross from Friends. Banquo (Tuck) as idiot.
Witches distinguished mainly by height, leading to F having to pick T up for quite a long speech. Also quick burst of "I look down on her... "
(One witch was suddenly turned to Texan partway through; F started singing Duelling Banjos. T: isn't that Louisiana? F: they're pretty close together. T: No they aren't! F: I'm a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society!) Lady M falsetto. Got as far as killing the king with only minimal skipping, then went pretty much straight to "my mum had a cesarean", stab.
(They did pause for Macbeth to kill Banquo, which F was very happy to do. T played both Banquo's ghost and Lady M's ghost largely by opening his mouth and bobbing a bit.) The "is this a dagger" speech was done as the leading man's bid to be a film actor, way too intense.
“It's your line” “- it's definitely your line.”
One small character of Tuck’s was given the note of "it's the producer's kid, he can't act". F: "Typecasting"
T hadn't learnt the letter from M to Lady M, making it a bit of a problem when he was plunged into darkness. (F: "Should have learnt it" T: *flips bird*)


Copstick review (which Thom disparaged) https://www.scotsman.com/arts-and-culture/edinburgh-festivals/comedy-review-tim-fitzhigham-and-thom-tuck-in-macbeth-heroes-black-medicine-edinburgh-1-4977829

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It's two years since I posted?!? That seems unlikely but I guess it's true. I occasionally tweet (@Shark_hat) if anybody wants to keep up with me?

Some SFF authors I've really liked in the last two years: Andrea K Host (now one of my main comfort rereads), Katherine Addison (only has The Goblin Emperor under that pen name BUT THERE'S GOING TO BE A SEQUEL!), Becky Chambers, T. Kingfisher, Martha Wells, J. Kathleen Cheney, Sylvia Hunter, Zen Cho, Sarah Tolmie, Kaia Sonderby, A.M. Dellamonica. Bujold, of course.

Otherwise, old mysteries- companies republishing 20s/30s stuff has been cool. Modern mysteries, Donna Andrews' bird-themed series is a nice cosy wihtout being too twee. I've also been reading some romance/chick lit; Shira Glassman has some nice lesbian romances, Trisha Ashley's books have a nice sense of place in Northern England and fun characters (I particularly liked Every Woman for Herself, in which the protag accidentally kills a sexual harasser early on. It's lighthearted!)
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I went to Barcelona, because I have worked out that if I have a long weekend somewhere with longer days in February it us a good thing all round, and it was brill. Looked at the Med, and went on a tiny boat trip that got all of about a quarter mile outside the harbour; also looked at cathedrals, alleys, ironwork, gardens, hills, markets, Roman walls, etc. Ate lots of tapas and seafood (yum, cuttlefish) and cream catalana (creme brûlée with cinnamon and/or lemon zest in). Was pleased by the many places selling small paper cones of Iberico ham to eat as you stroll.
It tipped it down one day but otherwise there was lots of lovely DAYLIGHT.
And I found out about Eusabi Guell, who was a 19th C multibillionaire (in today's money) who was a bit of a religious nut and also quite into Catalan nationalism. So what he did was fund literary magazines and be a patron for lots of musicians and artists and sculptors and this weird architect who wanted to meld Art Nouveau with traditional Catalonian materials and craftsmanship, and what I'm saying is that if CERTAIN PEOPLE spent a shitload of money on the arts then maybe CERTAIN COUNTRIES would be a lot better off than other forms of nationalism will leave them, because over a hundred years later Catalonia is still doing very nicely thank you from Gaudi tourism. So well done el Sr. Guell.
(Guell's townhouse was Gaudi's first commission, and it is a mixture of rich-people-odd, like the ground floor being designed to drive your carriage right in (the stables are in the basement) or there being five salon rooms of various degrees of intimacy but only three rooms for the ten children and their nurses, arts-patron-odd like the whole house being designed round a 50-foot-high room with perfect acoustics and a gallery for choir and orchestra, and Gaudi-odd like the random wiggly closets in the corners of the master suite. It is very lavish and strange. The family only lived there for a few years as apparently Guell's wife never liked it.)

This entry was originally posted at http://shark-hat.dreamwidth.org/201371.html. Comment here or there.
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Wednesday reading, etc

I'm currently reading The Golden City by Kathleen Cheney, which is enjoyable so far (She's a Siren spy! He's half-selkie! They Fight Crime! In 1902 Portugal!), an anthology called Daily Life In Victorian London, and Dave Barry Does Japan.

Recently I've read several 1930s-40s mysteries by Patricia Wentworth that aren't from her Miss Silver series, several of the Donna Andrews bird-themed mysteries, Sara Pascoe's non-fiction Animal: the Autobiography of a Female Body which was very good, and a couple of SFFs that I can't remember where I got the recommendation from- A Calculated Life and Gemsigns Revolution- which were also enjoyable, and a collected volume of Dinosaur Comics. It's been a good run of books.

Last weekend I got a lift to Ikea and spent a lot of money, and then a lot of time putting things together; this weekend I went to a comedy festival in London (ARGcomFest, which was excellent); I decided to get the 11.30 PM train out of London and then a taxi home at 2.30 AM, as being cheaper than another night in a hotel- it worked reasonably well, I got a bit of sleep on the train and a bit at home and wasn't totally wiped out, although having a meeting first thing in the morning wasn't ideal.
If anybody is going to Edinburgh and wants recs: Sketch groups Daphne and Lazy Susan, stand-ups James Acaster and Mark Watson, a character show from Andrew Hunter Murray, and complete inexplicability from John-Luke Roberts were all ace. Grainne Maguire and Naomi Peterson were very good too. Also, as always, the Alternative Comedy Memorial Society (I'm going twice in Edinbugh. Woo.)- I'm not sure if my favourite act was the man being a fireworks display, the woman being an egg, or the host making risotto live on stage.

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Blood orange (and lime) marmalade recip-ish
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I went to Dublin recently for a conference recently and had a couple of days to go round the city as well, which was very nice. May well go back. There were a bunch of (e)books that I'd been waiting for that published recently, so I got them to read on the plane etc. and then had very little time to read them, so I'm still going through them, which is nice; I really enjoyed the Rachel Neumeier's The Keeper of the Mists, Seanan Mcguire's Indexing sequel, T. Kingfisher's Snow Queen retelling (I think it's called The Raven And The Reindeer), The Sleeping Life by Andrea Host (still waiting impatiently for Tangleways though!) and the final Fairyland book from Catherynne Valente. Also Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen; not the best Bujold ever, but still nice, and I do like books about grown-ups. My pre-order of the new Raksura book should arrive any day too.

This entry was originally posted at http://shark-hat.dreamwidth.org/199808.html. Comment here or there.
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Am feeling mighty-ish; I have not only worked out how to answer a phone call on my new phone (weirdly non-obvious) but also how to get rid of a "new voicemail!" icon that hung around after listening to the voicemail, and have put a screen cover on without getting bubbles underneath it. Should really go and use the feeling to power necessary chores like gathering up toiletries for travel, but am watching a slime mould devour a lichen instead [1].

Podcast plug! I went and watched a live recording of No Such Thing As A Fish on Friday night, and it was very funny. In a couple of weeks you can hear about what links the Sphinx and a koala's pouch; why the appendix is the Helm's Deep of the body; the foreign dog hairspray scandal; the glass delusion; sea otter archaeologists, and other diverting and edifying tales. (You will sadly miss the live special features like their Top Ten Rejected Facts and Andy Murray's interesting presentation on the Casio watch. He was so gleeful about it! Also seeing them at the end shilling- "We have merch! We'll sign anything! Feed our egos!")

[1] on telly. Though I'm not ruling out there being slime moulds in the coal hole.

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Hello folks!
I've had a good break so far, including seeing the Christmas "panto nativity" Alternative Comedy Memorial Society gig (photos), getting 14 books for Christmas (so far have only read a 1950s cookbook, Step Aside Pops, You're All Just Jealous of My Backpack, and partway through Ancillary Mercy and This Is Improbable Too- must do better), ice-skating (didn't fall over!), going for a pub lunch and a walk by a recently-flooded beck, and having a massage/swim/steam room day. I've just had a bagel with brie, have a pot of tea steeping and some chocolate to eat, and have four more days to do Nothing At All in. Lovely.

This entry was originally posted at http://shark-hat.dreamwidth.org/198871.html. Comment here or there.
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So after fucking up the first delivery attempt, John Lewis managed to send a couple of competent washing-machine installers round today and I have a new washing machine, and a new appreciation for not having been burnt to death by the large lump of polystyrene that had been left under the old one for n years; luckily the machine didn't have any programmes above 60C. The previous owner of this house really made some… interesting choices.
I'm reading Steles of the Sky finally, which is good but a bit high stakes, so I reread How To Be A Victorian at the same time (it's so practical, and understatedly funny, and truthful about the bad bits, and oh I love Ruth Goodman), and I'm also reading Dracula and a Dave Barry and some 30s mysteries by people I'd never heard of for light relief.
Tomorrow I need to wrap another batch of Christmas presents and bottle up the blackberry gin. I think it may need a bit more sugar, but I have sugar.

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