Saturday, 29 June 2013

Like a tiger defying the laws of Gravity

Friday 29th June was a funny old day . It was my last day in my old job . I had been doing the same or similar for 7 years so it will be and odd feeling on Monday. I'm still in the same company but in a different floor and department.  I think it will be fine once i establish a new routine.It will just be weird going from an expert in what i do to the new boy again.

Anyway back to the Tigers. Last night was my  second trip to Zoo Lates at London Zoo.  It reinforced my opinion that the only way to see it all is to treat it like a commando style operation . Set yourselves objectives and then charge round  avoiding any feeding times as they draw the crowds.  I suspect that their is probably a similar issue in the daytime but with more pushchairs.

It's a fun night but more about the craic than the animals unless you're particularly dedicated.

The highlight animal of the night was for me the Giant Anteater. Not sure why maybe it was the amazing tail , the unique look or the fact that they generally sleep 18 hours a day. Or the fact they curl up to look like a rock when asleep .

One of the Sumatran Tigers at the Zoo likes Old Spice according to the keeper on the tannoy. You do have to winder how this information was ascertained. Do aftershave manufactures hold animal focus groups . Do bored zoo staff test out various scents . 9 out of 10 tigers prefer old spice to CK 1  perhaps

London Zoo is obviously upgrading some of it faculties and all for the better . Penguin Beach (surely the name of  a really bad  daytime soap) is  so much better than the 70's style  white concrete  former penguin enclosure .  Which looks rather folorn  in it's empty state.

The vibe is  how i imagine the outskirts of a music festival . Lots of people in fancy dress wandring round in onesies and animal parephernalia  and facepaint.

Their was face painting on site  but either the people doing it are incredibly speedy and also from the ones i saw fairly talented or given that doors open at 6 and things wind down around 9 there were 100's of people in offices all round London hunched over the sink in the office bathroom with a printout from the internet and their starter set of Snazoo facepaint about 5 o'clock.

Given the proliferation of onesies and the signs on various  enclosures forbidding  any one in animal themed costume you do have to wonder if those who did dress up  were forced to wander from bar to food court  and back again  via the few animals who weren't traumatised by the site of people in all encompassing bright orange and yellow overalls. Which is basically what they are.

Although in te Monkey work round area the sign had obviously been ignored as there were loads of people in costume wandering through. It makes you wonder whether annoyed staff are secretly smiling waiting for someone  to be swarmed over by a monkey while dressed as a dragon. More cynically given the amount they must be making from animal ears, headbands ,tails  facepainting  ,masks etc. Maybe management dont enforce it as much as they should.

On a slight tangent this kind of thing is ripe for a film  to be made from it.  Either some kind of comedy  Night at the Zoo type thing or a Horror film  Late at the Zoo where a disgruntled  employee releases the animals to run amok.

"Carol from Swansea was warned not to wear her my little pony onesie into the tiger enclosure ..She didn't listen now she's tiger chow....."

Anyway it was a good night and for me only part one. I have turned into a meet up slut somewhat  and having booked Zoo Lates sometime ago to see a clash with our Local 70's when the meet up came through some weeks later was annoying .

However with the animals  going to bed at 10 and drinks at 9 for Disco inferno I thought If i left about 8.30 I could do both.

Unfortunately  being distracted by the animals and the company I didn't get away till later than planned.

However being more of a dancer than a drinker I did manager to catch up with my friends only 15 minutes after they enetered the Watford Colisseum a 1939 Assembly hall , recently refurnbished.

Now fortunately the London Zoo security check is looking for alcohol  and could be done by just feeling my bag so I didn't have to explain the Blonde rocker wig, waistcoat, purple sparkly shirt or white trousers with leopard print stripes.

As the previous time i'd been there I'd had my black Rabbit outfit ready for rumpus in my bag its very good that they could tell through the bag that i was alcohol free.

Anyway off i dashed down the Northern line and managed to get the semi fast down to Watford . Even better It wasn't one of the  very open long tubes that midland mainline run which meant that I could find a tran toilet to slip into at least the trousers of my outfit.  Stood up in a deserted First Class  I could slip on the shirt and waistcoat over  my teeshirt.

Ahh the Glamour of it.

Anyway caught up with my Friends at Disco Inferno. I think numbers were down on last time  as the place didnt seem as busy. In my old age I appreciate venues like the Colisseum . The main hall is vast and is basically all dance floor and therefore gives plenty of room for proper dancing  with twirly bits.  The costume seemed to go down well and  i was summoned to the stage to start the Love Train round the hall although two ladies  decided they wanted to be in front and who was I to argue.

It was a good night a little bit cheesy , lots of fun, brilliant company , great fun , some good tunes and an opportunity for fancy dress and proper dancing . Which is a great combination as both are when I'm at my most confident so the combination of the 2 is a killer . If only they allowed fancy dress and dancing in job interviews oh well one can but dream.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

There's No Business Like Show Business

Had a great outing to West End Live on Saturday . Got there just as the first act was finishing off . It was Let it Be , the Beetles show. I think they started later this year or at least let people in later. Got there and found a massive queue along the equivalent of 3 sides of the square , part of it was doubled up.  However as luck would have it it was so long we spotted the end of the queue for the other entrance and geography and some basic calculations  convinced us it must be shorter by about 2 square lengths and also quite quick moving.

Once we in we selected a spot and me and some of my friends made a quick raid on the booths at the back of the square before it got too packed to get up there.As always Forbidden planet was there . This year they had Lara Croft and a I think Disney princess. Red hair and a blue dress answers to which one it might be on a postcard ?

The Forbidden Planet goodie bags are good value for one reason above all and that is the 20% off voucher .

Once we'd done our raid we went down to enjoy the music.

There was pretty much every show on in the West End on for 10-15 minute slots from the Beetles to Rock of ages via Abba, Queen , the works of Victor Hugo and the King Arthur legend.

It was all free and despite the odd shower I actually got sunburnt . I supect that in a few years it may have to move to a park as it will outgrow Trafalgar Square as word of mouth spreads.

About 3 or 4 hours in we took a short break for a drink and a sit down and visited a couple of unusual drinking establishments.

First up was the  @Tattershall Castle  . A former ferry from the  Humber built in 1934. It has amazing view of parliament and the London Eye reasonably priced drinks for London and I imagine must be very pleasent when the sun is shining although possibly packed. It was nice to try something different.

After drinks on the Castle we regained our land legs and crossed the gangway back onto dry land over the beer barge moored next door. We preceeded back towards Trafalgar square  via the Sherlock Holmes Pub

In 1957, Whitbread and Co. purchased an entire exhibition that had been put together for the Festival of Britain, following its return from a world tour.

A permanent home was required for its homecoming to London, and Whitbread’s plan was to open up a themed pub in the centre of the city that would attract enthusiasts from around the world.

The subject of this exhibition was of course, Sherlock Holmes, and it was not only the first, but also the most important collection in the world to be based on the famous detective.

A nice pub with as you might expect a quirky decor. When we strolled in it seemed full of slightly damp tourists sheltering for the rain. They were selling cupcakes and sausage rolls for Macmillan cancer . I had a sausage roll which was nice and all for a good cause.

We went back to Trafalgar square for the last few acts. In a slight change to previous years they  had kept some of the bigger shows back rather than switching to smaller groups . the timing was arranged so they could shoot over from their various matinee performances. London Traffic meant that there were some slight displays but we finished off the afternoon with Chorus Line, Stomp, very good but not sure I could sit through 2 hours of their percussion, Rock of Ages and Spamalot. Spamalot had the only celebrities that I recognised which were Joe Pasquale and Bonnie Langford .

Rock of Ages encouraged the crowd to join in with some Air Guitar in order to break the world mass   air guitar record which is apparently 2000 people .  The show was running a little late due to traffic issues which is the only reason why i can think rock of ages finished slightly abrubtly instead of what must be their signature song don't stop believing by Journey .

Soundtracks Night The Monarch

So last night I went to an evening playing Soundtracks . It sounded different and I was looking forward to it but I  left slightly disappointed. I think some was down to me more than the evening.

I go there early as I'd come from another event, the others who were meeting us came in towards  9 so we had a good 45 minute wait for them to turn up and the numbers were well down on who we were expecting but i don't think that was the problem .It might have been better with more people but its difficult to tell I met some nice people and had some interesting conversations. I think deep down was the twofold. Firstly music from soundtracks could be anything pretty much and unless you play music unique to  show it could be any evening with a fairly eclectic playlist. Unless you're playing i dont know the theme to the A Team or getting people to waltz to the music from Allo, Allo  it's could be a generic evening . The other issue I think is the venue .

 I think over time my tastes have changed I either like somewhere where I can have a good chat or a good boogie . The problem is with bars with music you can't really do either. I know i'm sounding old but I'm not a 20 something anymore so i guess i appreciate different things.

 I think it might be that recently when I've gone out we've met up at a bar beforehand and that has meant people get there earlier and then you get a chance to get to know people and then you move on to somewhere else for the fun and dancing . This is  a system that works well and I didn't realise how well it worked until the format of the evening changed slightly. The meet up in the bar before gives you a chance to bond with the group you're with and then have a good time when you move on, it introduces a group dynamic for the rest of the night which is important for Meet Up's

The Monarch was fine till around 10.30 the dance floor was slowly filling up and there was room to move about and strut your stuff. Then whoosh the place filled up as if they were bussing them in  and within 5 minutes you couldn't get to the bar and if you were lucky you could have probably done small fish, tiny fish, box from a terry's chocolate orange if you were very careful. The background levels went up so it wasn't easy to have a chat either.

If it comes up again I might give it another go but I'd either get their later or hope people got their earlier. Living out in Outer Northern Greater London trade mark pending I need to leave early or stay out till the next day so if people dont get together till 10 it doesn't really work.


Lists are wonderful things

Here are a few songs that deal with lists

Museum song Barnum

Periodic table song by Tom Lehrer

Musical Theatre song for all you musical  lovers a list of shows to the tune of Getting married today from Company. Basically a Musical theatre bucket list

We all have lists in our lives from the essential : Shopping Lists , the boring : work list of tasks to do, the chronological : diaries , to the fun ; bucket lists,and the inspirational New Years resolutions

Now when i started on my journey , another cliche, if i put one in every post the cliche will itself become a cliche which will be post modernist or ironic or something. At least in the journey through life no one is constantly asking "are we nearly there yet".
Anyway I digress, when i started off I didnt really have a list of things,maybe a few broad brushstrokes  of things I wanted to achieve , lose some weight, get out more, take up dancing , find a significant other, which would be linked to the first 3. I have also added a few things on the way such as setting out to learn to drive.

Of the more specif items I knew I wanted to do was to go to Blitz Party and go to Rollerdisco more of those later.

I think I'll kick off my list of adventures (see they creep in more than you think) with something fairly unique

A List making evening at Foyles. A list making evening I hear you cry tell us more -

This is the official blurb

Do you have a penchant for making lists? You're not alone. Lists write the future and chronicle the past, and they provide order to the chaos in this world. But most of all, making lists is seriously fun!
Join American presenter Jess Indeedy of Musical Bingo fame for London's new list-making night at I Love Lists! You'll define what you love and loathe, and you'll learn interesting facts about yourself and your friends. The night concludes with an awards ceremony for your listing skills.

Didn't know what to expect  but I arrived early and having resisted buying any books a wise decision as it  turned out watched as they set up for the night.

Near the entrance to Foyles Cafe  they had a table with a selection of exercise books in different colours that took me right back to school. The different colours had different types of paper . From graph paper through European type exercise books to your standard ones with margins.

So i settled down with my exercise book and a cup of tea and waited for the rest of the team to arrive. Although team was as it turns out a bit of a misnomer as it was non competitive evening.

Anyway the rules of the evening were as follows . The very pleasant American Compere would read out a subject and you would write down a list based on that subject  ie: things you'd like to see at Festival if you had unlimited budget or aspiratons, or things that made you smile. After each round people were asked to share items from their lists if they wanted to

There were prizes for the best share , penmanship and doodle.

Some of the lists were fun , some were thought provoking and made you think more deeply.  It was a fun way to pass an evening doing something different.

There was also a DJ that was the comperes boyfriend that played some nice music, It was very pleasant but i am dammed if i can remember any of it.

ome of it was inspired by our list of top 10 songs we like i think.

The evening ran a little long and Foyles were due to shut at 9 so I was convinced that the prize would be skipped over as we ran out of time.

However the compere and her assistants had obviously been circulating in the interval and I got a little  suprise when I was selected for best doodle for my doodle, which was of a band made up entirely  of animals and fronted by a Rocker Owl

I got a cake decorating set and a 10 pound voucher

We then all retired to the pub.

Life is a Cabaret

What good is sitting alone in your room?
Come hear the music play.
Life is a Cabaret, old chum,
Come to the Cabaret.

Put down the knitting,
The book and the broom.
Time for a holiday.
Life is Cabaret, old chum,
Come to the Cabaret.

I have been inspired to start a blog mainly by +Jamina Ward's very good blog

Also partly because as i am getting out and about a bit more I would to like to share my various adventures and hopefully inspire some people to have there own and also because this time next year unless i write everything down I probably wont be able to remember half of it.

First of all a swift plug for the website that made it all possible . Now x changed your life is a bit of a cliche but a cliche is  a cliche for a good reason.

You have facebook which can be about watching people you use to know doing things 100 of miles away and you have meet up which is you getting out meeting new people having fun times and making some new friends along the way .

Now for lots of you who went to university you'll probably find yourselves in a similar situation maybe not as bad as me but something similar.

At university  , I did lots of things  through the union, was part of a sports team , had flatmates, course mates etc. In short lots of people with the time money and inclination to go out and do stuff together and a wonderful city of Sheffield to do it in

Now when i came home , all my old friends had moved on , the range of organised social activities for my age range was small  and having been very badly mugged just before leaving Sheffield  I was reluctant to go out after dark. I imagine there are people to a greater or lesser degree are leaving big city universities
 coming home and experiencing culture shock as the range of activities open to them  dwindles considerably .
Also as people get older and there friends start pairing off and having dinner parties rather than crazy nights out the remaining singletons opportunity to go out diminish. There might be hundreds of fun things to do but alot of them are no fun to do on your own.

Meetup is basically a way to get you together with other people with similar interests to get out there and do stuff. Since joining I haven't looked back, I've seen more of London than I'd ever thought i would and met some lovely people, made some great new friends and had some brilliant nights out. I will definitely run out of money sooner than i run out of things to do.

So remember

What good is sitting alone in your room?
Come hear the music play.
Life is a Cabaret, old chum,
Come to the Cabaret.

So everyone sign up , join up ,get out there and have fun