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By TheophileEscargot (Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 01:12:47 PM EST) Reading, Watching, MLP, Theatre (all tags)
Reading: "Shambling Towards Hiroshima". Theatre: "The Container", "Troilus and Cressida" Web.

What I'm Reading
Shambling Towards Hiroshima by James Morrow. In WW2 California an actor is hired by the military to don a fire-breathing lizard suit and destroy a model city. The aim is to convince a Japanese delegation to surrender without the need for a land invasion.

Short, fun novel with melancholy overtones. Feels a little inconclusive, but worth a read.

Saw "The Container" in a shipping container outside the Young Vic. Short play about people-trafficking.

A little gimmicky but it works really well. The claustrophobic environment and complete blackouts give it a lot of extra impact. Really good sound design helps too. There are a series of speakers wired up to the outside, and something makes the container vibrate, so when the container's supposed to be moving, you can hear the other traffic "passing" on the road very realistically.

The actors use maglites to illuminate each other and there are a couple of lamps: you don't get a complete view but you can tell what's going on. Good acting with some intense performances.

Script could have been a little stronger. At times the dialogue gets a little bit too preachy and ironic, but on the whole it's powerful stuff.

Some of the critics have complained about the heat and the smell but we lucked out: went to a 9-o'clock show just after some rain, so the temperature inside was comfortable. Didn't really smell bad either, apart from a woody smell from the pallets.

The London run has sold out, but I suspect it will be going on the road. Definitely an interesting experience.

Interview, review, review, review, review, review.

Theatre 2
Saw Troilus and Cressida at the Globe. Haven't been there in ages, but wanted to try the groundling experience, standing in the open air in the courtyard like most of Bill's original audience.

First, it's cheap. Only £5, plus £2 delivery if you book online. Now a normal movie ticket is £8 in outer London, £12 in central London, so it's way cheaper than going to the movies.

Also, at least at 5'10'' or over you get a better view than from the galleries, where the pillars mean that the actors drift out of view.

The downside is that while probably better behaved than in Shakespeare's day, we still got 2 ringing mobiles, one person texting with key-beeps switched on, and several groups chatting amongst themselves. At least up high you've got some distance from the scurvy railing knaves.

Play itself was pretty decent, given that it's a tough one: not quite a comedy, not quite a tragedy, but a cynical play where the lofty ancients are thoroughly debased: Helen of Troy a dumb bimbo, Achilles an idle backstabber, Cressida a fickle Trojan strumpet.

The first half is played as a pretty broad comedy, going well beyond the traditional actorly use of the pelvic thrust to indicate each Elizabethan dick-joke. The cheesy love song is played as a broadway number. There's quite a lot of spectacle though: lots of drumming, lots of large-scale fight scenes on stage, and all the warriors are heavily tattooed from some reason. Fight scenes look a bit under-rehearsed at the moment. They're only a week into the run though, so they may yet tighten it up.

For the second half, they move more into tragic mode. It's a little disorienting trying to work out what's drama and what's melodrama: there was some audience laughter when I don't think that's quite what they wanted.

Paul Hunter steals the show as a brilliantly over-the-top ad-libbing Thersites. Matthew Kelly makes a mostly decent fist of proto-pimp Pandarus, though he dissolves a bit at the end.

Overall, pretty good, worth a look.

Galapagos Syndrome: why Japan can't export its advanced cellphones. Is US-style one-handed forking taking over in UK? Look up London restaurants hygeine inspection results. Tom DeMarco: Software Engineering is an idea whose time has come and gone (via).

Socioeconomics. Tory party, Lib Dem finance regulation plans. Invisibility of The Dominant and Salience of the Minority.

Video. Never Gonna Give Your Teen Spirit Up. 5 seconds: Bowzer, baby. Grey Bloke: the problem with YouTube.

< Delays, delays, delays. | Some kind of meat and vegetable soup >
Princes Orgulous | 26 comments (26 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Knives by ucblockhead (4.00 / 3) #1 Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 01:48:44 PM EST
The idea that Americans "cut up food at the start of a meal, then put the knife down before transferring the fork to the right hand to eat with..." is not something I've encountered for diners over the age of 8...

Americans cut with the knife in the left hand while keeping the fork in the right.
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

Ob I'm left-handed you insensitive clod! by greyrat (4.00 / 1) #2 Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 01:56:30 PM EST
Also: Who's the fucking moron who "observed" this knife down behaviour in 'Merkins? If I put my knife down at the start of a meal, how will I eat my peas?

[ Parent ]
Two things, sir: by MohammedNiyalSayeed (4.00 / 1) #5 Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 03:43:20 PM EST

1) Lefties have to use the standard Fork-Right, Knife-Left configuration, regardless of hand-use preference. This is the law, and there are no exceptions. 2) Peas are decorative, and not to be eaten.

You can build the most elegant fountain in the world, but eventually a winged rat will be using it as a drinking bowl.
[ Parent ]
Two replies, sir by greyrat (4.00 / 2) #15 Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 07:06:53 PM EST
1) FUCK YOU!!!

2) Peas covered in wasabi (like anything covered in wasabi) are not decorative, they are instead delicious.

[ Parent ]
I'm just the enforcer. by MohammedNiyalSayeed (4.00 / 2) #16 Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 07:45:56 PM EST

I don't make the rules. Blame Congress for that. Also, wasabi is OK, and can be delivered with a chopstick to the tongue, thus eradicating the need for peas.

You can build the most elegant fountain in the world, but eventually a winged rat will be using it as a drinking bowl.
[ Parent ]
You can take Congress and fuck 'em! by greyrat (4.00 / 1) #17 Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 07:58:53 PM EST
Wait. Scratch that. They'd all probably like that and fall romantically in love with you.

[ Parent ]
That style... by ana (4.00 / 2) #4 Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 03:31:24 PM EST
in a right handed diner, at least, is distinctly European. Especially if you hold your fork curvy side down.

In my experience, most right-handed americans cut with the knife in their right hand and the fork in their left (the better to handle the knife), then set down the knive, transfer the fork to the right hand, and eat the cut bits. Rinse, repeat.

"And this ... is a piece of Synergy." --Kellnerin

[ Parent ]
this agrees with my experience by R343L (4.00 / 2) #7 Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 03:56:22 PM EST
Of course, I now very rarely eat food that requires a knife (since meat is the most common item that needs cutting). Even a lot of food that "needs" cutting -- say lasagna or pie or casseroles -- can be easily cut with the side of the fork.

"There will be time, there will be time / To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet." -- Eliot
[ Parent ]
And note that.. by gzt (4.00 / 2) #9 Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 05:10:16 PM EST ought to cut only one morsel at a time. ie, cut a chunk off the steak, eat it, cut another chunk off the steak rather than cut the steak into chunks and then eat all the chunks.

NOTE, by the way, that the traditional American style of eating with knife and fork is older than the European method.

[ Parent ]
the fork .. by R343L (4.00 / 1) #18 Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 09:05:36 PM EST
... is a seventeenth century innovation of effete Italians disdained by proper men .. at least of the opinion of northern Europeans of said century (and for some period on).

"There will be time, there will be time / To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet." -- Eliot
[ Parent ]
What? by gzt (4.00 / 1) #10 Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 05:11:35 PM EST
No, that's not how it works. But I do agree with you that the article's characterization of American knife-and-fork etiquette is wrong.

[ Parent ]
i don't. by aphrael (4.00 / 1) #12 Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 06:07:08 PM EST
i cut with the right hand and pass the fork back and forth between the hands.

cutting with the left hand is hard.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
Nope. Right-hander here. by ammoniacal (4.00 / 1) #19 Tue Jul 21, 2009 at 01:50:43 AM EST
Fork in left, knife in right, never switch.
Then again, I adopted several German habits over the years.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
The Globe by nebbish (4.00 / 1) #3 Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 03:04:46 PM EST
How long was the play? Standing for long periods pisses me off a bit. There are stand up tickets for some of the Proms shows as well apparently which I'd be keen on.

It's political correctness gone mad!

A bit under three hours including interval by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 7) #8 Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 04:04:48 PM EST
The trick is to think of it as just a modest three-hour hike... through culture.
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
Mate by nebbish (4.00 / 1) #11 Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 05:16:39 PM EST
That was genius

It's political correctness gone mad!

[ Parent ]
WIPO: Knife-only by MohammedNiyalSayeed (4.00 / 3) #6 Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 03:44:05 PM EST

No fork. Hard core.

You can build the most elegant fountain in the world, but eventually a winged rat will be using it as a drinking bowl.
Typo by gpig (4.00 / 2) #13 Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 06:10:33 PM EST
You got your Tories and Lib Dems the wrong way round.
(,   ,') -- eep
Thanks, fixed [nt] by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #20 Tue Jul 21, 2009 at 02:14:53 AM EST

It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
One-handed forking? by brokkr (4.00 / 3) #14 Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 06:11:01 PM EST
I didn't know you Ingerlanders used two hands for the fork.

Deyr fé, deyja frændr, deyr sjalfr it sama,
ek veit einn, at aldrei deyr: dómr um dau∂an hvern.

Cutlery problems by Phage (4.00 / 2) #21 Tue Jul 21, 2009 at 03:39:43 AM EST
We served a whole fish to a visiting USian cousin. She was almost unable to eat it, becuase you need two tools to split it down the midline and fillet it on your plate.
As it turns out she had always done the cut, then eat with fork model, and it doesn't work with dishes that require more dexterity.

knife and fork by Merekat (4.00 / 1) #22 Tue Jul 21, 2009 at 04:28:54 AM EST
Depends on the meal. Something like shepherd's pie or an oven-based pasta dish are best eaten with just a fork. Twirly pasta can be eaten that way with no difficulty either. Steak, fish on the bone etc. needs both a knife and fork and should not be pre-processed as that will make it go cold sooner.

Groundlings by marvin (4.00 / 1) #23 Tue Jul 21, 2009 at 01:32:49 PM EST
I wanted to go to the Globe when I first heard that they were building it. In 1987, I got to go to the Swan and watch Titus Andronicus. My brother and I were in a balcony near the stage (on the left, when facing the stage, on the actor's right). I remember making a comment to my brother about wishing I was a groundling in a Shakespearean theatre at the point in the play where the two rapists were cooked up and served as cakes to their mother.

The atmosphere in the Swan seemed too dignified for the play (it was Serious Theatre, attended by Respectable People), and I really remember wanting the freedom of a groundling to shout and cheer. Is the Globe less restrained?

There was quite a lot of laughter by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 1) #24 Tue Jul 21, 2009 at 02:36:52 PM EST
But not really any booing, hissing or cheering... there might be more in an actual comedy.

The Globe attracts a lot of tourists though, so I think a lot of the groundlings aren't really interested in the play, they just want to fill the appropriate tourist checkbox.
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
I went as a tourist by garlic (2.00 / 0) #26 Mon Jul 27, 2009 at 09:36:23 AM EST
but got a seat instead of standing through the play.

[ Parent ]
Sporks FTW! by priestess (4.00 / 1) #25 Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 10:34:12 AM EST
Knives are so last year.

Chat to the virtual me...

Princes Orgulous | 26 comments (26 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback