Saturday, February 20, 2010

Soire En Passant

Had a lovely night last night at the London Oratory School Theatre; Cygnet Players were doing Thoroughly Modern Millie.  Stuart B was the choreographer and Johnny C (his partner) was directing.  It turned out to be a bit of a Chorus night too; there were about twenty of us in the audience.

The show was excellent; fantastic costumes, great dancing and Olly and Mark A in the cast too.  Rather unusually, they did the lines of the Chinese characters in Chinese and had screens by the side of the stage with the translations.  Great comic effect as the evening wore on.

Today was a very late start; the lie-in went on rather too long, so by the time I got up it was pretty much time to leave to meet Lee S in town.  He’d offered me a spare ticket he had for a movie called Namibia.  It was a three-hour epic charting the country’s struggle for independence from South Africa.  Neither of us was familiar with the background, so while the movie wasn’t the best I’ve ever seen, it was educational.

Stopped off at PD for a few hours on the way home.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Rod’s Forty-First

Had a lovely dinner tonight at The Spread Eagle in Greenwich.  It is Rod’s forty-first birthday today so the four of us went out for dinner.  Excellent cuisine which we all agreed we should indulge in more often.

I also managed to get through the whole evening without thinking about the Velma Kelly quote from Chicago!

Before dinner I’d been at Karen L’s leaving drinks at work and got the gossip on her departure – which seemingly had nothing whatsoever to do with her going back to university!  I am consequently in a bit of a moral dilemma which I need to think on a bit more before choosing a course of action.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Ronson Track

So Wednesday we got an email, Thursday we had the rehearsal and Friday evening forty of us were in a recording studio.  Mark Ronson had asked us (the Chorus) to do some backing vocals for the title track of his new album, ‘The Business’.

Hard work both Thursday and Friday nights, but I think in the end we gave a good performance.  Am curious to see how it sounds when it’s all properly mixed.

Everyone under the age of thirty has been agog when I’ve told them we’re working with Ronson.  I had to look him up on Wikipedia.  Am definitely no longer part of the younger generation…

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Feebleness and Femtocells

Monday happened but I wasn’t much chirpier.  Chorus perked me up a bit with the good music.

Tuesday I spent the morning at a Vodafone event in the City.  It turned out to be a plug for their latest brainwave; a cheap SoHo femtocell.  It’s a good idea but not much use to us at the moment; we don’t need one anywhere in the UK and they can’t be used abroad.  The event did give me a chance to get some quality hands-on time with the latest offerings from HTC, Nokia and RIM though.  And the lunch was good.

The afternoon was largely a write-off.  I gave up trying to force myself to do useful work after a while and got Rob H to upgrade my laptop to the latest test-build of Windows 7.  The migration went smoothly enough.

The upgrade project as a whole is giving me headaches though; there are various delays creeping in so we are going to have to delay the delivery.

Tuesday evening we were meeting Mark & Chris for drinks.  They are fleetingly together and in London and we’d arranged to meet up.  We started in Rupert Street for drinks along with Ping (who is consumed by the RADA production of Company he’s involved with) and then Brett and I went on with them to Bodeans for ribs.  Strangely they were both really keen on the venue and then neither of them had any kind of pork or ribs!

Wednesday more than made up for Tuesday’s inadequacy though and I got plenty of work done; confirmed the revised schedule, alerted the business heads and the training company to the change, revised all the room bookings and got our hardware purchasing finalised.  That and dealt with a couple of legal issues and yet more software licensing renewals.  I ended up staying late.

On my way home I got a call from Anthony F; the Chorus has been asked to record a track with a well-known artist at very short notice and he wanted my help getting the word out to everyone that we needed to field a group tomorrow night and Friday afternoon.

…So, I’d woken up around 4am and not been able to get back to sleep.  Shortly after 4am I discovered that my Facebook was offline due to ‘Site Maintenance.’  By the time I got home from work around 8pm I still had no Facebook and the general irritability I’ve been feeling this week, meant I could do without having to do a single-handed awareness-raising campaign.  Luckily Brett arrived home around the same time I did and he took care of things, while I dosed ahead of my piano lesson.

It all added up to me having done no piano practice at all this week, so I went in with a certain amount of trepidation.  I did okay though.  Without having practiced at all, I was better this week than last.  I wonder how much greater my improvement would be if I did actually put in the work between lessons.

Still irritable though.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Cocktails When I Shouldn’t

Took Friday off work.  Whatever I’ve got is really sapping my energy.  Napped through half of the day.  Friday evening we had tickets for Macbeth at the Broadway Theatre.  I’d been quite looking forward to it, but it was a rather average production;  too many people reciting Shakespeare rather than acting it.

Saturday evening we had dinner with Rod and Jess and friends in Wimbledon.  An enjoyable game of Trivial Pursuit followed.

Sunday was another quiet day.  This evening we were in town at the Cellar Door at the corner of the Aldwych for Stephen B’s farewell drinks.  I discovered a cocktail called a Gingerbread Ladyboy (Cognac, White Chocolate Liqueur, Ginger Syrup and fresh cream) which was dangerously drinkable.  Came home.  Ate pizza.

Thursday, February 04, 2010


Tuesday was tedious at work.  Also I’d cycled in for the first time in over a week and was feeling a little the worse for it.  Having another workout session with Lee S didn’t help.  Need to plan me fuel intake more carefully I think.

Had a positive piano lesson in the evening though; I still need to practice, practice, practice but I am making progress – albeit slowly.

Wednesday had a nice lunch with Owen A; lots of our traditional sparring which was quite cheery. Interesting chat with Hugh J back at the office though, seeking my input on a proposed new management structure.   These are interesting times, but in a good way.

Rosie had Jess and Ruth round for their first book club session in the evening so Brett had gone to a Democrats Abroad meeting.  I spent the evening processing Mikey’s photos from the weekend.  As expected there’s a high proportion of good shots – although his first reaction to seeing the proofs was that the proportion was low.  I suspect that seeing one’s own image in a deliberate portrait (as opposed to a random snapshot) is a lot like hearing a recording of your own voice; because you don’t hear/see yourself as others hear/see you very often, your opinion of what you should sound/look like is quite different from everyone who knows you.

The run-down feeling I had on Tuesday was still with me today.  I’m worried I may be incubating the ‘flu that Rowan had. It got quite bad this afternoon when I was worn out by a flight of stairs and started getting hot and cold flushes, so I came home early and dozed on the couch for a couple of hours.  Felt reasonable this evening so worked on more of Mikey’s pictures, but am still feeling below-par.  May take tomorrow off or at least work from home to try and get shot of whatever it is.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

The Days, They Fly On And On

What a week it’s been!  I’ve had very little time off since last Tuesday.  After a busy Monday and Tuesday and a long day at work on Wednesday,  I skipped the Gay Photographers Network event and just came home and vegetated in front of the TV.  Rowan had come back from Beverley suffering from the ‘flu and so was in a bad way on the other sofa.

Thursday was quite a busy day at work, with a selection of meetings, lunch with the other Corporate Heads and a long to-do list.  In the evening though we were off to see Sir Ian McKellen and Roger Rees in Waiting For Godot at the Theatre Royal with some of Brett’s colleagues.  It was far more interesting – and funny – than the last time I saw it as a young teenager one summer at Stirling University.

Friday night we were into Soho for Andrew L’s leaving drinks.  He’s off back to the States to sort his visa, while waiting for replies to his PhD applications.  A pleasant night chatting to the usual choral suspects.

Saturday was half spent working on Ewen C’s photos from last Sunday and half writing up the Steering Committee minutes from Tuesday.  Finished the former but not the latter before we went out to see The Magnets, an acappella/beatboxing group of six guys who filled an evening at the Roundhouse with fantastic, fun, familiar music.  I regularly had to remind myself that the sound was entirely vocal; they were that good.  We were there with Guy T and Mark F from the Chorus and Rod and Jess – with whom we’d had a (somewhat rushed) dinner at Belgo Noord again.  Everyone seemed to get on well together – Mark, as a scouser, certainly has the gift of the gab.

Sunday morning was mostly spent clearing up in the flat so I could spend the afternoon doing a photoshoot with Mikey.  He needed some headshots and I’d offered him a session so that I could use the remainder of the time experimenting with new ideas and different ways of working with my kit.  Was a very successful day; as well as good headshots, I reckon we’ve got some excellent portrait pictures.  Even the stuff that didn’t work so well is useful because I now have a better idea of what to try in future.

Sunday evening was spent finishing off the Steering Committee minutes though…

Good day at work on Monday was only marred by the discovery that a former colleague had done something infantile and malicious (and possibly actionable!) on the Internet in relation to a current colleague.  It was really quite sad, as I’d thought quite highly of them until this came to light.  It’s no wonder I’m so cynical.