Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018

Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018
Showing posts with label Culture. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Culture. Show all posts

Monday, 19 February 2018

Monday 19 February 2018 - Diefenbunker

On a day when skiing would have been an anti-climax, as it's 5°C and raining in Ottawa, Ken was despatched for his last week at work and Helen, Sue and I paid a visit to Canada's Cold War Museum.

The Diefenbunker complex was constructed in the late 1950s when the Cold War was at its height. I remember well the Cuban missile crisis in 1962. There were about 100 people employed here, with scope for over 500 people to shelter from a nuclear blast for a month. The desk shown above is in the President's Prime Minister's Office. Thankfully it was never needed, the only president Prime Minister in office who visited the site being Pierre Trudeau.

The site was decommissioned in 1994 and now houses this interesting underground museum on four levels.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Sunday 5 February 2017 – A Short Dose of Culture


Today was overcast, with snow flurries. A good day to take a rest from skiing.

Helen, Sue and I (in between games of Boggle and Rummikub) ventured into town to the National Gallery of Canada, where there were three exhibitions to attract us.

The first was a large exhibition of the art of Alex Janvier, a native Canadian artist. His abstract artwork, much of it in a circular format, was very striking.


After exiting this exhibition we moved upstairs to the following view towards the Parliament buildings.


The second exhibition was of Josef Sudek’s photographs, mostly of portraits or ‘still life’, taken around Prague. Interesting. Many pictures were taken from his studio in the dark days of Nazi occupation.

Then there was a selection of photographs from the archives of the Globe and the Mail newspapers, portraying an ‘Archive of Modern Conflict’ from a Canadian viewpoint.

The cafeteria then called, from where we observed (I’m reluctant to say ‘admired’) a ‘Majestic’ sculpture outside the window.


Then it was back home for the usual routine – G&Ts and tonight, pork tenderloin.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Saturday 18 July 2009 - An Outdoor Concert at Cholmondeley


Here's the flier:

"Cholmondeley Castle’s annual fireworks’ extravaganza returns this summer accompanied by enthralling performances led by Manchester Camerata Orchestra. 

This year, a military theme will provide an additional twist to the entertainment. Music will range from Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries, 633 Squadron, Star Wars and Dambusters and will culminate in the traditional ‘Last night of the Proms’ style concert with the 1812 Overture accompanied by real cannon fire.

The concert will include The Mossley Brass Band, The Royal Engineers Military Marching Band, Pipes and Drums, Drummers Finale with lit batons, Last Post Ceremony and a Lone Piper on the Castle Turrets.  The Army Benevolent Fund will be the event's principal charity.

The breathtaking beauty of the Gothick Castle, set in picturesque grounds will provide the backdrop to this unmissable event.  Bring along chairs and a picnic to enjoy from the Castle Lawn.

Besides the beautiful Castle gardens themselves, other attractions are the walled garden, lake, nature reserve, rare breed animal centre and children’s play area.  Everything is open for you to explore from 4pm."

No mention of the weather.

Here, Richard tests his new lightweight overtrousers, available from Sainburys.


The brollies made for a very colourful occasion.


Otherwise we got what it said on the label.

The rain soon eased and we got to wonder whether the white ladder on this tank about to be driven to Afghanistan (friendly fire incidents permitting) wouldn't be just a bit conspicuous.


We were well equipped, with duvet jackets de rigeur - replacing the customary t-shirts employed for this occasion.  Between us we had brought quite a feast, including what appeared to be a cellar load of fizzy wine from Richard and Jenny's bunker.

So it's not surprising that I couldn't hold the camera steady for the fireworks!  They were spectacular, making the stage look very small (which it was from where we were sitting).


Happy Days...

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Over My Dead Body - A Very English Affair

Our action packed visit took us last night to Ottawa Little Theatre for a spot of, well, Culture?

This play by Derek Benfield is set in the Home Counties of England. It was a complete surprise to us that we had come all this way to see an English comedy performed by Canadian actors! They made a fair attempt at the correct accents, but the Canadian cleaning lady, 'Carol Capstick' seemed a bit out of place.

The situation comedy had some of its Canadian audience 'rolling in the aisles' - there was some hearty laughter anyway, even if the plot was a bit thin.

An enjoyable evening was had by all in this welcoming (medium sized) theatre, with a fine selection of art (for sale) to peruse whilst waiting for the performance to start.

For anyone who may be interested (I appreciate that Ottawa is not exactly a hot bed of readers of this blog - is there anyone out there?) the Ottawa Citizen's review is here.

Friday, 21 November 2008

A Quiet Week in Timperley

Monday - Sue and I lunched with JJ, another TGO Challenger, at Giobrio in Mauritzio was in good form and served up his usual tasty fare that would see us through the rest of the day. We do have difficulty working out his pricing structure, as the meal and drinks for the three of us, together with a generous (in relation to the cost of the meal) tip came to all of £10. [The price list seems to be a work of fiction!]

The trees by the canal are looking barer now, with the towpath supporting a thick carpet of This fearless Canada Duck took a real fancy to the Canon
- it's a small world. On a lovely sunny day by the canal, I bumped into a familiar jogger. Not JJ, but yes, another TGO Challenger. This one was also in training - on a 10-mile run which I was told would take an hour and 10 minutes. I continued, bemused.

Later that day: "not very good with numbers"...was the message..."should have said an hour and 40 minutes". Still not bad - I think Sue and I will be at the tail end of 'Team Timperley' when we reach Montrose. Possibly several days behind!

What looked like a food parcel from Markus, the kindly Austrian, arrived today - we opened it and realised that - yes, it was from Markus, pretending that he was from British Gas, with a present that will provide both heat and light to see us through the cold winter months:blog-08111801bulbs
Thank you Markus!

And another follower of this blog appeared. Welcome Martin.

Wednesday - I made a movie! Thanks go to Gayle for a bit of guidance on this, though the process that caused her a problem - conversion of movie clips from her camera to a format that could be used in Windows Movie Maker - seemed to just happen automatically for me. The trickiest bit was the upload to U-tube and insertion in the blog, and that was hardly rocket science.

We aren't any good at (indoor) photography, and the 'movie' was for a specific purpose, but I'm still chuffed with the result. Thanks for the inspiration, Gayle. Here it is:


I spent the rest of the day admiring my MSR Superfly stove,
contemplating my next adventure into the world of movie-making.
(And messing up a wonderfully clear image by the unnecessary use of drop shadow after deleting the original.)

The time could have been much better spent enjoying for a second time Mike Knipe's record of his travails amongst the Fells of Howgill. Here - they really are a good read.

Thursday - yet more time was spent on producing a slideshow of our recent trip to Egypt, and editing some of the postings to include more images. But I ran out of time so this all remains as 'work-in-progress' (I'll let you know when it's finished) as we were distracted by an appointment with 'The Singing Librarian' at the Royal Northern College of Music.

June Tabor's rendering of haunting melodies rarely fails to bring tears to the eye. The concert concentrated on folk songs dating from way back - even as long ago as when Normandy was part of Britain (apparently). Here's a clip of one of my favourites from her Anthology album:

Friday - we are off to Silverdale for a stroll, en route to Kendal for the Kendal Mountain Festival. As most of that involves listening and watching, we don't plan to post anything over the weekend, but will report back on Monday.

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Friday 28 December 2007 - The History Boys - Alan Bennett

I’m not a film buff. I can’t remember our last visit to the cinema. I don’t watch many films on TV. They generally send me to sleep.
But this was a day of rest after a number of hectic days over Christmas, and ‘The History Boys’ came up on TV. I like Alan Bennett’s work though sadly I don’t seek it out.
I found the film spellbinding, absolutely brilliant, occasionally reminiscent of some of the best days of my education, and for once I concur with the critical acclaim for this film:

"According to Time, the film is better than the original play, as the transformation to film improved the 'flow and intimacy' of the production, while preserving the messages it seeks to convey. Rolling Stone notes that some sense of familiarity with the subject of the film is lost in the cutting of nearly an hour from the original play, but the dialogue remains witty and pointed as is the customary style of the author. New York describes the film as 'brilliant and infectious', and filled with Alan Bennett's customary dead-pan humour. The author writes as though he simultaneously envies the extrovert characters he has created, yet is happy to stand apart from them. Hector's classes ramble, but manage to inspire the boys to the extent that they are pleased to adopt his approach to learning, and contentedly go along with his eccentric behaviour. The film is peppered with literary references and carries an encouragement to engage with life."

Here’s more on the film, and on the play on which the film was based. If you haven’t seen it you have a treat in store.

Tuesday, 25 December 2007

Sunday 23 December 2007 - Two Bits of Culture in One Day!

Some will question whether this was Culture or 'culture?'. Anyway, we all enjoyed Dad's Army at the Lowry Theatre, followed by the Hallé Christmas Carol Concert at the Bridgewater Hall, which roused me a little as I had a very quiet and peaceful chair at the Lowry and missed a lot of the first half!
More to come on this...
(Some time later)
Dad’s Army, as indicated above, failed to hold my attention for a while, but I did enjoy the second half, especially the familiar U-Boat crew classic.
In the first of the lost episodes, which have only survived in the form of scripts, the platoon try to ensure that Pte Walker is not drafted into the war by giving him flat feet. Pte Walker (with a look-alike of the original actor performing the role), who supplied the Home Guard with contraband whisky and cigarettes, is made to jump repeatedly from a ladder into a bucket of water to scupper his medical test in the episode, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Walker.
In the second episode, entitled A Stripe for Fraser, Pte Fraser turns power-crazed after being given a promotion.
The stage show finished with the Deadly Attachment episode in which a German U-Boat captain is captured by the platoon. Captain Mainwaring shouts his famous "Don't tell him, Pike" line when the German officer is attempting to discover the identity of the platoon.
So, worth a visit if it comes your way…Philip Radcliffe’s following review from the Manchester Evening News is a pretty accurate résumé in my opinion.

Dad's Army @ The Lowry
Philip Radcliffe
IT’S a strange déjà vu experience watching old TV favourites, dead and gone, represented live on stage. Clearly, old soldiers never die, they just get re-cast to come back and haunt us.
It says much for scriptwriters Jimmy Perry and David Croft, creators of one of the nation’s favourite sitcoms for a decade in their affectionate send-up of the war-time bungling by the Walmington-on-Sea Home Guard, that it is still richly entertaining 40 years on. Producer Ed O’Driscoll deserves credit for risking it. He and director James Robert Carson are entirely faithful to the original, not least in the brilliant lookalike casting. Inevitably, there is only an approximation to the likes of the great Arthur Lowe and John Le Mesurier and the rest – like an old master, a true original can only be copied - but it works a treat.
At first, you have a double take, watching the actors on stage whilst seeing in your mind’s eye the original inspired cast. But, gradually, you just become absorbed by the innocent pleasure. And the fun of familiarity brings extra delight – the established relationships, the well-worn catchphrases and the running gags.
The 15-strong cast, led by Colin Starkey as Mainwaring, David Warwick as Sgt Wilson, Richard Tate as Jones and Kern Falconer as Frazier, are a joy.
The show also does a service to our cultural history. Called Dad’s Army: The Lost Episodes, it restores four episodes first shown in 1969, including the captured U-Boat crew classic, not kept for posterity.

So the seven of us who went along were all in a good mood as we topped up with pizza, before five of us headed into town for a second dose of ‘culture?’ for the day. The Hallé orchestra and choir donned their usual Christmas finery and entertained us with their traditional mix of Christmas music and audience participation. This most enjoyable couple of hours was enhanced by a chance meeting with Linda and Clive, who we hadn’t seen for some time.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Friday 5 October 2007 - Private Lives

Tonight we enjoyed a hilarious performance of Noel Coward’s Private Lives, at Manchester’s Library Theatre. A most enjoyable way to end the week. The theatre was full, and whilst the management had missed a trick by running out of programmes (tomorrow is the last night), it’s nice to know that good performances are recognised by better attendances than expected.

If I had the text I’d reproduce more than just these two of the wonderful one-liners:
“Very flat, Norfolk”
“Don’t quibble, Sibyl”

Here’s a review from The Manchester Evening News:

Private Lives @ Library Theatre
Kevin Bourke - 12/ 9/2007

BRILLIANTLY barbed and extravagantly enjoyable, Chris Honer’s elegant new production of the Noel Coward classic has teeth and claws as well as heart and soul.
Despite the popular image of Coward as thoroughly superficial, Honer’s perceptive production throws the spotlight on the language of the play.
In its precision and barely-controlled fury, it devastatingly reveals how thin is the veneer of civilization, he argues, prefiguring Pinter and even David Mamet.
Yet, and just as importantly, the play is hilariously funny and this spot-on production has the audience falling around with laughter, with the cast, especially Phillipa Peak who plays Amanda, all demonstrating tremendous comic talent.
Five years before the play opens on a hotel balcony in the luxury French resort of Deauville, Amanda and Elyot (James Wallace) had been married before their very passion tore them apart.

Married again
Now both of them have married again – he to Sybil (Isla Carter), she to Victor (Philip Rham) – and, to their mutual dismay, find themselves about to start their honeymoons in adjoining rooms.
Amidst the verbal skirmishing, love once more rears its beguiling head and the pair high-tail it off to Amanda’s secret flat in Paris, carelessly abandoning their respective spouses without a word. But back in Paris, old tensions violently reveal themselves even before Sybil and Victor track them down.
Years of inferior rep productions and dull, uninspired but high-profile revivals have somewhat taken the lustre off Private Lives. But this exhilarating, production fairly fizzes with life, love, pain and laughter.

The photo shows Phillipa Peak (Amanda), Philip Rham (Victor), and Isla Carter (Sibyl).