The Begger’s Opera – Park theatre 2016 – Review

The Begger’s Opera is based upon a 18th century satire of the Opera culture and political class system of the period. This musical has brought that up to date with the action taking place around the 2012 Olympic games. The cast is really well made and there are loads of ;laughs throughout the action which happens in a really excellent tightly packed Park Theatre in Finsbury Park.

 

The idea of the play is that the poor are being unfairly treated by the capitalist system. There are some stella performances including from the mayor of london and a media mogul both of who’s daughters end up going out / getting pregnant with a likeable but less good  anti- capitalist Macheath. I really liked the chemistry between most of the actors and the music was quite good although very similar in rhythm and the whole performance was prehaps 20% too long. You had got the message by the interval and the second half was too long  to stay completely engaged with. Probably the star performers where the Mayor’s daughter Natasha Cottraill as Lucy Lockitt  and the media mogul, David Burt.

 

A very well executed Left Wing preformance which takes a stab at the heart of society in a very fun and thought provoking way.

 

Jungle Book (2016) review

Well this is a great feel good film with just about something for everyone in it. Yes it is designed for children but adults will certainly like it as it has a lot of undertones and a brilliant mindset. Mowgli the Man cub is a character that you quickly like but begin to adore more and more the longer the film goes on.  There are some brilliant characters surrounding him, Bagheera, the panther probably being the most creatively imagined and thought about.  I have completely forgotten the original film as i saw it when i was about 5 and really enjoyed the fact that it was Wolves that took care of Mowgli. The fact that he is so scared of going into human society is revealed on  his first journey with Bagheera being one of the best scenes in the film. Some of the action sequences are  a little rushed but the film has a great rhythm and a really good mix between slightly tense scary moments and very playful fun times. I really loved how animals called fire “red flower” such a beautiful and yet scary thing.  Its language like that which can make both adults and kids think alike and the wolf pack saying is one of the most powerful calls that i’ve heard in a film. A really uplifting fun and enjoyable film.

 

What impact does my speech impairment have when I meet new people.

I don’t think there are any simple answers to the question above as it depends on the person and situation. If I meet someone who is sensitive in a relatively quiet place they are likely to understand most of what I say. No one gets everything so i have to walk into situations thinking if i can make myself understood 75% of the time that will be good.

I have always found 1 to 1 situations better in terms of people understanding me. There tend to be less distractions and its easier for them to concentrate n what i’m saying. The very worst situations are the ones where i’m in a noisy space and trying to talk to someone who i’ve just been introduced to. This can backfire in so many ways. The worst is when your introduced and two minutes later they say they need to talk and just shove you out of the conversation.  There are times where i am just ignored and talked over because the other people find it easier to talk to one another than pay enough attention to talk to me.  This can happen with friends as well which can be very challenging as it means that people who know my speech cant be asked to listen.

The places that feel least comfortable are where it is most popular to meet new people which is  a large reason I have found it so difficult to make lasting relationships. A great example of this is when I’m going to the pub or a bar where i don’t know people that well and may not see them again. Walking into unknown social circles can be daunting, so imagine life where every interaction weather it be social work or otherwise related being like that and you have some indication of the way that it is for me. I have learnt to ignore most of the idiots in this world but it takes a bit of effort to get me and most people just don’t understand or are put off by the way that I talk.

I want to share a video from youtube that is on Living with Cerebral Palsy. Its about introducing yourself from a different perspective than me but saying the same message.

Personal struggles and society’s conformist viewpoints

Sometimes I have come up against something that I have not known why I cant do or handle. The psychological implications of telling yourself that something is difficult can be so damaging that you sometimes get to a stage where you just don’t think you can do something when you can.

Im going through a few changes at the moment which I didn’t think would happen this time last year. Im relearning to ride a bike which is proving very hard because every time i get on I think Im going to lose my balance. Im scared of putting my foot down but this is a purely psychological thing as i know that i can physically do it. Its a case of me getting over the barrier I have built up over the years.

Is conforming to societies expectations so important that we feel obliged to not look at ourselves and think about who we are and what we want. I believe that is still true about certain issues such as what people want in their sexual lives. lifestyles such as being gay has only been made acceptable in the past 30 years although it has been legal for 60. That is an incredibly short amount of time and when someone decides to tell others that their homosexual it is still considered a big thing. Society sometimes makes no sense because everyone knows that 99% of people have sexual desires and that there is sex going on the whole time. There is no simple answer as to why society decides to make discussing what you want sexually taboo. I think there are a multitude of different answers and they could all be debated for hours.

I think that everyone has to be comfortable in who they are and that covers everything from their career to their most personal thoughts.

Revenant

The revenant was a film where I didn’t quite know whether it was telling a story or showing off. The cinematography is so spectacular that you could kind of ignore the plot which you were encouraged to do.  The plot is a pretty simple revenge story set in the 19th century where Leonardo DiCaprio’s character goes after Tom Hardy murders his son and leaves him for dead after a bear attack. DiCaprio is one of the best actors in my opinion and he does not disappoint here with one of his best performances. He, Hardy and the supporting cast produce some very intense scenes which highlight the harshness of the landscape.

The cinematography is  what makes the film memorable with each shot from beginning to end so carefully thought through that it overrides the plot. The landscape is just incredible throughout the film which takes place over autumn and winter in the rocky mountains. You are drawn into each scene by the background as much as the foreground and the shots where DiCaprio is travelling across country are truly beautiful. Great acting along with great cinematography goes along way towards making a great film. Its a shame that the plot does not quite match up.

Long time no see feels like yesterday

TodayI met up with someone who I hadn’t met in over 15 years. She looked after me when I was a child and I had a really close relationship with her for about three years. It was absolutely great to see her again and hear how her life was getting on now and what she had been up to for the past 15 years. It was a real sort of someone who wanted to succeed doing just that and more with their life. I always knew that she and her Husband, who couldn’t be a kinder man, would end up in a great place having a great time. They run a  beautiful, cosy pub on the outskirts of Winchester and have a house on the in Bournemouth about 5 minutes from the sea.

 

Today made me think about how important it is to keep relationships going.  Friendships are what make life fulfilled. You run into a lot of people in life and  only occasionally you will make lasting friendships but these are the ones that matter. If you can go for 20 years without really seeing someone and instantly get on with them as if you saw them last week  it is surely a sign of a friendship that I really want in my life.  Coming away today I had a warm fuzzy feeling that I get when I know I really value someone.

Reactions to my Speech

I have had  a lot of reactions to my disability over the course of my life. when i meet most people they know very quickly something is wrong because as soon as i open my mouth my speech impairment comes out as well as what I’m saying. My speech is not too bad but it does raise questions for people when they first meet me the most common of which is “What on earth did that guy just say?” After a while people do get more used to my voice but the time it takes depends on how often  they are interacting with me.

There are a number of reactions the first is to carry on as it they have understood just what I’ve said. This is annoying because  i can be saying one thing and the other person says something that makes no sense or is not how I expect them to respond. I normally repeat what I say if I think the situation would benefit.

If there are multiple participants in the conversation I can find it hard to get into the conversation  and when I do people can find it very easy to not listen to what i have to say as it is harder for them to catch the content. They tend to ignore me in the least harsh way possible. This is especially true in loud situations like crowds and where there is loud music. I have found myself cut off in a lot of social situations such as clubs and bars where there is loud music playing. This has not stopped me going to them but has meant that I have found it a lot harder socially when I have got there.

I also get the people who just switch off when i talk to them. This is more difficult to deal with as they are just not interested because I can’t talk properly.  These people are rare but they do exist and they annoy me a lot especially when I am going to have to interact with them multiple times.

 

Review: Opera Tavern, Covent Garden

This is a great little Spanish restaurant on Charlotte Street. I went there yesterday for the second time with my Dad and really enjoyed it. The food is a mix of Tapas and meats so t doesn’t really matter weather your in a hurry or want a more leisurely meal both are possible. It’s food is excellent and with their Spanish Carpaccio something to really look forward to. The three meats were all very different but delicious in their own right. The tapas is also very good with a wide range of choice.

The atmosphere was vey good in the evening and even at midday it was still a good atmosphere. The staff are vey attentive and extremely friendly I would go back there at any time and would recommend this to anyone wanting quality food around Covent Garden.

Cerebral palsy: a small part of life

My life changed a lot when I was born. I don’t think anyone had any idea of the changes that were going on but it was to have an effect on my entire life. I have a mild form of cerebral palsy and have had to make various adaptations to my life in order to deal with it. Perhaps the biggest is the fact that I would probably have been right handed if I didn’t have my condition. As it is I have to do almost everything with my left hand side as the right is affected. This has not been easy but I have learned how to do almost everything with my left hand because I don’t have a choice. It did take me more time to learn how to do stuff and I always have to think slightly harder than other people when I’m trying something for the first time. A great example is cutting food up when its being prepared of on my plate. I was useless at cutting up food when I was young. Even now I can make a real mess when I cutting up my food and it always takes me longer to cut tough things like meat or bread.

 

My disability does not hole me back from doing stuff because it is part of who I am and it won’t change. I’m lucky in the fact that I’m completely mobile and have never had any real issues getting around. I am a can do person and the way is see the world is if anyone else can do it why cant I. That’s the way its been for as long as I can remember. One of my earliest memories is of me seeing my family on the ridge of a Scottish mountain on a beautiful summers day and thinking that I woul make it up there one day. That didn’t take fvery long as aged 7 I was on the top of a Munro and it is something I continue to really enjoy to this day.

 

I think im pretty good at makind people see my disability for what it is but there are times whenit gets in the way. My speech impediment is probably the single biggest thing that holds me back. I can talk and will have my say at every juncture but I just need people to wait for a bit longer in order for me to get my words out and it is more difficult for people to understnd what I am saying. I absolutely hate hearing my voice recorded and have horrors about the way.

Film Review: Sherpa

Sherpa is about the 2014 season on Mt Everest. It is a excellent film covering the Sherpa uprsing after tragedy struck. It starts with a interesting passage about Sherpas beliefs about the mountain. You arrive at base camp with the Sherpas who are setting up camp while the Clients are on their way from Kathmandu. Preparations are as expected so that by the time the clients arrive their camp looks more like a hotel made of fabric than anything else. Sherpas are the mules of the mountain going up and down the most dangerous part, the Khumbu Icefal as many as 30 times while the clients will only have togo through it 2 or 4 times. When a 14000 tonne block of ice falls into the icefall, 16 people die including 13 Sherpa.

 

What happens next is very interesting but not out of all proportion to what’s occurred. It turns into a film about worker right and worker safety. the events are very carefully put together to give you a real sesnse of the unease around base camp in the week after the avalanche and the tentions going on between the Sherpas, the expeditions and the government when they come in 5 days after the disaster and try to quell the tentions. The lead Sherpa, Phurba Tashi, who the film follows throuhtout, is caught in the middle of this huge conflict between what his job is and what his family and the other Sherpas want to do. The scene recording the ministerial visit and the aftermath is incredibly good. The reaction of the clients in Russell Bryce’s expedition are very well portrayed and their lack of understanding of the Sherpas thinking is sometimes remarkable.

 

A really great documentary with a strong message about the way that people can change in ways that are completely unexpected while at the same time entirely within reason.