In Praise of… Pattern Recognition


To clarify – this was a dance show at the Platform Theatre in April 2016, rather than a book.  It was put on by Alexander Whitley, and I was taken to see it by my partner not ‘cos we know anything about dance (we don’t) but because it was a show in which dance and lights collided  in a way we kinda had to see. The premise is pretty simple.  Two dancers perform on a stage, while three XBox Kinect sensors monitor their movements.  That data is then translated and transmitted to eight moving lights.  In various different ways, these …

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Natural and organic


Two annoying things.  In the EU there are over 2000 products banned from cosmetics, ‘cos of the damage they cause to people, animals and the environment.  In America, of those banned products there are just 36. My skin appears to responds better to face cream made from beeswax and oil than anything else I can buy off the shelf. I find both these things depressing for very different reasons.  Firstly, the things we as a species do to ourselves in pursuit of beauty, youth and… well, no, those two mostly… makes me a little bit sad.  We also do things …

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Posh actors


There’s a bit of an ongoing barny about how many deeply successful (mostly male) actors in Britain right now are posh.  A mull….  It’s an argument not without a grain of truth to it.  A long list of Harrow, Eton, Westminster, Oxford, Cambridge graduates grace our screens and stage.  Even if those institutions weren’t on the list, as someone who went to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, I’m here to tell you that fundamentally, if you’re someone who gets to spend time and money watching theatre, let alone making it, that very act is probably going to factor into …

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Arguing as People


I, like most of the world, have gone to great efforts to ignore the current Republican race for President in the USA.  I’ve tried to ignore it because it hurts, and because in the UK when a government gets in which I loathe I can contemplate leaving the country (for now), whereas if a US President gets in who believes that all Muslims are potentially terrorists, climate change is a lie and every Mexican is a rapist, there’s not another planet to move to. But now, of course, it’s all getting a bit real and so, with great reluctance, I …

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In Praise of… Moira Buffini


She writes plays. I start with this statement, because usually I praise books and occasionally films, but remember how I also do a lot of theatre?  I’ve now lit a fair amount of work by Moira Buffini, and I think her plays are wonderful.  I first encountered her work on a production of Silence, which always stuck in my mind as one of the first plays I ever lit where I got to create arty stuff, and atmospheres, instead of just lights up, lights down.  It was also a play full of women – not Women Being Strong or Women …

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What is a black belt?


I ask this question with great trepidation, for reasons which will become apparent…. I’ve dabbled in three martial arts.  Of those, I did karate for a few months (too much pain), jiu jitsu for about half a year (too much need for a poker face) and escrima for about four years (the bestest).  My partner also has three years of chen-style tai chi under his belt, and every now and then we will teach each other things and get enthused together by stuff that can be done with elbows and hips. In karate I never achieved a belt.  My instructor …

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