London


Bong! Big Ben still rings out 150 years on – Times Online
As we ring out the old year and ring in the new year here in DC, I remembered that it’s already next year somewhere else. I can’t imagine a better place to do that than in London to the chimes of Big Ben. I had no idea that the clock is still hand wound — take that digital technology! So it’s not the most precise instrument (head to Greenwich for truly precise time keeping). I’m chronically 5 minutes late in my life so I can forgive a clock a few minutes here or there.

2009 seems likely to be a strange year for me personally (I’ll be 50 in August) but I truly hope it will be better for everyone. Looking forward to a new (better?) president, some kind of better economic upturn, and a little more peace anywhere.

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Paul Scofield, Oscar-winning actor, has died – Times Online

Sorry to have another obit but this is an actor I’ve always admired from when I first saw A Man For All Seasons to Martin Chuzzlewit and The Crucible.

Scofield’s presence was described as “monumental but reassuring” and his voice compared variously to a Rolls-Royce being started up and a sound rumbling up from an antique crypt.In his private life he avoided both the limelight and the party circuit, preferring instead to walk, ride and cycle around the area where he lived in Balcombe, West Sussex.He also savoured the wind and rain in his holiday home on a Scottish island. As the headlines once put it, he was “a very private actor”.

My kind of actor, my kind of person.

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For sale: codpieces of the stars
RSC Wardrobe sale

For sale: codpieces of the stars – Times Online

Today 40 years’ worth of costumes produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company and formerly inhabited by some of Britain’s finest actors go on sale to the public at Stratford-upon-Avon.

The range is nothing if not dramatic: 10,000 garments from every period, doublets that were once filled by Derek Jacobi, David Suchet and David Tennant, a fat-suit worn by Simon Callow, along with all the accoutrements of Shakespeare’s stage – royal robes, bloodied soldiers’ tunics, horses’ heads and several very distinguished and well-travelled codpieces. Everything must go.

I would kill to be at this sale. I love Shakespeare and the theatre so a sale at the RSC must be heaven. Here is a sampling:

Simon Callow’s fat-suit, from The Merry Wives of Windsor – £20

The White Witch’s coat from the 1998 production of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – £50

Velvet coats from Peter Brook’s 1970 A Midsummer Night’s Dream – £30

Josie Lawrence’s wedding dress from The Taming of the Shrew – £20

Swords – £20/Daggers – £15

Bargain prices!

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NPR : McKellen Takes On Another Dark Mountain: ‘Lear’

I would kill to see this production. I love Shakespeare and I’ve seen many productions (including McKellen as Richard III here in Washington DC). I suspect this will be one of the best performances of the season. It’s already sold-out in Brooklyn and it’s only going to Minneapolis and Los Angeles in the US.

The link is for the article and the radio broadcast which includes exerpts of the performance.

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