Monday, 20 May 2013

Week 7: Nothing to Tweet Home About

I'm a fan of Facebook.  I must check it a few times a day.  I like to see what my friends and acquaintances are up to, to be happy when there's something to celebrate and to be concerned when things aren't really going to plan.

It's a digital age and Facebook allows us to openly verbalise the trivia of our lives allowing the people we know to interact when we are pleased, or down, or excited, or... whatever!  I find this interesting.  Strange, therefore, that I have never been attracted to Twitter as it is basically an extension of the 'status update' theme.  So, this week I decided to give it a go.

Who to Follow

There may be people reading this who would have started the Twitter experience differently from me but I have gone this totally alone, without advice or guidance.  Maybe that was a mistake.  I started by choosing a selection of people to follow.  I chose:
  • Stephen Fry - the UK's most proficient Tweeter so I believe.  He had to be worth a go.
  • Zooey Deschanel - Who's that girl... its Jess! Yes, Jess from New Girl, one of my favourite TV programmes and also the star of everybody's favourite Christmas (sorry, is it too early in the year to say that word) film, Elf. 
  • Chris Evan - He just seems like a bloke who has a lot to say.
  • Oprah Winfrey -Everybody needs to be inspired.
  • Kevin Spacey - Love him and all the films I've ever seen him in (please don't spoil it my pointing out works that I might not like).
  • Miranda Hart - She's just, what I would call, HILARIOUS! Such fun!
  • Tom Hanks - A modern Hollywood legend
So that's my line up.  It looks impressive.  If these people were coming around for dinner I'd definitely tidy up and I'd probably buy a new dress... that was before I read their Tweets for a week!

So, What did I learn?

Not much to be honest, I'm going to keep this brief.

Tom Hanks has posted 2 photos of himself with 2 different groups of people.  I'm not sure why and I don't know who they are.

Zooey Deschanel let us all know that the final episode of the latest series of New Girl was to be screened in the U.S. this week.  This doesn't affect us in the UK at the moment but it is sad as I really do appreciate that programme but, hey-ho, no need to worry for the moment.  Apart from that she has been chillaxing in bed with her dog and posting pictures to prove it - cute.
 If there was a second person in the room taking this picture, neither Zooey nor the dog seems particularly interested in them!

Oprah Winfrey lives up to her inspirational ideals with posts such as,
"'Put a voice on that hurt and give your tears a sound'. Love that"
"Classic mother mistake: Focusing on what you don't want...MAJOR... I was so afraid he was going to fail, I forgot to focus on his success"
"WHAT DO YOU REALLY WANT? How would you answer that question Tweethearts".
I'm sure these slogans have an audience though I'm not sure that it's me... I do, however, like the word 'Tweethearts'!

Stephen Fry didn't disappoint with the number of Tweets he Tweeted during the course of the week although, unfortunately (and this may offend some), I'm afraid I wasn't all that interested in what he had to say.  Chris Evans was frequent with his Tweets and often provided a commentary on what he was doing and a slightly personal insight in to his life, which I notice other Tweeters (understandably) shy away from.  Chris Evans seems to have a reasonable balance between letting his readers in on his life whilst keeping a safe distance.  This can't be an easy balance to maintain and he's probably the most interesting of my celebs for this reason.

Miranda Hart, as funny as she is, clearly isn't one for Twitter.  This week I learnt she was filming an episode of 'Would I Lie to You'.  That is all.

Kevin Spacey often went for a more serious perspective on life and ultimately provided, what I consider to be, the best Tweet of the week.  Its a link to a Youtube clip and it's basically about how you perceive your environment and rationalise your thoughts.  There is a lot of truth in it, it's called This is Water:

 

And that's that, a brief synopsis of everything I learnt on Twitter this week from the mouths of celebs.


Verdict

Fail. 

Twitter is not for me.  

Maybe it's because I didn't follow the 'right' people, or maybe because its because I'm not particularly interested in celebrity culture, but Twitter continues to be as unappealing to me as it always has.  I think I'll leave it there.

Stay tuned for next week's Blog though, I promise I more interesting and upbeat tale.  It's exciting!

Monday, 13 May 2013

Week 6: It's a Kinda Magic

Last October I went in to hospital for an operation to remove my thyroid.  Despite my worry it wasn't serious and I was, and continue to be, absolutely fine.  However, just like in the aftermath of any procedure, it pays to take it easy.  Most people would choose to lounge in bed or on the sofa and either read a book, watch a dvd or make their way through a missed TV series.  This is exactly what I did for over two and half weeks.

My husband had a different idea though on how I might want to relax without idly wasting time.  He suggested I learn magic!

I decided not to take him up on his suggestion on the basis that I couldn't really move my head!  I think it was just too soon.  He went on alone anyway and learnt a trick without me, which I have to admit is really impressive and I suppose I've always half regretted not giving it a go.

So, that's the background for this week's Something New

Is it Possible to Teach an Old Dog New Tricks? 

(Just saying it before you do!) 

Without giving away the tricks of the trade, Leigh's trick is concerned with slight of hand.  I haven't got slight hands, in fact I'm fairly clumsy so I don't think a trick like that would be suitable for me.  Instead I decided to go for something that's a little more calculated. 

They say that a true magician never reveals her secret and I will stand by this saying.  I wont even challenge you to come up with the solution on how to do it, it'll only take the fun out of it.... just enjoy it.
 

Abracadabra

video

Verdict


Well I think that video speaks for itself.  It wasn't too difficult to learn though admittedly that wasn't the first take that you see here - we really needed to learn to spell Abracadabra for the trick to work! Its a bit long winded but it is quite fun when it pays off.  I enjoyed doing it and will be available for weddings, bar mitzvahs  etc. but ultimately I think I'll leave the magic to people who actually have talent.


Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Week 5: Sleeping Beauty

Although I can appreciate the beauty of a good lie-in and even the occasional afternoon nap I have not, alas, spent this week sleeping.  I did, however, go to see Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty at the Empire Theatre in Liverpool last Saturday night with my mum.


My Relationship with Formal Dance


Unlike many little girls of my generation I never really attended dance classes at a young age with the exception of the occasional Irish Dancing lesson.  Maybe even at that young age I could have been described as faddy although I think that it was far more likely that being so heavy on my feet with the grace of a baby elephant and the balance of Weeble (I'd wobble but I wouldn't fall down!) just meant that dance wasn't my thing.  I remember being in infant's school and the nurse taking us out one by one and asking us to hop out of the room on one leg and back in to the room on the other.  It should have been a fun game for a six year old but I just hopped in and out on the same leg.  I just couldn't manage the other without falling over.  

That's probably why I went to swimming lessons instead of dance school.

For this reason then I 've never really been interested in what you might term Contemporary Dance.  I don't suppose I have ever really been bothered enough to attempt to appreciate or understand it.

That was until I saw this beautiful advertisement poster in the station on the way to work one morning:

There was only one thing for it.  It was time to see if its fair to judge a book by its cover.... or a ballet by its poster as may be more accurate in this particular case.

The Performance of Sleeping Beauty


The Empire Theatre is a lovely venue for any performance, from its traditional red velvet seats, to the ornate ceiling and marble plinths at the rear, it feels like a special place.  Couple this with a full audience dressed to impress and an almost audible anticipation of what's to come and you have an exciting evening before the first cast member has even made an appearance on the stage.

However I should maybe mention here that I am also not a big fan of classical music.  It just isn't something I listen to.  If I had to choose, I'd say I'm more of a Smooth FM kind of girl, seconded by local commercial radio or even BBC Radio 2 but NEVER Classic FM.  If you add this to my lack of interest in ballet dancing, the evening should have been a complete washout but, as you might be able to tell from the atmosphere I have alluded to, the shift of the balance quickly changed.  

I won't spoil the story for you though everybody surely knows the basic tale of Sleeping Beauty.  Matthew Bourne has taken this and given it a twist.  Whilst the traditional Tchaikovsky music is used throughout and the story begins in the the late 1890s, when the original ballet was first performed, Bourne takes you right through to modern day with amazing sets, costumes and humour.  Traditional dancing was interspersed at times with some, quite frankly, unbelievable dancing in which performers were so fluid they look as though their bones must have disintegrated but yet their strength was always apparent.  In other scenes traditional ballet seemingly morphed in to something more akin to modern street dance.  

It was truly spectacular to see.  

Unfortunately, with it being a formal performance the opportunities to take photographs (as proof for this blog!) were limited but this photograph taken during the interval gives you an idea of the Gothic themes of the show.


We did try to take some with me in them during the interval but unfortunately this coincided with my mum's coughing fit (it was slightly messier than that but the less said the better!) and basically the photographs reflected the mood of the photographer - blurry!

Still a bit blurry (below) but more usable, this is the infamously inspiring poster outside The Empire in all of its glory taken on the way home.


Verdict

It was absolutely amazing.  

I didn't realise how emotional it had been until the very end when all the cast stepped forward for their bow raising their joined hands together above their heads.  I thought they looked as though they were about to give us a rendition of the Hokey-Cokey, which I thought was absolutely hilarious in contrast... only to find my laughter almost turning to tears for no explicable reason.  

It's fair to say I was moved by the experience and look forward to seeing Bourne's other 2 ballets, The Nutcracker and Swan Lake, sometime in the hopefully not to distant future.