Thursday, 30 December 2010

Food and the cooking of it

I seriously think I'm using this as an excuse every day. I mean, every time I get tired of staring at the screen for some serious work (not surfing the net / watching stuff), I think about what time it is and whether it's time for a meal. I mean, how much more not dedicated can you be? This reminds me of my friend T who told me she skips lunch sometimes when she's working, simply because she's too absorbed in it...oh well. There you go. Some people are just good workers and some aren't.

It's sometimes a bit of a headache (I'm putting it mild here) when it comes to eating. Cook, or go out? We almost never order takeaway. For one thing, the food's probably not fresh when it arrives, and I like my food freshly made and presented in front of me right after it's cooked. And takeaway food is not always cheaper, though it saves you the trouble of getting ready to go out, going out, deciding on a place (after looking around for a good while), deciding on what to eat, waiting to order, ordering, waiting for food to come, waiting for dessert menu, waiting for the bill, and going home. This sounds pretty normal, but here this probably takes at least double the time it takes in HK. People are simply not very efficient, ahem, well, they're pretty laid-back and they like to take it slow. So having a quick lunch can take you 2 hours...yeah, I mean a quick lunch with no appetiser and dessert!

Though I don't like where I'm living now, I am quite happy with its location. It's not superb, but there are lots of restaurants around (by lots I mean 30+ if you really count!), and it's convenient for grocery shopping (and oriental food shopping / restaurants too). That makes it easy to just eat out, but sometimes I do cook. I'm by no means a good cook, really, but I'm interested enough and I like experimenting with things within my ability. Given the very little equipment I have in my small room (and the fact that we're actually not allowed to cook in the room), I have to say I've made every effort to make a variety of things! Of course, an oven would be great...

Well, we've started looking for a flat again, and let's hope I get a real nice kitchen with everything I need!

Monday, 27 December 2010

Boxing Day without...box(ing) :P

Today's a lot more exciting than yesterday. :) Well, nothing REALLY exciting really, we just went to see Gulliver's Travels, went shopping and went to the ENO The Nutcracker performance in the evening. Very tired at the time of writing but happy. :)



Gulliver's Travels is a great film for Boxing Day - a comedy, a bit silly, and suitable for all ages. Jack Black is the usual Jack Black, I don't particularly like / dislike him, he's okay. The storyline is quite silly, really, and of course it's not the original Gulliver's Travels, but as I said, you don't really expect epic stuff in a Boxing Day film! Well, it's actually not that, as I think it's in cinemas in the States a lot earlier...the UK is a bit slow. Ha.

After the film and lunch we went...shopping. We didn't want to, as we're quite scared of crowds, but S was curious about how cheap stuff really is, so we went to Oxford Street... it's just REALLY crowded, and I had no mood to do any shopping seeing all the people and the queues at the till...so I bought nothing! @_@ S got 2 pairs of shoes, which is nice, as he doesn't have many pairs (compared to me). We then walked all the way to the West End, as the traffic was terrible (as usual) because of yet another tube strike.

The Nutcracker is something both familiar and distant. I think I saw this ballet performance for a number of years, always at Christmas, but it's been quite some time since I last saw one. I love the music in it as I used to listen to it at home all the time (Dad loves playing those CDs when we're having dinner / after dinner...), and I remember most of the pieces. This performance, however, was not a great experience. Perhaps it's to do with our seats - we were at the balcony, quite far away from the stage, and in front of me was a very big guy. S said it's not the point anyway, as the seats aren't designed properly and anyone except a young child will block you. Then there are the people. As I said, I went to this performance mainly for the music, but there were a lot of people in the audience coughing throughout the whole performance, which is quite annoying. I mean, if you're so sick, you really shouldn't go out, let alone go to the theatre. It's just really selfish, as you are not only ruining your own experience but other people's as well! And then there are the seats...it's our second time in the London Coliseum, and I regret to report that the seats are really bad. They're really small seats, first of all, and if I find the seat small, I think a lot of caucasians would find it difficult to stay in it for 2-3 hours. The seats are also designed in a way where you can only sit upright with your back very straight, and that makes it a very unpleasant and unenjoyable experience. There's also very little leg room - again, for a small person like me, if this is the case, then I don't know how caucasians cope with that...

Anyway...that's the price you have to pay for tradition, as S says! The building's probably very old (like most theatres here) and they don't like to tear down old stuff and build something anew unless it's absolutely necessary. Oh well!

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Food pics

I don't see the day I will quit taking photos of my food, whether it's the food I make or the food I eat. It's just my way of remembering things - I take pictures of completely random things so I won't forget. Perhaps this doesn't make sense, because if something is memorable it will stay with you, supposedly, but I don't trust myself on that. I forget easily, much more easily than I like to admit. Photos are important.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Xmas pressies!!!

Soooo happy (and surprised!) to have received two pressies in the post today!



Lovely and pleasantly scented stuff from Janet... love this kind of stuff as I used to have a house full of all these in HK...



And this is from S...we came back from lunch and he got this parcel, and I kept asking him what it is...haha. So this is my xmas pressie! He's actually been talking about giving me this for ages, I just kept refusing coz I already have a camera. My present camera's a bit old and not functioning well sometimes, but it's still usable. Now I don't know what to do with it... This one is a 'newer' model of the S95 model, I heard. Don't know how 'advanced' this is though!

:) :) :)

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Good morning (to) the world



We managed to make it on time to Good Morning to the World at BAFTA today, despite the horrible pre-Christmas weekend traffic (we eventually got off on Oxford Street and walked all the way to Piccadilly). Good Morning is an indie film by a 23-year-old Japanese film student, and we were told before the film began that it's already won a number of awards worldwide, and the director's already been approached by different film companies though he has yet to graduate. All these set our hopes high; and as great expectations always do, the film left us quite disappointed.

The synopsis of the film and more info can be found here; what I want to comment on is not the rather low technical quality of the film (which can be excused since the film is actually a school project of the director's), but the rather boring way it is filmed. Many, or should I say, most of the scenes are unnecessarily long, and quite a number of scenes or shots are rather unnecessary in my opinion. We don't need to see the boy walk around for no reason for a few minutes, and trust me, I think many in the audience shared this feeling.

And one more thing: why do Japanese films / books always depict characters who commit suicide? I know the suicide rate is quite high in Japan, but the fact that it's depicted in almost every single film / book makes it easy for Japanese people to be stereotyped.

Friday, 10 December 2010

You are what you read...?

There are loads of publications you can read here if you have the time, and many are free, but being the magazine slut I am, I still find myself buying those glossy mags all the time...sometimes I can't even finish reading them! (Sometimes I can't even finish the day's newspaper...so I actually quite like the concept of the i paper - for the time-poor!) This month I've got these two so far, and when I brought them home I was struck by the contrast:

 

The contrast is just too...startling. One shouts 'cheap!' and the other, I think, shows more 'class'. But to be honest, the way I read them is quite similar! I actually don't like those beauty / fashion spreads that much... nor do I like those 'self-help' stuff or articles about relationships...they're mostly quite cheesy. Last month I got Cosmopolitan and I couldn't help asking when in the middle of it, 'Why...why do I think nothing in this magazine concerns me?' Supposedly, I fall into Cosmo's readership...supposedly - well, I don't really know, I just assume I belong to their target age-group. But everything in Cosmo is so juvenile! The HK edition of Cosmoplitan (not to be confused with Cosmo in HK which is a magazine for teens), on the other hand, is quite different - I used to have a copy every month, and the stuff inside is a lot more 'mature' than the Cosmo here.

There are actually a number of free publications here which are quite nice. ES magazine, in my opinion, is even better than Glamour or Cosmopolitan in terms of content, and it doesn't consume as much time; there's another one which is for men which I can't remember the name of, and I like it though it's for men! There's a lot of artsy stuff in it, and it was only when I was in the middle of one copy and having glanced through many ads for men that I realised it's a magazine for men...honestly, it's quite good for a free magazine, and in my opinion, much better than some of the ones you have to pay for. But it also got me questioning...why do men's magazines (this type, not the porno type) have so much interesting content while in women's magazines it's always just fashion, beauty, sex and relationships? To be honest, I'm not really that interested in those topics...and I find this quite sexist!

Monday, 6 December 2010

A flea in her ear - a farce



I almost forgot to write about this matinee performance we went to at the Old Vic on Saturday. It's the first of the 'preview' performances, so we were really 'lucky' - there were hiccups, naturally, before and during the performance, but really, it's quite an enjoyable experience overall. I don't like the seating of the Old Vic though - it's quite hard to avoid having your view blocked by the people in front of you, which is quite common in cinemas here, but it's the first time I experienced this in a theatre, and it's quite upsetting! Being an Asian who is petite by even Asian standards, I usually get blocked in such seats...last time we almost had that problem at the Odeon Panton Street, and eventually I had to move to the front row. @_@ It's lucky there's only one row in front of me this time, but this kind of seating is still very problematic, and I don't understand why they don't look into it! (Last time at Odeon Panton Street I overheard a lady telling her friend how half of the subtitles were blocked by the person in front of her...it's a Japanese film, so subtitles were essential! Poor woman!)

Anyway, it's a hilarious performance... though at some point I couldn't catch everything the characters said. Perhaps it's a language issue? And I just looked it up...the English version of this play was translated by John Mortimer in 1966, to be performed in exactly the same venue, and the current production uses exactly the same translation! Interesting...I wonder if that's why I couldn't catch everything. (Or it could simply be my bad listening skills, haha!)

Sunday, 5 December 2010

The Be All and End All, and Norwegian Wood



The Be All and End All is a film about the friendship of two teenage boys. I didn't expect much before seeing the film, as I knew it's about how one of the boys helps his mate lose his virginity before he dies, but this seemingly silly subject matter is treated quite well, and the friendship is really touching while not being too sentimental. Recommended!



And tonight we just went to see the preview of Norwegian Wood, as I got two last minute tickets this morning because of cancellations due to the tube strike - I even wasted my original Onassis tickets for this! The reason for my eagerness to see this is that I read the book by Murakami (repeatedly) when I was a teenager, and I read most of Murakami's other works when I was younger. (I'm not following his recent works so much now...guess I've passed that phase!) It's one of those much-hyped love stories with a cult status, and it's one of the more accessible works of Murakami's. I remember understanding the whole thing when for me at that age Murakami's quite hard, especially his series of Wild Sheep Chase!

Much as I liked the book and was excited to get preview tickets for the film, I wasn't really expecting much, knowing what most artsy Japanese films are like - though this is not exactly a Japanese film, as it's filmed by the French-Vietnamese director Anh Hung Tran. Turned out the film's about what I had expected - slow, artsy, with lots of close-up shots. It's beautifully filmed, and aesthetically appealing - I was particularly drawn to the fashion of the time, which is the 1960s - they have very retro (in today's standard) shirts and dresses, and most of them look quite lovely! I especially like the clothes worn by Reiko (played by Reika Kirishima) - isn't it hard to imagine why a psychotic patient has such a beautiful wardrobe? Anyway, fashion is not the focus, but really, the film is probably more appealing aesthetically than in substance.

Side note: One thing that makes me realise I've really grown up (and have become so practical) is when I wonder, 'Wow, this boy can just study and read and do nothing else...I wish I were that kind of student again!'

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Onassis...finally!



I'm so happy that I eventually got to see this!!! Not so much because I'm a fan or anything, but because of the different hiccups...and finally, tonight. The seats weren't the best - first row, which was what I got for Shirley Valentine as well, and it's really not that good as I could see the pantyhose of the actresses clearly, and at some point I got water splashed on my face, but guess I can't complain!

The acting's quite good in general, but I thought there would be more on Maria Callas. I also found Jackie Kennedy's accent or way of talking a bit strange...very not American, almost European I may say. But all in all it's an enjoyable performance. We had pie and mash for dinner at Covent Garden, and cookies and hot chocolate to follow before the play...nice evening. :)

Monday, 29 November 2010

Food, food, food

I just realised when I was in the shower (I always 'brainstorm' when taking a bath...) that I haven't written about the food situation here - weird, considering how I love my food! I can't have a bad meal or I'd be really unhappy...and I won't be able to forget it for the rest of the day. What we're doing now is (a) eat out, and (b) cook. More about the former later, but really, cooking was a mission impossible here, as we don't have a kitchen and aren't supposed to cook here. Of course, being the defiant me, I bought an electronic hob, a pot, a pan, lots of utensils (of course can't compare with my Hong Kong collection...*sobs*), and the latest addition is a 4-in-1 cooker. The only thing we really need but don't have is a fridge, and right now because of the freezing temperature outside we're just putting our food at the windowsill, which is actually okay if it's just for one day!

On average I cook about 5 times a week, meaning there are still another 9 meals...well, we just eat out, for I really can't bear the food downstairs. There are a couple of chain restaurants that we quite frequently visit, like Ask, Strada, Prezzo and Pizza Express, and mostly the food is okay. Apart from these we usually have Asian food - by Asian I mean Thai and Chinese mostly. After coming here I've been craving Chinese food like never before - predictable, but it still surprised me! I never thought I would really want dim sum, but we've actually had quite a number of dim sum meals already. The food's of course not superb, but at least it's available.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Lots and lots...the film Unstoppable, Brighton, .45 (theatre)

Have been kind of busy lately, I haven't written for sooo long (simply didn't have the time to...well) and here's a rundown of what's been happening these days!



If you know me well you would definitely know this is absolutely not my kind of film! Action films...ehhhhh too macho for me, really, but it's a nice change... :) Basically there's no exciting plot (as expected), but it's a good film to see in the cinema! Don't bother if you're thinking of renting it...  :)

We've been 'travelling' quite a bit lately - not exactly travelling, just having a change of scene and escaping from London! Trust me, once in a while it's really good to escape from the suffocation of rude / indifferent / inefficient services and people here.

We went to Brighton one Thursday and the weather was terrible. I last visited Brighton one summer with Janet, and it was so much more cheerful back then! A big contrast really, and there was significantly less to see, but S had never been and it's just 2 hours away!











And then last weekend we went to Manchester, Leeds and York. Packed I know! It's initially a trip to Leeds to meet up with an old friend with another friend who's also in London, but it turned out to be a visit to Manchester as well. My cousin's family's in Manchester, and when he knew I was visiting (I thought we would have dim sum lunch or something) he offered to get us tickets to the football match that day between MUtd and Wigan. I had never seen a footie game so I thought, why not! Then it turned out he got us VIP tickets, including buffet lunch in the VIP lounge, and he also arranged for car pickup before and after the game. It's totally VIP treatment that day, though I'm not as impressed by the supposedly super-expensive Bentley we got a ride in (the car's about the price of a Yuen Long flat in HK, we were told), but it's a nice weekend. We went back to Leeds Saturday night, stayed in the 'oldest' hotel I've ever been (think no hot shower, and super thin walls and door), and did a bit of sightseeing the next day. We also went to York on the same day! Didn't see a lot (and there's nothing much to see anyway) but it's nice catching up with old friends, I mean really old friends!

And tonight, we went to Hampstead Theatre for this theatre production that's unexpectedly enjoyable.



Had never been there before, or the neighbourhood, but it seems to be a nice area, and a fresh breath from the West End. There seems to be a booming art scene going on there, I saw a couple of theatres/cafes/bookshops opposite the theatre looking quite nice.



Snapped this before the performance started. The play's about how a girl tries to escape from her man who is prone to violence, and how, unexpectedly, she succeeds in taking revenge on him in the end. It's casually staged, and I was in the front row being really close to the actors (sometimes they were just walking and talking right in front of me), and it's a really great experience. It's not for the faint-hearted, as it says on the website, but it's a really superb performance! Prolly the best so far in London I've seen!

Added on 1 Dec 2010: Funny I totally forgot to mention the play's title - it's .45!

Monday, 15 November 2010

A Guide to Sexual Misery / Bliss, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

A spoon of sugar, and a spoon of chillies!



Can't believe we actually went to see this... @_@ we didn't make it on Halloween day, and yesterday was the last show, so we went anyway. I didn't expect much really, thought we would just relax a bit and have a jokes-packed night. Turned out it's okay funny, but only okay...so, kind of what we expected. :) Some people in the audience were particularly 'active' and kept answering / asking questions, but we being the 'typical Asians' just sat there...I LOLed a lot but S was kind of like...hidden behind his backpack. :P Guess he wasn't particularly impressed, he just went because I got the tix!



And today, we went to see The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - I didn't even know it was out when I was in HK, and they're running the first two films in the trilogy coz the third one's in cinemas soon. I didn't expect much, and it turned out to be a very gripping three hours - didn't expect it to be so long either! It's basically about a journalist and a young woman's attempt to solve the mystery about the disappearance of a girl 40 years ago. The film is peppered with scenes of sexual violence - that's the core of the plot, how different women are repeatedly abused sexually - and it made me sick. We all know how sickening and perverted sex maniacs and rapists are, but to see so many instances and examples on screen - it really makes one angry and frightened. There are so many pervs out there - you can't trust anyone, really, as even people closest to you can do that to you.

Didn't manage to see the sequel, but will definitely find time to see it...and the new one coming out!

Thursday, 11 November 2010

A list of stuff: Santa Paws, Vanbrugh String Quartet

We've been going places a lot lately. Anyway...so we went to see a film I really shouldn't be telling people about, for fear that it would make me even shallower than I already am...hah! It's The search for Santa Paws - Disney's new home video offering for xmas 2010.



It's not yet released, and we were seeing it in the cinema, so it's kinda nice, but you know from the audience that it's really, really a children's film. We were surprised to find that there were actually fun activities before the film at the cinema - face painting (really nice!), cartoon sketching and instant photos. We were quite shameless - we lined up for the instant pics! Hahaha...It's a christmassy film, though a bit cliched (and quite childish), and it's good to be reminded of the importance of good nature.

We've just come back from a Beethoven concert. I'm not a big fan of classical music, but I did play music and even studied music at school...well that's like 10 years ago! Not being a particularly talented musician, I can hardly appreciate the beauty of techniques etc. but one can tell really easily what's good and what's bad.



It's the Vanbrugh String Quartet series, and honestly they're good! It's really hard to play so impeccably, particularly when you're playing with others. This is not something we usually go to (the last time we went was when Simon's cousin Samuel was playing in Hong Kong), but once in a while it's good.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Going out...not going out... the film Due Date

Have been sick lately, at first I thought it's just some really greasy Hong Kong cha chaan teng food I had in West End, but it turned out I had caught the flu and the virus went down to my tummy, hence the stomachache and... and headache and painful limbs and all that! It's been a hell of three days and I felt so lonely, though S was by my side most of the time...at times like this I miss my family so much again!

Anyway...I got slightly better yesterday and couldn't wait to go out, though S didn't really like the idea of it. We went out anyway, had dinner in West End and caught a late night film at Empire. I've never been a late night person but it's the only screening available of the new Hollywood film Due Date, which is not officially released yet, so it's a preview screening and it's too good to miss! We had late dinner, then walked around and killed time in the game booths at Leicester Square. Of course I didn't play any of those games - throwing basketballs and throwing balls at cans - as I've never been good in them, but god, you have to see for yourself who are winning all those games! 9 out of 10 of the winners are - ASIANS, and I mean Chinese and Japanese! S said it's quite normal - these people have too much practice. ;) I was really excited for the winners too, as they got really huge fluffy toys! They're of course quite useless, but it surely feels great when you have one of those after winning!



Due Date was good - standard Hollywood film, and Zach Galifianakis is so cute - he's a bit like Jack Black but so much more adorable! Of course I saw The Hangover and thought it's hilarious, and this one is not just that...there's something more than just fun in there. Oh one funny thing - I was probably too influenced by the Sherlock Holmes film, when I heard Robert Downey Jr.'s American accent I thought, 'Oh he's quite good at it!' It's only after the film that I remembered... :P

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Letters to Juliet

Been sick and home bound for a few days already...so watched this last night in bed:



For some reason I've heard lots of rave reviews about it, but really, it's a very standard Hollywood film... it's not bad, but it's not good either. There are episodes and details that don't make much sense to me, like, why would the granny be still living in her parents' home 50 years later, and what exactly makes the two young people click is totally lost in me. But hey, it's a Hollywood film!

Planned to see a film tonight. I'll only be allowed to go out if I'm really fine, so I need to take a rest now!

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Manicure maniac

*GIRLY POST*

I love doing my nails. It's simple, easy to do (as I don't do any glitter / jewel / lace sticker etc.), and a good way to cheer yourself up. I tossed most of my nail polishes before I left HK, so one of the missions in the first month was to hunt for nail polishes. These are what I've acquired so far:



I'm not a pink person most of the time, but when it comes to nail polishes I guess I'm more 'conservative'? I dare not put on lots of weird colours, as they don't always look good on my nails. It has to do with your complexion and all that, and I'm not pale, so pink is quite safe I guess. :P The black glitter's a new try, I hope it's not too devilish! Just wanted something different from the rest. :)

Monday, 25 October 2010

Autumn...missed / stolen

It suddenly occurred to me that this year my autumn's stolen - it was still very hot and humid when I left Hong Kong, and all of a sudden all we have is this cold and wet weather. The weather here, to me, is abnormal; it rains all the time, and when it does it makes it colder, but when the sun shines it's very, very shiny, to the extent that you can't see properly what's in front of you. But it's still very cold most of the time when you're out.

These few days it's been freezingly cold, and my wardrobe still hasn't arrived. I'm reluctant to buy coats here now, as the mid-season sale's just beginning and I don't see the point of settling with a coat that's cheaper but poorer in quality. I'm also looking for a proper hat that can be paired with the slightly more formal clothes. All I have now is a grey one that looks kind of cute but also kind of silly when worn with a coat. :P And for scarves, I only have one that can endure the frozen air out there, and that's the cashmere scarf I got on my birthday. I miss my wardrobe, and I need to go shopping! Guess I'll wait a bit longer for the sale to mature!

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Krapp's Last Tape



Saw Krapp's Last Tape last night. Not impressed, honestly, as I didn't understand the point of having such a play. Of course it's Samuel Beckett and - what else do you expect? Well, I didn't expect much, as I know it's performed by one old man throughout (Gambon actually, not some awful old man, but his character's awful).

Me being the illiterate I am in some literatures of course have never really read Beckett. All I knew was Waiting for Godot and that's it. My date of course has never heard of any Beckett - I'm not surprised and I don't blame him! To us, the failure of the play is in the play itself rather than the performance - I think it must be pretty faithful to the original work. Basically the whole play's just about an old man who records a tape on his birthdays, and every time he looks back at his past year and also his past life - by listening to tapes he's recorded before - and every time he does so he scorns the past self. The most important line in the play, which I think summarises the whole play (and therefore - the pointlessness of it all), is probably one of the last towards the end, which is from a tape he recorded when he was in his 30's or 40's:
Perhaps my best years are gone. When there was a chance of happiness. But I wouldn't want them back. Not with the fire in me now. No, I wouldn't want them back...

And of course he does want them back. Very badly, which explains why he's so angry all the time, as his life is clearly a failure, and he's just this lonesome old man cursing at no one for no reason. My point is that there's nothing interesting in this story at all, and the presentation is not in any way brilliant. I read some reviews which claim that this particular performance is 'impeccably paced' (which I strongly disagree, though it's just a 50-minute play), and 'delivered with humour and passion' - perhaps the part with the 1 banana which gets eaten and 1 that Krapp puts to his manhood to play with? Seriously, that's not what I call humour, but I don't blame the director or the actor, for the play itself is - krapp.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Oh...happy day!

Somehow can't get this song we sang in church off my mind... 'Ohh...happy day...happy day...' lalala but this post is about something else altogether!

Happy day for me. Finally had some decent barbequed pork today!!! Went to this little eatery on Oxford Street, thought I could get some dan dan noodles (craving...) but alas, they don't do the non-spicy version, so I settled with char siu fan instead. It's sooooo much better than Wong Kei's! Almost cried... it's the HONG KONG flavour!!!



Recently I've been asking myself... why am I here with the horrid Asian food at such prices... of course it's all silly thoughts but I didn't know I would crave Asian food s-o m-u-c-h. Not kidding. I really need to find a place for good dan dan noodles or I'm gonna have to make some myself!

Oh, this is the roast duck rice S had, not bad according to him!



And there's bok choy!!!!!!! Asian veggies are soooo expensive here... :'(

And of course a happy day's not complete without some new discovery.





Accidentally stumbled across these shelves, and god, these titles... they are just exactly what my two year's MPhil's about! And they're just perfectly happy sitting there... oh happy days. And even for a bat like me, the sunshine in an old library is just lovely. Lovely.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Recent nights out: Faust, Shirley Valentine

I'll say what makes me happy in London: the environment, when it's outside and you're not dealing with people or requesting services, is g-o-o-d. All those European trips a few years back just come back to me all at once - the air, the sky, the abundance of things to see and explore...this city is popular for a reason. We've only been here for less than a month and we're kind of laid back when it comes to going out, but we've already seen two performances, randomly picked by moi.

The first one's an opera by the ENO, a production of Faust.



Of course we all vaguely know the story, but to be honest it's really vague - all I knew is that there's this person who trades his soul for an eternal life, or something along those lines... and of course S didn't know ANYTHING about it at all. :) So we saw it one night, were a bit startled that there were still people who would dress up for events like this (well, it's probably our problem, not theirs), and I felt a bit tortured having to stay still in the seat for 3 hours. The performance was okay, but to be honest, without the subs we wouldn't be able to understand a thing - the singing in old language was really a bit of a challenge! Like I said, it's a good 3 hours, and it's really a bit too long, considering the second act's a bit tedious, as S put it. But it's a good experience overall.

We saw the second performance on my birthday.



I picked this when I saw who's in it - it's good old Meera Syal! I read a couple of her books some years ago, and I wanted to see her as a performer on stage. Of course there are always these 'stars' who try to make it on stage, but it's not always good. Syal is, I think, terrific in delivering the goods. She was performing alone throughout the 2 hours (which reminded me of Jim Chim in Hong Kong), and she's good. She plays this Liverpudlian housewife stuck in her home and marriage who decides to find her life back in Greece. The story's kind of cliche, of course, and it's really not worth mentioning much, but Syal's animated throughout, and I was particularly impressed with the different accents she adopted. An enjoyable performance!

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Some Hollywood stuff

As I stay home more these days, I've been blogging a lot more (as you can see if you've been reading) and watching more DVDs. :) Taking a break from serials as there really isn't anything that seems interesting.



Watched this alone this afternoon. The plot's kind of predictable but the ending is a lil bit surprising. Overall it's an okay film, and it does reflect some reality - how some brides-to-be go completely crazy before their wedding! Guess this is a global phenomenon! @_@ I've never really understood this as I couldn't be bothered when it was my turn, and it was people around me who were driving me crazy, but I guess lots of girls really have their 'dream wedding'!



I got this DVD a long time ago and didn't get a chance to see it. Watched it finally tonight with S. It's okay-ish but kind of cheesy anyway. S's verdict: 'This is really a plane film - one that you would only watch on a plane.'

Sweet tooth!

After making cheesecake for several times, I've decided that cake-making is a bit too troublesome for me. First of all I (still) don't have an oven at home (and am not likely to have an oven in the near future...*sobs*), which means every time I make a cake it would be the fridge type. I have nothing against the fridge type but sometimes you do want some good old baked stuff, right?

Anyway, I'm just lazy. So I've been having other desserts at home lately, stuff that can be bought easily like ice mochi, ice-cream bars, and stuff that can be made easily, like jelly. I grew up with Robertson's jelly, and my favourite is mango flavour, but hey, I just found that their jelly powder is now made in China! -_____-" So I switched to konnyaku jelly, which is supposedly healthy as well. (Who are you trying to fool with all the sugar intake?)

Some of my 'desserts' today:



Found these cute star-shaped nata de coco at the supermarket today. They're so cute! Got 2 cans immediately.



The konnyaku jelly powder I've been using.



They're really star-shaped!



I've been looking for this for some time now, and for some reason Taste doesn't stock it! Had to go to Wellcome to get this...

Love in a puff



I think I came across this film earlier than most people. I was looking for materials for my F1 class about films, and they had to learn to identify film genres. I wanted to give them something real, and I used the upcoming films' posters. This film, back then, was categorised by me as 'romantic comedy'.

Well, it's not. You can say it's about love, and it has a happy ending, but it doesn't feel right to categorise it as such, really.

I only came to see it yesterday. I've been staying home these days (oh the bliss...and the boredom...okay I really shouldn't...), and after dinner last night I was thinking of watching it alone. S asked what it is, and I said 'Love in a puff! Love in a puff...love in a puff...' for some reason I just like the English name a lot more! :) He asked what it is about, I said 'Uhhh some Cantonese film about people smoking...got raving reviews online...some people claim that they watched it more than once...' and he said he wanted to see it too.

So we saw it together. At different points I wanted to LOL especially when some characters said '抵死' (or... '仆街' things, CENSORED CENSORED *smile*) stuff. After the film I kind of understood why some people like it so much. It's another Hong Kong film where people find things they can identify with. A lot of times when it comes to Hong Kong films (well, some) it's about this sense of resonance, and I guess those who live in /work in /live like they are from MK would totally identify. And lots of  '港男港女' too.

S, after watching the film: 'I don't see how good it is...why do people like it?'

Me: 'Well a lot of times it's about 共鳴感...don't you find the stuff funny and all? And those people are pretty real!'

S: 'Well I'm not one of those MK people...'

Oh well...am I then? :P

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Echoes of the Rainbow



I'm usually terribly outdated when it comes to 'fashionable' things.

Didn't get a chance to see this film when it was out in cinemas and was talk of the town. Ant asked me to see it with her but back then I thought it's probably another cheesy tearjerker.

Well, perhaps I wasn't entirely wrong in it being a tearjerker, but it's a far cry from being cheesy. There are way too many good and in-depth reviews out there about the film, so let's just say, it's a very touching film, and it's the small details that count.

Had to attend a funeral after watching this at home and crying my heart out. I'm usually terribly bad at funerals - would easily cry because I think and project things too much - but tonight I performed quite well. Didn't cry my eyes all red, probably because I already shed too many tears on the film.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Au Revoir Taipei



I'm not sure if this is the film's official title in English / French, but I think this suits the film more than its alternative, One Page Taipei (direct translation from 一頁台北). The film's not a very popular one in Hong Kong, like most Taiwanese films, and it does have a very disctinctive Taiwanese flavour. Some (Taiwanese) reviewers have commented that the Taiwan in the film is overly romanticised; perhaps so, but people are always more critical of art produced of their own country. It's just like how I'm always critical of the menu and food when I come across a Chinese restaurant overseas, especially Cantonese ones. :)

The beginning of the film does give you a feeling that it's trying to romanticise things. However, as the story progresses, there is actually suspense and I'm actually worried for some of the characters there. This does not render the film not a romantic comedy, but it's not what the genre usually suggests.

Though the poster at the beginning of the post is a more romantic one, perhaps this one suits the mood of the film better:



Worth seeing.

A pretty boring day

Got up after noon today, feeling really free. :) Didn’t do anything really the whole day, just went to the club house for some passport pics - will come in handy later. Came back and took a nap on the sofa (remember when I got up? Nevermind.), got up around 7 feeling terrible, like I caught a cold or something. It’s happened before - sleeping on our sofa is no good I’m telling you. You squeeze yourself in the two-seater and curl like a kitten, then you think every muscle in you aches.

Too lazy to go out for dinner, or make dinner, for that matter. Tried to order sushi dinner but they said it will take 1 hour 45 minutes to arrive. @_@ Weekends are brutal!!! Everywhere’s flooded with people and even delivery takes forever. Eventually settled for our good old CPK, paired with Leatherheads. Thought it’s terribly boring at the beginning but it slowly got better. Not too bad a film to be watched with pizza and pasta. :) BTW, sometimes I feel really frustrated watching some American stuff - couldn't understand a thing without reading the subtitles! Leatherheads is one of them...and Mad Men...basically you can't watch this kind of stuff when ironing clothes / doing your nails.





Saturday, 17 July 2010

Sorry for the hiatus...let the fun begin! The Mentalist, Modern Family, Cougar Town

Now that I finally have some free time, I'm watching TV drama like crazy. Some of the stuff I've been watching:



This is good. I watched seasons 1-2 in one go and I couldn't stop! I didn't know before that I like this kind of police procedural drama... this is not as 'scary' as Medium (which I also love watching but haven't been following as closely, just watching on telly every Thursday) but I really dread the episodes with the appearance of Red John...



This is light-hearted stuff and god, is it good! Kinda stereotyping people at times but hey, this world is full of stereotypes, and it does reflect the modern family in some ways. Good in general.



Now this is really kind of stupid. I have no idea why I watched it as it's as cheesy and as stupid as soaps can be, but hey, I laughed out loud...so it's not that bad after all. :)

Any recommendations on what to watch next?
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