As my social media feeds fill with tributes to John Hurt, who passed away yesterday, it becomes very apparent just how widespread and varied his career was. I am seeing tributes across so many ages and fandoms, several recalling blessed meetings with the gentleman. A truly sad loss to the entertainment world.
Every year I am determined to get back into reading more often and every year this effort peters out after a month or two as life tends to rudely interrupt. What can I say? Here I go again.
I am starting 2017 with a lot of reading matter either piled up by my bedside or loaded up on my kindle.
I understand that a lot of book lovers aren’t very keen on e-readers but I see it as a way to carry around more books and not damage them. I also don’t feel able to condone anything that encourages reading in any form. I have an old fashioned kindle, not a backlit one or a paperwhite or whatever. I find it a lot more natural to read from. I do use the app on my tablet or phone occasionally, but we spend so much time staring at backlit screens these days that I prefer to give my eyes a break. It also has no whistles and bells so like a proper book it comes without the distraction of games or social media.
My usual reading preferences are non-fiction, mostly biographies. Already this year I have polished three autobiographical titles by Carrie Fisher and in the “pull pile” there are offerings about or by Debbie Reynolds, James Mason, Marilyn Monroe and Roger Moore.
That said I am currently indulging in the Father Brown stories of GK Chesterton. The short tales seem perfect for my commute, especially the homeward part where losing myself too far into a book could mean missing my stop!
The plan is for me blether about my reading progress on here from time to time if only to encourage myself to find time every day to disappear into a world of words.
I am on Goodreads here, should anyone care to follow me.
Here’s 2017 at last.
2016 had some amazing moments, but they had to struggle to shine through the loss and turmoil we all went through at the same time.
I don’t really do resolutions. I decided a little while back to not be too ambitious, as it would often be setting myself up to fail. (This was initially in the context of my jewellery making, I knew if I over reached I’d just give up, but as it’s great occupational therapy I’m glad I took it steady). Instead I just decide to be determined about certain things. I’m determined to make choices that won’t bring me harm (physically or mentally), I’m determined to read more and listen to more music, to get away more and visit with friends who don’t live close by, to have visit and do stuff with those who do live close by. I am determined to find the happy where ever I can. Life is short, 2016 rammed that point home a few times, find the joy and run with it.
Last night was spent in the company of family and friends and today has been a leisurely day at home. I started the prep work on the next lot of necklaces (just waiting for some stuff to arrive to go on them) and maybe tomorrow I can find time to prep some bracelets ready for charms. And on Tuesday normal life begins again, but also around then it’s time to plan the first adventure of the year. Bring it on!
We were visited in work today by Vic Reeves. One of our customers asked for a photo and he said yes so I asked too. (I don’t like to disturb some of our famous visitors if it seems like they just want to be left to browse).
My work mate was out getting lunch so I took a shaky selfie but still…Vic Reeves!
I’d been looking forward to this show from the second I got the tickets. I got them as a present for Mum. I like to find the right gift for her and it’s not always easy, but we watch The Last Leg together each week that it is on and when I saw that Adam was coming to my home town in the same month as mum’s birthday how could I not treat her, besides I wanted to go!
A quick word about the venue, I really love the Lyric theatre at The Lowry, it’s gorgeously purple and feels so comfortable. The staff are also always really nice. So, we took our seats and waited for the show to begin.
Support came from Ian Coppinger, a Dublin comedian who got in all the jokes about his 5ft 2 stature before anyone else could. He was really funny and his half hour slot felt a lot shorter than it was. I love it when the people on the stage are having as much fun as the audience and he certainly seemed to be enjoying himself. “Angry Milk” has already entered our list of in-jokes, and we’re already planning sherry for breakfast on Christmas morning!
After a short interval, it was time for Adam to take to the stage. Taking a deep bow to show off his red, white and blue hair (the result of a Paralympics-based bet) he was warmly welcomed, as were the Paralympians he pointed out in the audience notably the gold medallists Ellie Simmonds and Jody Cundy. This was the first time I’d been to a show of his, but I’d seen shows on TV and DVD so I knew the first quarter of an hour or so tends be him talking to audience members, before starting the “show” as prepared. Tonight however, I think it was about 45 minutes, maybe even more before we got to the show bit. Starting fairly normally with a girl in bunny ears being invited to the stage, where she then stayed for the whole evening the audience bit turned quite surreal. There was a prop arm that made it’s way from the balcony to be signed, the owner being missing an arm, but this one wasn’t his prosthetic. It was however eventually gaffer taped to him, during the creation of the boy band. The boy band segment was a request from an audience member who had seen it at previous shows and was “crashed” by a lady who came down from the balcony dressed as a clown (because the tour is called Clown Heart). In amongst all this there was a stalker from Scunthorpe, and a deaf audience member who was told to throw a bottle on stage to heckle if she wanted to, so she did when Adam was in the way of the sign language interpreter. And at various points a lot of this was described to a guy with vision impairment on the front row. As Adam confessed, this segment of the show is not usually quite this surreal.
When we actually got to the show bit, he talked about kids, parenting and the death of his father which ties in with his work for the Stand Up To Cancer events. Though it sounds a sobering subject it was dealt with a humour that never crossed into bad taste. Adam then introduced a film he made with a guy called Craig Combes. Craig was diagnosed with Thyroid cancer and chose to raise awareness for the condition by stripping off every Tuesday and posting a photo on the internet. The film was Adam recreating various famous photos with him for his Naked Tuesday project. At the end of the film, we were told that on diagnosis Craig had been given just over a year to live and that the film was a couple of years old. Then with obvious pleasure, Adam introduced Craig onto the stage, where, after his standing ovation, he did a short comedy set. Then Adam came back on for a song and a striptease with Craig before heading off to the foyer with buckets to raise money for a local charity as everyone left.
A show that was supposed to last around 80 minutes ran for just under two hours – three if you include the support act and the break. Throughout the show (including the support) Catherine King was on stage translating everything into sign language. She got a very deserved round of applause as by the end of it she must have been exhausted. There was also a promise of lots of Gin and Tonics. I hope she got them!
As we left, Adam was in the foyer. I heard later that he stayed and signed autographs and posed for pictures with everyone who wanted one. What a guy! And they raised £1500 for local young carers.
Quite honestly, I think that’s the most value for money I’ve had from a show in a long time, and possibly the most fun I’ve had too. Mum laughed so hard she thought she’d bust a rib. As an added bonus tweeting about the evening resulted in a reply from Jody Cundy the next day, much to my delight. Mum had a further rib-tickling by watching the Happyism DVD the next day, I know this because I got a text message from her that read “Touch The Frog”
I doubt anyone involved in the show will read this post, but just in case, thank you for a great night. Laughter is great medicine and sharing the experience only strengthens that. I’m already looking forward to getting home on Friday and sitting with a beer and my mum to watch the new series of The Last Leg.
One last thing, though you probably had to be there –
The news that Terry Jones is losing the ability to communicate knocked me for six last week. As a fan of both his comedic antics and his rather fabulous documentaries, I feel very sad. Particularly as the latter were always made better by his loquacious enthusiasm.
It was, unfortunately, clear at the O2 shows in 2014 that Terry’s memory was failing him, so the announcement that he has a form of dementia wasn’t overly surprising, the news of the vehement variety of aphasia is the heart breaker. Michael Palin reported on his Facebook page that Terry still recognises people and is still “there” but unable to communicate very well. Michael also assures us that Terry is surrounded by family and friends and we, the fans, can really take comfort in that.
There’s a vast legacy of Terry’s work that crosses many fields, from comedy to children’s books, history to fantasy. I humbly suggest seeking them out in books shops, on youtube, DVD etc…
Thank you for everything Mr. Jones, may the rest of your days be happy ones and I hope you realise just how much we appreciate you.