Now I think of it, it's a little silly that amid all the stuff I have managed to share with the world via this digital prattle-source, I seem to have completely neglected to mention anywhere that in late September one of my best & longest surviving mates (that'd be Marty, aka “Marticus”, or less commonly, “Grunthos the Flatulent”) came over to visit from Adelaide.
It's always good to catch up with Marty, however this was extra-cool, cos I was able to take him around & show him loads of the stuff that I've been yammering on about for the past 4 years and saying “MAN I WISH YOU COULD SEE THIS!”. OK so we probably didn't manage to see everything in the 3 weeks (we didn't get to Belgium, for a start!), but we had a reasonable tilt at it. (Not that I'm necessarily having a go at the boy for taking this long to come visit – hell, I never made it over here until about 5 years after I said I would, and by then the person who I was wanting to see had moved somewhere else!)
In the first week – in the first day, in fact – I managed to get Marty to come along to morris dancing practise! He claims that what resulted was due to having been awake for 36 hours straight & being fresh off the plane, although I'm more inclined to think it was just good old fashioned ineptitude. We caught up with Richie and triumphed over the woeful service at a pub near Hampstead Heath to extract a few pints from their grasp.
Theatre-wise saw Wicked (replacement cast now, but they nailed it I think it's fair to say), Spamalot (starring former Doctor Who Peter Davison as King Arthur, doing a very fine & silly job of it), Glengarry Glen Ross (a slightly disappointing performance, in spite of having the always-excellent Jonathon Pryce heading the cast… it definitely lacked the pace and desperation of the film), and the most amazing Macbeth I've ever seen (possibly not the most astonishing though – the Polish production at Edinburgh Fringe, with the motorbikes, stilts and fire still holds that trophy), featuring Patrick Stewart in the titular role. Macbeth deserves a bit more detail as the production was extraordinarily powerful and the entire cast were thoroughly outstanding. The set looked almost like a recycled “One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest” set, with hospital-like tiling bounding the room. The 3 witches were decked out as quite creepy and intense evil nurses (provoking a titter the first few times they were referred to as Weird Sisters), and the whole thing appeared to be set in some kind of pseudo-Russian configuration… although Scotland and England are specifically referred to in the text. Lady Macbeth was all kinds of intense and incredible, and essentially if I was able to describe the production and do it any justice then I'd be out writing for a living rather than paddling in the literary shallows of this blog.
Back on topic, we also went out to suburban London and saw a Led Zeppelin cover band, to the Comedy Store in Leicester Square for the ever-brilliant Comedy Store Players & their entirely improvised show, and towards the end of the trip Marty also got to come along to Liz's birthday bash at the cocktail bar around the corner from our house.
And whilst on this side of the planet, Marty thought it silly not to take the opportunity to visit another European country. Whether or not I was the best choice of supervision/tour guide is still unclear, but in either case we hopped over to Berlin for a weekend as well.
But I'm gonna save that for another post.