23.75 hours in London

Michael made a lovely sandwich dinner for the train on our way to London for a night clubbing. We stayed at Danny’s flat off Russell Square, which was great and very handy for King’s Cross etc. We Had a couple of drinks in Barcode in Vauxhall. The Dj there , Faye Lanson, played a fantastic set which we really enjoyed, and told her so at the end. It was great that the place wasn’t at all smokey: so I’m thoroughly enjoying the smoking ban! I really liked Barcode, that atmosphere, decor and guys were all great. A surprising thing to notice perhaps, but the sound system was excellent, so we had good quality music, that was loud, but which didn’t shatter our ears.

We moved on from there about 11 to go to Starkers: on the other side of the railway arches. We had a great night in the raunchy atmosphere. The club was mainly men, there were only a handful of women there. The music wasn’t as good as Barcode: it got quite heavy and industrial towards the end of the night Danced a lot! Bed at 4am!

Next morning it rained at rained: We did a lot around Marchmont Street: bought some books and cards Gays the Word, had breakfast across the street in a small cafe, then later in the day had a late lunch in a vegetarian belpuri Indian restaurant which was good. We had wanted to go to Adonis Gallery, but the underground was in a bit of a state, so we wandered across Russell Square to go to the British Museum. There was an Ikebana exhibition which was interesting (but we didn’t like that days Ikebana), and a good, but claustrophobic exhibition about slavery, We were keen to look at an Exhibition of Chinese religious paintings: these were impressive but it was hard to have the cultural reference to enjoy them. The British museum was packed!

Down Hall

HadDown Hall Room a good day and a half at Down Hall near Bishops Stortford for a goals setting for work. The work part of the trip was very good, and there were a lot of team-building exercises dreamt up by Robert. Most notable and enjoyable was laser clay pigeon shooting: the technical boys were clear winners: Matt. David and Dave. My team, The Malvinas, did well in everything at the quiz, where I think we probably earned extra penalty points (or at least deserved them).

Laser Clay Pigeon Shooting

Laser Clay Pigeon Shooting, Photo by Lesley Maw

The Story of the NIght

After having this on the shelves for a few years, I finally got around to reading ‘The Sort of the Night’ by Colm Tóibín. The central character, Richard, his innocence and growing love affair with Pablo are very moving, and real. Garay has a melancholic outlook, but the love affair is very impelling and romantic.

Synopsis: In Argentina in the time of the generals, Richard Garay lives quietly with his mother, hiding his sexuality from her and from society, But Argentina is changing and, as the Falklands War is fought and lost, Richard Begins to emerge into the world.

“The Story of the Night” (Colm Toibin)

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4 Elements

We watched our final film at the Cambridge Film Festival: 4 Elements. It comprised four short films covering Fire, Water, Earth and Air. In each, man, worked with the environment on a large scale, with ever-increasing levels of technology. The jobs were one the rougher side: firefighters in Russia, Alaskan crab fishers, German coal miners and Russian astronauts training for a flight. The photography was stunning. A great film.

From the Cambridge Film Festival web site:

A documentary in four chapters about mankind’s struggle with the elements. The first part, “Fire” shows the work of Siberian smokejumpers fighting forest fires from inside out. The second part, “Water”, tells the story of fishermen in the Bering Sea in Alaska during their five-day journey to catch king crabs. “Earth” takes us over 1200 metres underground to a German coalmine where mineworkers toil alongside huge machines. The final part, “Air”, follows a team of astronauts during their gruelling training and launch into space.

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Amnesia: The James Brighton Enigma

Another night, another film Amnesiaat the Cambridge Film Festival. Amnesia: The James Brighton Enigma, set in Canada. ‘James Brighton’ has amnesia and can only remember that he’s gay. Hi story is told in loose flashback following a criminologist trying to put together a theory of how he came to loose his memory. Dusan Dukic was very good as James Brighton and matched the subdued atmosphere of the film very well.

From the Cambridge Film Festival web site

Inspired by real events, AMNESIA: THE JAMES BRIGHTON ENIGMA tells the story of an American – dubbed ‘James Brighton’ – who is found naked and confused in an empty car park. All he remembers is that he is gay. Believing his story, volunteers from SOS Gay in Montreal launch a media campaign to help find the relatives and friends of James. Nobody responds. Three months later James is arrested by the police. He is subsequently identified as someone else. However, even his return home does not illuminate the nature of his true identity. Who am I? Where do I belong? Where do I come from? What am I capable of doing? Sylvie, a criminology student fascinated by his case, joins the search for the truth – but, ultimately, can these questions ever find definitive answers?

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Picture of Dorian Gray

David GallagherI really loved the contemporary version of Picture of Dorian Gray that we saw at the film festival. The star was David Gallagher who was scarily perfect for the part. The modern day equivalent of the picture of Dorian was a video installation and this video images aged and became rotten, which worked very well as the full horror of the transformation was captured well in video. There was a very strong gay theme and the devil was played by a rent boy, who seduces Dorian. The music was super and I particularly liked some of the graphic screen effects, which reminded me of some Gilbert and George paintings. I don;t know much about Gallagher, but it seems that he’s been a squeaky clean child star so this is departure for him: sleaze, murder, sex. He revelled in this this and I hope he continues to avoid the squeaky clean from now on!

Portrait-Of-Dorian Small Portrait-Of-Dorian Large

From the Cambridge Film Festival web site:

Writer/director Duncan Roy (AKA) transposes Oscar Wilde’s classic novella of obsessive vanity and moral corruption to contemporary New York. Basil Hallward is a successful artist who becomes obsessed with his muse, the beautiful, young Dorian Gray. When Hallward creates a masterpiece inspired by Dorian’s looks – a video portrait installation – Dorian curses its perfection, and wishes it could age in his stead, and he remain as youthful and unblemished as a work of art. With the encouragement of another admirer, the cynical aesthete Henry Wotton, Dorian becomes drawn into a life of debauchery – ultimately leading to betrayal and murder – yet he seems miraculously untouched. The video portraits locked in the upper floor of the gallery contain the real horror of who he has become. Using split-screen techniques and with a charismatic lead in David Gallagher, Roy’s adaptation presents a 21st century reinterpretation which nonetheless successfully evokes the fin de siécle decadence of the original – and Wilde’s epigrammatic witticisms sit surprisingly well in the contemporary NewYork art world.

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Ghost in the Shell S.A.C. Solid State Society

Ghost In The Shell Sac Solid State SocietySaw a late night screening of Ghost in the Shell S.A.C. Solid State Society at the Cambridge Film Festival. The web site for the film is wonderfully atmospheric and the Wikipedia entry is good for detail. I think this is the third film in the series and not as good as the first two. The atmosphere was there, but whereas the first two films were brooding and atmospheric this on if full of plot and dialogue, the start of the film was particularly tedious. I was quite frightened by the living dead OAPs, kept alive (but no more) on a low budget—gruesome. I was amused bya warning on the Wikipedia entry that This article or section contains a plot summary that is overly long, which is an indication of just how plot-heavy the film was. The music and animation were superb.

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Approaching Union Square

At the Cambridge Film Festival. Approaching Union Square is an series of near monologues, premiering at the Cambridge Film Festival. I really liked ‘The Wake’ which took me by surprise and I was particularly struck by the quality and range of monologues when the end titles came up and went through, set by set, what we had just watched.

All of the monologues dealt with loneliness and isolation in one way or another, and centred around the people who shared a bus journal across New York.

From the film web site

  • Based Marc Meyers’ monologues for stage, this collage of eleven tales depicts thirty-something New Yorkers struggling to find love and connection in the big city. Among the elegantly drawn characters whose lives briefly intersect are a tourist, an immigrant, a sex addict, and a woman who is newly awakened to her own psychic powers and senses imminent tragedy.

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As You Like It

Michael and I went to see As you Like it at the film festivasl last night. Sadly we didn’t see Kenneth Branagh who I guess was there on Saturday according to the Cambridge Evening News. The film isn’t released until late September.

I liked the setting in Japan, which worked particularly well for the opening scene, which was very dramatic. The acting was very good. The modern dialogue in a cinematic style really brought the text alive. I found the middle a bit saggy, too much prancing around The Forest of Arden in soft focus: but it was atmospheric.

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Chris and Emma’s 70th Birthday Party

Michael and I went to Chris’ and Emma’s 70th birthday party in Durham yesterday. Chris will be 40 in December and Emma was 30 in February, so the 70th in the middle made an excellent celebration. The theme was 70 years cinema: Michael went as Ennis Delmar and and I went an Jack Twist (Brokeback Mountain)—we raided some charity shops and Michael borrowed a hat from someone over the internet.


The party was at Broom House Farm near Witton Gilbert, which has smelly pig stys and chickens running wild. There were games for the children in the fields and Michael and I went to explore an adventure playground and had some fun on the flying fox.

Gray Family

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