Friday, May 24, 2013

Round up of the week

I keep thinking it's Saturday.  In fact, it's Friday.  (Well, it's actually Thursday for a great many people in the world, but we won't go into that.)  I don't know why I keep thinking it's Saturday: perhaps it's because it's the first day this week when I haven't been committed to do something specific, something that takes up enough of the day to make it feel as though I'm actually busy.  (I am, but we won't go into that either.)

Monday I accompanied Arnold Bachop at Les Cleveland's funeral, at First Church.  I hadn't seen much of Les in recent years, but when I was younger we had a good deal to do with each other when he was singing in various shows I was involved in.  His extraordinary buoyancy and delight in life was spoken of again and again, and when someone said that they heard him climbing up the steps into a plane and saying, And how are you, my fine friend, that old Cleveland vibrant bass came back to me instantly.  I've been addressed as his fine friend on a number of occasions, as no doubt has half of Dunedin.  What an extraordinary larger-than-life personality he was.  How it makes you feel that your own funeral is going to be a bit of a non-affair!

Normally on Monday afternoon I'd have been working with the Choristers, a group of elderly ladies who sing and give the occasional concerts at old people's homes. But we had to cancel this week's practice because of the funeral.

Tuesday we went to see Social Welfare to sort out the money we've made in the last financial year over and above what we're allowed to earn on top of the pension.  That was a bit stressful, even though we were pretty sure of the outcome.  It didn't take up a great deal of the day; nevertheless, it used up a good deal of our emotional energy, I suspect. 

Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday: in the evenings I've been rehearsing The Sunshine Boys, along with various members of the cast.  Some scenes are going very well; one that was going well fell over on Thursday, for no accountable reason.

Wednesday I met up with one of the members of the church's youth group, for lunch, and then went on to do some data input for the church office, only to find that some of the input I'd put in last time had gone AWOL and had to be put back in, and that after I'd input the recent data, I was left with $2.00 out.  Very annoying, and I couldn't solve it at the time.  Will have to have another look.

Thursday, I played for Arnold again, and for Peter Chin, also an old friend, and up until fairly recently, the Mayor of Dunedin.  (Oh, I walk in exalted circles, I can tell you.)  This time we were at the Senior Citizens afternoon that's held (I think) once a week in South Dunedin.  A pretty cold day, so most of the Senior Citizens wisely stayed home, and our audience was less than twenty.  Never mind, it was a cheery concert and we all enjoyed ourselves. 

And so to today, where the only thing I had to do was give one of my granddaughters a piano lesson.  That wasn't until late this afternoon, so the rest of the day was free. I spent some time brushing up on my lines for the play, particularly the scene that had gone awry last night, and sending off three flash fiction stories to an NZ contest that closes at the end of the month (I'd written all three of them earlier in the month, but tidied them up today).  Did some more Arabic with my wife, took the dog for a walk, and generally potted around. Or so it seemed. I kept feeling all day that there was something I should have been doing, but whatever it was it didn't eventuate.

Watched another episode of Trial and Retribution, a series Lynda La Plante initiated back in the late nineties. At that time there was only one episode a year, and they were great massive three-hour jobs, usually spread over two nights. The later episodes (the series finished in 2009, I think) got shorter, and had less detail in them, which was a pity. Only two of the original actors made it through the whole series: David Hayman and Dorian Lough. They played two of the detectives in the series. 

The show originally featured a long police procedural section followed by a trial, in which sometimes all the police work was unravelled and the criminal got away.  However, in the later episodes, the trial section vanished almost completely (there was no trial whatsoever in the one we watched today - Ghost Train - for instance).  There have been two distinct features of the series: a split screen technique which will often throw different elements of the story together (apparenlty La Plante wasn't fussed about this idea), and a kind of dwelling on of the grotesque details of the person murdered.  Not only do we often get a glimpse of the deceased in all their gory glory, but the director will hark back to this several times during the show, so that all the hard work the make-up people have put in will get its due worth.  Some of what they do is too graphic to watch, we've found, and we just have to shut our eyes until they get onto the next part of the story.  Apart from that element, and La Plante's typical modus operandi of preferring female victims to male ones, females who are often badly abused by the males, the series makes gripping watching.  It's had a real run of wonderful British actors, and Hayman in particular has been a wonderful anchor for the show.

Just as a side issue for those who enjoy these things, the man who plays Miranda's boyfriend in the popular comedy series of the same name, Tom Ellis, was a murder victim in Season 11, which aired in February 2008.  Seemed a bit odd killing of someone we like so much in a different setting...
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