A Beach ... Some Shows ... Good Food
It has been some time since my last entry; my weeks have been very much occupied with immersing myself in more quintessential English experiences, ones that I feel I should share with you all.
I saw the shore and my, how a British Coast is divorced from the sandy slices of heaven in Australia and New Zealand. That is not to say the beach here is an upsetting experience, is a bad experience. Not at all. Merely a new experience and something to contrast beach culture with in the Southern Hemisphere.
Scarborough, Trigg, Cottesloe and equally The Coramandel, Nine-Mile Beach, Spirits Bay, Takapuna. They all offer the wild enchanting waves that are dotted with the bobbing public. They each bring together families for picnics, creative expression in the sand, they offer an enticing danger that erupts in surfing and body-boarding. These beaches and what they contribute to the quality of life serve as important ingrained aspects to culture in Australia and New Zealand.
However the English Coast can be equally as bewitching. We arrived in Suffolk and there was a sea mist that had settled over the coastline, a mist that muffled the sound of life itself and allowed one to be lost in the tranquility of silence. At the same time as being eerie it gave us the opportunity to forget the hectic patter of city life and embrace a quiet and relaxed atmosphere that was sleepy in style. So while Australians flock to the beach to exert themselves in swimming, surfing and physical activity the British come to drone out the buzz of business, drink the intoxicating hush of the sea and bathe in rest and relaxation.
People do swim. Certainly, of course you have to expect shrunken genitals and perhaps the onset of frostbite, but you can swim, I exaggerate of course. Lining the coast are pubs and inns, along with the very English very unique beach huts that seem to drag "Yellow Polkerdot Bikini's" into your mind. Colourful and cosy they are the equivalent to a picnic blanket and a communal beach buffet. People waltz along the coast, cycling, blading and skating. All to stop off at one of the drinking holes for what is likely a pint of local brew and fish and chips. Its very pleasant. Our stop was "The Victoria", and let me tell you, the English know how to do fish and chips.
We also went to Woodbridge Tide Mill, one of the very few Mills that still produces flour to this day. It was old and ancient but proudly stood overlooking the dark murky waters of Britain perched on a rocky outcrop and boasting a long, succesful history. Standing the test of time is obviously something the locals are vehemently sentimental about, also considering it is one of the only places left to grasp completely to an old way of life.
The tide was out and what was left was a very sticky thick oozing mud that gulped up the ground. I'm afraid sand is a missing element to beaches here. Shingle and mud seems to be the way to go. But like I said, its just different, as we would build sand-castles and make sand-pies so the English skip stones and make mud-pies. And in terms of flavour I'm not sure we can accurately debate a superior. Obviously sand is around, and some beaches like Cornwall and Devon shores throw up the same hive of activity I'm accustomed to. But the general shore, the everyday, closest beach sees a very different lifestyle and that is what I wanted to see.
Queen - "Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon" Listen to this song and you get a glimpse of what the British consider the beach.
London remans my hotspot of exciting times and in amongst the excessive intake of alcohol and meeting new people. I have seen more magnificent productions along with fine dining at some spectacular restaurants. One of which Sarastro is owned by one Richard Niyazi a food, opera and wine connoisseur. The restaurant is stunning you walk in through a doorway spilling with fantastic fauna into a golden restaurant gleaming with flamboyance. From the artwork to the antique furniture to the eating booths, the service and then of course the exclusive wall-mounted opera boxes for the rich and famous to dine, its all quite elegant in nature.
The food is Mediterranean and such tasty cuisine, and they further drop you in the midst of a cultural glory they have a piano that plays for key opera singers from the royal opera houses around the world. Who come and perform on Sundays and Mondays. Unfortunately we weren't privy to that aspect. But everything else was smack bang magic. Food was followed by Eurobeat and for those that don't keep track of theatre, its an absolutely side-splitting musical based on the quirks and themes that formulate that ridiculous atmosphere the Eurovision Song Conest has come to present. Everything of importance is there including homosexuality, camp costumes and performances, the utter awfulness of the British Pop Music scene, the rise of performers that rely on computers and the critical, excruciatingly painful hosts that question why a stake hasn't been driven through their heart yet. It was stellar and out of all the shows so far has GREAT audience interaction even getting the audience to vote for the farce winner by mobile texting.
Last night however I saw another show "The Lion King" and if you haven't seen it yet, my God its overwhelming. Coming to treasure the charming Disney animation, and having a soft spot for the performance because of being involved with independant versions before its just awe-inspiring to see how such iconic animated characters come to life on a stage with a cast of VERY talented performers. The set is quite amazing with many main mechanical movements, but very effective, the costuming is mind-blowing there is no other explanation. It is so alive, so colourful and dripping with the spirit of Africa. The director Julie Taymor is top of the crop genius she also was responsible for set and costumes and of course with Tim Rice and Elton John at the helm of the music, it just leaves your jaw level with the floor.
See it! If you haven't. If you have email or ring me so we can gargle at how extravagant it is. Honestly of all the shows I have seen so far it is the most visually pleasing.
For those that are not in the know; I've also seen Timon of Athens which is a lesser known Shakespeare comedy at none other than the Globe Theatre on the riverfront. A very unique and special theatrical experience. The Shakespeare was tear-worthy in humour and the actors not afraid to embrace classic shakesperian nudity, ha ha ha! The whole theatre is worth a look at itself. I've also seen Riflemind a drama written by the Sydney Theatre Company's Andrew Upton and directed by Academy Award Winner Phillip Seymour Hoffman. It headlines John Hannah as the driving force in the piece. But he isn't just some choice celebrity to get the crowds but a methodic actor that sells his soul to the performance. Haven't been dissapointed by theatre at all.
Slowly but surely my money is depleting and I have been looking for employment quite frantically have an interview next week for manager at a bookstore. And I realise I'm not moving around too much but I'm hoping people are enjoying what I write about. If you want to post a reply or just a friendly few words on my message board its really great. There is something very comforting to know that friends and family are reading! :D Many thanks to all those that have already done so.
OH! I also went on a walking tour through London which was based on "The Beatles" and incidently brought me to view "Trident Studios" a place that is responsible for pretty much changing the face of the music world. It has produced Eric Clapton, David Bowie, The Beatles, Lou Reed, Elton John, Black Sabbath, Queen and SO many more. Still in its original state it operates a small insignificant record company, but screams revolution with its past clients. It brought us Hey Jude, Bohemian Rhapsody, Crododile Rock .. just so much great music.
Saw many great Beatles sites and it has inspired Hazel and I to launch "Starwatch" where we count how many famous people we can spot. After getting completely lost in Mayfair the richest place in London both in reality and on a Monopoly Board we saw Hugh Grant rush past in a normal Londoner bustle. If you count productions we've seen John Hannah and Les Dennis perform. We passed a book signing by Roger Moore but unfortunately didn't see the debonair Bond. We'll keep you updated.
I very much hope all are well and healthy. Please stay that way!