If change is necessary and inevitable, why am I feeling like this? Tomorrow I start the move over to Eltham, out from Lyn’s into my own place. I know it’s for the best: after ten years with Lyn, we both need our own space. She remains one of my best friends, and I agree with her that this change is what our friendship needs. Yet I currently feel very insecure, as though the securities I’ve been used to over the last decade have now vanished. I know that, in time, I’ll re-establish them, but this evening, on the cusp of change, that task seems a daunting, frightening one. At the same time, I’m looking forward to having my own home, yet I’m worried about screwing it all up.
I was strongly considering going up to the Roundhouse last Saturday, to see what I could observe of the attempt to set the record for the most gumbys in one place. In the end, though, I opted to stay home: as much as I adore Monty Python, I decided it wasn’t worth the effort of dressing up and heading halfway across London, merely to participate in a gathering of similarly clad fans. Had it been a larger event, and had the other Python cast members other than just Terry Gilliam been there, then perhaps it would have been more enticing; but having been to their full reunion in 2014, I wasn’t that fussed. However, I am starting to regret my decision a little, having just come across this video of the event. It might not have been a full on reunion, but such events keep Monty Python alive: from the look of it, it was great fun. Now that we have probably seen the last ever performance of the parrot sketch by it’s original creators, fan events like the one last saturday carry the Python spirit on. I should have gone. Then again, getting a knotted hanky to stay on my head might have been rather tricky.
Zark knows whether it’s authentic or not, but when I saw this earlier, browsing Facebook on the bus, I burst out laughing so loudly that I got a few concerned stares from my fellow passengers.
Two or three weeks ago, John mentioned going to see a show with Sir Ian McKellen: Naturally I leaped at the idea: I’ve been a bit of a fan of McKellen’s since he played Gandalf. After that, though, I put the idea to the back of my mind and concentrated on other things. But yesterday afternoon I got a message from J inviting me to meet him up at Green Park to see McKellen’s one man show. Busy though I am with the move, how could I refuse the opportunity to see one of my favourite actors?
I met my friend at the Harold Pinter Theatre. Going in I didn’t quite know what to expect, but nonetheless I was in for a treat. McKellen gave a very, very impressive solo performance, essentially talking on stage for three hours with a fifteen minute break, covering a range of topics from religion to sexuality. He is clearly a very intelligent man with a vast amount of experience. Of course, the parts I enjoyed most was when he spoke about Tolkien and the filming of The Lord Of The Rings: he opened the piece with a recounting of the bridge at Khazad Dum, and Gandalf’s fight with the Balrog. It was a treat for both the Tolkien geek and film buff in me. He went into quite a bit of detail, which I found fascinating.
He rounded off the evening with Shakespeare, reciting many, many soliloquies he knows by heart from almost all the plays. I found myself amazed by his memory, but also by his deep knowledge of the plays and their histories. While some might dismiss shows like the one I saw last night as an old thespian’s ego trip, or his attempt to earn a bit of cash, nonetheless I feel I gained a valuable insight into a great actor, his personality and life experience.
You’re probably quite relieved that it has been a while since I wrote anything about the Olympics or the 2012 opening ceremony on here. That’s just as well; the moment has passed. Yet I can’t help noticing the stark contrast in the social atmosphere between then and now: just seven years ago, the country, and London especially, felt abuzz with friendliness and warmth. We were one country working together to put on the world’s greatest show. Now look at us: it’s frightening how divided we are, with one side protesting against the other. Of course I’m not the first person to note how angry people are becoming. I get stupidly angry as an effect of my cerebral palsy, but everyone else seems to be becoming just as pissed off over Brexit, It’s as if nobody can abide anyone holding a contrary view any more. Massive protests are held by either side, both viewing the other with something approaching white hot hatred, hurling insults and abuse. Think back to 2012 and the contrast in the atmosphere really is chilling. More to the point, though, we should all be very worried about where this is heading.
I think the best thing I can do on here today would be to direct everyone here. The new Picard trailer was released online yesterday, but it’s far too exciting for me not to flag up. Of course, there are already a shitload of fan reactions on the web, trying to break it down, shot by shot. You’ll forgive me if I don’t try to emulate them, apart from saying that it’s good to see a few more of our old TNG friends returning too, alongside their captain. To be honest I’m going through a bit of a dark time at the mo; I’m just glad the return of Jean-Luc Picard gives me something to look forward to.
Staying on the subject of Monty Python, how about this for a contemporary take on a classic.
I wonder what it would take for John Cleese and the two Ronnies (or anyone really) to perform such a sketch. I daresay it would make an interesting comment on the current political state of affairs.