Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Still Thinking London Thoughts

I miss the hustle and bustle of London. The parts of London I like are all the Touristy bits. People who live in London don't spend much time round the tourist traps. I saw mostly other Americans in my travels to London, and I will likely see more Americans on my next trip, wherever that may be.

As always it is a question of money and time and sorting out what to see and what to do. Times are hard at the moment, but I am still reading my London Travel Guides and thinking about seeing those London Attractions that I missed out on and that are new since I was in London all those years ago.

There are still more London Thoughts and more London things to see and do.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Pink Carnation Series

The Pink Carnation stories are a lot of fun. These are silly books for the most part, but I still like them. They tell the story of a modern day historian looking for the elusive Pink Carnation, a spy in the mold of the Scarlet Pimpernel. Lauren Willig goes one step further and creates an entire garden of flower named spies doing their skulduggery during the Napoleonic years. Which we see through the standard plot device of a hidden cache of documents revealing all secrets for our hero to find.

I have been listening to the audio books of the Pink Carnation Series and the reader, Kate Reading does a great job of giving voices to a large and ever growing cast of odd characters with all kinds of accents. Her American hero sounds, for the most part, like an American, and her modern Londoners sound like modern Londoners. I have no idea what English sounded like a couple of hundred years ago, but Kate Reading's take on it sounds good to me.

I'm listening to the Seduction of The Pink Carnation at the moment, which is spending a lot more time in Modern London and making a lot of fun of the American expat historian for not knowing such things as Working in The City means Working on Wall Street. The modern London story is a romance and a mystery, while the world of the Pink Carnation is pretty much a romance and a mystery with a touch of espionage tossed in for good measure. There are a lot of characters and I would advice that anyone tackling the series start at the beginning. The Secret History of The Pink Carnation was the first book.

These are fun books, neither pure romance nor pure cloak and dagger. Many of characters like to speak in a very refined and very round about manner and it can be fun to try and figure out what exactly they mean by what they are saying. The cast remains more or less the same and as with all series, that's just as it should be.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Being Human- Damned Flatmates

Filmed in Bristol, Being Human shows views of Clifton Suspension Bridge and Clifton Village. The characters' shared house is located in Totterdown, Bristol, and the Shakespeare pub shown in the closing minutes of the pilot is located on the same street in Totterdown as the rented house. The hospital that the characters work in is mostly filmed in and around the Bristol General Infirmary.-Wikipedia

Yeah, Bristol looks a lovely place to visit, except for all the damned vampires, werewolves, and ghosts. Being Human is a BBC Three show about a group of flatmates who have more than their share of problems. Besides being a vampire, a werewolf, and a ghost, there is this whole The World is About To Change thing going on. But our heroes are still trying to get on in the neighborhood and have all the locals around for tea and a nice chat about the great and powerful Vin Diesel.

The pilot of Being Human was really good, but they lost all of the cast except for the werewolf, George, who spends rather a lot of time naked and screaming-and not in a good way. Cast changes have been made for Mitchell, originally portrayed by Guy Flanagan, is now played by Aidan Turner, and Annie is now portrayed by Lenora Crichlow rather than Andrea Riseborough. Jason Watkins replaced Adrian Lester as a "more down-to-earth" version of Herrick. The character of Lauren also returned in the full series, with Annabel Scholey taking on the role from Dominique McElligott.

The cast changes alter the whole feel of the show, and in fact, I didn't even realize that the cop vampire was supposed to be Herrick. I still like the show, but I'm not sure I like Lauren changing from a woman fully in charge of herself to a loony loose cannon. There is also the odd idea that a vampire working in a hospital can't find a spare pint of blood somewhere to help with his blood lust. I like the idea of the ghost becoming a physical presence, though I am not sure where that story line might end up.

The first episode gave us a quick back story of Mitchell, George, and Annie, and then we are off and running. Time seems to travel pretty quickly in the land of Being Human, as George changed into a werewolf twice in episode two. There are a lot of threats from Herrick and Lauren and the poor ghost Annie has a relapse and doesn't want to go down to the Pub anymore. Meanwhile George is having trouble of his own with his new best mate, Tully, who is not exactly a good guy.

I like Being Human, but I could do with a few less shots of George standing around with his hands over his privates.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

London in The Snow

The biggest snowfall to hit London in 18 years idled the city's trademark red buses and Underground trains Monday, stranded thousands of airline passengers, and raised the vexing question of why a predicted winter storm caught authorities so unprepared.

Transit officials had nearly a week to get ready, but they failed to keep things running normally in the capital, which was buried under more than four inches of snow overnight and another four inches in the afternoon. -AP

London doesn't get a lot snow, and it didn't take much to shut the old town down. We like to think that we are a modern people who can cope with anything, well, anything but snow. Here in Texas it doesn't take much more than an icy road to close down all the schools and keep people home from work. So not going out into the snow covered streets of London makes perfect sense to me. The silly people who are skiing and sliding down hills on cardboard, that sounds like a good plan to me.

I have never understood people who live in places where there is snow all winter long. A nice dusting once in a while and enough to make a snowman is all the snow that I need. Facing those fresh mounds of snow everyday would drive me mad. Still, I think I would like London in the snow. Great photo ops for all those familiar sites that we seldom see with a layer of snow on top. A trip to Highgate Cemetery might be a good idea. All those moldy green tomes with a bit of white as an accent.

I'm not as big a fan of the cold as I used to be, so I'd likely just look out the window once in a while and catch up on some TV.