Saturday, August 29, 2009

Shakespeare's Globe

The model was made from details found from historical etchings and prints of the original Globe Theatre. This required quite a bit of research as there were actually three Globe Theatre buildings, and inaccuracies abound. This model represents the Globe as it probably looked around the time that Shakespeare's plays were presented there (1599-1608).-Paper Toys.

Shakespeare's Globe is one the sights of London that I saw as a floated by on a boat. It is an interesting looking building, but to be honest Shakespeare's plays have never been my favorite. There is a little too much Old English for me, I tend to get lost in the soliloquies.

I like this little paper model of The Globe, it reminds me of those 3D jigsaw puzzles that were all the rage a few years back. It does take a bit of skill with a pair of scissors and a careful hand with the folding.

Bill Bryson wrote an excellent little book about Shakespeare, which talked about how little we actually know about the man. There are not plans or images for the actual theater that Shakespeare's plays were preformed during Shakespeare's time. No one knows how Shakespeare spelled his name, not even, it would seem, William Shakespeare himself. And it seems that William Shakespeare would have disappeared like all the other playwrights of his time had not a couple of gentlemen decided to publish a book of his plays. This has lead to all manner of debate about who wrote the Shakespeare plays and if Shakespeare was just a brand name like Warner Brothers. Good old Will is a source of infinite debate and argument.

As always, things are going on in the current incarnation of the Globe Theatre. Shakespeare’s Globe Exhibition and Theatre Tour will be open throughout the Autumn half-term (26 –30 October) and is a perfect destination for families wishing to discover more about Shakespeare and the London in which he lived and worked. During half-term regular live demonstrations such as swordfighting and costume dressings will give families a stimulating introduction to one of the world’s most iconic working theatres.

Open throughout the year, Shakespeare’s Globe Exhibition and Theatre Tour is housed beneath the reconstructed Globe Theatre on Bankside. The exhibition explores the remarkable story of the Globe, and brings Shakespeare’s world to life using modern technology and traditional crafts with a range of interactive displays and live demonstrations exploring costume, music and special effects.

Also included with the exhibition ticket is a tour of the Globe Theatre that will bring the extraordinary home of Shakespeare’s theatre to life. The Guide-storytellers will take you on a fascinating half-hour tour of the auditorium, vividly recreating colourful stories of the 1599 Globe and the reconstruction process in the 1990s, and of how the wooden ‘O’ works today as an imaginative and experimental space.

Shakespeare’s Globe Exhibition: Open all year round
Venue: Shakespeare’s Globe Exhibition and Theatre Tour, SE1
Opening Times: 10am – 5pm (Last theatre tour is at 5pm)
Tickets: Adults £10.50; Children (aged 5 – 15) £6.50; Students (with valid ID) £8.50; Family (up to 2
adults and 3 children) £28

5% off the retail price of the LONDON PASS with this code: londpas05

Thursday, August 27, 2009

London to Scotland in 2 Hours

The route of a high speed rail link between London and Scotland has been unveiled by Network Rail. The proposed £34bn line will run from central London, via Birmingham, Manchester, Warrington, Liverpool and Preston to Glasgow and Edinburgh and could slash the journey time between London and Scotland to a little over 2 hours. But don’t expect it any time soon… the high-speed line hasn’t been given the go-ahead just yet and, even if it does happen, it will be 10 years in the making. Read more at The Telegraph.

My own humble experiences traveling between London and Edinburgh took about 8 hours, so a high speed train would be a nice alternative. Of course, the reason I rode the bus was that it was cheap. The Wife and I stumbled off a British Airways flight that last about 9 hours, rode the Gatwick Express to Victoria Station and then hopped on a bus for the 8 hour trek to Scotland. We went to Scotland to see Loch Ness and had a grand time, even though we did not spot Nessy.

I love the sci fi look of high speed trains, and I have always had a personal preference for the ones that use MagLev. There is that whole Disneyland feel to them and I like the idea of zipping along at 200 miles per hour.

The bus ride up to Scotland was pretty nice, we had most of the bus to ourselves and the view out the windows was amazing. Lots of yellow flowers we were told was rapeseed and lots of villages with lovely high streets. We were dead tired, but it was still not a bad trip.

Since we had scheduled something for every minute of the trip, we decided to take the last bus out of Scotland-which was at midnight. This would get back into London around 8 a.m. We sat in a Pub and waited for our bus to arrive, with The Wife looking out the window. As the time grew near and the Pub was about to close anyway, we headed out to have a look at the bus parking area. There were two or three buses sitting there, that we could not see from the Pub just across the parking lot. So we ran up to the one for London.

We handed the man our bags, which he promptly tossed into the storage area and told us to get on board quickly. We did. The bus was full-save for two seats. We asked a nice man to move so we could sit together. Then we sat there for a few minutes while less fortunate travelers went up and down the aisle looking in vain for somewhere to sit.

The trip back to London offered little chance for rest and nothing to see in the darkness. We stopped at about 3 in the morning at a gas station with a KFC, which was closed. I will never forgive the bus line and KFC for getting our hopes up. We did find a couple of sandwiches, but that was not the same.

So I would like to think that traveling by high speed rail would be a little more organized. That's what I'd like to think anyway. Of course, then I wouldn't have this story of the midnight not so express to London.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Black Pudding in London

Black pudding or blood pudding is a type of sausage made by cooking blood with a filler until it is thick enough to congeal when cooled.-Wikipedia

I'm reading the wonderfully fun book Eat My Globe- it's about one man's quest to eat the best of everything, everywhere. I love the idea there. Right off the bat our hero goes for the good stuff of the UK, one of which he considers to be Black Pudding. I have to admit that this is something that I have not tried, though I have heard of it. Like Spotted Dick and Clotted Cream, Blood Pudding is not a name that inspires confidence in an outsider.

According to Simon Majumdar, the best black pudding is from The Bury Black Pudding Company. Seems a lot of people agree with him on this point, if only everyone could agree on what exactly a Bury Black Pudding is. Black pudding is one of those items where cheap and horrible versions abound-but still have the words Bury Black Pudding on the label. Seems there are a couple of other good brands floating around-Chadwick’s Original Black Puddings and The Real Lancashire Black Pudding Company.

I also like the idea of eating a black pudding as part of the Full English Breakfast at The Bleeding Heart Tavern. Great name that. It seems that good black pudding can be found at Borough Market SE1. Any excuse to head to one of London's best markets. Black pudding is definitely on my list of things to try next to I find myself in London.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Chance of A Lifetime

Well, maybe that is a slight exaggeration, or maybe not. I'm not as young as I once was. Among the countless things that I still want to do in the days that are left to me is spend a bit more time in London and do Voice Over work there. As we all know, no one from America moves to London seeking acting work, everyone from London moves to America to get a job. But one of my old Blog Buddies does voice over work and she invited me to London do a bit of Voice Over.

Well, this is the kind of thing that you can base a movie on-the poor sap's one chance at greatness, or at least mediocrity. This was some time ago, last year, in fact. I have had many months to save and plan a trip back that glorious place I so like to think about-London. But the rest of my life, well, it has not gone well at all. So there is no money, and barring something extraordinary happening, there will be no trip to London this October for me. However, it was so very nice of her to offer this chance to me.

I am still doing a few of the voice exercises and I think my voice is better than it was. But I have not put in any serious study of late. I have too many irons in the fire, as always. Ah but the idea of London and working, even doing background voices, would be amazingly cool. Of course, my London thoughts go beyond the work and into seeing those sights I missed last time and using my nifty digital camera that I did not have on the last trip. Blogging from London, well, the mind boggles.

If I still have any readers here-Hello! I plan on writing a few more posts over the next few weeks. But my plans seldom go as I expect.

Anyone who would like to donate to the Send Me To London Fund feel free.