I left work shortly before 1.00pm and went to get my hair cut, then went back via Wilkinson to pick up some bits, and some lunch from Greggs. The rest of the afternoon was spent doing various household stuff and dying my hair, which is now black again. :)
On Friday, we got up at 7.15 in order to catch a coach to London, arriving just after 12.20 and immediately tube-hopping to the O2, where we were going to see Gunter von Hagans' Bodyworlds exhibition. If you don't know what I'm on about, it's this, and Mr von Hagans is the dude who did the live autopsy on Channel 4 some years ago, to much controversy. He's invented 'plastination', a new way of preserving dead tissue. (Follow the link from that site to the debate; idiots abound.)
The exhibition was really cool, actually. Unlike the Tutankhamun exhibition last year, there wasn't a massive queue to get in (though it's nearing the end of its run) and it was a lot smaller, which meant we didn't desperately need the loo halfway around. ;) The displays were really fascinating; I think perhaps if this kind of thing had been around when I was still doing Occupational Therapy, I wouldn't have failed anatomy quite so horribly. (We did have a morphology visit to Nottingham Hospital, but the smell of the formaldehyde overpowered any interest I might have had in the body parts, plus they had that awful old-meat colour: not very appealing.)
My personal favourites, or at least things I found most interesting, were the foetuses at the start, from four weeks to nine - just that something so small and apparently under-developed still has recognisable limbs. I also really liked the horse and the giraffe, for the comparison (and it was a bloody big horse!), and realising how much anatomy I can still remember, even from way back in GCSE Biology. There was a definite sense of learn-as-you-go, seeing things from different angles and things clicking into place.
The worst thing was the 'Do Not Touch' signs on the unenclosed displays. You really, really wanted to just... give them a poke. Especially the Skin Man, where the entire length of skin was just hanging there, swinging gently in the breeze.
Unfortunately (of course) the merchandise was horrifically expensive, which is a shame as I would have liked a brochure. We came away with six postcards for £4.00, which I'll scan if anyone's interested - though be warned if you are of a delicate constitution. Personally I found the whole thing fascinating, though I know some people might find it disturbing. I will put any scans under a cut, if I post them...
After that we had loads of time to kill so wandered around Soho for a bit (firstly getting lost - it all looks different in daylight!) to find the bistro we always go to. Lovely food, as ever. We had a couple of drinks in some pubs, and passed a liquor shop selling two rather exciting things: a bottle of Absolut vodka ensconced inside a red, besequinned jacket, advertised as "100% gay vodka!"; and, apparently, some fizzy vodka. Paul spotted this, though I didn't see it, however I made sure to inform Sharn at work this morning, who was suitably impressed. ;)
We also accidentally stumbld upon L'Escargot, Marco Pierre White's restaurant, down a back street in Soho. I literally double-taked and was like, "Is that the real L'Escargot?", and we wandered over to have a look at their prices. Surprisingly, they're no more expensive than some of the high-end of independent restaurants in Moseley...
Coach back was at 8.30 and I dozed off and on all the way back, which at least made the journey pass a bit quicker.
On Saturday I was knackered and slept in until around 11.00, before heading out to meet my mum and David to see We Will Rock You at the Hippodrome.
I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. All I knew of WWRY was that it was based on Queen (duh) and that the costumes looked awesome, which was an opinion garnered from seeing a medley on Children in Need about four years ago, perhaps longer. At that point I also quite fancied Tony Vincent, who was in the original cast, but that's neither here nor there.
We were met with several surprises in the casting. It starred Jonathan Wilkes and Kevin Kennedy; the former a group of us saw playing Frank N Furter in Rocky Horror some years ago (with Christine Hamilton as the Narrator); the latter used to play Curly Watts in Coronation Street, and I also saw him playing the Narrator in the same production of RH in Derby... The biggest surprise for me was that Killer Queen was played by Brenda Edwards. She was one of the X-Factor finalists the year Shane Ward won, and at the time, even though I wanted her to win, I knew full well that she would go on to be in musicals; I even said she should play Mama Morton in Chicago, which she subsequently did. And let me tell you, it was bloody exhausting just watching her.
We had the understudy for Jonathan Wilkes, which is to be expected on a matinee, but Kevin Kennedy was present and correct.
As to the plot - it's set in the future, when all live music has been abolished and replaced with Computer Recorded Anodyne Pop (CRAP - you get the picture), but there are a group of rebels (Bohemians) searching for someone to lead them to find something the sacred texts tell them about. Which is basically, er, the first few lines of Bohemian Rhapsody. It's not much of a plot, but it's better than nothing. Anyway, a rebellious teenager named Gallileo Figaro teams up with a bolshy girl (whom he dreams is called Scaramouche - "They'll all call me Scary Bush!"), they meet the Bohemians and eventually destroy the GlobalSoft corporation with ROCK.
More than anything else, it was absolutely bloody hilarious. Actually laugh out loud funny on more than one occasion. Scaramouche had most of the best lines; my favourite was "They think I'm a lesbian because I don't wear pastels", amongst others, and Kevin Kennedy (as Pop) had brilliant timing also. There was a poignany moment when the Bohemians were explaining what rock and roll was, to the strains of "One by One", listing off tragically young rock stars who had passed on: "Elvis Presley, John Lennon, Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin, Michael Jackson... and then there was Freddie". I thought putting Jacko in the list was a nice touch.
At the start they had various musical factoids projected onto the screen at the back, stating the year and event, starting with things like Elvis's first number one, the Beatles getting to number one, Bohemian Rhapsody being number one for nine weeks, etc, then "Bucks Fizz win Eurovision", "Simon Cowell sent from Hell to destroy rock" (heh), all the way through to the 23rd century or whenever it's set, when music has been abolished. There was also "Children must have a licence to own a guitar". ;)
It was somewhat ruined by some people in the general vicinity singing along at every opportunity, out of tune, but someone else made up for that with a shout of "Go, Curly!" towards the end.
At the culmination, they got everyone on their feet with a rousing chorus of "WE WILL, WE WILL ROCK YOU!", which was great fun, if exhausting - the heat didn't help, either. It made absolute perfect sense at that point in the narrative, too, and there was a great sense of being part of the action. At the very end, after they'd taken their bows, a little message came up.
"Do you want Bohemian Rhapsody?"
"Oh... all right, then."
You could definitely tell it was Ben Elton behind it; most of the humour was very silly. Paul didn't want to go because he doesn't like Queen, but I think he would have enjoyed it nonetheless, if only for the music references. Gallileo hears lines in his head, fragments of songs, everything from the Beatles to "Ernie, the Fastest Milkman in the West". There were so many quotable moments, but I simply don't have time to remember them all. Apparently the jokes and references change depending on where the production is; in the UK production the end point is Wembley Stadium, because it's such a famous rock venue, but that doesn't work in the US because Wembley is only known for 'soccer', so they use Graceland instead.
My little inner Rock Chick was very happy indeed, deep to the depths of my rock'n'roll soul, and I would love to see it again if only to see Jonathan Wilkes in his role, and because I can't remember most of the jokes now. Highly recommended, nonetheless, though obviously it helps if you know Queen... :)
In the evening we met up again to go out for a meal at La Fibule, which is where Paul and I went on Valentine's Day. It's quite pricey, but the food is absolutely amazing. For starters, Paul and my mum both had the three-cheese salad, David had... damn, can't remember, and I had the falafel, which was nice, if a bit dry. For mains, Paul had the king prawn skewers, David had the fish stew (which was a GIANT PILE OF SEAFOOD in sauce, amazing), mum had the Poulet Khaddra (which I had on Valentine's Day) and I tried the Tagine D'Agneu D'Asilah, which was lamb cooked in yoghurt, sage and mint. OMG so delicious. There was far too much, so alas I couldn't finish it, but it was so creamy and amazing. Wow. If it wasn't so expensive I would eat there more often.
It was baking hot in there, also, which given it's Moroccan makes for an authentic dining experience.
Sunday, thankfully, was lazy - I put washing out, watched EastEnders, had a shower, the usual.
Back at work this morning to find a note on my desk from Gaynor, apologising for the fact none of the work had been done in my absence (Noor is also on leave). Apparently one of the seniors in Central Team had decreed one particular fee earner's work to all be urgent, because they were holiday cover notes, thus effectively depriving us of one typist; another typist got lumbered with the three-taper off Lisa which was needed for Monday morning, which I had hoped to get done before leaving but had deprioritised to get through everything else, and after she'd finished that managd one other thing after lunch before swanning off at 3.30.
So this morning I had to do the 1.5-tape from Lisa (also needed for Monday, as above), plus the remainder of Thursday afternoon's work AND all of Friday's. By the time I left this afternon at 4.45, I had just caught up to the stuff from this morning.
I don't know why I bother trying to be organised. Meh.
Okay, that's enough for this entry. I should have done the WWRY review straight afterwards, but I was bloody knackered from all the rocking. \m/
Over and out.