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[personal profile] smallhobbit
I hadn't been sure whether to see this play, given the hassle of getting to London and being out all day, but SM was going out, and I wasn't going to the theatre this month, so I decided to buy a ticket.  I was right about the hassle.  My train was cancelled - at least I found out the day before, so I didn't get to the station to find I had to wait an hour.  And GWR still haven't managed to add an extra carriage to a two carriage train which has to convey two lots of passengers, so the first part of the journey was cramped by the end.  At least I had a seat for the journey - having complained on Twitter.  It appears GWR are launching a new advertising campaign to encourage people to travel by train - I'd be more inclined to if I thought their 'Great Adventure' wouldn't be 'is there going to be a train'.

I had planned to go to the V&A to see a couple of their exhibits, but with the loss of an hour I changed plans and went to Leighton House instead.  There was an interesting exhibition of paintings by Lawrence Alma-Tedema (no, I hadn't heard of him either) and a beautiful Arab room in the house.  So that was worth doing, after which I walked through Holland Park from the Kensington High Street end towards Notting Hill Gate, to go to the Print Room at the Coronet to see the play.

Trouble in Mind was written by Alice Childress, an African-American playwright, in 1955.  It concerns an actress who challenges the racial stereotypes she is always given to portray.  Although set in 1955 it remains very relevant as regards racism, and those who believe themselves not to be racist, and yet unconsciously still maintain certain attitudes.

The attraction of the play for me was Jonathan Slinger, who played Al Manners the director of the play within a play.  In addition Tanya Moodie, who was Gertrude in last year's RSC Hamlet, plays the main actress Wiletta Mayer.  The whole cast was excellent, and the play was thoughtprovoking without being heavy.

The theatre was about two-thirds full.  It's not a place I'd heard of before, and outside the usual theatre haunts of most people, but I understand ticket bookings have gone up with some good reviews (which it deserves).  It's only on until 14 October, but one to bear in mind.

Long Live the Halflings!

Sep. 22nd, 2017 03:52 pm
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Today is the anniversary of the Long-Expected Party celebrating the
eleventy-first birthday of Bilbo Baggins and the coming of age of Frodo
Baggins in The Lord of the Rings. It was on this day that Bilbo
gave his infamous birthday speech, saying “I don’t know half of you half
as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well
as you deserve,” before disappearing from the Shire forever.

Also on this day, according to the Appendices of The Lord of the Rings,
99-year-old Samwise Gamgee rode out from Bag End for the final time. He
was last seen in Middle-Earth by his daughter Elanor, to whom he
presented the Red Book. According to tradition, he then went to the Grey
Havens and passed over the Sea, last of the Ringbearers.

image

And now, in honor of the Baggins Birthdays, the departure of Samwise, and
Hobbits in general, a quote about the Ring’s temptation of - and failure
with - one of J.R.R. Tolkien’s (and, for that matter, world
literature’s) greatest heroes, Samwise Gamgee:

“Wild fantasies arose in his mind; and he saw Samwise the Strong, Hero of the Age,
striding with a flaming sword across the darkened land, and armies
flocking to his call as he marched to the overthrow of Barad-dûr. And
then all the clouds rolled away, and the white sun shone, and at his
command the vale of Gorgoroth became a garden of flowers and trees and
brought forth fruit. He had only to put on the Ring and claim it for his
own, and all this could be. In that hour of trial it was the love of
his master that helped most to hold him firm; but also deep down in him
lived still unconquered his plain hobbit-sense: he knew in the core of
his heart that he was not large enough to bear such a burden, even if
such visions were not a mere cheat to betray him. The one small garden
of a free gardener was all his need and due, not a garden swollen to a
realm; his own hands to use, not the hands of others to command.”
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

A Shipping Meme (Part One)

Sep. 18th, 2017 09:41 pm
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[personal profile] smallhobbit
which I have pinched from [personal profile] verdande_mi  and like them I'm only answering the questions I want to answer.

Questions 1 to 20 )

Can you hear me now?

Sep. 16th, 2017 02:41 pm
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[personal profile] eldritchhobbit


My latest “Looking Back on Genre History” is up on StarShipSofa, and it’s an update on Native American Science Fiction/Indigenous Futurism. Listen for free here!

(The earlier segment I did introducing this topic in 2011 is here.)



Here are some of the links I mention in my new segment.

Apex Magazine’s “Celebration of Indigenous American Fantasists”

Strange Horizon’s Roundtable on Indigenous Futurism

Extrapolation’s Issue on Indigenous Futurism 

A Tribe Called Geek

Indigenous Comic Con 

Right, we're back!

Sep. 15th, 2017 11:37 am
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[personal profile] smallhobbit
Screech Owl is back at Brownies - as is Brown Owl.  Sparkly Owl is on holiday far away in the sunshine.

I've just been reading my entry for this time last year, when we had masses of Brownies - this time, for reasons I will explain below, we have far fewer to start with.  We had 12 due to come back, and slightly to our surprise, 11 did - there's usually a few drop out over the summer.  The only one who didn't come had been erratic last term - she has other activities after school, and her grandmother can't always get her to us.  In addition she's probably only got one more term with us until she's 10, so they may have decided it's easier if she stops now.

Sadly, despite initial interest, we have no new offers of help, so we shall carry on.  It seems to be a widespread problem.  On the other hand, there are new girls wanting to join.  We had two start yesterday - a third had found a place in another pack at a more suitable time.  That's fair enough - we have a further seven (I think) who are old enough to join now and will be invited to start in a couple of week's time.

We played various games - our normal opening night activity.  A number of the girls were very excitable, which meant I had to be stricter in enforcing the rules than I would normally be.  With some of the Brownies' help I pointed out we have rules to make it safe to play (if half the runners go the opposite way round the circle from the other half, there will be an accident) and to make it fair to all.  And, of course, there is the ultimate rule "If Screech Owl says you're out, you're out!"

We stacked in the cupboard all the goodies we got from collecting Sainsbury's Active Kids vouchers:



At the front is a ball (yet to be blown up) in the shape of a globe - handy for both games and when we talk about different countries.  There's a stop watch; enough plant pots and saucers for everybody (either for growing seeds, or for table decorations); and two storage boxes (for pens, rubbers, etc).

Next week we're off to visit the local Police Headquarters.  They can only take 15 girls at a time, which is why we restricted how many new Brownies could start at the beginning of term.

Book Review Year 3 No 3

Sep. 12th, 2017 06:32 pm
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[personal profile] smallhobbit
I've read quite a few books recently, which is why this is a slightly longer review than normal - I was going to do it last week, but was close to finishing two of the books, so I thought I'd wait.

The Minitiarist by Jessie Burton

There's been a lot said about this book, so I thought I'd give it a go.  They even had a copy in our local library (which I reserved and collected two days' later to save getting dressed to go to the library).  I quite enjoyed it, but I wasn't taken by it as much as other people seem to have been.  And the central premise of the story, that of the dolls' house, for me didn't work as I'd hoped.  I'll be interested to see what others of my flist thought.


Ovid by David Wishart

A mystery set in ancient Rome, recommended by someone in my flist.  The mystery was quite interesting and the setting was reasonably entertaining.  This is the first in a series - I may read more, but there's plenty else on my 'to read' list at the moment.


Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett

The witches aren't my favourite of Pratchett's characters, but I enjoyed the story.  And even if not my favourite in the Discworld series, they're still better than some things I've read, so I shall certainly be reading more.


Aunt Dimity and the Duke by Nancy Atherton

A present from [personal profile] aome  I was totally taken in by the story, suspecting characters I really didn't want to suspect, but happy at the outcome.  It was definitely responsible for one or two late nights, as I had to read 'just one more chapter'.  A series I shall most certainly continue with.


All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

Really worth reading.  Sad, obviously, and graphic, but an excellent description of the first world war from the viewpoint of the German trenches.  The daughter and I are going on a tour of some of the battlefields next April.


The Wine of Angels by Phil Rickman

Recommended by several of my friends: a mystery featuring a female vicar in a parish in Herefordshire, close to Leominster which we visited last month.  It sounded great, but to my mind, too long, too convoluted and I was tempted to give up and take it back to the library part way through.  I battled on, but won't be reading the next in the series.


As ever, I shall be interested to read any thoughts anyone has - the fact I didn't enjoy a book doesn't mean it's badly written, just not my thing.

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