Theatre: Alan Ayckbourn's Absent Friends

A man mourning the loss of his fiance turns to absent friends for console and a spot of tea. Awkward Silences have never been so cringingly funny.

Showing at Harold Pinter Theatre, which is cozily tucked in the backstreets of Haymarket London (not far from the big draw of classic tourist plays such as Phantom). My solo attendance was greeted by an equally solo seat neighbour…who was a little too excited about some of the cast members; clapping over giddily when a certain League member entered the stage. The set design and costumes are deliciously 70s: spider plants, an Eame's lounge chair, rolled hair & platforms. Even a crocodile in a fireplace.

The play runs through to 14th April. Don't forget your slice of battenburg.

When will I see you again

Film: Titanic

Cameron's film made its debut on the big screen when I was twelve. The amount of times I saw it in the theatre was half that. Since then, I've unashamedly shed tears every time Jack meets Rose under that clock. You could imagine my excitement when I saw it was coming back to cinemas to celebrate the 100 years since the sinking of the cruise liner. (Make that seven notches in my proverbial cinema belt).

However, my fascination with Titanic stems far from the film. After a short stint of living in North Carolina, Memphis called me home & my father came out to rescue me. We drove twelve hours through foggy mountainside & open corn fields - stopping once in Atlanta for a little father, daughter bonding the travelling Titanic exhibition.

The first exhibit was enough to send a flood of emotion over me: a lone bell illuminated in the middle of a darkened room - the very bell that the watchmen rang to alert of an approaching iceberg. Pops & I spent hours roaming the seemingly endless artefact displays: clothing, cutlery, and children's toys among other things. I even had the chance to touch an actual portion of the ship. Set in a glass case with a quarter-sized hole to stick your finger through, an electric shock extended between my forefinger and the iron plate as I went to touch it. Perhaps it was a sign.

Pops bought me a replica third class White Star Line tea cup to remember our little road trip. I'll be sipping out of it on Titanic's centennial.


Read: Martin Amis - Dead Babies

A cast of outcasts living together in one house. A drug fuelled weekend. The come down that follows. Is everything as it seems? It's an Amis novel after all.

Support: Ronin Tattoo & Graphics

I met Babak the summer of 2007 when I asked him to draw up an old school candlestick to be tattooed on my underarm - it'd be my first of many arm pieces (as well as the first of many pieces from the man himself). I needed an artist I could trust and Babak was my guy.

He is the artist behind my Victorian Rabbit as well as my work-in-progress, a Jim Henson Storyteller sleeve.

I'm sorry to hear this week that after spending $30,000 to open his new shop in one of Memphis's art districts, Baback has been told that tattoo's are not an artform supported by the zone he's planning to open his shop in - meaning that he won't be able to actually sell his artform in his own shop.

Please spend a moment to read about it here & show your support by signing the petition. And take a gander at just a few of Babak's pieces not considered 'art' by Memphis zoning standards...

candlestick - first shot

victorian rabbit

Hans my hedgehog - only a small part of my sleeve

Until next time...



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