Circus of Horrors

We’ve just been to see Circus of Horrors at the Brighton Centre. Sadly, the scariest thing was the venue itself. Don’t take that the wrong way. The venue really was diabolically awful. We had seats (cheap seats, admittedly) on the right hand side of the stage. But even with cheap seats, you expect to be able to see the performance. What was nice was that there was a video screen for the highlights in case you couldn’t see the front of the stage. Sadly, the view of the screen was blocked by a large speaker stack…

It was bad enough that at the interval, they opened up another section of seating behind the main section in front of the stage and moved everybody there instead.

Needless to say, I’m going back to the box office to try and get some money back. There is no way that tickets for those seats should have been sold in the first place.

But the venue is still revolting. It’s like going in to a school assembly hall. At any minute you expect someone to come over and force you into singing Kum-Ba-Yah. And then you’ll be lectured to death by a boring man in a grey suit. Really. It’s that dismal.

But what about the circus itself? Some good bits, some bad bits. I feel that it would have been much better if it could have made its mind up as to what it actually was. Circus? Musical? Comedy? Freak show? It felt like jack of all trades, master of none.

Good: Midgets in kilts pulling vacuum cleaners around the stage with their genitals. Fire. Angle grinders. Some of the acrobatic sequences were really very good (especially when paired with Tubular Bells).

Bad: The incessant “rock” music covered up any attempt at dramatic tension. Some of the sequences felt decidely unpolished. The spotlights that shone straight into your eyes. All the deliberate musical sequences were pretty dire. The sound system was also not really that good (though that may have been the Brighton Centre).

Overall, I’m glad I went to see it. But I’d much rather see Circus Oz again if they come back to town…


Google Musings

Aristotle is thinking laterally. This reminded me of a talk I saw last night by Jack Cohen. He presented a brilliant slide (which I appear to be utterly unable to locate) of a sign in some public place, with the same idea in two languages:

  • Lost Property
  • Objets Trouvée

Two completely different ways of thinking about exactly the same thing. Trying to think like this is a good habit to get into.


London Weekend

We spent the weekend in London. A nice little break after the christmas period (which was fun, but it’s nice to get some time alone). The initial reason was that my wife’s work was treating everybody with tickets to the Queen musical on Saturday night. Frankly, I hate musicals and it was the low point of the weekend. I’d never realised quite how good Freddy Mercury was at singing until I heard other musical professionals murder Bohemian Rhapsody.

But anyway, that was the least interesting bit. On Saturday, we went up and dropped our bags off at the hotel (cheap but with very cheery australians running the shop) and went straight to the Natural History Museum to see the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition results. If you get a chance, it’s really worth seeing. It really makes you realise what wondrous things a camera can actually do. It does cost £6, but it’s well worth it.

Afterwards, we stayed and wandered around the museum. We lunched in the cafe in the Earth sciences section (because it was the emptiest) and spent the rest of the afternoon meandering through the Earth sciences. Volcanoes, earthquakes, gem stones, it was all there and thoroughly enjoyable. By the time we’d finished, we had to go back to the hotel to get ready for the evening out.

Kudos to Mr Blair—making the museums free was a very good move indeed.

On Sunday morning, we dashed off to Madam Tussauds to see the waxworks. The ticket price was £23.99 per person, but thankfully, I’d picked up a 2-for-1 offer the day previously. This made the price seem a lot more reasonable… Anyway, the waxworks were superb. The first few rooms were full of “celebrities” of which I knew only a few. But the quality was superb. If you weren’t looking hard, and you turned round to see a crowd of people, you’d have a job picking out the wax one. They also had a section of world leaders, which I recognised a few more of.

The next bit was the chamber of horrors. Some of the waxworks of serial killers happened to have been replaced by actors, who were all too keen to jump out at you. Usually when you’d just walked past. Needless to say, it was a heart-stopping experience.

Finishing there, we wandered over to London Zoo (via tube, which was a mistake — we should have walked through Regents Park). Sadly, this was when the rain started up. 😦 But we went in and started meandering around the exhibits. It was a bit of a shame, because the zoo is clearly underfunded. Most of the enclosures look shabby, and the information by the enclosures isn’t very helpful. Much of it looks quite sad, instead of welcoming. The bits which are new are excellent, though. I spent ages in the B.U.G.S. section. It was visually appealing and very informative. Just a shame that the rest of the zoo can’t be more like it.

Finally, we rounded off with lunch at the zoo cafe, “Graze”. The food was excellent, if a little pricy. Big portions of good solid food. Just what you need on a rainy day.

Coming out of the zoo, we headed straight back to Victoria and on to Brighton. Sitting on the train was bliss, letting our feet relax after all the traipsing around… But definitely worth it.


Komedia Night Out

I’ve just been to Komedia as part of my partner’s work’s night out. Two of the acts were OK, but Raymond & Mr Timpkins Revue were superb. A couple of guys putting words to music. Very little spoken stuff, exceedingly silly and still requiring an amount of thinking. They kept your mind racing trying to keep up with all the gags playing along, while your mouth simply carried on laughing.

In short, well worth seeing if you’re anywhere near them.


Mud + Karts

For work’s Christmas do, we all went off to Mudmania this afternoon. What an excellent way to spend the day, getting very very wet and muddy inside 400cc engines. Lovely. And then it’s off to Indian Summer for some nosh later on. Yum. Happy Dom.


Circus Oz

We’ve just got back from an evening at Circus Oz. Absolutely fantastic entertainment—great costumes, stunning performance and wickedly funny. If you get within a hundred miles, go and see them! And no, there were absolutely no animals. Excepting the hooman variety.

Best bits? A stunningly agile and graceful performance from Mel on the hoop. Oh, and the utterly fabulous percussion / juggling combo from Sosina. Maybe Captain Frodo going through two tennis rackets. I loved Scott doing his bmx routine. But it’s a damned hard choice to make—there wasn’t a duff part in there.


Cat & Mouse

Our little darlings brought in a mouse last night. Just when I wanted to go to bed. Of course, at the first sign of us, they drop the little beggar and flee the scene of the crime. The poor little mouse is still alive and cowering by the skirting board. After much thought, I decide to lock a cat in the same room as the mouse until I don’t have a mouse problem any more.

Fat chance. The cat just claws at the door until I let it out again.

Insert Cat#2. This time it just sits there looking confused. I should point out that this is the one that caught the mouse in the first place.

So it falls to me to extract the mouse. After a long game of moving furniture and having the small creature jump out of my hands, I eventually managed to catch the little sod. At which point it sank its fangs into me.

So not only have the cats reduced the dignity of this home by bringing in vermin, I’m probably going catch mouse-disease. Bloody marvellous.


Dave Fulton

We went to see Dave Fulton as part of the Brighton Comedy Festival. His show is “We’re all Americans” and it rings true. Whilst he starts off slating our cousins across the pond, he quickly turns it around and starts biting into British people with equal ferocity. And it’s all deliciously non P.C.

I particularly liked his line on the British capacity for booze:

The English are the only people I know who drink on the train on the way to go drinking!

Definitely worth catching if he’s playing near you.


More Terrorists

Wandering in front of Churchill square at lunchtime, I saw two large armed policemen with sub machine guns. Now I don’t object to having more policemen because the Labour Party Conference is in Brighton. I understand that they’re a large and obvious target for terrorists. But that still doesn’t mean we need armed officers wandering around putting terror into the local populace. I mean it doesn’t take much for the police to take an interest in you these days.

Of course, there’s no information at all on the police website to tell you what’s going on.


Terrorists In Town

So the Labour Party Conference visits Brighton once more. On my way into town yesterday, I noticed riot police vans. Standing next to them were police with sub machine guns. If that isn’t terrorism, I’d like to know what is. People with guns like that should be in Basra, not Brighton. Sorry for the lack of photo, I was driving at the time.

It’s also good to know that our elected leaders are far too scared of photography for this to be allowed.

Charge sheet for terrorism

This really does take the biscuit. What kind of people vote for these morons?