Wednesday, 26 August 2009

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Last night I went to a gig at The Troxy in Commercial Road, Limehouse ('the good'), narrowly avoiding the unpleasantness that was taking place just a few tube stops away at nearby Upton Park ('the bad'). I went to see Wilco, who were excellent, but that's not the reason behind this post.

The Troxy is a 1930’s art deco Grade II listed building. Originally designed as a cinema, it was renowned for its large revolving stage, Wurlitzer Organ and opulent decor which included chandeliers and large sweeping staircases.

The Troxy had live gigs in those days too, but then the headliners were Vera Lynn and the Andrew Sisters.

After suffering damage during the war, the Troxy closed in 1960, re opening in 1963 as the London Opera Centre, and was subsequently converted into a Bingo Hall which remained it's fate until 2006.

It has now been restored to it's former glory by the present owners My pictures don't do it justice, but might give you a bit of an idea ......

and then, having seen the magnificent job that has been done to that beautiful old building, I'm afraid we come to 'the ugly'.
This 'THEN and NOW' picture was in the Daily Mail in an article about old cinemas, and my Mum sent it to me because it was our (then) local cinema in Chingford, where I used to go to 'Saturday morning pictures' and before that, where my Mum and Dad used to go to see film stars when they really WERE stars.
Who possibly thought it was acceptable to grant planning permission for this great Picture Palace to be turned into a bland- looking supermarket?
If I ever win the lottery (unlikely, I suppose, as I don't buy a ticket) I am going to have it transformed back to how it was, complete with usherettes, with a 'B' movie as well as the main feature. And then in the interval, the aforesaid usherettes will be back selling choc-ices and tubs from a tray, hanging around their necks.
And they say nostalgia is a thing of the past.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

No rest for the wicked

Had a busy week so far - although lots of nice things. Worked a long day on Monday, and Tuesday morning, then off to Essendon to the first day of a painting summer school with Christine Spence, where we spent the day in her lovely studio, practising mixing a wide variety of 'greens' in preparation for our day of painting on location. From there I drove straight to my other job, at Leyton Orient. (lost 2-1 to Charlton)
On Tuesday, the second day of the summer school, we all met up at Benington Lordship, a beautiful Georgian manor house, with the remains of a Norman Castle. (None of us knew that yesterday, I just looked it up). I steered clear of most of the greens as I intended just to sketch, and I picked my subject according to where the sun was shining I'm afraid. So I spent the morning here, looking towards the house - plenty of practise for perspective And here is my rendition .....

Then we had a picnic lunch, and then a wander around to choose my next subject. I quite fancied doing a bit of the old castle -whilst still sitting in the sunshine, obviously - I so decided to have a go at this. (That's my friend Jill choosing her view - bet she doesn't know I took this)
And this time, having sketched it, I decided to put a bit of colour on it. Not sure either of them will ever grow up to be paintings, but it was a lovely relaxing day.

Then in the evening I went to see Slumdog Millionaire. Good film, although don't try and read the (occasional) subtitles unless you've got binoculars AND 20:20 vision. It seemed to be a fairly 'mature' audience and there was quite a lot of loud whispering with people saying they couldn't read them. Quite a few differences to the book , Q&A by Vikas Swarup, but I don't think that mattered.
Have spent this morning putting my books back on the newly erected and painted shelves. Don't tell anyone, but there's now a little bit of space for some more. Good job I'm off to the Quilt Show at the NEC this weekend then.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

U2 at Wembley

I went to Wembley to see U2 last night. I have to say I'm not a big U2 fan as, in company with a lot of other people, I tend to think Bono is a bit of a knob. I can't help thinking that either the rest of the band are the same, or he's not actually as bad in real life. They've been together for over 30 years, and surely, if he is as pompous and self opinionated as he seems, one of his band members would have punched him by now. Or maybe they do, regularly, and that's why he has to wear the dark glasses 24 hours a day.

Anyway, they did put on a great show, and the stage set was fantastic. It was on a circular stage, with a platform running around it, and moveable arched bridges from the stage on to the circular platform.

Bono on the big screen ...

The set really came into it's own when it got dark - and looked liked a giant space ship that was about to take off.

And the light show was probably the best I've seen. Thank goodness for digital cameras, I had to take a photo of every colour combination ....

All that, plus the odd political speech thrown in for good measure. Well, it wouldn't be Bono without that would it? I expect he donated most of his takings to charity, and cycled off to the local Travelodge for the night.

If you haven't yet seen the new Wembley Stadium - it's really quite impressive and well worth a visit.

And incidentally, thanks to a bit of advice from my friend Jane (of Jane's London) I've uploaded bigger versions of the photos, so you can double click on them (left hand mouse button, Dad) and they come up much bigger.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Oh no!!! Pink Snow?

Do you not get little pink flurries of snow where you are then? Ok, so not really snow. Got up and decided to do a pink wash - towels and my chenille throw (being as the lounge is now all decorated). At the last minute, chucked in a couple of those pretty pink decorated dishcloths - you know, the ones like posh J cloths? An hour later when I took the washing out masses of pink fluffy stuff (much worse than a tissue left in the pocket) came out of the machine. Took everything outside in the garden and shook it, cursing the fact that I'd bunged the dishcloths in (although I'm sure I remember washing them before). Fluff wouldn't come off everything so hung it on the line to see if it'd be easier once dry. Both dishcloths seemed to be intact. Funny? At that point I checked the label on the chenille throw. Might have been a good idea to do that BEFORE I put it in the machine. Dry Clean Only. Oh well, it looks more vintage-y now it's kind of thread bare, with tangled tassels.
So if any of my neighbours saw me vacuuming the back steps - no I haven't suddenly come over all 'Aggie'. Actually, I didn't hoover it all up, which means the birds around here can have pink fluffy lined nests. Which is as it should be.
At that point I remembered that just before I took the washing out of the machine, I'd put some toast under the grill. Oh no! Fortunately though, I'd forgotten to switch the grill on.
I'd put my name down for a place at the Home for the Bewildered - but I can't remember what it is.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Yoo Hoo, I'm back!

I don't quite know what happened there! One minute it's the end of June, and the next it's the beginning of August. The time has just run away from me. First of all I had trouble with my internet connection, and had to get a new router sent from BT. In addition to that, I have been in complete turmoil at home as I'm having some decorating done, and so every room is in a mess at the moment. My book shelves have been seriously under strain for some time (I don't know where all those books keep coming from) so I decided I needed some new shelves, plus a few extras, which means there is currently a book mountain in my bedroom, and I am likely to be buried under a book avalanche any day now. Goodness knows where the CDs are going to go when I clear those out tomorrow. I really should have less stuff. I did manage to have a bit of a wardrobe cull yesterday, and took a couple of bags to the charity shop today. Anyway, enough of excuses....
I have done a bit of sewing. I bought a vintage blouse from the flea market in St Albans a few weeks ago. I loved it, but to be honest, it was a bit on the snug side, and a bit short in the body for me. It was however, much more my friend Jill's style, albeit a bit too big for her. She liked it though, so I altered it and now it fits her beautifully, so it became an early birthday present for her.I've also have found time to harvest some of the lavender growing in my garden, and I made these:-
I have to say, it takes quite a lot of lavender to fill a lavender bag. However, the blisters on my hands, caused by using the secateurs, have nearly healed now, so as long as we get a dry day or two, I should be able to harvest some more.
Last weekend I went to Hawkwood College near Stroud in Glocestershire to do a weekend course in stitched books. It's the second year running that we've been there, and it's a great weekend. The building and the setting is lovely, and the food is wonderfulThe tutor was Frances Pickering - a great teacher, and her books are beautifulThe theme this year was "A New Lease of Life" and the aim was to use old fabrics, embroideries and haberdashery. Here are some of Frances' books....

And here are some pictures of the books that the class produced. I hope I've included something from everyone, and apologies to anyone if I've left you out - I got confused about which books I'd photographed and which I hadn't! I can't put names to many of them, and in no particular order ......

The one below is mine, and relates to my C&G project ....

This one is Jill's - she claims not to be a stitcher, but this is her first bit of free machine embroidery, which is quite impressive!

And the next one is from my friend Pam ...

It was a fantastic weekend, and we've already booked for next year. Right, that's it, I'm off now. It's taken me a couple of hours to complete this post - does anyone else find it incredibly frustrating trying to get pictures in the right order on here??? If there's a trick to it, I haven't figured it out yet!
I'll try not to leave it so long next time.