Henry VIII at Hampton Court Palace

Yesterday I spent the entire afternoon at Hampton Court Palace, cleverly arriving in time to watch the school kids all leave so that I didn’t have to worry about inadvertently knocking one over when moving backwards to get a better view of something. Woohoo.

The marriage of Henry VIII and Katherine Parr has been re-enacted daily there and I have to say that the guy wandering about as Henry VIII was WICKED. He was hilarious and really interact well with the general public. Didn’t see much of Katherine Parr as I was too busy wandering about doing audio tours to be in the right place at the right time to catch the rest of the festivities.

In the evening, I attended the discussion on “Henry VIII on Stage and Screen” (chaired by Dan Snow and featuring Thomas S Freeman, Gregory Thompson, Greg Walker and Susan Doran), which was way interesting and like the giant geek that I am, I remembered to bring a notebook to make notes. Although it’s not just because I’m a geek, it’s because I tend to forget earlier points when I get caught up in the later ones 😀

Henry VIII is one of those kings that children remember because he got married 6 times and he had an extreme fondness for execution. Which is great. The multiple marriages thing kind of makes him more accessible, in the same way that Elizabeth Taylor is accessible. Or maybe not. At least the whole set up of his family – different children from different mothers and wives who became essentially sisters and all the wacky hijinks that went on back then are kind of a familiar story.
The whole hard-on for execution and Henry’s famed temper are also one of those things that show up a heck of a lot on telly and in film – I guess because it makes for interesting viewing (and maybe more so for the current generation who are all obviously apparently hopped up on violent computer games and similarly violent music! Or something :P)
Interestingly, something that was pointed out and something that I’ve not really thought about was that Henry’s attitude towards his wives and daughters changes depending on the time the play/film was written and tends to be more in line with the thinking contemporary to that of the play or film.

I can’t help but wonder that there is a heck of a lot missing from the picture of Henry VIII that most people (myself included even after attending this talk!) have of him. Not much is said about his life other than for his marriages, his children, his rage and his gluttony, at least in a form that is accessible to the masses. I guess The Tudors is helping to “adjust” the idea that Henry was this big fat angry bloke and that in his youth at least he was apparently hot and charismatic, though some of that has to be the allure of power perhaps. I’ll probably do more reading about him (to add to the HUGE stack of WW1 and WW2 books I’m ploughing through).

So, to summarise – Hampton Court Palace was wicked and the discussion I went to was well cool. As it were.

And I even remembered to check out an essay about Henry VIII that was mentioned during the evening! Mostly because I wrote that one down, but it does bring up some interesting points.

And then…. I got home and realised I was wearing my “I put the cute in execute” t-shirt. Muahahahaha.

paratoi stondin yn y BL

paratoi stondin yn y BL

Originally uploaded by traed mawr

On Sunday I went to see “The Life of David Lloyd George“. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from what is basically a silent documentary – or how that whole idea works. It was *amazing*. The music was awe-inspiring – the guy playing was the composer and this film is 3 hours long so he was playing non-stop (well, apart from the interval!) the whole time. The music was a great accompaniment to the film and the film is structured very well – you get a wonderful introduction to how Lloyd George grew up and got to be a MP first of all and then the second part of the film focusses more on his action through the First World War. If you get a chance to see this, I heartily recommend it.

Dan Snow gave a sort of introduction to the film. I say “sort of” because he got stuck in traffic and arrived late to the screening so the introduction got moved to the interval. As a however-many-great grandson of Lloyd George he has quite a different perspective on the man – more of the stories he got told about him from his grandma rather than the war leader, I guess. He was right though about there only being room in the British conciousness for one great war leader at a time – and for us now, it’s Churchill who has eclipsed Lloyd George and all those who came before. I’m kind of glad though that there hasn’t been a war that has affected me that personally on such a scale as the world wars effected those who lived when Churchill and Lloyd George were in power.

Oedipus at the National Theatre

Today I went to the matinee performance of Oedipus at the National Theatre starring Ralph Fiennes. Obviously, being entirely about the whole Oedipus Greek myth, it’s fairly grim and very heavy going.

On the other hand, it’s also really enjoyable watching the whole unfolding of the reason that Thebes is cursed and Oedipus’ journey towards discovering the truth about his origins and what all of that subsequently means. And of course, wrapping your head around the idea that his children’s mother is also their grandmother and that he is his own children’s brother…

Well. It makes for imagining an interesting looking family tree.

Ralph Fiennes was really good – the character of Oedipus seems to be a very… hard-going role to play and he really carried it off, especially the more horrified and disgusted with himself Oedipus became. Clare Higgins as Jocasta was actually made of awesome. Her distress at the memory of having her baby son taken away from her was incredible to watch and then later, her desire to deny what she didn’t want to believe was true was very believable. The chorus were really good too – their diction was spot on and I could hear every word that was being sung – nothing was lost and the effect of the discord later on really reflected the whole downturn of events well.

So yeah. It was good. 😀

Paolo Nutini – Brixton 25th April 2007

On Wednesday I went to see Paolo Nutini with my dad. It was pretty fun. The first support was some woman that I don’t know the name of and her songs weren’t that memorable other than me thinking that “well, at least she can sing.” The second support were a band called “Ghosts” which I only know because it was on their drum kit and the singer said it a whole bunch of times along with “This is a song called Ghosts. Like us.” They were more or less an indie-rock Duran Duran lite. Although when they came on stage some kid next to me exclaimed “OH NO! They’re EMOS!”

Which is an easy mistake to make with the hair and the clothes and the mooching.

Paolo Nutini was Paolo Nutini. Considering he’s only got the one album, (and I think Ghosts have just the one album too) he managed to make it last a pretty long time. There was a cover of “I wanna be like you” from the Jungle Book in there and for some reason I remember a Radiohead cover but that one might have been a hallucination. Ghosts did a couple of covers too – there was that Pussycat Dolls song and some song from some band that must be fairly popular at the moment, but because I don’t listen to radio one or capital and rarely get the chance to listen to xfm anymore…. i had no idea what it was.


Anyway, my OU course starts this week and I’ve checked that the software I got sent in the post all works fine. Just gotta get on with the reading now, which theoretically shouldn’t be too hard. However spending most of the day at work has severely impeded my aimless loitering time, which is when I use to fit in the whole reading for fun and profit malarkey. At least now that the days are getting longer, I’ll be waking up even earlier and be able to get some reading time in then. It’s times like this when I miss dial-up – I used to keep a stack of books next to the computer back in the day so I’d have something to do while pages were loading. Now… the waiting time is gone and I kind of miss it.

Mmm nostalgia.

There’s some kind of Star Wars thing going on somewhere in London in a couple of weeks so really, if I want to go check it out, I guess I should find out what is actually happening with it.