Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Theatre critics, I told a room full of people last year, are notoriously late when it comes to turning up for shows. I made amends last night by being two evenings too early. Naturally, I'll blame the press officer for the fowl up, as a big shot like me can't possibly have made a mistake. A check of the diary reveals that, "March 29 - Hobson's Choice, TR York, x2, 7.30pm". That's good enough for me. So, we were there for a preview performance, rather than the press night, thus avoiding all those annoying people I've grown weary of. You wouldn't have guessed it was a preview. Ok, you would. It was the blank expression, the grin, the glance towards the audience and shout of "Line. I really need the line" that gave the game away. And it is a game. Actually, it was more of a panto. But, if you know who's in it, it's obvious why that is. They don't like you to attend previews. I understand why. But sometimes, due to rammed diaries, or, if you're me, incorrect diaries, you have to. From my perspective, it doesn't really make any difference - I can work out for myself what the show will be like after another night of fine tuning. I preferred last night's audience to the usual bunch I find myself sat with. I think there was a coach load of Geordies in and, as we all know, they're a great laugh. And someone left their mobile phone on - it rang, loudly, twice. On the second occassion, rather than turn it off, they left it ringing and, eventually, wandered out of the stalls to take the call, with the sound of the phone fading into the distance. Lovely sound design. We had a restricted view - a pillar smack in the middle of our line of vision. It made the experience more real than usual. On Thursday, the audience will be dotted with arrogant, annoying, furious notepad scribblers who will all confer at the interval over free drinks in an effort to "get it right" before they spit their venom post-show. I suddenly find myself with a couple of days to write my review, as I generally file the day after the press performance. On the real press night I believe I'm in Scarborough reviewing something else. Mind you, I feel the need to check that now. In other news, I am reminded why I quite like Peter O' Toole, the smart aleck twat.

The drive back home revealed that shuffle mode on the Creative Zen Micro is both appalling and somewhat predictable. It certainly knows what it likes (Bernard Butler and Eels predominantly) choosing to ignore the bulk of what lurks upon its hard drive. Darn technology. On the way in this morning it attempted to play a good 50% of the same songs I heard last night, which is weird. I trust this will stop the more albums I cram on there, although it's not that short of songs now.

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