Monday, 31 December 2012

From my 2012 to your 2013

While most of you are out having a great time and drinking yourselves silly I have yet to start my celebration. Weirdly (for me at least as it's my first time) I'm still in the ends of 2012 while everyone I know has started the new year. So this year has been very interesting, with lots of change and lot's to reflect on. While I ponder on how to put this to you, and also a better time to write it to you (you're probably all drunk by now) I leave you instead with this awesome video of the Empire State Building. You know I'm obsessed with it's constant changing colours but tonight they pulled out all the stops!

Monday, 10 December 2012

Punchdrunk in NYC

I know some of you have had the pleasure of going to a Punchdrunk production, so you'll understand my excitement when I found out they were coming to New York. This company specializes in unconventional theatre. Mainly, they take away the format of an audience in chairs and you are encouraged to step into the play. How does that work? They usually take over vast buildings and turn each corner into a set which you can explore. You're allowed to look in cupboards, check in drawers and sit at tables. Your role as viewer is distinguished by the use of a white mask. This play called 'Sleep No More' was loosely based on Macbeth, transported centuries later to a hotel (and it's surrounding areas) and told through a film noir narrative. We were greeted at the hotel lobby complete with a bar and sexily clad waitresses in 40s attire. On the stage next to the piano was a suited man drooling sexily into the mic letting us know that it was nearly time to finish our drinks and head to our rooms. Once inside the adventure begins. All I can say was that the sets were breathtaking! We were taken from dark forest, to churchyard, to graveyard as well as inside the exquisite hotel complete with ballroom.

Then you have two options, explore the rooms at your own pace ignoring people as they pass. Stay in your chosen room and wait to see who comes in. Or find a character that intrigues you and follow them on their journey. We were completely distracted following anyone that crossed our path. The temptation of finding out where they were headed to was too much to pass up. The most frustrating thing is thinking of all the places that you missed. And this is exactly how we felt when we were all ushered in for the last act of the play only to see new characters that we hadn't met on our travels. I just want to go back and give it another go. I wonder what I'll encounter this time.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Unhealthy attraction

Although both London and New York are cosmopolitan cities there are many cultural differences that set them apart. One that particularly stands out is the New Yorker's relationship to pets. Now even though it's claimed that NY is the most pet friendly city in the world, I now know it was simply a journalist who self proclaimed their city as the most friendly through a misguided opinion of living in the best city in the world. I have news for you, it's horrible and THE worst place you could have a dog. For starters NY has practically no green spaces (or rather Manhattan doesn't and this is yet another problem, dictating where one can live) and dogs are never allowed off lead! All it does have are gimmicks, lots of places to pamper your pet, presumably so you don't have to feel guilty.

What this leads to is a very weird fascination with dogs. People will gather around the fence of the dog parks and simply watch dogs at play. They also take photographs, lots of photographs of individual dogs as though they were documenting an unmissable tourist sight. I've seen couples enter the dog park together and sit watching the dogs. I've seen kids enter the park and follow dogs around seeing which one they like best. I've recently struck up several conversations with an old Jewish man who was knowledgeable about different breeds and was always in the dog park at the same time as me. He was always petting the dogs and took a particular shine to Paco. Yesterday after yet another pleasant conversation he left, sans dog. That's not normal right?