September 1st, 2011

Raks New Profile Pic Square

The Interrupters - BFI

The Interrupters, a film that I have spoken about before, which focuses on a community project seeking to eradicate violence from the streets of Chicago, is showing at the BFI on 9 September at 6pm.

To find out more and to book tickets follow the link:

My piece on the film is here:
Raks New Profile Pic Square

Shylock: Key speeches

I have spoken about how beautiful, powerful and moving Shakespearean verse can be.

Shylock has a couple of speeches in The Merchant of Venice that show this. I love these speeches, not just for the beauty of the language, but for the messages that they are conveying. I have done Canon quotes - I am now going live with Shakespearean quotes!

Here they are:

Act 1 Scene 3

Signior Antonio, many a time and oft
In the Rialto you have rated me
About my moneys and my usances.
Still have I borne it with a patient shrug,
For sufferance is the badge of all our tribe.
You call me misbeliever, cut-throat dog,
And spit upon my Jewish gaberdine,
And all for use of that which is mine own.
Well then, it now appears you need my help.
Go to, then. You come to me, and you say
'Shylock, we would have moneys' - you say so,
You, that did void your rheum upon my beard,
And foot me as you spurn a stranger cur
Over your threshold. Moneys is your suit.
What should I say to you? Should I not say,
'Hath a dog money? Is it possible
A cur should lend three thousand ducats?' Or
Shall I bend low and in a bondman's key,
With bated breath and whisp'ring humbleness,
Say this: 'Fair sir, you spit on me on Wednesday last;
You spurned me such a day; another time
You called me dog, and for these courtesies
I'll lend you thus much moneys'?

Act 3 Scene 1

To bait fish withal. If it will feed nothing else, it
will feed my revenge. He hath disgraced me, and
hindered me half a million; laughed at my losses,
mocked at my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted
my bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine
enemies, and what's his reason? I am a Jew. Hath
not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs,
dimensions, senses, affections, passions? Fed with the
same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to
the same diseases, healed by the same means,
warmed and cooled by the same winter and
summer, as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we
not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you
poison us, do we not die? and if you wrong us, shall
we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will
resemble you in that. If a Jew wrong a Christian,
what is his humility? Revenge. If a Christian wrong a
Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian
example? Why, revenge. The villany you teach me
I will execute, and it shall go hard but I will better the

I have nothing to add!
Raks New Profile Pic Square

The Craze - One Man, Two Guvnors

Photo credit:

I have now had this CD for a fortnight and I have to post and say that it is genius! The Craze CD has all the songs from the production on it. The songs have been written specially for the production and are sprinkled throughout the production. These songs are upbeat and happy and are toe-tapping finger-licking good!

Embarrassingly, I had never heard of a skiffle band prior to this production.

What is a skiffle band? Cut and pasted from the gospel that is Wikipedia:

Skiffle is a type of popular music with jazz, blues, folk, roots and country influences, usually using homemade or improvised instruments. Originating as a term in the United States in the first half of the twentieth century, it became popular again in the UK in the 1950s, where it was mainly associated with musician Lonnie Donegan and played a major part in beginning the careers of later eminent jazz, pop, blues, folk and rock musicians.

Skiffle in Britain

A relatively obscure genre, skiffle might have been largely forgotten if not for its revival in the United Kingdom in the 1950s and the success of its main proponent, Lonnie Donegan.

The main impact of skiffle was as a grassroots amateur movement, particularly popular among working class males, who could cheaply buy, improvise or build their own instruments and who have been seen as reacting against the drab austerity of post-war Britain.

It has been estimated that in the late 1950s there were 30-50,000 skiffle groups in Britain. Sales of guitars grew rapidly and other musicians were able to perform on improvised bass and percussion in venues such as church halls and cafes, and in the flourishing coffee bars of Soho, London.

A large number of British musicians began their careers playing skiffle in this period and some became leading figures in their respective fields. Most notably, The Beatles evolved from John Lennon's skiffle group The Quarrymen.

The skiffle craze was largely over by 1958 as its enthusiasts either abandoned music for more stable employment, or moved into some of the forms of music it had first suggested, including folk, the blues and rock and roll.

Luckily I got hold of this CD the day before I was due to hand in my resignation and be in the Home Office building for the last time. That was massively difficult for me, as I had worked there for 10 years, and loved the building and many of the people inside it. This CD got me through the trauma of leaving what had been my place of work for the past decade.

Buy the CD here:

Whilst I am talking about One Man, Two Guvnors, I might as well do a round-up of all the news related to the production.

The production will have its NT live on Thursday 15 September. Details here:

The final performance of the production at the National is on Monday 19 September. It then goes on a nationwide tour. Details here:

Finally, it will be on in the West End at the Adelphi Theatre from 8 November. Details (and you can book tickets) here:

As you can probably guess I love this production - it is genius! It has been a sell-out because I think, in these times of economic doom and gloom, people want to go to the theatre and have an old-fashioned fun and enjoyable night out. This production most definitely delivers on that!
Raks New Profile Pic Square

What should Christians do now riots are over?

There is another article in The Voice by Marica Dixon that I think is worth a read.

It is entitled "What should Christians do now riots are over?" and states that young Christians are now calling for the church to play a part in addressing the problems in society.

Cut and pasted from The Voice online:

Society is undergoing some major soul searching, looking into the causes of the riots, how to punish the rioters and what measures need to be taken to stop them from ever happening again.

Although many young Christians were shocked by the riots they are keen to see the church play a part in addressing some of the problems that gave rise to the disturbances such as anger against the police, poverty, educational underachievement and poor parenting. They also want the church to reach out to disenfranchised youth.

Marcia Dixon spoke to some young Christians to find out how they would like the church to respond to some of the problems that have been highlighted by the riots and the strategies they feel should be implemented to deal with disaffected youth.

Follow the link to read the article:
Raks New Profile Pic Square

Christmas Cards 2011

Now we are into September, it is time to order your Christmas cards in!

This year it was a very difficult choice for me - which Christmas cards should I run with?

Normally I choose non-religious charity cards from my favoured charities.

However, being a new Christian, this year I was seriously thinking about sending cards with a religious theme for the first time in my life.

Then I saw these and I changed my mind! Sherlock Holmes was one of my first loves, amd will always be closest to my heart, so I will be running with the Sherlock Holmes Society of London's Christmas cards!

A brilliantly scintillating blue stone

He held out his hand and displayed upon the centre of the palm a brilliantly scintillating blue stone, rather smaller than a bean in size, but of such purity and radiance that it twinkled like an electric point in the dark hollow of his hand.
- The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle

The Society’s Christmas Card has been specially created by Ron Tiner.

The cards are £6 for a pack of ten, inclusive of postage and packing.

Buy them here:
Raks New Profile Pic Square

Matthew Bourne's Nutcracker, Sadlers Wells

I am not an expert on dance but I am going to go all out to recommend Matthew Bourne's Nutcracker!, which will be playing at Sadler's Wells from 6 Dec 2011 to 22 Jan 2012. I have seen the production a few times and it is by far and away my favourite version of The Nutcracker, The Nutcracker being one of my favourite ballets. And, of course, The Nutcracker is perfect for Christmas. This is a great show for the whole family. I love Matthew Bourne - his Swan Lake, his Edward Scissorhands and his Cinderella - he is a genius. I do not need to say any more! Highly highly highly recommended!

Cut and pasted from the Sadler's Wells website:

One of the most popular dance productions ever staged in the UK, Matthew Bourne’s Nutcracker! returns to Sadler’s Wells this Christmas to celebrate its 20th anniversary with a limited seven week run.

This delicious theatrical feast has family-sized helpings of Matthew Bourne’s trademark wit, pathos and magical fantasy. Nutcracker! follows Clara’s bittersweet journey from a hilariously bleak Christmas Eve at Dr. Dross’ Orphanage, through a shimmering, ice-skating winter wonderland to the scrumptious candy kingdom of Sweetieland.

Tchaikovsky’s glorious score performed by a live orchestra and Anthony Ward’s unforgettable sets and costumes combine with sizzling choreography to create a fresh and charmingly irreverent interpretation of the traditional Christmas favourite.

Hailed by The Observer as “the undisputed king of dance theatre”, Matthew Bourne’s company New Adventures has produced some of the most successful dance productions of the last two decades including Swan Lake, Edward Scissorhands and last year’s sell-out hit, Cinderella.

To book tickets follow the link:
Raks New Profile Pic Square



I have wanted to talk about this programme for so long! But where do you start?

I missed the first two series of Lost on Channel 4 but my sister was a huge fan. When my husband left me, she recommended this show to me. Lost, and specifically Matthew Fox, carried me through my separation and my divorce. I used to go to work, then come home, and watch 4-5 episodes of Lost back to back. I wanted to catch up on series 1 and 2 at the same time as series 3 was playing on Sky! It was quite an ask but it was a challenge for me and I managed to do it. I love Lost - all 6 series! The end was a bit of an anti-climax but that does not change the fact that the series overall was genius.

I loved the international ensemble cast (all races and faiths), the fact that all the characters got to tell their stories (past, present and future), the women being as ballsy as the men, the island's mysteries and the sheer adventure of it all. I left London at 6pm to hang out on the Lost island. I never wanted to return!

It is hard to explain what the programme is about so I won't even try - what I will say is that it was the best thing on the box in ages and I am highly highly highly recommending it!

Quick synopsis from the gospel that is Wikipedia:

Lost is an American television series that originally aired on ABC from September 22, 2004 to May 23, 2010, consisting of six seasons. Lost is a drama series that follows the survivors of the crash of a commercial passenger jet flying between Sydney and Los Angeles, on a mysterious tropical island somewhere in the South Pacific Ocean. The story is told in a heavily serialized manner. Episodes typically feature a primary storyline on the island, as well as a secondary storyline from another point in a character's life. A critically acclaimed and popular success, Lost was consistently ranked by US critics on their lists of top ten series of all time.

I will be running random Lost images from now on - you have been warned!

Lost is on Wikipedia here:
Raks New Profile Pic Square

Black voices - Platform, National Theatre

With my "race" hat on, I though people would be interested in this. It is a Platform at the National Theatre entitled "Black Voices".

Paterson Joseph is joined by several generations of Black British actors to discuss the identity of the modern black voice in British theatre today.

The Platform is at 6pm on Monday 17 October at the Lyttelton, National Theatre and tickets are £4 (£3 concessions).

Buy your tickets here: