parkrun - 11th september 2021 - preston park - 23:50
I was in Brighton for a Stag Do over the weekend, but I still wanted to go to parkrun. So I dragged my tired and slightly hungover butt to Preston Park and did 5k. I started off pretty strong but lost a lot of energy. Considering my breakfast was 3 carrot sticks and I went to bed at 2:30am, I'm not that surprised. Hopefully I can get some good running in next week and be back on form soon!
permalink | posted by nathan on Sunday, the 12th of September, 2021, when he should have been getting ready for bed
on art - part 1: hamilton
"That was art." was my reaction to seeing Hamilton for the first time. It was around the time that Beth and I had moved in together in London, and one of our friends (and, to be honest, the whole internet) was raving about Hamilton. It had recently opened in the West End, and Beth's Dad managed to get us some very nice tickets through someone he knew.
Going in, I was a little bit cautious. There was a huge amount of buzz around this musical, and I'm usually a strong believer of "don't believe the hype" until I've seen things for myself. For Hamilton though, it was fully justified. I left the theatre not just deeply impressed with the music and lyrics, but also genuinely moved by the story and the ideas presented: the importance of hard work; the value in having beliefs and views and discussing and vocalising them; the concept of your legacy; the absolute truth of the lines "When you got skin in the game, you stay in the game/But you don't get a win unless you play in the game"; and the deep, yearning desire I get to do good in the world and do something with my life when Hamilton clatters out
Burr, we studied and we fought and we killed
For the notion of a nation we now get to build
A large part of what I think makes Hamilton exceptional are the musical themes and leitmotifs that build and develop throughout. Taking a single line "Look around at how lucky we are to be alive right now", we can see that the line is:
- Introduced in "The Schuyler Sisters" as comment about how exciting and progressive Eliza thinks the current period is.
- Used by Eliza again in "That Would Be Enough" to tell Hamilton that she's pregnant and to show how scared she was for Hamilton fighting in the war,
- Thrown back at her by Hamilton in "Non-Stop" as he's trying to convince her that taking the Treasury position is a good idea (and in other ways by Eliza after that in the song).
- By Eliza in "Take a Break", trying to convince Hamilton to enjoy his life and spend time with his family and son (who is rapidly growing up).
- Then finally, desperately twisted by Hamilton in "It's Quiet Uptown" as he is trying to console a grieving Eliza, but can't bring himself to claim anyone is lucky to be alive right now.
As I was writing this, I also realised that "Look around" is used with "Isn't this enough" a number of times as well, which also ties into the concept of being satisfied; it's all interlinked and builds on itself to create a complex web of emotions tied to a single lyric (or even just a single word). This comes to a head in Hamilton's final speech (song? poem?) in "The World Was Wide Enough". Explaining what is happening in Alexander's head the fractions of a second before he dies is a difficult task, but by using and leading on the previously built up motifs, the speech pulls you through all the different, complicated emotions and provides an incredibly powerful and impactful exit for Hamilton.
We went to see Hamilton for the second time last week. We're trying to finish off everything we want to do in London before we leave for Vancouver, and seeing Hamilton again was very high on the list. The seats were a lot worse than the first time, and I was also worried that the performance itself wouldn't live up to my memory of it. I should have known I had nothing to worry about.
permalink | posted by nathan on Sunday, the 12th of September, 2021, during the most productive hours of the day
I don't even like tennis, but that was something else.
permalink | posted by nathan on Sunday, the 12th of September, 2021, when he should have been sleeping
good will hunting
Like most people, I have a list of films people suggest to me and that I'd like to get around to watching at some point. I'm really bad at actually watching any of them though. I'm not sure what it is, but I'm always fairly suspicious of new films; I think I have to be in a specific mood to be ready to have a go with a new film.
Last night though, Beth convinced me to watch Good Will Hunting, and I'm glad she did! I really enjoyed it. There were some really powerful performances, and while it wasn't hugely exciting or genre defying, I thought it told the story it wanted to tell well. The cinematography was interesting and effective without being flashy or drawing attention to itself: for instance, the scene where Sean sees straight through Will whilst they're sitting on the park bench, and the camera just lingers on Robin William's face for the whole monologue, slowly panning to reveal Will's speechless face.
I should get over myself and watch more movies.
permalink | posted by nathan on Sunday, the 5th of September, 2021, during the most productive hours of the day
wedding venues and all points east
Last weekend was Late August Bank Holiday, and we made the most of the three day weekend! We got a little weekend get-away in to go and see some wedding venues in Herefordshire, and then went to All Points East in London with Tom.
We stayed at a beautiful AirBnB, which was essentially just a couple with a farmhouse. The house was lovely and the garden more still, and we had a nice time walking around there, looking at the plants and the chickens! The owner explained how half of the chickens were rescue chickens, and the other half she had taken off her friend after they had some unexpected chicks return with a runaway hen.
They also had an old barn, half of which they'd rebuilt into a small "pub", which was very cute. The other half was used by the husband for his hobby: a huge model train set. It was incredible. Model trains and Hornby always remind me of Grandpa, but I don't think I actually have any first hand memories of his train sets. I think I was a little too young.
Then we went to see two wedding venues. The second one we saw was the one we'd organised the weekend trip to go and see. The first we only accidentally found! A couple of days before we left we were looking for places to eat on Saturday evening and Sunday lunch, and I found a lovely looking "farm to plate" restaurant with space for Sunday lunch. After booking, I realised that it was also a wedding venue, and looked pretty promising! We emailed to see if they could show us around before lunch and they were happy to do so. Pretty fortunate, as they were the venue we liked most by a long way.
The room where the ceremony would be was really nice, with huge glass windows overlooking the countryside. The bar underneath was lovely and cosy and the decoration in general was tasteful and simple. Unfussy, was the word we kept using. The lady showing us around was seemed very capable as well, giving us lots of space and tips, especially after we said it was the first wedding venue we'd seen. I could actually see us getting married there, which was really assuring. The food was really nice as well!
The second venue we saw wasn't as nice. It was a fairly nice country home, with fantastic gardens, but we'd have to have the ceremony outside in a marquee or something. That would be nice if it was a family house and free, but it's not, so I don't think that's really what we want.
Then on the Monday we went to All Points East. I haven't been to many musical festivals, but this was fun! We met up with Tom a couple of times as well. Lots of artists I've never heard of, some of which were nice, and Bombay Bicycle Club were really fantastic. They did It's Always Like This with the London Samba School as their last song and it was fantastic. I should see more live music.
permalink | posted by nathan on Saturday, the 4th of September, 2021, during the productive hours of the afternoon