Monday, 28 February 2011

Bertie's stammer. Emma's harping.

Had a fine if tiring day yesterday. It was seven hours in the saddle there and back again (Oh, allright, driving listening to CDs and tapes - my horse can do both).

At the Myer Centre off Rundle Mall I used a voucher from my Qantas Frequent Flier points and bought clothing items, an activity I do about every ten years judging from the state of my wardrobe. On the way into the city I'd called at Officeworks for printer ink refills - now a life-necessity, it would seem. In Unley I visited Robert and Bill who are midway in one of their expeditions to assorted state capitals from the Apple Isle.

Rundle Mall was full of brilliant buskers, including the chap who cracks his flaming whip while he stands perched on the saucer-sized top of a twelve-foot pole. He had a large and appreciative audience. Part of the act is the recruiting of volunteers to hold guy-lines supporting the pole, and the performer's climbing to (stand on!) the top. Comes into the category of "Don't try this at home"

I saw the movie The King's Speech, which was fantastic. Helena Bonham Carter was a nice young Elizabeth Windsor nee Bowes-Lyon, the late Queen Mum who of course had many admirers. I wasn't one. Let's not go there. Fresh from Golden Globe win Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush are quite simply bloody marvellous as the stammering Bertie/King George VI and the Australian speech therapist Lionel Logue, although the film is far more than a theatrical two-hander. I liked (Aussie) Guy Pearce's dashing but failing-when-it-matters elder bro David, the abdicating Edward VIII to you. He and the former Mrs Wallis Simpson (by now married three times) go off into the sunset. Lionel's wife Mabel gets to meet the king and queen and offer them a cup of tea: Bertie had been coming for his anti-stammer lessons incog as Mister Johnston.

Yeah, great film, working on many levels (as they say). A social document; a wry take on real-life history; sharp script; super performances (plenty more big-name cast members. Classy direction by Tom Hooper.

I rocked up to the well-hidden Radford Auditorium tucked at the back of the Art Gallery of SA, too early, but I came back after a bemused look at the new building works going on in what used to be the Hughes Plaza of Adelaide University. It was a full house for Emma Horwood's delightful 75-minute solo performance, soprano and harp, with the title Songs of Middle Earth, featuring no fewer than sixteen lyrics either directly from or inspired by JRR Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings.

As an encore she sang Enya's haunting May It Be, which will be familiar to modern audiences from the end-credit soundtrack of Peter Jackson's film of the first part of the trilogy (which, incidentally, JRRT didn't write as a trilogy: the publishers insisted that the giant opus be broken up - or should that be down?)

My day in town was not over. Nearest I could get parked was in Kent Town, so as I walked eastwards, I called at the now regular Fringe fixture, The Garden of Unearthly Delights mostly only enjoying the late-evening ambiance, but I lashed out and bought a Mallee Honey icecream from the people who offered a big range of bush-tucker flavours, and relaxed for ten minutes vertically circling in the friendly Ferris Wheel which gave good views of the city lights. The London Eye it's not, but engineer Mr Ferris had been in my thoughts after seeing a doco recently about the 19th century Chicago Exhibition which introduced his Ferris Wheel concept to the world. He did other stuff - but that's what he is remembered for.

Got home at 12.40am this morning. Perfect excuse for doing not much today!

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