Wednesday, 16 September 2009


It's September and I can't speak for the rest of you but I'm certainly ready for a new season in our capital of culture.

In fact I've already been stalking across choice venues across town, popping in and out of various Picture House Cinemas (to see The September Issue, Broken Embraces, District 9 and The Hurt Locker) and making a first-time visit to the The Roundhouse, where I saw Tom Hickox headlining after a successful summer at SXSW and Glastonbury.

I also went to The Gate Theatre for the first time to see Vanya, an adaptation of Checkov's Uncle Vanya. It's been well-received in the press and rightly so - it's a well-focused, funny and marvellously depressing ninety minute four-hander. The cast is more or less well-balanced and perform in a complex, rotating set which - in the necessity of opening it up only to have it closed again by the curtain-call - reminded me of Sisyphus. There's just enough moral triumph in it though to endorse Albert Camus' famous adage "One must imagine Sisyphus happy."

The star is probably Fiona Button's tragi-comic Sonya but I was particularly enamoured of Suise Trayling's perfectly matured Chekovian Yelena. Vanya's run has been extended into October - follow the theatre on Twitter for more details.

I'm looking forward to getting to see plenty of first-class opera in the two permanent theatres in London and my priority booking form for the BFI London Film Festival is (hopefully) sitting on a desk in the NFT's box office right now. I'm also going to The Frieze Art Fair, The Philharmonia's Wozzeck and, in time, to see Angelo Badalamenti talk on Blue Velvet and Michael Haneke talk on anything he wants to - I'm all ears for that man!

I recognise that London Fashion Week is upon us and although this isn't necessarily my cup of tea, I'd be delighted to hear from anyone who has ideas on how to get involved on the interested periphery. This looks interesting.

In the meantime I recommend you pop over to One & Other, where you can still watch a live stream of what's ging on on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square. That's right, Anthony Gormley/Sky's Big Brother substitute continues, for better or worse...

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