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What I thought of… Photograph 51 #theatre #review

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Last night was fortunate enough to see Nicole Kidman in Anna Ziegler’s play Photograph 51 at the Noël Coward Theatre. And wow. Ninety minutes or so of theatrical magic as a cast of six tell the story of the structure of DNA was discovered – which I admit might sound a little dull side, were it not *also* the story of how of scientist Rosalind Franklin was cheated out of this ground breaking discovery by four overly ambitious male colleagues.

Or was she?

Well that’s for the audience to decide.

My only criticism – if I have one – was the ‘narration’, delivered throughout the performance by the male characters, as though they were discussing how they remembered past events. It was an interesting device but at times it seemed intrusive, as if there was just too much… but as I thought about it afterwards I wondered whether perhaps the cast who were just so strong, and so adept at non-verbal communication with their audience, that they’d managed to render some of the narration superfluous. If I’d been the director I think I’d have been tempted to cut a few lines… but maybe that’s not how big theatre works.

Anyway – if you get a chance to see it before it ends… grab it with both hands.

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What I thought of… Before I Go To Sleep #movie #review

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Last night finally got around to seeing Before I Go To Sleep​.

It’s ‘ok‘.

Imagine the plot of Fifty First Dates​ …but sent in an entirely different direction, as if Alfred Hitchcock​ had been at the reigns.

Would I watch it again? Probably not. It was a good story, lots of twists and turns, solid performances from a strong cast, but… well… it felt like there was something missing. In the closing minutes I found myself waiting for a REALLY big twist… one that that would knock me off my chair and reward me for my investment… but… nothing. Which was a shame. Maybe I’m just hard to please.

What did you guys think?

Music, to write to

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The internet is a wonderful place.

For instance, the other day I came across a ‘poll’ of Thirty Two people (I know!! Thirty two people! Not exactly extensive, or statistically viable, but bear with me…) that posed the following question important question:

When writing, what would you prefer to hear in the background?

Here are the fascinating results:

Loud music with vocals – 6%
Loud music, instrumental only – 3% (ie. one person!)
Music, but unobtrusive – 21%
Normal background noise – 15%
A quiet room/house – 40%
Silence (earplugs) – 12%

For me it’s a complex question – because the music that I have playing in the background is an essential part of my writing process. For instance, there are a number of scenes in my novel (The Good Guys Guide to Getting The Girl – find out more here) when poor old Jason manages to screw up another promising relationship, or where his affections aren’t reciprocated, or where he feels like he’ll never meet the girl of his dreams. Writing these scenes could be a challenge, particularly if I wasn’t feeling that way myself, and unlike some authors who seem to live in a permanent dream-world where their characters seem so real to them that they no longer have any control over what they say or do, writing for me is more like theatre where I play every part. For this reason I usually need something to help me get into character, and music is the fastest way I know.

Here are some of the tracks I listened to (over and over) whilst constructing those heart breaking scenes (and if I’ve done this properly some of them link to youtube where you can listen for yourself)

A&E, Goldfrapp
Photos, The London Metropolitan Orchestrafrom the movie ‘Cashback’
Things You’ve Never Done, Passenger
Suzy, The London Metropolitan Orchestra – ‘Cashback’ again
Driving With The Brakes On, Del Amitri
One True Love, Semisonic
Now Comes the Night, Rob Thomas
Elevator Beat, Nancy Wilson from the movie ‘Vanilla Sky’
Wise Up, Aimee Mannfrom the movie Magnolia
My Stupid Mouth, John Mayerawesomely funny, sad song. Judging by the comments of YouTube, some guys feel about this song the way some girls do about the movie ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary’
Drawing, The London Metropolitan Orchestra – ‘Cashback’ again!
In Your Arms, Kina Grannisa fabulous lovely song, but really quite sad. The video is amazing but seems to me to be totally at odds with the mood of the song.

Notice that quite a few of them are taken from movie soundtracks. Movie soundtracks are a great source of mood inducing music (much of it instrumental) because, obviously, that’s the point of the music in a movie.

Likewise, for the scenes where it seems like Jason might be winning, where a new girl enters his life, or a date goes particularly well, maybe even really, really well (if you know what I mean), I came up with a selection of songs to get me jumping around in my chair, my pulse racing, or whatever else was needed to give the scene the necessary ‘ka-pow’

Toxic, Britney Spearsregardless of what you might think of Britney, this is a great song
Would You…?, Touch and Go – very sexy
God Put a Smile On Your Face, Mark Ronson
Must Be Dreaming, Frou Frou – this song makes my heart feel like it’s going to burst
The Sweet Escape, Gwen Stefani – whereas this one just makes me smile and smile 🙂
Come What May, Nicole Kidman & Ewan McGregor
Let’s Get It On, Marvin Gaye
Lifeline, Imogen Heap – I prefer the instrumental version, the lyrics tend to get in the way when I’m trying to write
Oh Yeah, Yello

So, good people of the internet, I’m interested to know whether anyone else does anything similar? Post your comments in the box below! Looking forward to reading them.