Friday, September 23, 2005

The UN Inspector

I had a little bit of trouble getting out of bed this morning. I swear it wasn't my fault...I kept being woken up last night by some random clock going off every five minutes at 3 in the morning. I am so not ready for dorm life again! Shortly thereafter (i.e. while I was still in my pjs) I met "anti-social guy" in the room next door. He's Indian, just finished doing an MBA in Paris and was originally a civil engineer. I also met the girl on the other side of my room, but only just long enough to learn her name. Anyway, they both seem nice enough. And I'm giving props to whoever remembered to wash out the pot after cooking tonight. That's a good sign.... Actually, I made pasta with pesto sauce, so I need to go wash that same pot out again (and my bowl).

So, I didn't leave the flat until 1:30 or so, when it was rainy and icky outside. (Side note: the box that I sent myself and my e-bay air mattress both arrived today). Some brillant part of me said that I should go out anyway and I picked out a walk from my card set of "50 London Walks." I didn't actually do it, but it was a nice idea. I headed straight North from Tower Bridge and eventually made it to the East End: Brick Lane, Whitechapel and Bethnal Green. What a cool (if only slightly dodgy area)! Brick Lane is incredibly Pakistani and there mostly men, "Indian" restaurants and Halal fast food places. Am I making it up to think that the Koran has some prohibition against charging interest? 'Cause there weren't any banks...or I might have noticed earlier that I'd left my wallet at home in the flat. Nevertheless, that part of Brick Lane ended abruptly and because this sort of artsy/urban/yuppee area. There were a couple of product design shows going on and they were cool. Finally came Bethnal Green and loads and loads of sari shops. I think I might go back for the Sunday market, because I remember how beautiful Meg's room was in Bundy when she decorated it with sari fabric.... We'll see.

Most days seem to enjoy a classic Joyce moment, when I endlessly amuse myself. Today was kinda toasty (ok, so I get toasty when hoofing it through these streets, no matter what the temperature), so I just wore a tanktop (ok, on top of the other). I was also wearing a raincoat, which I thought was probably a good thing when wandering through these incredibly strict Islamic neighborhoods...or at least it was a little more respectful. Anyway, I eventually got home (slightly soaked), had two cups of tea and resolved not to leave the rest of the night.

Well, except for toilet paper (loo roll?). 'Cause we were out that. And then I decided to walk down to the National to get at least a standing ticket for one of the last nights of The UN Inspector. I only had to wait a few minutes before someone handed back one of the £10 tickets (although I was totally prepared to stand), which was pretty cool. What follow is my first review of the year (heh). I would look for A Few Good Men as soon as I figure out their concessions policy. Rob Lowe, Aaron Sorkin, live...can you imagine any more divine combination?

The UN Inspector
I saw Michael Sheen, who is the titular "inspector" (or not) three years ago in Caligula at the Donmar Warehouse and I thought he was absolutely amazing. So I was pretty excited for this play, also partially because it mentions the UN in the title. The National does some absolutely brilliant political theatre and I was hoping for more of the same. But it never quite got there. It would be unfair to say that this was predictable, since it's based so completely on The Inspector General, but I didn't really see the point of "updating" the play. I didn't think that setting it in a contemporary context, in some unknown former Soviet state made it any more relevant or, frankly, interesting. I realize that I have the attention span of a pea, but when something supposedly both funny and political doesn't keep my attention, then it probably isn't entirely my fault, right? Hmmm...actors....the President was annoying (and bloody hard to understand...although my British English skills probably aren't up to snuff yet, after only four days). Sheen was fun, but not as good as he was before. No one else really made a huge impression, since they were pretty much all playing stereotypes. But the tongue that the "inspector" kept waving was pretty hysterical. Heh.

So, for everyone to whom that "review" (or random assortment of Joyce thoughts) didn't make sense: Sorry. But I do think that half the point of this blog is so that I have a record of what I've seen and done. And I'm ever so much more interesting when I write on-screen, rather than on paper.

Oh, and I did get the toilet paper.