Happy thoughts – Monday 27th February

  • Today didn’t suck. I fully expected it to be a big steaming pile, and it wasn’t. I’m counting that.
  • Moonlight won the Best Picture Oscar! I haven’t actually seen it yet, but from every review I’ve watched or read, it seems to be well deserved, but somewhat unexpected with La La Land as the favourite.
  • Dev Patel attending the Oscars with his mum and in awe of his Lion co-star is possibly one of the cutest things to have ever happened in Hollywood. I mean, LOOK AT THEM!

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Happy thoughts – Saturday 25th February

Despite getting up at 6.20am for work, today was not the car crash I thought it would turn out to be. The work bit wasn’t ideal, but actually, everything else has been pretty good.

  • Firstly, my heroic hubby got up super early to make me breakfast before I headed off to work on site at one of our events. Also pretty miraculous was the fact that I was only due to be working this morning, and actually only worked the morning – usually me being due to finish about 12.30pm would result in me finally leaving at 4 or later. But I managed to get away and home by 1pm, where heroic hubby had lunch waiting for me.
  • I’m usually first to joke about how rubbish Scotland’s various teams are at sports, so it’s a great day when we win – and today was that day, as we beat Wales 29-13 in the Six Nations. The first time we’ve beaten them in 10 years, and we actually deserved the win – it wasn’t just that Wales messed up and Scotland got lucky, we actually outplayed them for the entirety of the second half.
  • Finally watched The Theory of Everything. It came with high expectations, but it didn’t disappoint. I expected to bawl through it, but despite some pretty serious subject matter and sad moments, it also had plenty of uplifting moments and although Eddie Redmayne was good, it was really Felicity Jones’ film.

 

Happy thoughts – Sunday 19th February

I barely slept last night, and have a dreadful cold – the kind where everything hurts – so finding happy things today hasn’t been particularly easy. Which makes me feel even better that I managed! It’s a simple thing to write down a list of things you appreciate each day, and they don’t make the best reading for someone else (so sorry if you’re reading this), but they really do help keep you focused on the good.

  • Sunday runday! Despite feeling pretty ill, I made myself get up and go out, and I’m so glad I did. I wanted to do 10k, but was prepared to cut it short knowing I wasn’t feeling too good, so it felt great to do it with relative ease. It’s possibly the fastest 10k I’ve done in London (I’m VERY pleased with 54 minutes given the lack of clean air and amount of tourists and smartphone zombies you have to dodge to keep up a decent pace), and it never felt particularly tough. The only issue was, that as soon as I got back I basically crashed and have felt awful all day.
  • Even better than doing the run, was the last kilometre or so. Just after hitting the 9k mark, Biffy Clyro’s Stingin Belle came on shuffle, and it was perfectly timed for the home stretch – running the last few minutes to great lines like “You think you’re cool like a porcupine” and then doing the last straight to the epic bagpipe finish felt like I was in Chariots of Fire. Plus I then got in the lift at my building and realised I was in head to toe purple and blue and looked like a giant blueberry. Even my watch strap and nail polish were unintentionally co-ordinated.
  • Having done 10k, I felt absolutely no guilt at doing pretty much nothing the rest of the day. So we decided to watch Les Miserables (which we’ve not seen since it was in the cinema) bought some treats – kettle chips, peanut M&MS, the works – and mainlined tea all afternoon, and have done pretty much the same all evening while binge-watching Shameless USA.

 

Happy thoughts – Saturday 18th February

  • I worked out HARD and felt pretty much invincible. One of the Insanity Max sessions, followed by the Insanity abs session, followed by a standing abs and arms weights session. I’ve said it over and over, but I’m taking real pleasure in how much I can push my body now, and while I might not be quite as slim as I was when I was doing Insanity six times a week, I feel stronger than I’ve ever been.
  • Will had the idea late on Friday to have a Big Lebowski night, so we invited over a couple of his mates and watched the film, drank white russians, ate pizza, and generally had a grand old time!
  • At the end of our Big Lebowski night, we decided to crack out a board game – Wayne and Rich decided they’d had a couple of drinks too many to play Scrabble, so we went for the Logo Board Game, which we’d got as a wedding present. It ended up being unintentionably hilarious as it was so USA-focused that it was pretty much impossible having never seen any of the ads or heard of half the brands that were in the game!

Happy thoughts – Friday 17th February

  • It was a really beautiful day! Blue skies, mild, and just lovely.
  • I don’t often write about work, but I’ve had a positive week of hitting targets with relative ease, so sending the Friday reports to my CEO was a pleasure for once, and that’s rare!
  • We watched Gone Girl – and it wasn’t rubbish! We’ve been almost nervous to watch it in case it was a massive disappointment, but while it’s not going to break our top 10s, it was genuinely good, and though we both saw some of the twists coming, it still felt fresh.

Top 5 musical films

The problem with lists is that it’s tough to decide what makes the cut, and there are so many musical films I love so picking and ordering just 5 was really difficult. The only thing I knew for certain was what would take the top spot. West Side Story feels like it should be on the list, but I swapped it out as I prefer the stage show to the film, and this post is all about the films. Likewise Les Miserables. Honourable mention goes to Sweeney Todd, which I enjoy as a Tim Burton and Alan Rickman fan, but wish the singing was stronger. And the Blues Brothers – which I just don’t quite see as a musical, rather a film with songs – albeit brilliant ones.

chicago

5. Chicago
Catherine Zeta Jones is excellent – her voice and dancing are brilliant and she has the best facial expressions for Velma. I didn’t know Queen Latifah until this film, but she was a revelation, and the ensemble is incredible. I could watch the Cell Block Tango on repeat for hours, and there are so many strong numbers. It loses points for cutting out Class, and I would maybe have preferred true Broadway performers to Richard Gere and Renee Zellweger, but they’re both pretty good really. All in all, a solid film that deserved its Oscars – and I prefer it to the stage show.

hedwig

4. Hedwig and the Angry Inch
If you haven’t seen it, just watch it. John Cameron Mitchell’s story of a transgender punk rock girl telling her tale through songs as she tours dive bars, while she also follows her ex who stole her songs as he performs to huge sell out crowds. It’s funny, it’s heart breaking, it’s uplifting, it’s truly unique. And the music is excellent. We saw it on Broadway a couple of years ago with Michael C. Hall in the title role, and he was unbelievably good – perhaps a stronger singer than Mitchell – but the film is different and also brilliant, making the most of the benefits of film by adding in flashbacks and shooting on location.

fiddler

3. Fiddler on the Roof
As I said before when I reviewed Fiddler on Broadway, I’ve loved this show since I played Shprintze in my local amdram’s production some 20 years ago, so it’s no real surprise that it turns up on this list. The songs are so flipping catchy. And some of the dialogue is hilarious – mostly thanks to Topol’s performance as Tevye. Oh and Starsky or Hutch is in it. The second half takes a real dive as life in Anatevka starts to look less and less stable, and Tevye tries to hold on to tradition, but he and his daughters drift further apart both emotionally and geographically, but there are still some cracking funny lines and moments of levity in there. It takes you through the full run of emotions and you come out the other side feeling pretty battered, but it’s worth every tear.

singin-in-the-rain

2. Singin’ in the Rain 
Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Connor is just the most incredible combination. This is classic entertainment from the golden age with amazing dancing from the main cast. The songs (Make Em Laugh, Good Morning, Moses Supposes…), the dancing, the comedy – it’s just unbeatable in pretty much every respect. The only negative is that it’s a little longer than it needs to be, with a couple of set pieces that are superfluous to the narrative, but it redeems itself with all that glorious tapping.

And the winner is…

cabaret

1.Cabaret
In my opinion, completely unequalled. Liza Minnelli was born to play Sally Bowles – she’s a much bigger part in the film than the original story or play, which focus on Brian and Emcee respectively – and Joel Gray is a marvel. The story goes that when Liza Minnelli won her Oscar, she took her dad as her date and after she won he said that if Joel Gray didn’t win one too, she’d have to give hers back as he was better than her.  Combine great performances with Fosse’s choreography, some of the best show tunes ever written, dark comedy and the brooding, dangerous atmosphere of 30s Berlin, and you have a film that really does have it all.

 

Happy thoughts – Sunday 12th February

  • My morning run was bitterly cold, but really enjoyable – the cold’s stopping some people from going out, so it was relatively quiet on the streets, and I braved the South Bank. I also picked up a running nemesis – a guy who kept overtaking me, tiring himself out, then walking for a bit til I overtook him again. I stuck with my not-so-slow and steady pace, and eventually shook him off – yaaas! Plus I found it reasonably easy and maintained a decent pace, getting home with the energy to do some weights while I was running a bath.
  • Haggis for breakfast with our poached eggs and spinach. No further explanation needed.
  • Will gave me one of my Valentine’s presents a little early – Blues Brothers on DVD. He’d never seen it til a couple of years ago, so it’s still a novelty for him, and with all those jazz and blues legends, how could it not be one of my favourite films?! I grin most of the way through it, but especially during Ray Charles’ segment.