Archive for October 31st, 2006

Rock ‘N’ Roll

We went to see Tom Stoppard’s new play Rock ‘N’ Roll.    It is quite a long play all about Prague and underground Rock and Roll bands like Pink Floyd.      The text is really dense and like Stoppard’s many other plays, demands that the audience works pretty hard to follow what is going on.

The acting was very good, with Rufus Sewell outstanding.   I was less convinced by Trevor Nunn’s direction which seemed a tad uninspiring, which was a pity.   One important scene in the second half almost was notably unconvincing.    

The set was a clever revolve, aided by some nifty lighting.    The video projections became rather irritating by the end:    soundtracks with words in various fonts was very unadventurous.     I felt like placing a bet on which corner the year date would come flying in from.    They could have been used to help clarify what was going on in Prague for those of us a little rusty on Czech history.   Or perhaps that would have been spoonfeeding us too much.

It must have been good though, bceause we were all talking about it for hours afterwards.

I would love to see this taken on by a regional theatre.

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I was in London last weekend, and as I was going to be doing some travelling, I bought an Oyster Card.   For those not familiar with this, an Oyster Card is like a credit card that can be topped up to keep it in funds – at a station, in some shops and online.  

If you go on the tube, you simply pass it over the card reader at the start station, and again at the finish station.     On busses, you simply do it once, as journeys cost the same.    It is really convenient – no messing about with ticket machines and looking for change.     You just tap and go.    Indeed, the only way to access the cheapest fares is with an oyster card.

But having used my card on day 1 for several journeys, and topped it up successfully in a shop, on day 2 the card suddenly became unreadable.   Not handy at all.    Especially when going to Heathrow to catch a plane.  

The procedure is to go to the ticket office (queue) where you get a form.   You take it away and fill this out, and queue again.   You need your top-up receipt, and have to estimate the value on the card.   You need photo ID to get the balance transfered onto a new card.   It all takes an unbelievably long time to sort out.

When I bought my card, a lady in front of me was being issued with a “card unreadable” form.     So it must happen often.   Transport for London, the Oyster Card people should have these forms downloadable from their website.   That way, you could carry one filled out, and simply have to put the balance on it.   It would save one queue, a few tempers and a lot of hassle.

 The Oyster Card website  


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