New things for new people: Caroline (week 3)

Here are my guest blogger Caroline’s new things from May, week 3. This week, the joy of new things that are already in the diary. I am tired just reading this one! 

  1. I went to a workshop with aerial circus troupe Ockham’s Razor. I went to their latest show, Tipping Point, last night, which is all about trust and loss of trust, using large freestanding and swinging poles. If you’ve never seen Ockham’s Razor, go and prepare to be amazed. I can’t explain just how good this group are.
    I was lucky enough to watch the show and then do the workshop the next day, which was great because we got to use the equipment we’d already seen on set. It started off with a warm up and then some group exercises in the performance space. We were then introduced to the equipment – two freestanding poles that you could pick up, and two poles suspended from the ceiling. Individually, we then needed to design 10 possible things we’d like to do with the equipment, using a group of five. We picked what we thought would be the best, then acted them out in our group. There was a mix of ages, the youngest was 12, the oldest 67, and a lovely inclusive atmosphere. At the end, we put all the visions in an order, to try and create a story or narrative.
    They introduced me to a great creative tip: if you’re trying to think of 10 things, write the numbers one to ten on a piece of paper, then put a large cross on the paper. That means you’ve already acknowledged that some ideas will be not very good, and that’s OK. Then you’ve got that out the way and can start thinking more freely.
  2. I took my four year old nephew to London Zoo for his birthday. The great thing with doing something with a four year old is that EVERYTHING is very very exciting. The train! The escalator! Jumping off at the bottom of the escalator! The crane outside King’s Cross station! I think this could also be a potential new thing – get excited by everything. We saw the penguins (the underwater viewing section is at excellent four year old height), some monkeys, the tiger (‘What’s he doing? Why’s he turning around?’), the lions (‘Why isn’t it saying ‘moo’?’. My sister: ‘Because it isn’t a cow.’), the butterfly enclosure, the aquarium and finally the giraffes and zebras. The playground was very exciting too as you could throw a toy car down the slide. He was interested in the two keepers who were clearly hiding behind the lion exhibit to have a skive: ‘What are those gentlemens doing?’. I discovered a new place, ‘Londonskingscross’.
  3. I went to a comedy show by Stand up for Labour called #JC4PM. I discovered that most Labour party members are a bit like my parents – slightly eccentric types that ride bikes and wear cardigans. (Incidentally I’d arrived by bike and was wearing a cardigan). The comedy lineup consisted of Arthur Smith, Hal Cruttenden, Jeremy Hardy, Robin Ince and Francesca Martinez. It was both comforting, and slightly alarming, to be in a room of people who all agreed with each other on everything, so I was pleased there was a Token Bonkers Tory in the room. I’m not sure if he was there to heckle, to watch the comedy, or if had just wandered into the wrong place by mistake but he got very angry and fist-shakey about staying in Europe bellowing something about, ‘BUSINESS’. I found this slightly odd as both the IMF and the Bank and England have made statements in support of staying in the EU, but as he didn’t expand on his argument (I don’t think a nuanced heckle exists, but if it did, it’d definitely occur in Cambridge), I’m none the wiser. The headliner was Grace Petrie who did lots of angry protest songs and even got a Cambridge audience to do a singalong. Good work.
  4. I went to the Royal Ballet’s production of Frankenstein. Ballet likes death and re-animation. Giselle: a group of female spirits who dance men to death summon a broken hearted girl from her grave. Swan Lake: the two lovers are together in death. Romeo and Juliet: you know the drill. La Bayadere: the two shades are united in death. This was a new ballet and upped the death ante somewhat. It was completely led by narrative and none of what Chris calls ‘arsing about with nothing happening’, and the re-animation scene was particularly impressive. It presumably used a distraction technique, but the body parts on the plinth were certainly only parts one minute, but then became a real person. The Creature was a very lifelike and human Creature, who only wanted to be friends with people, which gave the choreographer a great opportunity for a male/male pas de deux which I’m not sure I’ve ever seen before. The subject matter lends itself to much death and violence: at the end of Act II there was a lot of violence and a hanging, and more deaths at the end of Act III.
  5. I’ve been to a lot of comedy shows. Some excellent, some mediocre, one so depressingly terrible I feared for the future of the human race. They’ve all had one thing in common: English. However, today I went to see Eddie Izzard do his Force Majeure show in French. This is part of his pro-EU 333 tour, where he does a show in German, then in French, then in English, all in the same evening. I’ve seen Force Majeure in English in January, and I have A Level French, and thought that combination would suffice. Actually, it did! Eddie Izzard is a bit of a rambly comedian but I think on the whole I got it. It just took more concentration than usual. Occasionally he’d lapse into English anyway, and sometimes he didn’t pronounce words quite right, and sometimes he’d ask the French people in the audience for advice. He finished with a pro-Europe rant.
  6. I’ve been with Chris for 11 years but have never been away with his family for more than one night… this weekend we drove to Center Parcs in Elveden Forest and stayed for two nights. This is quite momentous!
  7. Another Center Parcs related new thing. I’ve been up climbing walls before (although none recently), but I’ve never been up several in a line all with differing lumps and bumps and handhold things on them. The main new thing of this day, though, was that a very small girl, aged about 7, put us all to shame by speeding up all the walls at top speed.the climbing wall_kindlephoto-8696805
Reflections from Week 3
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut: get up, have breakfast, go to work, come home, etc. Doing a new thing every day forces you to get out of that rut and I’ve found that aiming for something new gives you a renewed energy. I’ve also found that a lot of the things this week were pre-planned things, but as I viewed them as New Things, I saw them differently. Let’s see what Week 4 holds.

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