Tag Archives: Christmas

Sad clowns with giant balls

Who would have known that it was such a good combination?

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Yep, I went to see Slava’s Snowshow at South Bank Centre a couple of days ago. It’s a show that relies heavily on visual effects, audience interaction, humour and symbolism. It mixes dark themes with a good helping of comedy and it’s almost like Salvador Dali had a hand in designing the scenes. Despite that the story is pretty tragic, it seems to be very popular with children. Before explaining the story, I should point out that it’s a “mute” show. The characters sometimes speak in their made-up language, but the story is mostly told through body language and visual or musical symbolism.

The story follows a tragic clown, Slava, who in the beginning of the show is about to attempt suicide before he is interrupted. The way I interpret the rest of the show is that Slava meets someone who slowly makes him awake from his depression and start living again, but they have a falling out when Slava develops romantic feelings for his friend. His broken heart makes him spiral into depression once again. As he tries to get over his friend, he ends up triggering more feelings that ends up consuming him. This is depicted by Slava trying to clean away cobweb, but as he cleans, more and more cobweb comes out until Slava is stuck in it and it starts covering the entire audience. When the friend attempts to rekindle their friendship, they end up fighting and Slava says some very hurtful things that makes his friend go away for good. Wallowing in regret, Slava imagines himself apologizing and reconnecting with his friend, through playing out phone conversations and a very cool scene where he manipulates a coat on a coat hanger to act like his friend. During the latter scene, he finds the courage to let go and leave and that’s “kind of” where the show ends. I say kind of, because there’s actually two more scenes after that, but I’m not sure if they are a part of the story or just to give the show a great send-off. I guess you could interpret both scenes as separate alternative endings to the show.

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The first scene is Slava arriving somewhere after saying goodbye to his friend. It starts snowing and Fortuna starts playing in the background as a scared Slava gets stuck in a giant snowstorm. While everyone in the audience loved being bombared with fake snow (one of the only time I felt like I had an advantage because of my glasses. I didn’t have to shield my eyes from the fake snow like everyone else, so I got more out of the scene), the only interpretation I can think of is that Slava is in emotional turmoil and that he finally is overpowered by it or at least facing his biggest challenge yet.

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The other scene, which might just be the cast saying goodbye, is Slava and his friend reuniting and throwing giant balls out on the audience. When I say giant balls, I really mean GIANT balls. I think the biggest one must have been 5 metres (16 ft?) in diameter. That’s when the show officially ended and everyone in the audience started bouncing the balls through the hall and throwing fake snow at each other. It really got everyone going; parents were holding their toddlers up in the air to get a chance to touch the balls and elderly couples were throwing fake snow at each other. I’m surprised no one got hurt, because I saw several toddlers getting their face “smashed” by the big balls. But no, they just looked confused for a second, and then started laughing. I prefer this as the final scene, because I like happy endings.

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Anyhow, like I said above, the show is “mute” and a lot of the scenes are open to interpretation. Like Tom said, there probably isn’t a symbolic meaning to everything in it either. Some things are probably just there for comedy or because they look cool. I’m sticking with my interpretation of it and I haven’t read any other reviews of the show. It’s fun, dramatic, confusing and beautiful and even if my interpretation isn’t correct, I definitely recommend people to go see the show if they have a chance. Fair warning though, my floor at home was covered in fake snow for a few days afterwards.

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Boo-hoo Rudolph, my whole face is red.

This year was the first year when I have received christmas presents and christmas cards adressed mutually to me and my partner. I don’t have that much (any) previous experience with steady relationships and the idea that you’re supposed to get to know each other’s families and get a long with your partner’s friends seemed to me for a long time unnnecessary and pointless. Before Christmas, me and my partner discussed whether to give gifts to each other’s families, do mutual gifts or nothing. We joked about breaking up for a week around Christmas every year to avoid the situation. It felt like people might catch on to us in the long run, so we decided against it, which led to the following gift situation: We gave a mutual small gift to my partner’s family, who in return gave me and us several “real” gifts which made me feel a bit guilty. We ignored my side of the family and they also didn’t gift anything to my partner. And trust me, neither of us expected anything, but now afterwards it feels like we should think it through a bit better to next year because it just seemed a bit irregular.

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Anyhow, I’m back in England and back at work and my skin hates me. I think I triggered a roscea attack by using soap to remove my make-up. It’s especially bad under my eyes and the best way to describe it is as if I had slept with a thick layer of salt on my face. It’s red, it’s puffy and it’s itchy. It happened during the winter last year as well, and it makes putting on make-up torture. It doesn’t look particulary dry, but if I try to apply foundation my skin goes nuts and it stings like putting alcohol on an open wound. RAH!

I keep forgetting that it’s New Years Eve tomorrow. Feels like a travesty to not celebrate in the city when you live in London, but I’m planning to have a pretty calm fodue-evening at home. Mmmmm Heston Blumenthal’s 4-cheese stringy fondue. No, I won’t eat it just by myself, althouh lonely heremits should definitely be allowed to eat an entire fondue by themselves on New Years Eve.

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The very important job of making family Christmas Cards

For the last few years, mum has asked/nagged/demanded me to create a family Christmas card on Photoshop and I’ve obliged. Partly because I want to make mum happy, partly because I like editing photos, partly because it’s an… interesting challenge.

It seems like most people in my age have parents that believe that computers are magical, incomprehensible machine, but that somehow the secret wisdom of computers was imparted on their children the second we left the womb. Every 20-something hold the power to do almost anything with it with just a click of the mouse, and if we can’t get it to work, it’s simply because we don’t want to do it. My boyfriend constantly gets cryptic texts from his mum with questions like “Why is the green thing gone”, “what’s my password?”, and “I think I made the hard drive disappear. How do I get it back?”. It’s always completely innocent questions that leaves you wondering “What the freaking hell did she do? What is she talking about and how could Tom possibly know how to fix it?”.  My mum doesn’t ask as much computer questions, but that might just be because she has given up trying to understand computers and simply doesn’t use them anymore.

My point is that mum’s understanding of Photoshop is not the greatest and that I wouldn’t be surprised if she sent me a comment like this:

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Click on the image to see a collection of puzzling editing requests. Anyhow,  about this year’s family Christmas card. One rare year I got professionally taken photos to work with, but most of the time it’s a mix of regular cellphone photos taken with varying lighting conditions and backgrounds that needs to be cropped and copied into a card. I know mum wouldn’t mind that much if it looked like a tacky mess (as long as I put Christmas hats on the cats and the dog, lighten her teeth and add a decorative background), but it’s a matter of pride for me to try to make it look at least a little good. If I can’t do that, I’ll go in for making it purposefully tacky. One year, I just gave up and sketched a Christmas card instead.

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This was from the year when we had our photo taken by a professional photographer (my mum thinks he’s great, but a bunch of his photos are blurry. At least he has good equipment):

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Anyhow, these were the photos I had to play with this year. They’re not too bad individually, but they’re hardly any similarities between them. They’re all taken under different lightning conditions, different poses and using different equipments. They’re also taken in late August, which doesn’t really give you any Christmas feelings.

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This is what I managed to put together. I’m kind of disappointed that I couldn’t include any pets this year! I tried fitting in Bagheera the Dog in the card but it looked ridiculous. His head was floating in the corner of the card like he was a ghost dog looking down upon us from dog heaven.

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I can’t find any of the other Christmas Cards I’ve made, but maybe that’s for the best. Merry Christmas times, everyone, and be nice to each other. I don’t believe in God or Jesus, but I believe that a lot of people want to have a special occasion to show their appreciation for their loved ones, and Christmas is an excellent opportunity for that.

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Santacon London 2013

My very first Santacon. I had been working Monday – Thursday and therefore had to run around on Friday, the day before Santacon, to look for a Santa costume. I wanted to find something incredibly cheap, but as I grew more desperate I finally settled for a so called “luxury santa suit” for £16. My only other option would have been “female Santa suit” which obviously is a skimpy red dress and a hat, because I didn’t have time to find an other fancy dress shop. Anyhow, it turned out to be absolute shit. The label on the outside featured a costume made from velour, but the actual suit was made from 100 % polyester. The seams broke in the crotch area the first time I tried it on! I think the most baffling thing is that it was 50 % off and would originally have cost £ 32. I decided to skip the trousers and wear a red dress underneath the coat, which was a really good idea. The result was embarrassingly amateurish compared to some of the costumes at Santacon, but it was good enough that some Chinese tourists asked to take a photo with me and told me I was a pretty Santa. Judge for yourself. I’m not sure if the guy in the background is photobombing me or whether he just looked like that by accident? 

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I hadn’t realized that so many people would turn up in very well thought-out costumes that they probably had spent hours or days putting together, like the transformer Santas. I didn’t get a chance to photograph all of them, but here are some of my favorites that I managed to take a picture of:

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Roman Santa:

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Wrestling Santas?

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Christmas tree:

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Inflated Santa:

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Very cold cross-dressing Santas:

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Homeless Santa:

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I think my least favorite ones were the people who turned up in morph suits! I commented to my boyfriend that coincidentally all the men in the morph suits seemed less endowed than the norm. He said that, in all fairness, it was pretty cold outside. Once again photobombed by the guy on the right in this picture:

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I had a good time though, and I think Santacon London is probably a lot different from Santacon NY. In the end it’s just a big themed party that takes place on the street, and of course you’re going to get some bad seeds as well as good ones, but the event as a whole was pretty well-organized in my opinion and I would definitely go again another year.

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You can’t see very well in this photo, but a couple that were getting married/getting their wedding photo taken, got surrounded and cheered on by Santas.

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They took off their hats and waved to us!Image

 

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Christmas torture

Want to guess how I discovered it’s the 1st of December today…?

Went to Sainsbury and they played Christmas songs on the highest volume. I should have realized and gone bulk shopping yesterday so I could hoard my groceries until Christmas is over to avoid it. Maybe I sound like a Grinch, but listening to Santa Baby makes my ears bleed. It didn’t help that they played the most unsettling version of “Baby, it’s cold outside”. It’s already a creepy song because of the lyrics, but when it’s sung by an older man it just seals the deal and makes it sound like a predator trying to manipulate a teenage girl to stay around his house long enough for the roofies he slipped in her drink to kick in or until he gets her drunk enough to overpower her.

The worst part is that I’m not even exaggerating how creepy this song is.

 

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Last weekend was spent in London stocking up on lingonberry jam at the Scandinavian Christmas Market. Lingonberry jam is the only Swedish food that I use on a regular basis and I use quite a lot of it too. IKEA carries a form of lingonberry jam in their food section, but if you’ve ever bought it you’d know that it’s more of a red sugary goo with the occasional berry in it. The stall where I bought mine from at the Christmas Market was Scandinavian Kitchen, which has a store in London which carries a bunch of Scandinavian food. They post all their board writings on their site, I’m particularly fond of this one (click on the image to go to the webpage):

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We also found out that there is a Swedish bakery in London, because they also had a stall at the Christmas market. If I want anythingI’ll bake it myself, but it you’re not so inclined and you fancy some Swedish baked goods, you might want to give it a try. Oddly, they don’t seem to list their address on their website, but they handed out pamphlets at the market with the address on it. It’s on 24 Rose Street, near Convent Garden.

After the Christmas market we went to Hyde Park to check out this year’s Winter Wonderland. Man, I wish I had more money and more patience. If I did, I would have gone on all the ride, except for this one which looked really boring (the one in the background seemed far more exciting):

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Boy, was it busy. I think it was the opening weekend so it  makes sense, but all I could think was “How the f*** does all these parents have the energy to bring their small children here? I’m exhausted from trying to navigate through the masses and I don’t have a toddler and a baby to look after”.

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Heading for Christmas in London

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Oups! Seems like I haven’t posted that much lately. I blame not being near my laptop that much the last couple of days. I’ve been busy doing training for my new job. I would write about it if it weren’t for the fear of breaking their social media policy; seems like you can get in trouble for just posting photos of yourself wearing their uniform online, so it seems better to play it safe. It’s a shame because the uniforms are GORGEOUS. I’ve never seen such lovely health care uniforms.  I want to wear them in my grave.

Anyhow, my week started off with celebrating our 2nd anniversary by going down to Afters for desserts. Afters is a dessert place that serves desserts until late, late in the evening. To make it better, it’s literally just around the corner from where we live. I’m not a big anniversary person and I don’t really want to do the whole gift-thing when there’s only a month left until Christmas, but any reason is a good reason to have ice-cream. I had a £10 chocolate fudge sundae with strawberries and I was really happy that it didn’t even make my mouth tingle from allergies.

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The following day was spent training while Tom was home making pralines, polenta-based sponge cake and mushroom risotto. He can’t be left in the kitchen without supervision for too long, or I’d come home to a functional patisserie. The same evening the following conversation took place:

Me: I’m really in the mood for Fanta, but I forgot to put it in the fridge so it’s not cold.

Tom: Just put it in the freezer and set a timer for 30 minutes and it will be cold.

Me: Good idea! But I don’t need a timer, I will just keep an eye on the time.

12 hours later, around 8am yesterday:

Me: Oh **** I forgot to take the Fanta out of the freezer yesterday.

It’s now 5pm more than 40 hours later and I’m still waiting for the ice in the Fanta to thaw.

Any reason is a good reason for ice-cream

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