Final stretch

Where does the time go?

I’m on my final stretch of these two months over here, Stateside.

It’s been great. A real adventure. Met so many people, done so many things. Shopped like it was going out of fashion. Have seen lots of New York.

It’s been wonderful to get out of London and be somewhere new. That sense of adventure is very real.

Have eaten too much. Have put on about 1/2 a stone (that’s about 7 lbs for those that don’t use the UK weight system). It may not be quite that much, but I’d say it is over 5 lbs. Hope I can lose it easily enough.

I could quite happily have stayed here until Christmas. The downside of the duration is that I’m just starting to settle down in some ways, work-wise anyway. Living in a corporate flat much longer wouldn’t really be for me. A bit too sterile. But workwise doing longer would have been good.

This evening – a great night out at a steak restaurant on Second Avenue hosted by a very senior London colleague who is over. Tomorrow a major work event which promises to be good fun. So many work events here – far more than at home.

So this is the final stretch. In 10 days time I’ll be heading home.

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Birdman

birdmanposter

Well that was quite the most surreal movie I’ve seen in a long time.

I saw it at Lincoln Center last night which is one of the big cinema complexes here in Manhattan. However, as it only came out on Friday (and you can’t seem to reserve actual seats like you can in the UK) – I ended up in a most unsatisfactory seat very near the front on the right hand side. The chairs in the cinema are comfortable, but I really didn’t appreciate the viewing angle – up and sideways.

Bizarrely the movie isn’t out in the UK until the New Year. I’d thought that the days of long pauses between films making their way over the Atlantic were over? Obviously not.

I like Michael Keaton, Naomi Watts, Edward Norton – solid line-up.

I’m not even going to try and write any kind of synopsis. I liked the sheer craziness and quirkiness of it but I didn’t enjoy the physical experience in the cinema because of my seating set-up – so that dented my enthusiasm.

I’d like to watch it again on DVD at home.

It actually felt more like a stage-play than a movie. The art-house/film-connoisseur set are loving it. Speaking of which, Lindsay Duncan seemed miscast in the NY theatre critic role. Just my 2c.

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Almost done a month in the US

So it’s almost been a month. Where does the time go?

Starting to feel normal now. Inevitable I guess. I know my (new) colleagues well. There’s a tighter atmosphere than back home. That’s inevitable with a much smaller office. Also, due to the ‘hire and fire’ nature of New York employment laws – the people seem very good. None of the ‘dead wood’ that you get back home. ‘Dead wood’ just isn’t put up with here. No dinosaurs. I like it.

Tomorrow we have ‘games’ in the office in the afternoon. I’m looking forward to it. I like the culture. You would never get anything like that in London.

And no. It isn’t an option for me to ‘stay’. Not possible. I’m helping out during a particularly busy period and covering an absent colleague. If they did ever offer a new role here, I would have to compete for it against others.

Irrespective, it’s been a brilliant opportunity and my ‘stint’ here will stand me in good stead career-wise for other overseas jobs, and we have quite a few. I may have less than a month to go before returning to Pudding Island but that still gives me the time and space to do the things I want to do and to enjoy living in New York and in the US.

Sheridan is coming out and I’m also going down to DC to see old friends. So it’ll be busy. Also have some exciting work-related stuff coming up.

Good times.

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In the rain, at night, this could surely be Gotham City

batman gotham city

I used to say that in the rain, especially in winter-time, that London felt like Gotham City. In retrospect it really doesn’t. And certainly not compared with New York – where it most certainly does.

Dark streets, looming high-rise buildings, tramps huddled in corners, inconspicuous subway entrances that descend into grimy subway stations, lots of rather wild-eyed people scurrying past you (especially at night), that sense of security within the buildings, beyond the door, beyond the gate-keeper – rather than being out on the street.

I believe that Chicago is often mooted as the city Gotham was modelled on, but New York must also have been an inspiration.

There is a darkness beneath the decadence. An underworld. You glimpse it now and again.

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Street photography – New York

This gallery contains 27 photos.

The most perfect day weather-wise. Dark blues skies. A few wispy clouds. About 15c. I left about 10am and got home about 3pm. Having taken the subway from Midtown through to Brooklyn High Street, I then walked around DUMBO, then … Continue reading

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Pride – when striking miners and gay rights activists joined forces

pride movie poster

I saw Pride at the movie theater (OK, cinema!) at Lincoln Center yesterday evening.  A really wonderful film – I can’t recommend it highly enough. It features Imelda Staunton, Bill Nighy and Dominic West among others. The whole cast was fantastic.

Best of all – it’s based on a true story from Thatcher’s 80s. A South Wales mining community – marginalised, bullied and beaten down by the police and by the government of the time – is supported and joined in solidarity by another much-maligned and ill-treated group – the gay community of that era. It becomes patently obvious that they have far more in common than they have that divides them. Although the miners’ strike was ultimately put down – as we all know – the lasting bond between the two groups proved instrumental with respect to progress within the gay rights movement itself and how legislation was moved forward due to the power of the miners’ block vote. See the film to understand what I’m talking about.

It was heart-warming, poignant, sad, uplifting, life-affirming. My favourite film of the year. Very highly recommended and you need not be gay, Welsh or a even a miner to connect with the story which transcends all of the labels. It’s a human story.

New York Times review.

Guardian ‘reel history’ piece.

Guardian background piece on the real story behind Pride – well worth reading if you enjoyed the film.

 

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