State of Play – the movie

State of Play - movie

If you have seen the fantastic BBC miniseries of State of Play, you’ll understand that the film had quite a bit to live up to. How could they squeeze a cracking 6 hours of drama in a 2 hours film. And worse – how could they (I mean how could they!) replace a British cast with the likes of Bill (Bafta winning for his turn as editor Cameron Foster) Nighy, Kelly McDonald, James McAvoy, John Simm and David Morrisey with people like Ben Affleck, Russell Crowe and have Helen Mirren taking over the role of editor?

I went to see it with the intention not to like it, I didn’t quite succeed.

The story line is simular to the one in the miniseries, but has been adjusted to a story set in the US. It does feel cramped though, and I wondered, if I hadn’t seen the miniseries, would I actually get what it is all about.

OK, I admit it, Russel Crowe wasn’t bad as Cal McAffrey, and he worked very well with Rachel McAdam’s Della, the blog journalist turning into his assistant.

Helen Mirren’s performance felt staged and was suffering from too little screen time. Also – there was no way she was going to outclass Bill.

All in all the story was still gripping and it was entertaining enough to watch but if you liked the film just a little bit I really urge you to see the BBC miniseries, because they are so much better.


I (f)ear you

(*)You didn’t know I was a bionic woman did you? Or maybe you did, I had a simular operation about 5 years ago (in Dutch sorry – but they replaced one of the tiny bones in my ear with a tiny platinum replacement – yes they have to cut through the ear drum and this time they will also make a cut in my ear – brrrr) and about 2 weeks from now I am going to go through the same procedure again. Or kind of, they will try to figure out why my bionic ear is no longer that bionic anymore (in other words, I am pretty deaf on that ear).

This operation came a bit unexpected but the good thing about that is that I can’t worry about it for too long, as it is soon. The other good thing is that it will take place under full aneastetic, which means that unlike last time, I don’t have to worry about laying still: I will as I will be fast asleep so the doctor can laser around steadily. And it was pretty scary to hear all the sounds in my ear last time when I got operated while being concious, so I am glad I won’t have to go through that again.

I am also glad I wrote down how the recovery period went, I had forgotten about the strange noises in my ear, the loss of taste on a side of my tongue and things like that. This was all temporary and all went away after a few days. I am not looking forward to it, but hopefully I will regain a big part of my hearing in my left hear when it’s done. And maybe, just maybe, my tinitus will disappear again too.

It will take place in Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital in London. They have been around for quite a while, so let’s hope they do a decent job.

I will have to stay at home for a week or two after it’s done. So I better start preparing and make sure I have stacks of films and books ready by then. Is The Boat That Rocked DVD out yet? What do you mean, No?

Easter in the Netherlands

Spring is in the air

Easter food/drink in Holland is :

Other Easter highlights:

  • The weather. It has been over 20 C every day of the weekend, amazing. I actually got an Easter tan. I don’t think that has ever happened before, normally it rains.
  • A canal boat trip through Utrecht. Nice to see a city I know so well from a complete different angle.
  • Being able to bike everywhere as it is so flat.
  • And last but not least, as dire chance and fateful cockup would have it: we managed to get ourselves into a secret sneak preview of The Boat That Rocked in Scheveningen the Saturday morning at 10.30am. The only screening all week in the Netherland before the official release on the 16th of April. And did I mention it was for free!

    We had to get up at 6.45am to be able to make it to Scheveningen all the way from IJsselstein on Saturday, but we did make it, and after being supplied with two reservation numbers (we didn’t even know you needed those but a very friendly woman had two extra ones and made our day!) we entered the Pathe cinema and enjoyed Quentin with Dutch subtitles. Rock ‘n roll baby!

So what did you do with Easter?

New Boy, Trafalgar Studios – London and Paris preparations

New Boy

The story is a bit wobbly here and there but what great performances of especially Nicholas Hoult (from About a Boy with Hugh Grant/Skins) and Gregg Lowe. It’s refreshing to see great young actors like these, the future of British stage and theatre is looking good.

The play is both funny and serious (without ever becoming too serious) and makes for an enjoyable night out.

I can only highly recommend you to catch it, but it seems so popular that the complete run has already sold out. It’s performed in a very small (but intimate) theatre, and deserves to be extended, and maybe even moved to a bigger theatre.

I just checked my hotel booking for Paris and saw that I have booked a Superior Single room. I wonder what Superior means in this case.

And I prepared a quick Paris map. The camera icons are places I might go to snap some photos. And if you are wondering what the snow flakes are: Ice cream shops, don’t underestimate the importance of those.

And I know there is a lot of talk going on about Google Streetview, but thanks to the genius of it, I just checked out the front of my hotel···, so I know what it looks like (and what to look for) when I arrive. I also checked how to get there from Gare Du Nord, which turns out to be easy peasy as it is right opposite the station. And there is an Italian restuarant right beside it, handy!

I think that is all the preparation I need. Now I just need to pack and catch the train Saturday morning.

Two kisses …

You know how it goes with film premieres and me. I never really want to go but I always end up going. And they always start out bad and then they tend to end, well, better. Sometimes they end great, and sometimes they end like “wow”.

Did I just say “wow”. Oh yes, wow doesn’t even get close. And I know I am too old for this shit, but bugger that. Today will be a memorable day. This was the premiere of The Boat That Rocked.

And be warned, there are images of that man inside.

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A slide on the street

Imagine the following scenario.

You walk to work. A woman on slightly high heels walks in front of you. She slips on the curb and ends on her bum on the street.

Two things to think about here:

If this would happen to you (as in you ended on your bum on a busy morning traffic London street), would you like it if people stopped and asked you if you were OK? Or would you rather have everybody to shut up, pretend to yourself that nobody saw you make the fall and get on with it?

If you were the person seeing it happening (as in me this morning) would you ask the person if she was alright even though you probably know that she would rather have you to bugger off without saying anything?

I asked if she was OK. And she said “Hi Hi HI – I am fine, I am fine”. And quickly walked off.

Cameras, cancelled moves and the coast

Just a small practical anouncement: I am not moving to Notting Hill. I removed the previous post, I am not getting into any details, it is just not going to happen. Not now anyway, I will keep my eyes open for other chances.

I bought a new pocket camera, a Panasonic T4. It replaces my Canon Ixus, a camera I have never been happy about. The Panasonic is small enough to fit in your pocket, has 10x zoom and I have been giving it a test drive the last couple of days.

Both in London, and today on a trip to the Eastbourne coast. It did remarkably well. The built in image stabilization really works well and I haven’t been able to get shaky pictures yet. That’s something new after the Canon. Click on the images for the full size!

St. James's Park
Daily morning tube station on my way to work

And the new art work in front of the Channel 4 building. I like the colourful umbrellas. They had to repair it after a windy day, some of the umbrellas didn’t survive.

Tiny People
Low tide near Beachy Head with two tiny people walking around on the sand. Looks a bit like the fjords in Norway from here.

Beachy Head light house
Still one of my favourite lighthouses in the UK

Beachy Head light house
because of it’s great location

Beachy Head light house
in front of the white cliffs (Spot more tiny people on the top of the cliffs)

Beachy Head light house
and in the water.

London: Afternoon tea in The Berkeley

The Berkeley (Knightsbridge – London) does not look grand from the outside, but you know it is expensive when you spot the fully hotel-uniformed men (beautiful long coat, bowler hat, gloves) standing outside the door.

And I was waiting for one of them to tap me on the shoulder saying “where do you think you are going – you wear sneakers and jeans – how dare you step into our hotel!”. But they did not, in stead they smiled and were friendly and said “Good afternoon madam” and pushed the push door for me. See, that I like.

Here are some notes:

When you step into the lobby you sink until your neck in the carpet. OK, not exactly but it felt that way, it is very soft and beautiful and you just hope you don’t happen to have a piece of sticky chewing gum underneath your shoe when you walk there.

We had afternoon tea (high tea) and the people pouring us the tea wore white gloves. Also – whenever you had managed to drink your cup, they were already standing behind you asking if you wanted more. I drank a lot of cups.

The first time the girl serving me tea asked me if I wanted “English Breakfast”. Which I thought was an odd question, I was there at 3.30pm, and on my watch that is way passed breakfast time, I was here for the cakes, not for bacon and eggs and beans on toast! So I looked puzzled at her. And she suddenly realised what I was thinking and so did I and we both had to laugh about it. English Breakfast Tea she meant!

And then there were the things we could eat:

  • A mouth-watering selection of miniature savoury skewers, taster spoons and elegant canapés.
  • A collection of cakes and fancies in in the colours of the fashion season and in the style of the world’s finest designers.

I have no idea what fancies are, but I did fancy the cakes we got, they tasted like heaven.

I always thought that it wouldn’t be me, hanging around in a posh hotel like this. But I could get used to handsome man in nice uniforms and a bowler hat holding the door open for me. And I had never had a high tea before, but I can surely recommend it. If you want to experience a tea like this yourself, it’s £35,=.

This was an event organised by London Girl Geek Dinners. I normally hate networking events like these, but I have visited two of their events now and I must say that the girls attending these meetings are the exact right group for me. The meetings are about gadgets, web and geekery stuff in stead of makeup, high heels and the latest fashion news which suits me quite well.

This particular event was sponsored by Eurostar, who made a short presentation about a web application they had developed. Eurostar had invited Brussel and Paris geek girls to London, and the tea was a good opportunity to mingle with them. There were some very nice people at this event and I will certainly attend more of these meetings. (and no they are not always in places like these!)

Two days in Paris

TV-2 in Paris

How to be impulsive and try something new in six easy steps:

  1. Read on facebook (and yes I want to be your friend too – I am known as Ingrid M van Vliet, the M standing for mad) that TV-2 (danish band extraordinaire) is playing a concert in Paris.
  2. Admit that taking the Eurostar train from London to Paris has long been on your todo list and that this might be a perfect reason to book it, like, now.
  3. Book a ticket for the TV-2 concert in ELYSEE-MONTMARTRE, Paris.
  4. Book your Eurostar ticket and realise that it is only 2 hours and 20 minutes from London St. Pancras to Paris Gare du Nord by train! Make sure to reserve a window seat.
  5. Visit, search for “cheap hotel Gare du Nord, Paris”, read reviews from other travellers, pick a hotel and book it. Realise after you booked it that the hotel is located on Rue de saint Quentin which put a smile on your face.
  6. Start looking forward to the trip and promise yourself to do things like this more often.

Voici, c’est simple!

My new address

One Love Lane, London

OK not really, but this must be the coolest address in London. (It’s in the City of London)

I found a new flatmate for the place I currently live, she will move in by the end of March. I put my search for another place on lower priority. After having seen a couple of rooms in different places I realise that I live in a pretty nice room. I’ll keep an eye open for a great place but there is no rush.

The hunt for the perfect flat(mate) II

No it wasn’t going to be that easy. I had forgotten how you should not believe too much of what people tell you about the rooms they have available. As they are all “great” “spacious” “modern” etc.
The room in Fulham was all that in the ad, in real it was smaller than a shoebox, and about half the size of my current room. Now I don’t need a lot of space but I need: a single bed, a desk and chair so I can write behind my desk, and a small table/drawer for my small tv. The Fulham room had a single bed and no space for any of the other things. I got an instant claustrophobic attack and realised that my current room is quite funky.

(Why do I want to move you wonder? Well because the landlord is a bit of an ass, he just wants the rent but does not give us a contract nor does he pay for repairs to his house. Not a big issue until now – but the boiler is acting weird lately and I refuse to sponsor him with a new boiler.)

But I also met a potential new flatmate for my current flat, and she was actually a really nice person. She seemed to like the room, and I think we would get along fine. So if she says yes and moves in, maybe I should put my flat hunting on hold for a while and see what happens.

If that does not works out I always have the following offer:


35 pound per week to share a room(! not a flat mind you!!) with a man. So cheap. Tempting.