Friday, 7 October 2016

Things read and seen while travelling to London.

Here's a sample of stuff that attracted my attention this morning.
  • American actor Michael Peña plays only Latinos. If the character he is playing has a non- Latino name, he asks for it to be changed. This is, according to Mr Peña "so maybe some Hispanic kid might hear that and be inspired." Very laudable! I wonder of he ever does Shakespeare. If so, can he only ever play Iago? 
  •  In a similar vein, there was an article in the paper about the difficulty black actors have in being cast at all in British films. Apparently 60% of British films made in the last ten years featured no named black characters and only 13% cast a black actor in the leading role. This is why so many have gone across the pond to the USA to become famous. I first saw actors like Idris Elba and Thandie Newton in American TV series. Actor David Oyelowo reckons the casting is colourblind; it has to be a film about Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King or, of course, slaves! 
  • In a coffee shop on Piccadilly station, prior to catching the train to London, I ordered two flat whites, the least complicated coffee I can ever deal with in this crazy country with its caramel lattes and hazelnut lattes and huge variety of sizes of cup. I thought the price board said £2.50 and counted out my loose change accordingly. Then I realised that, not having my glasses on, I had misread; it actually said £2.60. As I offered an extra 20 pence, the young man serving me pointed out that there is an extra charge of 10p per cup for drinking the coffee in situ. So, an extra 10 pence for having a proper cup and a proper spoon. And no free biscuit or piece of cake as I would get in most places in Spain. Maybe the extra charge pays the wages of the plongeur! 
  • And what is a chai latte? This item is on the list of hot drinks. Is it a fancy way of saying tea with milk? Or is it something completely different? 
  • In the same coffee shop, I saw a young man with a semi-shaved head; the lower half was very 
  • close shaved, or perhaps just very, very short, while the top half was longer, clearly gelled and combed upwards to stand like a glossy block on the top of his head. To complement this, his face was also very close shaven, so much so that his beard and moustache, for he did indeed have both, looked as though they had been drawn on, in the way some girls draw their eyebrows. Curious! 
  • Toys predicted to sell well this year in the run-up to Christmas: a BMW min-beachcomber car - £300; the Alpha 1S Humanoid Robot - £500. If those are too expensive for you, encourage your child to learn to tell the time by giving him/her the VTech smartwatch for £43 and help him/her get fit by having it count his/her steps at the same time. And for your toddler, there is the Fisher-Price Code-a-Pillar, a caterpillar which can be assembled in different sequences, helping to develop the child's critical thinking abilities. At least that's what the traditional posh toy shop Hamley's says. The article in the paper suggests that children receiving it might be more impressed by its flashing lights and blinking eyes, reminding me of a fancy toy my brother-in-law, then aged seven I hasten to add, really wanted one Christmas and played with on Christmas morning only, after which it stayed in his toybox untouched. 
  •  Nothing new under the sun!

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