Things and Stuff

The Tyne from the Baltic centreLast week, I mostly wasn’t at work because I decided to take a couple of days off. So, on Tuesday I thought I’d have quick jaunt up to Newcastle. Thankfully the weather was quite kind to me, as you may be able to see from the picture.

To be honest I didn’t spend a whole lot of time in Newcastle centre itself, only having a quick wander round and a pop into Waterstones just outside Eldon Square (where I bought three decent books: John O’Farrell’s ‘Utterly Impartial History of Britain’, Andrew Marr’s ‘History of Modern Britain’ and Steven Pinker’s ‘The Stuff Of Thought’) and a swift wander up Northumberland Street.

After that I decided to wander down to the Quayside to check out the river and maybe wander to the Baltic, where I’d never been before. Because the weather was good, the river looked great, with little groups of people wandering about. One of the things that people were looking at was the Bamboo Bridge, which was in its earlier stages on the day I was there. It’s this sort of thing that Newcastle and Gateshead are starting to do very very well indeed.

Anyway, off I went to the Baltic. The building itself is very well designed, even though the restaurant was closed for refurbishment. The exhibitions were a bit of a mixed bunch. I really liked the Yoshitomo Nara/graf show and Mariko Mori’s stuff but found Double Agent’s work impenetrable. I understood the aims alright, I just found the execution too self-indulgent for my taste; maybe it’s just me but I saw it as a somewhat onanistic experience. The Bharti Kher installation was actually really interesting, with the intricate works having a slightly soapy-looking quality.

So that was Newcastle.

On Thursday, I went to see Kung Fu Panda. what a fabulous movie. It’s easy to get lost in the whole Jack Black thing, but that would be unfortunate. Visually it really is stunning. It’s very easy to forget that the movie is generated with CGI, even though the visuals have a slightly hyperreal quality.

And finally, on Friday, back to work and graduation at Scarborough. Work for me though, even though for the first time this year I decided to go into the procession. It was a fairly bum-numbing experience on stage, though it was fun. And Ben Kingsley’s address was good (not to mention mercifully short!). Nice to see some people and their families.

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