almaviva90: (Poirot and Hastings - Styles)
Finally got a signed photo from David Suchet this morning (as Poirot and in what looks like a publicity shot from Appointment with Death)...a longer wait than I had expected but at last it came! =) 

Ah, now I can say I've got autographs from both Poirot and Hastings...the Poirot fangirl within me is very happy indeed. =DDD
almaviva90: (Wellington2)
Finally...after getting freaked out last night by the fact that the rooms available during the time I'm staying at Orient House had decreased from 10 to 6 in one day, I managed to finally book a room yesterday. Will be staying a total of 32 nights, I think. The rate per night was £39.06 though since the total was over £700, I got a 10% discount from the overall cost so it ended up costing £1125 which is a pretty good price. The room is a single ensuite one and there are some self-catering facilities available so I think it's worth the price.

Now that my flights and accommodation are now sorted, I have to start thinking about where I'll be going on my free days (12 days in all *sighs for more*). Oooh, and whether it's better to get a VisitBritain International SIM card before I leave HK which has £25 credit on it or just going to a shop and buying a rechargable SIM when I get to London though I'm thinking that I'm probably not going to spend a lot of time on the phone. Also what the hell is the difference between an Oyster Card and a Visitor Oyster Card? The second one just differs from the first in the sense that you can get it before you leave and it has a picture of the Houses of Parliament or Big Ben printed on it...

Ah, my brain hurts...
almaviva90: (P&H - Partners)
This article and this article have made the Poirot fangirl who resides within me squeal with delight. And I have no doubt that when you've read these, you'll know the reason for my being completely overjoyed. YES, ITV...finally you've succumbed to reason! Don't you dare stop filming Poirot until you've allowed David Suchet to film Curtain!

Of course, there's no guarantee that stories other than Dead Man's Folly will be filmed (*begs on her knees that they will be filmed...esp. Curtain and The Big Four) but even the effort on ITV's part of commissioning another episode after Murder on the Orient Express is quite encouraging. Gah, but 2012 is rather a long wait...I sincerely hope that the rest of the episodes are also going to be shown at around the same time.
almaviva90: (The Merry Widow)
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Probably the second stanza/verse of Ralph Vaughan William's 'Let Beauty Awake' includes my favourite lines ever in an art song. Plus it helps when it's the incomparable Sir Thomas Allen singing them as well =DD

Let Beauty awake in the eve from the slumber of day,
    Awake in the crimson eve!
    In the day's dusk end
    When the shades ascend,
Let her wake to the kiss of a tender friend
    To render again and receive!
almaviva90: (Don Alfonso)
Gah, I feel like I've been on an earphone/headphone buying spree this month...both my headphones and earphones broke last month and I bought these rather expensive (HKD 330) Sennheiser earphones in the second week of April. Thought they'd last since they were pretty darn expensive and Sennheiser's supposedly one of the best makers of earphones/headphones.

Apparently not the best of ideas as it turns out. They broke the day before yesterday...and it hasn't been a month since I bought them. FML.

Couldn't exchange them since I had bought them nearly a month ago and thought that going to claim it on warranty was much too troublesome and so I bought some Sony earphones yesterday and today bought some headphones from Audio-Technica (which I believe make simply the best headphones...at least in my experience).  The both of them combined cost HKD 417... even this amount of money to splurge on ear/headphones looks ridiculous to my eyes but hopefully they'll last much much MUCH longer than Sennheiser which probably holds the record of 'Shortest time to break' at the moment. Mon Dieu... -________-
almaviva90: (Arthur Hastings)
*squeeeeee*

Just checked the mail this morning and guess what, Hugh Fraser very kindly sent me his autograph.

HE ACTUALLY ACCEPTED MY FANGIRLING *coughs* REQUEST FOR AN AUTOGRAPH...

No letter of course (I mean, who is going to seriously reply to my huge essay-long letter? I already give kudos to them for actually being able to bear through it and read it) but it was so sweet of him all the same to take the time to send me an autographed photo (along with his best wishes) all the way from London.

I nearly said Captain Hastings/Wellington sent me an autograph to tell the truth (which they can't really since they're either fictional or not living) but you know what I mean since he *is* both of them at least on screen.

*grins crazily despite herself*
almaviva90: (Default)
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Can I actually put forward two songs? Funnily enough, they're both by Coldplay. First off is 'Speed of Sound' since it invariably reminds me of the times we did our GCSEs and of course, the immense fun I had in Mr Giddings' (who's already quite a personality by himself) and his physics classes at SIS and who *always* had the radio on in the background as we worked (and which almost always aired Coldplay songs..naturally, he got me into the band soon afterwards). XDD

The second song is 'Viva la Vida' which came out during the summer we were preparing/waiting for the results of our A levels. I also have a very strong memory of listening to this song while waiting alone for the 76 bus at the bus stop opposite the school on a rainy day. At the time, our A levels were obviously not happy times (i.e. non-stressful times) but looking back, I do feel a kind of nostalgia toward those days when we were all rather young and carefree compared to nowadays. And gosh, do I sound old saying that... -____-
almaviva90: (Wellington2)
A very happy birthday to my favourite historical figure ever...yes, you know this already...Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington who would be 242 this year.

almaviva90: (The Merry Widow)
Despite not being too interested in the proceedings of the Royal Wedding beforehand, I caved in at the last moment and decided to watch it anyway...I mean, how often do you see a Royal Wedding take place?

And was I glad I did (it's my first)...the most touching moment was when they took their vows. Beautiful. And Kate Middleton's dress was very elegant indeed, much better than I had previously expected. And the uniforms...of course, I adored them. The most amusing moment was seeing Prince Philip waiting for the Queen to get into the carriage after the wedding ceremony then being waved inside by his wife. I could simply imagine the Queen going 'Oh no, Philip, do go in first. I'll bring up the rear.' XD

Watched the wedding through the ABC News broadcast on Yahoo! but was bemused when the commentator said the music being played as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (those are their titles now) was Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance March No. 5 when it sounded unmistakably like William Walton (it's quite hard to forget Walton's style after listening to his music for Laurence Olivier's Henry V). Was proved right when I read later that the music was indeed Walton's Crown Imperial. I must say I'm getting quite good at listening to classical music! Either that or I've listened to waaay too much for my own good.
almaviva90: (Wellington)
Hmm...isn't it strange that despite the fact that my intention last night was to buy the sheet music for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 online that I ended up saying, 'Heck, it's bloody expensive for a book from which I only like one piece of music, ie. 'Snape to Malfoy Manor' and then randomly went off to Abebooks.com to buy two books on Wellington instead? *facepalm* My obsession with Wellington never subsides really even with my love for history, TA, opera and Poirot. 

But in my defence, these are actually books I've never read and aren't available in HK. The first is Lawrence James' The Iron Duke: A Military Biography of Wellington which I've seen cited numerous times in other books on Wellington while the other is a rather interesting book named Wellington's War: His Peninsular Dispatches where the author has actually pieced together a lot of Wellington's actual dispatches, letters, correspondence, etc with his own descriptions to make a sort of narrative account of the war through Wellington's eyes. Although I sort of have ALL of Wellington's dispatches in PDF format, I could never actually read them all without having some sense of direction first as to what I'm looking for so the second book is going to be of great help, I hope.
almaviva90: (TA 1980s)
THOMAS ALLEN'S GOING TO COME TO HONG KONG ON AN OPERA TOUR WITH THE BAVARIAN STATE OPERA IN FEBRUARY 2012!

*coughs* Excuse me...I usually don't write in capitals but yeah, HE'S GOING TO COME TO HONG KONG AND SING DON ALFONSO IN COSI FAN TUTTE! After all, I was so annoyed with myself that I didn't know about him when he last came here to do his little recital/concert in March 2006.

I am sooooooo definitely buying tickets for this opera when it comes...he's only going to do two performances on the 23rd (Thursday) and 25th (Saturday) February but I'm ready to fight if I have to to get a pair of tickets! *prays that he really does come and that the tour doesn't get cancelled or something...*
almaviva90: (Wellington2)
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LONDON...ooh, and probably the rest of the UK, e.g. Durham, Oxford, Cambridge, Bath, perhaps also Scotland too. I'd go mental going round all the museums (I simply have to go to Apsley House and the Royal Opera House), theatres, sites, cathedrals, second hand bookshops (people are probably going to go 'WTF?' at the last place) etc. Then a massive book/souvenir shopping spree will ensue methinks. XDDD

I'd probably take my mum but she's technically more like family though I would really consider her my friend too. I'd go with [livejournal.com profile] enserric but I'm not sure how that will work seeing that she's already in the UK!
almaviva90: (Danilo)
I literally squeed when I saw this little clip from a preview of the second (and last part) of HP 7. OMG, SNAPE...


Massive spoilers... )
almaviva90: (Poirot and Hastings - Styles)
Well, it's been a while since I've posted on LJ and what with work, fanfic writing and a surprising amount of stress, I'm not surprised that I haven't been on LJ that much. Anyways, I'm here now so that's definitely an improvement, methinks =D

A big day today...decided (and finally mustered up the courage after months of contemplation and hesitation) last week that I'd write to David Suchet and Hugh Fraser (a.k.a. Hercule Poirot and Captain Hastings), thank them for their brilliant work on film and television and kinda ask them if they could be kind enough to grant my tiny request for their autographs. Therefore I had to rush down to the post office at Winsdor House in Causeway in the morning to send them off since Monday's the only day I'm free (and the post office is only open on Mondays to Saturdays). After a LOT of hassle with envelopes (my envelopes were waaay too small and had to buy a bigger one for Suchet's letter), finally slotted them into the 'Air' mail box at about 25 minutes past 12. I know I'm so immature to request their autographs...but OMG, they're Poirot and Hastings (who've been my obsessions over the past couple of months), for God's sake! And Fraser's also Wellington in the Sharpe series...how I especially not avoid writing to him seeing that he's the best Wellington ever? I do hope they don't think me idiotic and be kind enough to grant my little request. *sinks on knees praying fervently* Nothing to do now but wait... *twiddles thumbs*

Anyways, that wasn't really the most important thing to be done today...the highlight of the day was meeting [livejournal.com profile] enserric today! Hurrah! We haven't met up in over a year so it was absolutely fantastic to spend some quality time together today. We didn't really do much but chat and walk around what seemed nearly the whole of Causeway which was nonetheless damn tiring...and have lunch, some afternoon tea/coffee and dinner. Sounds utterly unexciting but we didn't mind it one bit...and my goodness, it's great to hang out with someone who knows exactly who you are and what your various fads and eccentricities are...the accents we were constantly changing and mimicking (which include Irish, Scottish, Russian, Swedish, Indian, posh British, American) were definitely a reminder of the great times we had at SIS. We had a ridiculous amount of fun mocking the name of a rather unfortunately named sports goods store at Windsor House...and even went to Toys R Us and did all kinds of silly things like having mock sword fights with foam swords, tossing this rather revolting silicon worm like toy which looked like a germ blown up to monstrous proportions and etc. I don't remember having quite so much fun in one day in quite a long time...ah, how socially lacking I am it seems!

Overall a tiring but bloody brilliant day. =DDDD
almaviva90: (P&H - Partners)
WHAT. Is ITV seriously considering ending the Poirot series when we're only SIX episodes away from finishing the whole thing? I know that articles from The Sun should usually be taken with a pinch of salt but if this is true, I'm going to get very frustrated indeed.

However, I've just sent in an email to viewerservices@itv.com to ask them to reconsider...it will be such a bloody shame for the series to end just because of funding problems. Any help counts so please send in an email too if you have the time...don't let this turn into another Granada Sherlock Holmes where the definitive Holmes (Jeremy Brett) wasn't able to finish the series...at least give the definitive Poirot (David Suchet) the chance to finish the series as it was meant to finished in the form of the last story of Curtain where Poirot and Hastings are reunited for the last time to solve a case.
almaviva90: (The Merry Widow)
21st birthday today and though I've reached the age where it signified the reaching of adulthood in the past (as opposed to 18 which is now the current trend), I don't feel much different! Though yeah, if I ever go to the States, I'll be able to have a drink or something (as if I'd like to do that....*dislikes alcohol considerably*).

Going to have lunch with my mum at Arirang in Times Square to celebrate. Birthday presents aren't abundant this year but they're lovely (not to mention unexpected) nonetheless. Great thing that I chose Monday as my day off...otherwise I'd have to work the whole day on my birthday which is quite undesirable, I assure you, in comparison to my once having those GCSE multiple choice science module exams on my birthday in Year 10 or 11 which wasn't quite so bad XDDD
almaviva90: (P&H - Partners (B&W))

Bertie:
However this turns out...I don't know how to thank you for what you've done.
Lionel: (pause) Knighthood?
The two men share a smile: Lionel's is jesting while Bertie's is fraught with nervous tension. The latter's mood passes to the other man and he adopts a more solemn expression.
Lionel: Forget everything else and just say it to me.
almaviva90: (The Merry Widow)
Rewatched the 1995 version of Persuasion the other day and it's reminded me yet again how much I love this adaptation out of all the Austen adaptations ever made - yes, even bettering the 1995 Sense and Sensibility with Thompson, Winslet, Grant and of course, Alan Rickman. Sounds sacrilegious perhaps, especially seeing how much I love S&S and especially this version of it. Persuasion hasn't as complex a storyline as S&S nor does it have as many characters but somehow I like it because of this. And not only does the novel differ from the others in this respect; it has a much more mature tone and heroine and while the heroines in the other novels fall in love for the first time in the books/films, this is perhaps the only time where the heroine, Anne Elliot, has not only fallen in love before but has also had to tend to a broken heart after being persuaded (this being the reason for the novel to be named so) by her mentor, Lady Russell, to break off her engagement to a handsome but penniless naval officer, Frederick Wentworth in 1806.

The film starts off in 1814, eight years later and Anne (Amanda Root), now aged twenty-seven and having lost her bloom, is facing certain spinsterhood - a situation which she treats calmly as a mere fact of life. However with her father's mounting debts, the once proud owners of Kellynch Hall are forced to retrench to Bath and lease the property to a certain Admiral (John Woodbine) and Mrs Croft (Fiona Shaw). All seems simple enough until Anne realises that Mrs Croft is in fact the sister of the now rich Captain Frederick Wentworth (Ciaran Hinds) who has returned to England apparently in search for a wife. Going to Uppercross, her sister Mary's (played hilariously by Sophie Thompson) home, she meets Wentworth for the first time in eight years and it is clear that his anger towards her breaking off their engagement has not subsided and he treats her with cool civility. He then expresses an interest in Mary's sister-in-law, Louisa Musgrove (Emma Roberts), who is more than welcome to the prospect of being the Captain's possible future wife. An excursion to Lyme Regis to visit his friend Captain Harville ends abruptly when Louisa, overly eager and confident to gain Wentworth's affections, sustains a concussion in a fall. While the others stand about the injured girl in shock, Anne is the first to regain her senses and administer aid, even ordering Wentworth and then a fellow Captain Benwick to summon help. Shocked by what his encouragement of Louisa's advances has resulted in and impressed by Anne's sensible and resourceful nature, Wentworth is once again forced to confront his returning feelings for his once-betrothed. However when Anne's estranged cousin, Mr William Elliot (Samuel West), expresses a sudden interest in marrying her, there is yet again another dilemma for Anne to solve. Lady Russell heartily approves of this match but Anne doubts the sincerity of Mr Elliot's intentions in marrying her despite admitting that he is exceedingly clever and charming. The storyline ends in Bath where the Musgroves are planning to buy wedding clothes for their two daughters (Louisa having now fallen in love with Captain Benwick during her recovery), Wentworth and Harville are also in the city and Wentworth is clearly quite jealous of Mr Elliot's attentions to Anne.



A most perplexing love triangle. L. to r. Ciaran Hinds as Captain Wentworth, Amanda Root as Anne Elliot and Samuel West as Mr Elliot.

Anne's doubts of Mr Elliot's character is proven after she is told that the reason why Mr Elliot is interested in marrying her is to get the title and land belonging to her father who is a baronet and to pay off his own debts. By marrying Anne, Mr Elliot will gain a stronger foothold in the family and fend off anyone wishing to marry her father who is a widower and thus remove anyone from endangering his inheritance. Realising and disgusted by Mr Elliot's intentions, she is set against any proposal which might come her way from that gentleman. The conclusion of the story comes during a conversation between Anne and Captain Harville on the faithfulness of both men and women in love which Wentworth overhears while writing a letter for Harville. (One of my favourite quotes said by Anne from the film crops up here as well: "If I may, so long as the woman you love lives, and lives for you, all the privilege I claim for my own sex, and it is not a very enviable one - you need not covet it, is that of loving longest when all hope is gone.") Wentworth then hastily writes another letter, confessing his feelings for Anne and begging her to reconsider taking him back, and leaves it for her to read before leaving the room. Having read it, Anne goes after him and they reconcile and renew their engagement. Later that evening, Wentworth asks Anne's father for permission to set a date for their marriage to which Sir Walter replies in disbelief: "Anne? You want to marry Anne? Whatever for?". The couple in question merely smile at this and the film ends with the newlywed Captain and Mrs Wentworth aboard a ship sailing off into the sunset.

The story is simple but simplicity sometimes means better and the film certainly packs a more emotional punch because of this. Not only are the two leads at conflict with their own feelings, they are also at conflict with society around them which alas are made up of usually the snobbish who only think of social class and standing, e.g. Sir Walter Elliot or those who are endlessly trying to persuade them from their own liberty of thought, e.g. Lady Russell. Upon first watching this film, you might be struck by how nearly none of the cast are exceptionally pretty or handsome (I fear that the Hollywood obsession to put priority on good looks rather than acting ability in the majority of their films may have spoiled us somewhat) but I think that's a good thing - good looks will distract you from the acting which you might not necessarily notice when you're too engrossed with some stunning beauty or other. But having said this, Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds do grow on you during the course of the film and by the end of it, I personally thought Root to be exceptionally pretty (she does in fact bloom and transform from pale, wan woman at the beginning to one glowing with beautifully calm serenity) and Hinds to be extremely attractive (he very closely resembles Alan Rickman in this film in both looks and voice). The rest of the supporting cast were excellent with kudos going especially to Sophie Thompson as Mary (her "Where's my toast?" line always gets me laughing) and John Woodbine and Fiona Shaw as the Crofts (who also represent throughout the film the kind of close and affectionate marriage which Anne and Wentworth would end up following). The film was shot in natural light which means that the indoor scenes, particularly at night, appear to be very dark indeed but this lends an authenticity which one usually does not see in Austen adaptations...it really *was* that dark at night in those days while to further this goal, the women were not given any makeup at all. Jeremy Sams (who I know was the librettist of The Merry Widow production which premiered at the ROH in '97 with TA) is responsible for the delightfully atmospheric music which never overwhelms the listener and lends a wonderful musical insight of the mood in various scenes.

Overall, this is probably the most Austen-ish of Austen adaptations so far (and please do not attempt to watch the 2007 version of Persuasion where Anne appears to run a marathon across the wet streets of Bath just to get to reveal her feelings for Wentworth...and bizzarely enough without the inclusion of the letter scene [outrageous!]) and if you ever get the good chance to watch this film, I can bet you can easily see why I'd heartily recommend it.
almaviva90: (Poirot and Hastings)
Hurrah, just started watching Cat Among the Pigeons from Poirot and have just realised that the screenwriter of this particular episode is none other than Mark Gatiss who played Mycroft Holmes in the new Sherlock series which he also co-wrote. And no wonder, I'm enjoying the episode so far...it has this component of humour despite the subject matter which has been lacking in many of the recent Poirot adaptations and which was seen quite often in the earlier ones, aka the ones made from 1989-1999 with the rest of the gang (Hastings, Japp and Miss Lemon). Oh, and there's another brilliant thing...the person responsible for the music decided to put back Christopher Gunning's Poirot theme back in some parts of the episode. Ah, it feels like the good old days (I was quite sad not to hear the theme for such a long time to be honest...it really gives us a real sense that we're watching a genuine Poirot episode).

And Gatiss has also written another episode (Hallowe'en Party) while also appearing in Appointment with Death. Haven't got those episodes yet but I'll definitely keep an eye out for them.
almaviva90: (Sherlock)
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This would be a no-brainer...it's Justin Bieber. He's literally everywhere nowadays and I simply don't see the point why on earth he should garner this much attention. I was never a fan of Michael Jackson, for example, but I understood why his music was (and still is) so popular...something which I don't understand with Bieber. To me, Bieber's basically the musical equivalent of that wretched fantasy series, Twilight...overrated and uninteresting.

Instead of Bieber, give me Queen, ABBA, Muse, Coldplay and on a more traditional note, Mozart, Purcell and opera singers any day.

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January 2012

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