Films, plays, music & exhibitions 2013

2013 has been a good year for films for me. The ones I saw were: Quartet, Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty, Hitchcock, Song for Marion, Olympus Has Fallen, Les Miserables, The Great Gatsby, Monsters University, White House Down, Diana, How I Live Now, The Fifth Estate, Philomena, Parkland and The Hobbit – The Desolation of Smaug. This is a total of 16.

It’s hard to decide which was the best, but I was very impressed with the second film of The Hobbit trilogy, was touched by Song for Marion, and was totally blown away by Les Miserables. Lincoln was a convincing portrayal of the great man, and of American history at that time, and for sheer tension and excitement, Zero Dark Thirty, White House Down and Olympus Has Fallen were hard to beat. The Great Gatsby was interesting, mainly because I read it many years ago as a school set text. Diana was enjoyable, with Naomi Watts interpreting Diana’s character very well (certainly it deserved none of the criticism it received!) Parkland was about the JFK assassination from the viewpoint of witnesses at Parkland Hospital, where he was taken. Finally, the film that probably affected me most was How I Live Now, with Saoirse Ronan as an American girl sent to live in England as war breaks out.

Turning to music, I cover my own musical activities in my general review of 2013, but here I mention the concerts and musicals I attended. I saw two excellent tribute bands: Rainy Days and Mondays (The Carpenters), and The ELO Experience, three musicals:  White Christmas, Phantom and High Society, and a ballet (Rite of Spring/Elite Syncopations performed by the Scottish Ballet).

I don’t go to many plays, but in 2013 I saw The Mousetrap (at last), and The Audience (with Helen Mirren).

Finally, I saw some notable exhibitions this year: Roy Lichtenstein (Tate Modern), Life & Death: Pompeii & Herculaneum (British Museum), Lowry (Tate Britain), Laura Knight Portraits (NPG) and Paul Klee (Tate Modern).

So, despite the increasing demands of my job, I haven’t done too badly on the culture front this year!

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