Last Friday, Laura and I went with friends Christa and Marty to London's famous Old Vic Theatre for a performance of National Anthems (by Dennis McIntyre) starring Kevin Spacey as Ben Cook. I did a bit of reading and discovered this play is something of an old favourite for Spacey. He first played the part of Ben Cook 17 years ago and has actually owned the rights to the play ever since. Going to the theatre in london is a real treat, not only do you get to see the best productions the world of theatre has to offer, but often you get to see some of the finest screen actors along the way. National Anthems stars, in addition to the eminent Spacey, such well known screen actors as Steven Weber (the reader may recall a TV series called "Wings") and Mary Stuart Masterson (of "Fried Green Tomatoes" fame) in the roles of Arthur and Leslie Reed. Theatre can often be unpredictable and uninspiring, but we were fortunate enough to go on a night when Spacey and indeed the other cast members were at their best. The play is truly an eclectic piece, altogether disturbing in parts and then at once raucously amusing. The audience is see-sawed as Spacey's character embarks on an exhausting tale both physically and emotionally. Spacey gives it as much energy as a third year drama student on final examination practical and much to his credit, pulls off a truly brilliant performance which only increases in orders of magnitude as the story unfolds. The play ended to deafening roars from the crowd who remained on their feet well into the fourth, well deserved, encore. National Anthems shows at the Old Vic Theatre until the 23rd of April 2005.
Finally, after months and months of aspiring to become the proud owner of a new BMW 1200GS, I finally capitulated and compromised on my second choice, the Vespa Granturismo 125cc. The Vespa, manufactured by Italian company Piaggio, has been something of a style icon since the introduction of the first model in 1946. Since then, Piaggio has produced scooters which were always eye-pleasing while still maintaining a reputation for reliability and performance, not bad for a company that started out making airplane engines only to be bombed nearly out of existence during the Second World War. Having taken ownership of this, my first Vespa only a few hours ago and having already clocked up 60km, I can understand why one can scarcely pass a bike parking zone in the city without noticing more Vespa's than not crammed between the striped lines. It truly is an elegant piece of engineering, graceful in its delivery, exciting in its inception, it raises my pulse to look at and curls the corners of my mouth skyward, I think this could be love. The black model usually comes with a mock-leather brown seat, but my dealership, Scooterpower, was good enough to switch that out for a black seat. in my opinion, this is a vast improvement and lends a certain classic disposition to an already iconically retro masterpiece. With smooth power delivery and granite solid build quality, the Vespa Granturismo 125cc is practically an urban survival tool and is highly recommended for anybody looking to escape the cattle mentality of red buses and scorching summer-time tubes. Set yourself free!
UPDATE 24/11/2005: I sold my Vespa to ScooterDen yesterday, it was a sad parting.