Who’s the girl in the Apple Christmas ad?

You know, the one who sings along with Frankenstein’s monster.

That’s the question I asked myself, my daughter asked herself and my wife likewise.

It took a fair bit of Googling to find the answer. But I found it.

She’s Pixie Davies. You might have seen her in Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children.

Turns out my daughter follows her on Instagram.

You can too. Here

We love your work, Pixie. x

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King’s Cross: getting closer all the time.

King’s Cross is getting closer and closer to completion as the days go by (you’d hope). I’ve touched on it before and over the Christmas period they revealed even more to us. You could get a  glimpse of their new ticket hall from different vantage points. Any day now I’m expecting to see the hoardings fall away to reveal the full monty. Well, the briefest of Googles offers us this thrilling insider shot of the new ticket hall. If you’ve ever wanted to see it filled with rail workers in Santa hats, hold on to your trousers because your wish just came true!

The new ticket hall (1000 Santas not included).

And here’s a quote from the press release:

“Over 600 people – from engineers, electricians and builders to carpenters, stone masons and abseilers – who are working to transform King’s Cross station got into the festive spirit today to celebrate the end of major construction work on the new western concourse. The new concourse is the stand-out feature of the £500m redevelopment of King’s Cross to make it into a world-class transport hub. The striking domed roof covers an area three-times the size of the existing concourse and big enough to fit over six Olympic-sized swimming pools. As well as providing a brighter, more spacious station, it will contain a wide range of new food and drink outlets and shops, plus improved facilities which will improve the journey experience for passengers.”

Christmas in January.

Just how long can you drag Christmas out for? Our tree was out in the garden before the year was out – but it was dead on its feet, drooping alarmingly.

Not so at the Gordon Craig Theatre in Stevenage; Christmas is still in full swing. Their version of Snow White is running until January 23. Now I’ve been to see it and I heartily recommend it, so the good news is you’ve stll got time to get along and see the show. It stars Sue Holderness out of Boycie and Marlene out of ‘Green Green Grass’ out of ‘Only Fools and Horses’.

Katie Rowley Jones needs directions for the West End, apparently.

Anyway, it’s not unusual to have a panto run to the end of Jan. However, in the run-up to the show, the theatre played Christmas tunes in the adjoining walkway that leads to the station to get everyone in the mood and hopefully flog a few more tickets. So here’s the thing: they’re still playing these tunes now and it’s January 19.

"...in the lane, snow is glistenin'..."

It just seems like someone needs to say, “We’re halfway to Valentines Day now, let it go. Christmas will come round again next year (or later this year).”

I read somewhere they had to rename the dwarves (Dopey to Dippy, etc.) to avoid failing foul of Disney’s legal eagles. Boooo!

I always enjoy reading the programme to see what else the actors have been in. What did I learn? That you have to be a pretty rubbish dwarf not to have worked on Star Wars or Harry Potter. They’ve all done ’em. The theatre must have to decide on Snow White very early to make sure they can book all 7 dwarves – there must be a run on them at Christmas. No good getting 5 and making up the numbers with fully-grown Lanky and Lofty.

Saw a couple of ’em in Tesco the other day. Easy to spot if you’re near enough.

Shopping trolley news from our Nice desk.

My shopping trolley posts of last year proved so popular, I’ve brought them back – and this time with a chic, international flavour.

Low season in Nice. Very low.

I was lucky enough to spend Christmas in France. We treated ourselves to a mini-break in Nice for 2 nights in that calendrial* hinterland between Christmas and New Year – you know, that time when you literally have to scan the Radio Times to discover what day of the week it is.

Nice is great. Amazing for shopping. Even better for people watching. This is clearly a favourite pastime with everyone here as people don’t sit opposite each other outside cafes, they all face out as though spectators for the continuous catwalk of humanity passing before them.

Anyway, a disappointingly overcast walk along the famous promenade turned up not one, but two shopping trolleys on the beach.

They. Get. Everywhere.

Is it enough to suggest twinning Stevenage with Nice? Nice should be so lucky…

* totally made that word up, John.

Stevenage. By Royal Appointment.

Just read a bit in the news about Her Majesty the Queen taking the train up to Sandringham for her Christmas break. I suppose it’s part keeping it real for the subjects and part saving money.

Stevenage awaits Her Royal Highness.

She would have travelled from King’s Cross as far as King’s Lynn (and kings and no queens, eh Liz?) and gone by road from there. Can you see where I’m headed (and indeed our glorious monarch) with this ? Through Stevenage. Unless they spend millions so the Queen doesn’t have to go though SG1, she does actually pass by Stevenage – probably at around 100mph, but even at that speed you can still make out the Gordon Craig Theatre, the bright lights of Lytton Way and the massive B&Q.

You must stop by and explore your nation’s first New Town, Ma’am. Be lovely to see you.

My Celebrity Whirl – Panto Edition.

It never rains, it pours.

Next up in my pantheon of stardom is John Altman, best-known as Nasty Nick Cotton from out of off of off of EastEnders.

Where are the brussel sprouts? Behind you!!!

I’d been meaning to mention the panto at Stevenage and John has forced my hand. So there I am in Tesco getting some bits for my son’s birthday party and who’s that inspecting the lettuce – my new best pal John. He’s playing the lead in Aladdin at the Gordon Craig Theatre, cultural beacon of Stevenage and the one landmark you could pick out from the train if you were just passing through.

Must be opening night soon. So are they putting John up in a swanky hotel somewhere nearby (the Ibis is perilously close) or have they found him a nice place to rent for a month? My money’s on the latter.

Checking a YouTube interview, John says he’s staying up in Henlow – that’s about 20 minutes away. Still reckon it’s a house.

In the meantime, you can keep up with rehearsals with this fascinating behind-the-wall, fly-on-the-scenes video-blog!

Panto season.

Yes!

Yes!

On a Christmassy tip, this is the poster for Stevenage panto (at the Gordon Craig theatre, which adjoins the station’s car parks). This year it’s Jack & The Beanstalk ‘starring’ David Spinx out of Eastenders. Good to see Dave’s keen to stretch himself, exploring a whole new character and avoiding the trap of type-casting: one character a frightful, lumbering monster and the other, the giant from Jack & The Beanstalk. Does that work? Kind of. But not as well as I was hoping. Anyway, my wife took our daughter to see it and it got two thumbs up. The free sweets and the sing-song at the end were a ‘true tour de force’ according to my 4-year-old.

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