My Mum’s A Twat by Anoushka Warden, Royal Court Theatre Upstairs, 13 January 2018

Janie and I loved this short piece. It was funny and intelligent and emotionally complex…

…a superb debut play for Anoushka Warden. It turns out that Anoushka Warden is more or less telling her own story – about growing up with a mother who transforms from a loving parent into an all-but estranged mum running a cult’s outpost in Canada.

It also transpires that Warden works for the Royal Court as head of PR – explained in the interview/preview piece linked here. That might explain why Vicky Featherstone chose to direct it herself but also brought in the very promising director Jude Christian to co-direct.

Here is a link to The Royal Court resource on this play/production.

It’s a one woman show – this must be the first time we have ever been to see a brace of one woman shows in the same weekend – the other being Twilight: Los Angeles 1992 at the Gate the previous day:

Twilight: Los Angeles 1992 by Anna Deavere Smith, Gate Theatre, 12 January 2018

Actually I think we should start an actress emancipation campaign on the back of this weekend’s experience. In Twilight, Nina Bowers had to play 20 different parts and also serve the intermission tea and biscuits – yes really…

…while My Mum’s A Twat, albeit a less physical show, is running twice nightly, so poor Patsy Ferran will be on the stage for in excess of two and three quarter hours each night with not much more than 30 minutes break between performances.

And what a fine performance My Mum’s A Twat was too.

Here is a link to resources and reviews generally for this play/production. The reviews have mostly been good but not great reviews. We actually rated the piece and the performance very highly.

The main criticism seems to be that monologue itself is a limited dramatic form. I see that point, but it is also a very powerful form when done well…and this one has been done very well. The mixture of humour and sadness really works; you sense that the character/author has been both strengthened and emotionally damaged by her maternal experience.

We don’t have a picture of Anoushka Warden’s mum, so here is a picture of Janie’s mum instead. The use of this picture to illustrate this Ogblog piece does not in any way suggest that we think that Janie’s mum is a twat…
…so in the interests of balance, here is a picture of my mum (who also wasn’t a twat)

At the time of writing, My Mum’s A Twat only has a few more days to run at the Royal Court and is sold out. I hope it will get its deserved extension or transfer so that more people can get to see it.

Twilight: Los Angeles 1992 by Anna Deavere Smith, Gate Theatre, 12 January 2018

I’m so often saying how wonderful The Gate Theatre is under Ellen McDougall’s new regime, I’m starting to bore myself by saying it.

We loved The Unknown Island…

The Unknown Island adapted from a short story by José Saramago, Gate Theatre, 29 September 2017

…we loved Suzy Storck…

Suzy Storck by Magali Mougel, Gate Theatre, 10 November 2017

…and now I’m not going to surprise you by saying that we thought this production of Twilight: Los Angeles 1992 was also superb.

We nearly didn’t book it – we wondered whether this was overly heavy subject matter for us on a Friday evening and whether the 1991/1992 news aspect of it (the aftermath of the Latasha Harlins killing, the Rodney King video/policemen’s trial and the resulting riots) might make this verbatim play seem dated.

But in this post-truth, crazy era of ours the piece seemed eerily topical and prescient.

We arrived to a heaving lobby – there was a large party of Americans on a London Theatre marathon who had virtually bought out the house for the night.

Turned out the Americans were an exceptionally friendly and polite bunch who pretty much pushed us to the front to collect our tickets, apologising for the fact that they were a huge bunch of visitors preventing the locals from getting their tickets. Perhaps Janie and I had “make way/Brexity” expressions on our faces when we came in from the wind-chill-factor-enhanced bitter cold.

When we got to the front, apart from the ticket desk chap, the only faces that looked as though they might not be the American party were Daisy Cooper from the Gate production team (whom I mistook for an actress) and Caoilfhionn Dunne who had played Suzy Storck, but to whom I couldn’t say, “good evening Caoilfhionn” because I couldn’t remember how to pronounce her name; it’s pronounced “kay-lean”, btw. I did get a chance to congratulate her on her stellar Suzy Storck performance just before we all went in.

The ticket man didn’t give us tickets, he gave us badges to wear and a pen with which to label up the badges. I emblazoned mine thus:

At Janie’s request, I emblazoned hers with the name, “Daisy”, plus her talk about topic, “life”.

Daisy Cooper pointed out that her name was Daisy too.

On to the show, which is a one woman performance.

The actress, Nina Bowers, was superb. I have had to do some real detective work to discover her identity, though, as there was no leaflet on the night and at the time of writing (14 January 2018) the Gate website is silent on that matter.

There is an excellent preview piece by Ellen McDougall – click here – which says watch this space for cast…

…but on the main resource for this production – click here – at the time of writing, only the creatives are listed, not poor Nina Bowers, who has to play 20 parts all by herself and plays them brilliantly well. I guess the piece is about injustice and powerlessness in the face of such injustice, so perhaps Nina Bowers will enjoy the irony of her credit’s omission…

…or perhaps the injustice will have been put right by the time you read this Ogblog piece.

Nina even serves intermission drinks and biscuits to the audience – yes really. In fact, this is a performance without a real interval, but for 10 minutes towards the end of the show, the piece itself has a short intermission for tea, biscuits and conversation around the subject matter on our badges.

Janie and I chatted with a charming young American woman who turned out to be one of a handful of the audience who, like us, was not with the large party of New Jersey-folk. She was in fact from Orange County – not too far from the location of the riots but far too young to remember them. She must have been mighty confused when she asked about my fish, because I told her that my pet goldfish, Simon, had died and Daisy told her that my koi carp was named Peter and had gone down the plug hole.

No-one asked Daisy about life, probably because she had put her badge on upside down which made it quite hard to read.

If this all sounds silly and superficial, please do not be deceived by my ramblings and please do not be put off this play/production.

It is seriously well worth seeing – a very well-crafted piece of verbatim theatre about the terrible injustices that played out in Los Angeles in 1991 and 1992 which led to the riots, some further injustices and eventually an element of correcting some of the injustices and reconciliation. The USA has not eradicated the culture that led to those injustices and the subject matter seemed all-too relevant today.

I cooked a pasta dish for Janie after the show, using an excellent Speck sauce. We did not talk about fish and we did not talk about life – we were talking about Twilight: Los Angeles 1992.

Highly recommended, this play/production.

Cast – Nina Bowers – playing all the parts – remember where you read her name first.

Walk With Me, Curzon Bloomsbury, 7 January 2018

Hmmm.

Janie was very keen to see Walk With Me – she had heard great things about Thich Nhat Hanh, the Zen master who is said to be the father of the modern mindfulness movement. Janie very much enjoyed some of  his lectures on YouTube and thought the film would go deeper.

So much so that Janie was even prepared to schlep to the Curzon Bloomsbury on a Sunday evening, as that was the only slot that worked for us during the film’s opening weekend.

Here is the IMDb resource for the movie.

The film irritated us both for different reasons. In Janie’s case, because the film didn’t go deeper – in fact it didn’t really provide much insight into Thich Nhat Hanh’s ideas at all – it just showed his Plum Village community and a tour beyond…at a snail-like pace.

Mindfulness is one of those concepts I like in theory, but in practice – and I did try a mindfulness course few years ago and did stick it out – I found mindfulness itself a bit irritating.

Add to that general irritation an infeasibly slow movie, the condescending tones of Benedict Cumberbach and a young man sitting next to me who seemed to have brought a lifetime supply of noisy nosh into the cinema with him…

…you get my point.

For me, the only interesting part of the movie was when the monks go on tour to the USA, so you see the slow-moving, mindful monks up against the no holds barred, fast pace of New York City.

Janie missed much of the USA tour part of the movie because she started nodding off at that juncture.

Disgraceful.

I had done my nodding off and missing chunks of the movie during the earlier, unbelievably slow passages.

This link will find you reviews and other information resources.

Below is the trailer:

You might wish to judge for yourselves, but Janie’s advice would be to click through to some of Thich Naht Hanh’s mini lectures on YouTube – e.g. this one – click here – rather than waste your time with the movie.

Finns Ain’t What they Used To Be, Helsinki Baroque Orchestra, Wigmore Hall, 6 January 2018

OK, this baroque concert didn’t really have that dreadful pun as its title – but it did have a tongue-in cheek humour to it, certainly in the first half, which was dedicated to Telemann’s work.

Here is a link to the programme and basic information from the Wigmore Hall site.

Both of the Telemann pieces are relative rarities, new to the ears even of Telemaniacs like me and Janie:

  • Ouverture burlesque in B flat major TWV55:B8
  • Trauer-Music eines kunsterfahrenen Canarienvogels (Canary Cantata) TWV20:37

The Helsinki Baroque is a very together orchestra; seemingly a group of dedicated musicians who enjoy playing with and riffing off each other. We suspect that Aapo Häkkinen is metaphorically “gentle yet strong glue” for this Finnish combo.

Carolyn Sampson was the soprano for the evening. She stood right in front of us and sang magnificently.

The Canary Cantata – in full “Cantata of Funeral Music For An Artistically-Trained Canary Whose Demise Brought the Greatest Sorrow to his Master”, really is a most unusual piece.

Click here (or the embedded YouTube below) for a recording of a young American soprano, MaryRuth Lown, singing the piece;

My so-called friends who thought my German singing sounded like Yiddish in my Innsbruck Ich Muss Dich Lassen performance the other week should click through and hear this aria.

Gresham Society Soirée, Barnards Inn Hall, 14 December 2017

It begins with the following line oft-repeated:

O weh! mein Canarin ist tot

…which means, for those who need a translation into lingua franca…

Oy vay! in drerd mein feygele.

…but I’m diving too deep into detail. Actually if you want to read the whole cantata in English, click through the YouTube link above (not the embedded vid) as a full translation is there on YouTube. Weirdorama lyrics.

The second half of the concert was more “regular” in terms of familiarity and style, but still hugely interesting and enjoyable. J S Bach for this half:

  • Concerto in D major for harpsichord BWV1054 (from Violin Concerto in E major BWV1042)
  • Cantata: Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen BWV51

I don’t think I had heard that concerto with the harpsichord as lead instrument before; I have recordings of it on violin and piano.

The cantata was spectacularly good; Carolyn Sampson on top form, as was Nicholas Emmerson on baroque trumpet, going red in the face trying to get such a complex string of notes out at pace on that challenging instrument.

The encore was a complete change of mood, from the jubilant Bach “Jauchzet Gott” cantata to the mournful Handel “Eternal Source Of Light Divine” cantata.

The encore was also a triumph; albeit a calming one rather than an uplifting one. Here is a YouTube of Iestyn Davies singing it:

All in all, it was a wonderful gig; a delicious start to the year for our concert going.

I cannot find a YouTube of Carolyn Sampson with the Helsinki Baroque Orchestra, nor of that orchestra performing any of the pieces we heard, but the following YouTube gives a feel for that orchestra’s work at that scale (16 or so members) on a work of that period with a fine soprano…

…while the following is a YouTube of Carolyn Sampson with a different super orchestra – The Sixteen:

A Calm Twixtmas And An Indulgent Memory-Laden New Year’s Eve, 31 December 2017

Janie and I had a quiet time between Christmas and New Year.

We both did a bit of work, especially on the Wednesday.

I had a music lesson by Skype at the house on the Thursday; we even tried (but failed) to liaise and have a Skype with Pady later that day.

On the Friday, we had the next door neighbours – Joy, Barry and Marcie – in for drinks, nibbles and chat. They even requested a short recital on the baritone uke, so I’m clearly not driving them nuts with the instrument…

…yet…

…just wait until I get a pickup & amplify my sound up to eleven.

We followed the Ashes test by night/early morning for much of this period – England’s outside chance of pulling off a consolation win soon petered out into a bore draw on a dull as dishwater Melbourne pitch – what a shocker this tour has been for England generally.

We also watched a few things on the TV – a rare indulgence for us. Those things were:

  • Dumbo, in honour of my car and also because Janie had never seen it before. I hadn’t seen it for ages and loved it again. Janie fell asleep once the elephants started bullying Dumbo and his mum;
  • Shaun The Sheep The Movie – we both loved it;
  • The Look Of Love – as I often play real tennis with Carl Snitcher, who was Paul Raymond’s right hand man and therefore a character in this movie, it seemed only polite to dig out the movie and have a look. The movie was fun and interesting;
  • Jack Whitehall: Travels With My Father – on Kim’s recommendation. Took a trial subscription to Netflix to watch it. Good in parts. We both tired of it by the end;
  • Bowie: the Man Who Changed The World – we found this one on Netflix. Janie had wanted to see it for ages. We both found it interesting and enjoyable but gosh it jumps around a lot and there are some telling gaps in the story.

Janie wanted an indulgent evening in on Sunday and had procured some special treat goodies for the purpose. Her favourite is foie gras, which doesn’t really please me. Earlier this year she mistakenly suggested that I didn’t like caviar, so decided to treat me to a bit of that – the Ossetra variety, since you asked.

I tried to put on a nonchalant “this is what we do” expression for the photo…

“Oh yes, we eat and drink like this all the time”

…whereas Janie went for the more blokey “this is a bit of alright” body language:

“‘ave it.”

Unexpectedly, the caviar induced an involuntary memory in me, which I wrote up the following week – click here or below:

Strange Case Of Dr Green And Mr Knipe…And Beluga Caviar And Scotch Whisky And A Bust Of Hitler, c22 December 1981

Although we hadn’t intended to stay up past midnight, we were so chilled and took so much time over our indulgence, that we heard the sound of fireworks and realised that we had, inadvertently, actually seen in the New Year for the first time in ages.

So perhaps I should have dated this piece 1 January 2018.

 

Human Flow, Curzon Bloomsbury, 26 December 2017

What better way to cheer yourselves up on Boxing Day than to visit Janie’s mum in the morning and then to go and see Human Flow in the afternoon?

Seriously, our adjective of choice for this movie about refugees and the mass migration of people is “troubling”.

Ai Weiwei is a masterful artist, unafraid to combine high art with social and political issues – click here for our thoughts on the Ai Weiwei exhibition a couple of years ago. He shows himself to have a wonderful eye for cinematography too.

Here is a link to the IMDb resource on this movie.

Below is an excellent trailer that will give you a reasonable feel for the film:

It is not a movie for the faint-hearted. Janie wondered immediately after the film whether Ai Weiwei had gone too far when getting refugees to relate and revisit the horrors of their experiences. One woman starts to vomit while recalling her story, while one man, showing the record cards of his decimated family sounds traumatised almost to the point of insanity while retelling their tragedy.

But it is also a movie that looks at the movement of people in the abstract, with statements by political and civil leaders expounding many different views on the causes of and possible solutions for the migration crisis facing the world.

Ai Weiwei takes us to many of the world’s trouble spots. Janie and I have been to many such places ourselves, but have never really witnessed the more extreme causes of human migration first hand.

Janie and I visited a traditional Garo Village in Meghalaya in 2005, only to learn that the village has been razed by the electricity board and the Garo people were now living in a shanty, fearful of the wet season to come.Ai Weiwei is brilliant, in my view, by showing us the many sides to the story, from the deeply human individual cases to some beautifully shot scenes, some of people on the move, others of mundane scenes such as a gigantic pile of life jackets. Janie questioned whether Ai Weiwei’s eye for artistic images was appropriate when depicting scenes related to such suffering – so many migrants are lost at sea for want of, or despite those life jackets.

It is 140 minutes long, this film. I think it is a truly superb piece of documentary cinema. I challenge anyone to watch it and not be moved by it.

It will probably also change some aspect of your opinions on this politically and socially-charged subject. If you think there is a fundamental difference between refugees and economic migrants, for example, this film might make you start to think differently.

This film doesn’t provide answers, but it certainly informs and asks the right sort of challenging questions.

Paddington 2, Curzon Victoria, 24 December 2017

This is a simply fabulous movie. We loved the first Paddington movie; I think we both loved this one even more.

It is even more charming, even funnier and even more action-packed/exciting than the first Paddington movie.

Here is a link to the IMDb entry for the film.

Me, outside a pub in Victoria, before the movie

I posed for a photo outside a pub, The Albert, in Victoria, before entering the Curzon, for reasons explained by clicking the photo above or this link.

This was our first time at the Curzon Victoria – very nicely done the place is too – we’ll surely go to that one again if/when it suits.

But back to Paddington 2 – superb cast yet again, with Hugh Grant doing a brilliant job as the guest villain for this particular film.

There are bits that possibly tickle me more than most people – for example the way my Notting Hill neighbourhood is depicted – so charming & quirky…almost but of not quite as it really is. Except we do have a calypso band on almost every street corner…of course we do.

Indeed I absolutely love the way London is depicted in this film – a subtle blend of modern (e.g. The Shard) and old (steam trains, telephone kiosks, Victorian prisons…umm).

Paddington 2 really did have me and Janie laughing, crying and getting excited by the action like the pair of overgrown kids we clearly are.

If you haven’t seen it yet, stop reading and start making plans to go see this film.

Happy End, Curzon Bloomsbury, 23 December 2017

Reading about this Michael Haneke film in the Curzon brochure, it sounded very interesting and right up our street. Strangely, we have often noticed reviews of Haneke films and thought that they sounded like our cup of tea, but this (I think) is the first we have actually got off our butts and gone to see one.

We’ll be looking out for more Haneke films (including some of his earlier ones) after this experience. We thought this was a really superb movie.

Here is the IMDb entry for Happy End.

Talk about dysfunctional families – this high-falutin’ French family really takes the biscuit. They reminded me a bit of families you sometimes find in Francois Mauriac novels – just a more modern version.

Haneke tends to work with an ensemble of favourite actors and actresses, so it won’t surprise Haneke fans to see Isabelle Huppert  and Jean-Louis Trintignant, for example. A nice little cameo role for Toby Jones too.

Janie and I thought the stand-out performance was Fantine Harduin as the little girl, Eve, at the centre of the plot. Remember where you first saw her name!

Bass Viol (Viola Da Gamba) With Seven Strings, By DasBee, source https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AViola_da_gamba_basso_7.jpg

So why the picture of the rare seven-string bass viol and a name check for Hille Perl, one of the leading exponents of that instrument? Well, it is only a sub-plot but a rather full-on one; it is not all that often that you’ll see the terms sexting and viola da gamba in the same sentence…or in the same subplot. That subplot put the gilt on the gingerbread for early music lovers like me and Janie.

Fabulous movie, highly recommended by both of us.

Grimly Handsome by Julia Jarcho, The Site At The Royal Court Theatre, 22 December 2017

Experimental theatre. Installation theatre. Menippean satire, anyone? Julia Jarcho’s work is hard to categorise, apparently.

But this installation piece won awards in the USA and was chosen by the Royal Court as its pilot piece for a new chunk of SW1 real estate recently acquired sort-of next door to the Royal Court overlooking the tube platform; The Site.

Here is a link to the Royal Court resource on this play/production.

Sounded intriguingly weird and we thought we’d give it a try.

Sounded weird…WAS weird

About 20 minutes before the start of the play we were invited in to tour the installation, which was Christmas-themed and included a Christmas tree sales yard, a young woman’s bedroom, a gym, a cordoned-off crime scene that looked seriously grim…about 10 different scenes.

We were offered a cup of mulled wine for this tour, which Janie (Daisy) and I both declined, neither of us liking mulled wine. Several people took and drank the wine, while bemoaning their dislike of the stuff. Some people.

Then the show itself. The main performance space and seating area for the audience was scattered with video screens which could show, via CCTV cameras, the scenes we had toured.

A young woman dressed in some sort of animal suit operated the lights, the cameras the TV screens and even, at a couple of points, a cooker. Despite her pivotal role in the piece, from what I can gather she gets no credit in the programme or on-line at all, which feels wrong.

The three performers were simply superb. It is a very physical piece and the three actors have to keep changing roles – especially the female character who plays four different roles in the 90 minute piece.

Janie and I were really divided on this one.

I thought the piece very interesting and enjoyed its humour, gruesomeness and strangeness in equal measure.

Janie simply found it perplexing.

I felt I was doing fine deciphering the piece until the final part, in which all three actors were, apparently, red pandas, although one of the characters was gnawing away at the bones of (presumably) the murdered humans from the earlier parts and red pandas are strictly veggie, despite being quite closely related to carnivorous scavengers such as raccoons.

Even I struggled to decipher the last part, but I think that was supposed to be the idea.

Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, while Janie I think felt she could have done without feeling bemused at the end of a hard-working week just before Christmas.

Here is a link to help you find the mixed reviews from this Royal Court production – more agreeing with me than with Daisy I think, but it is not a competition.

24 Hours Of (Mostly) Real Tennis Excess Plus Reflections On 365 Days Of Reasonable Success, 21 and 22 December 2017

I mentioned my occasional role as a last minute substitute in my real tennis reflections at the end of 2016:

One In A Million: Reflections On Real Tennis At The End Of My First Calendar Year, 25 December 2016

…on the last two playing days of the 2017 year that role went into overdrive. I had booked to play at 11:00 on Friday 22nd, which was doubles – not what I would normally book but I think it was the only available slot on that last day of 2017 when I booked it.

In the end, though, I was asked if I could fill in at 16:00 on Thursday, then if I could play doubles for 90 minutes before that Thursday singles, then if I could stay on for an hour of “senior” doubles after my Friday booking, which had been switched from doubles back to singles.

In short, it isn’t just my clients who book up too much to do in the run up to Christmas and then cancel at the last minute. The real tennis community are masters at it.

Also, in short, that meant four-and-a-half hours of real tennis in 24 hours. That was a bit mad of me. But strangely it all went OK. In fact I improved my singles handicap by a good few notches during that 24 hours.

The 150 minute marathon on Thursday was a very exhausting idea, especially as the doubles as well as the singles was high grade, above my handicap stuff.

I drove home, then wandered round to the Ladbroke Arms to meet Kristof, whom I had met at Brian Eno’s economics shindig a few week’s earlier:

An Evening Of Economics With Eno Comics, Economy, 20 November 2017

Kristof is a very interesting chap of Hungarian origin who is a fund manager by profession, yet reads books and had even read The Price Of Fish since we last met.

When he arrived at the Ladbroke Arms, Kristof immediately apologised for his appearance. He was wearing a leather jacket, jeans and a dark-coloured beanie hat. Kristof explained that he was going to a punk party after our drink. I explained that his appearance was not entirely dissimilar to mine, which I consider to be normal attire for meeting a friend in a local pub. Here is a  reconstruction of the look, taken by Daisy a couple of days later in Victoria:

Me, outside the Albert in Victoria a couple of days later, modelling “that” look

We talked about life, the universe and just about everything. Topics (beyond The Price Of Fish) ranged from Brexit to the writings of George Mikes to our life stories & therefore (naturally) Ogblog.

But, sadly, Kristof and I failed to solve the world’s most wicked problems over a couple of small glasses of wine before Kristof went off in his “costume”. Must have been that extra 90 minutes or so of real tennis doubles that dulled my thinking that evening. Hopefully we’ll try again some time soon.

Back to Lord’s the next morning for a couple of hours more tennis. Bizarrely, the MCC now live streams and saves the games some days, so if you want a quick (or slow) butchers hook at this stuff, here is the stream of my Friday marathon – just the two hours from c2:02 (warming up for singles) until c4:05. The “senior doubles” after our hour of singles (we both stayed on) is with gentlemen who are both just over or approaching 90 years of age.

Unfortunately, the sound stream wasn’t working that day. so you can’t hear all the moaning and groaning – mostly from my opponents, naturally:

As for reflections on my 2017 progress; numerically it all looks and feels a bit strange. I got my handicap down to 60.9 by June, then it flew back up again for three months and then I whittled it back down to that 60.9 figure by the end of the year.

Apparently this pendulum thing happens; partly natural volatility, partly (I suspect) a bit of a seasonal effect but mostly because performance actually does plateau or even go backwards while you try to progress to playing “proper” shots rather than simply getting the ball back.

More importantly, I’d had lots of fun and continue to really enjoy my real tennis. Ogblog highlights of the year include the following, the first two of which have some very short video clips with sound. If you persevere you’ll encounter some real stars, including Rob Fahey (real tennis’s equivalent of Rod Laver) and even Paul McCartney:

Tie Me Boomerang Down, Preparing The MCC Team For The Boomerang Cup, Lord’s, 10 December 2017

An Active Day Off – Pole Dancing And Real Tennis, 27 November 2017

Big Match Weekend At Lord’s Part One: MCC v HAC Real Tennis Match, 21 July 2017

An Exploratory Mission Into Deepest, Darkest Essex, Prested Hall and Chelmsford, 27 & 28 June 2017

Here, There and Everywhere: Rather A Lot Of Real Tennis In Two Days and A Star-Struck Encounter, 14 & 15 June 2017

Three Courts In One Day, 29 April 2017

Anyway, here is a link to my 2017 singles results sheets with the names redacted.

I am now in the 53rd percentile of all players worldwide who have ever been logged on the system (over 10,800 of them). More realistically, I am now in the 67th percentile of those who play regularly. That makes me about one standard deviation from the norm. Let’s hope no-one latches on to “Standard Deviation” as my nickname. I think I’d sooner be the Galloping Bard or the Flying Ferret.