Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 1920 Film Screening at Temple Church

Watching a horror film in a beautiful churchTemple Church in London

Last night I had the pleasure of going to Temple Church to a screening of the 1920’s film Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. The church has recently raised the funds for a brand new organ and the film was accompanied by an organist’s creative improvisation.

I ashamedly have never read Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel, or seen any of the films, but had a grasp of the story.

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 1920 filmJohn Barrymore plays the lead role(s) in this film adaptation, and creates an atmosphere of horror mixed perfectly with humour and intrigue. I thought that being a silent film, I would feel somewhat detached from the story line and characters, but if anything the lack of spoken dialogue only gave more weight to the physicality of the actors.

Dr Jekyll 1920 film stillYou probably already know the story quite well, but Dr Jekyll exudes an air of dignity and general good-naturedness (hm… couldn’t think of another way to say it). He is a character who apparently is unable to be evil – often late home because he helps the poor in his free surgery, and is due to be wed to an upstanding lady in the community.

He is only tempted by the dark side when his bride-to-be’s father challenges him that there is a dark side to everyone, and one must give into temptation as and when it arises. Dr Jekyll is now tempted, and plans to make a physical alter-ego..

Mr Hyde 1920 film still

Following some chemical experiments Dr Jekyll finds the perfect potion to transform him into someone completely different, and he calls himself Mr Hyde. As the film goes on, Mr Hyde gets more and more hideous and commits grotesque deeds, in order for Mr Jekyll to remain a spotless individual.

The film embraces the farcical elements of the story, while also capturing the horror of his situation. I was absolutely captivated by this film, and watching it in Temple Church was an amazing experience. The church is by its nature quite cold, which added to the chill in the air!

I know that the organisers behind this screening are planning more events like these, and you can check their website to see. It’s a great thing that these churches are used for a variety of events, as these bring people into the building who may not usually go there. Also, Temple is such a beautiful part of London which is often overlooked, tucked away in the law buildings that feel so exclusive and hidden away.

You can watch Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde on YouTube

I would strongly recommend watching this film, it’s a true classic. Fortunately you can find the full film on youtube here. Enjoy!

We finished off the evening by heading to Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese pub on Fleet Street – what a treat!

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Service Charge in Restaurants: is it just me?

In the last five years this has crept in to become the ‘norm’: 10 or 12.5% added to your bill in a restaurant. Automatically. Regardless of how many of you. Regardless of how good or bad the service is.

When a restaurant automatically puts service charge on my bill, I become absolutely determined not to pay service charge, and I also don’t want to leave a tip. If they did not put service charge on the bill I would probably leave a tip when I experience good service! Even if I have enjoyed the experience of going to the restaurant, and liked the staff and food, this taints the whole thing.

Today I went to a restaurant on Berners Street with my friend Samantha. It was just the two of us, and we wanted a quick lunch. Despite clearly being in a rush, we constantly had to call the waiters over, as the service was quite poor and we were ignored much of the time.

Can we have the bill please?

To top this off, when they brought us the bill (and then disappeared, as seems to be customary with all waiting staff, despite you holding your bank card in your hand) it stated 12.5% service charge. I folded the bottom of the receipt so that it just showed the sub-total. I then said I would pay the £9.95 I owed for my meal on my card. He pretended not to hear me! He unfolded the bill and said “you split?”. I explained no, I am paying for mine – £9.95. He put this through and I could see what was about to happen.

My friend then gave her card and said the amount she would put on it, and he said “the service charge?”. I said no, it’s optional, and he said “You didn’t like the service then?” so that I had to grumble something about putting some coins on the table instead. I didn’t, of course, as they were rude and what a cheek to charge a whopping 12.5%! As a result, I am never going back to that restaurant. It makes no difference that the food was quite nice – that’s forgotten in the wake of bad customer service and assumptions that you want to pay for their service.

Back in the day

“Service charge” used to be paid in the form of tips, if you particularly enjoyed the experience. It was always meant to be voluntary and friendly thing that the customer can do as a way of saying an extra “thank you”. This assumption that everyone should just pay it without question is appalling. I now go out of my way to give a big tip at places that really impress me, and that don’t feel the need to push their customers into it.

I found a place that does not charge service: Pizza Express. Who would have thought it?

Sorry for the rant – I had to get it out of my system…

PS: I was charged £1.20 “admin fee” in a black cab yesterday – does anyone know anything about this? Is this new?

Fundraising: A Study in Generosity

Last Saturday I spent 12 hours fundraising at Kings Cross. One thing I will say about it is that though I raised a great deal of money for Kidscape Children’s Charity, I will never do it again!

Fundraising Trends…

During my twelve freezing hours fundraising at Kings Cross underground station, I created a script for myself, and performed it much like a fruit seller. This all came very naturally and from no where! My advice for fundraising (and collecting in particular) is to just jump right in. When I got to the station at 7am there was only the station staff there, but I started my script straight away, as I wasn’t going to get any donations if I just stood there silently with a bucket…

My Fundraising Script

So, the phrases that seemed to come so naturally from me that day included:

Stock phrases – used often

“Spare change for charity?”
“Have you got any change to spare for charity today?”
“Collecting for Kidscape Children’s Charity”

Things I threw in there every now and then

“Pennies for Kidscape?”
“Coppers for charity?”
“A little goes a long way for Kidscape”

Rare ones – testing the market

“No direct debits!”
“Small change makes a big change for Kidscape” (this one became a favourite of mine)

My findings

It’s weird the trends that come out when you’re collecting for charity!! The main thing I noticed was that around 80% of the donators were men. I can’t decide whether it’s because men are more generous or because it’s easier for men to get to their pocket change!

To add to that, and perhaps this strengthens the argument for men being more generous, I’d say about 95% of male donators gave £1 or more. In stark comparison, women tended to give small change, with about 80% giving silvers or less. Saying that, out of the three five pounds notes I received, two were from women.

To conclude!

I raised a total of £450 in 12 hours, and am so so so grateful to everyone who donated! I am raising money for Kidscape and am running the Paris Marathon, and that money took me to 80% of my target!

I’m not sure if anyone else will find this interesting, but I did!!

As ever, any marathon training or fundraising tips are much appreciated!! 🙂

British Museum, London: Shakespeare, Staging the World

I was lucky enough to get some tickets (thanks Dad!) for the first day of the Shakespeare: Staging the World exhibition at the British Museum. It’s on from now until 25th November 2012

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What I thought

Firstly, my advice is to give yourself at least two hours to take in the whole exhibition – it is MASSIVE! Its array of historic artefacts, literary references (of course) and multi-media displays successfully put Shakespeare’s world into context.

What the exhibition covers

It starts with the history surrounding Shakespeare’s age – you can study old maps and tapestries, paintings and letters. I especially liked the handwritten ‘noticeboard’ for the Bear Baiting ring near the Globe. To think that people over 400 years ago have read this just baffles me.

Each of the major plays is broken down into historical facts and figures, actors reading various parts through video and audio, transcripts and information boards. Othello is my favourite (… or Julius Caesar – still can’t decide) and there is a whole section on the ‘other’ in society, and the art cropping up in Venice, where there was much more diversity of culture than in England at that time.

The British Museum has worked closely with the Royal Shakespeare Company on this one – and it’s spot on!

I found the exhibition fascinating, though I did have sore feet from wandering around and enjoyed a well deserved lunch afterwards! We headed to Savoir Faire on New Oxford Street in case you were wondering! £12.99 for a two course lunch – yum!

Find out more!

British Museum Website : Shakespeare Staging the World