Squid Game, James Bond and Murder Island have me hooked - Liam Rudden
Bond is back. So is cinema, theatre and music and of course, television never went away. I have to admit, it feels good.
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After months of working from home, it's good to be getting out again, mitigating the risks and living again, rather than existing.
The week past has been a prime example of how things are changing. It's been a long time since I've had a play, concert and movie in my diary all in the space of seven days.
It was a small-scale piece of theatre that tempted me out last Saturday evening. Andy McGregor's sung-through musical Spuds, from Sleeping Warrior Theatre Company, started life as part of the A Play, A Pie and A Pint programme. It tells that tale what happens when David MacGonigle's wife dies and his perfect middle-class life collapses around him - think Breaking Bad set in Glasgow's 'posh' West End and you'll get the picture.
Extended by 15 minutes for its visit to Assembly Roxy, where a full house revelled in the nonsense of addictive Iron Brew infused chips with hallucinogenic properties, Spuds is a joyous, frivolous, silly, absurd piece and just what we all need right now, a timely fix of music and laughter.
On Wednesday, Erasure's Andy Bell and Vince Clarke returned to the Usher Hall with a mammoth 24 song set, although I have to admit, when I saw the on stage time I suddenly realised I must be getting really old as the first thing I did was try to work out what time the concert would finish as the boys weren’t taking to the stage until 9pm.
Thursday, 11am, found me at Cineworld, Fountain Park, ready to take in the latest James Bond epic.
Now, I'm not a huge James Bond fanatic, that Roger Moore remains my favourite probably tells you that, but over the years I've probably seen most of the films without ever really going out of my way to see them.
Consequently, I wasn't expecting much from No Time to Die and what expectations I did have were tempered by the running time – two hours 43 minutes. No movie needs to be longer than 90 minutes.
That said, I sat gripped, totally immersed in the action sequences thanks to the wrap around experience of Screen X, which certainly adds an extra dimension to the excitement.
I’d been surprised to see a friend sum up Daniel Craig’s last Bond outing as a 'beautiful’ film. A huge 007 fan, the word 'beautiful' seemed an incongruous choice to apply to the spy franchise. He wasn't wrong. Loved it.
Of course, not everyone is ready to venture out completely yet and, if like me, you've been watching more telly than usual let me recommend two series that have reeled me in.
The first, Squid Game, on Netflix, is violent, visceral and acutely poignant. Compelling viewing for the reality TV generation or just a good futuristic romp if you come from the ‘Logan's Run’ generation, as I do.
The other is Ian Rankin's Murder Island, Tuesdays, on Channel 4. There's been a murder and teams of amateur detectives are on the case, uncovering secrets and clues along the way. The question is: Can you solve the crime before they do? I have my suspicions already.