City Lights Night Paddle

In the last few weeks, Chicago has been trying to flush out all human life with sunshine and then drown everyone who emerges in apocalyptic storms. I actually can’t remember if I always distrusted lightning as much as I do now, but after that stormy night in a Peruvian tent and my subsequent googling into all the different ways lightning can kill you (did you know it can sneak along the ground and then jump up at you like a snake?) I’ve ratcheted up my defences. So, most of this blog is about staying inside and watching things. However! There has been one outdoor photo-worthy trip: our nighttime City Lights paddle down the Chicago river, courtesy of an excellent Groupon, which was beautiful and fun. (Not pictured: clinging to the side of the river waiting for a giant barge to slowly manoeuvre itself round the bend.)

We got the kayaking team back together again

We got the kayaking team back together again

Happy on the water

Happy on the water

Downtown

Downtown

All kayaks returned safely ashore

All kayaks returned safely ashore

Otherwise we’ve stayed mostly dry and indoors, playing Dominion against Amanda (thanks to Katie, we now have a board game enjoyed by the whole flat) and arguing about the pro-predicate do. In our ongoing quest to watch more films we saw A Most Wanted Man (chosen after Eric Ambler put me in the mood for a good thriller) or “how the Americans always mess things up”, and Christopher Nolan’s low-budget debut film Following, which was great. (I know this is anathema to Jason, but some things do work better in black and white.) We’ve also started The West Wing from the beginning: a high-concept fantasy series in which the White House conducts daily on-camera press briefings and leads national policy debates.

Recently we also saw Pilgrims at the Gift Theatre – a “two misfits trapped in a room” play with the slight sci-fi twist of setting the room on a spaceship. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of this one so looked up some reviews to tell me what to think, but they were unhelpfully polarised, so my settled middle ground is that I really enjoyed the characters but think they could have done with a tighter story and a bit less ambiguity. Big props to Jasmine, an excellently-realised robot/avatar-type character who provided suitable comic relief.

This afternoon we also enjoyed The School for Lies, an English adaption of Molière’s 1666 comedy of manners The Misanthrope with some added mistaken identity runarounds and a much jollier ending. Obviously the rhyming verse isn’t a patch on the original French, but it was very funny nonetheless. (I kid. I do not speak French, and I’m basing my comparison solely on Wikipedia. Je suis désolé.) Earlier this week, I also tagged myself onto another Improv Shakespeare outing with James, Keleigh, Munchie and a gang of interns. The Licentious Wink was particularly notable for its extended BBC jokes and Great British Bake-Off scene, featuring an uncanny Paul Hollywood impression. Great stuff.

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