Quote Of The Day

"Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake - Chessmaster Savielly Grigorievitch Tartakower (1887-1956)"

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

My two tips...

My two tips - take lots of exercise and eat properly. The list of problems it helps with is almost limitless; depression, not being able to sleep, anxiety, confidence, longevity, heart disease. You name it, basically. Your mum was right.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Party Time / Celebration - "Crass, dazzling and hilarious" - @JamieLloydCo #PinteratthePinter @HPinterTheatre #PinterSix

Last Friday night Stuart and I went to see a brilliant duo of Harold Pinter plays at the Harold Pinter Theatre in London's glitzy West End.

Billed as part of the Pinter at the Pinter season, this night was called "Pinter Six" being the sixth collection. Superbly directed by Jamie Lloyd, it was stylish double bill of party-set comedies by the great man.

The stellar cast were top notch - Ron Cook, Phil Davis, Celia Imrie, Gary Kemp, Tracy-Ann Oberman, Abraham Popoola, John Simm, Katherine Kingsley and Eleanor Matsuura were all excellent.

The night started with 1991's Party Time - a scathing, bitter and very funny attack on the increasingly powerful and narcissistic super-rich, all dressed in black, set against the backdrop of terrifying state oppression. It was set at a swanky soiree, at which John Simm’s obsequious Terry is trying to sell Phil Davis’s prim official Gavin on the merits of his fancy members’ club. But other things are trying to intrude: Terry’s wife, Dusty (Eleanor Matsuura), keeps asking as to the whereabouts of her brother, Jimmy, despite Terry’s venomous attempts to get her to shut up. And there are allusions to violence and protests on the roads. Meanwhile, the double doors at the heart of Soutra Gilmour’s set are sporadically hammered upon, a dazzling light shining between the cracks. It is a hilarious, unnerving evocation of the bubble of extreme privilege at the top of a dictatorship. Celia Imrie almost steals the night with her dry put-downs of her dear but departed friends. Cruel but clever.

The second play, Celebration, written in 2000, is an irresistible comedy about the vulgarity and ostentatious materialism of the nouveau riche, set in a fashionable London restaurant. Our cast to die, now clad in cheap suits and covered in bling, for are all scoffing at a fancy restaurant after a night of culture they failed to understand and can barely remember. They are all full-on old school Eastenders intellectually outclassed by the staff who wait on them. It is an evening of social satire that chimes with our times.

The high point comes when the raucous boozing is broken up by the interjections of Abraham Popoola’s waiter, who butts in to inform the bemused carousers of his grandfather’s friendship with various titans of the literary world.

A top night out. We laughed and laughed. This Pinter season has really hit its stride. Roll on Pinter Seven!

Friday, January 11, 2019

The Tragedy of King Richard the Second : "Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown"

Last night Stuart and I went to see William Shakespeare's The Tragedy of King Richard the Second (better know as simply Richard II) at the Almeida Theatre in London's glitzy Islington.

In a nutshell: "Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown." Simon Russell Beale's king shows how powerless the powerful can be as Britain faces its own political paralysis.

Political plotting has become a national pastime in Britain of late. Hardly a week goes by without an attempted parliamentary coup. The Tragedy of King Richard the Second, Joe Hill-Gibbins’ stark distillation of Richard II starring a superlative Simon Russell Beale at the Almeida Theatre, keys into that febrile climate of treachery and mistrust. With courtiers circling his crown like vultures, Russell Beale’s Richard becomes a paranoid, panic-stricken king: a monarch so wary of defenestration and, with it, death that his reign seizes up as if rigor mortis had set in. A leader caught in the headlights, a ruling class waiting to strike, a nation gripped by paralysis — what could better encapsulate Brexit Britain?

Not that Hill-Gibbins’ production is pat. This is a psychological study of power and its accompanying perils. Stripped back to a skeletal plot that can, admittedly, be hard to follow, Shakespeare’s most poetic history play becomes a political thriller — a tale of how to topple of a king. Leo Bill’s dead-eyed Bollingbroke returns from exile with a revolutionary fervor, homing in on Richard’s crown like a heat-seeking missile. But he and his supporters must pick their moment or else their treacherous efforts will mean their deaths. With nobles nipping at the king’s heels, testing their strength then retreating into the crowd, this becomes a twitchy, jittery staging, always on edge. The pulse of war drums gets under the skin and designer Ultz’s iron-grey box set offers no escape. It turns civil war into a cage-fight to the death.

Beginning at the end, with a dethroned Richard philosophizing in jail, Hill-Gibbins gives the play a Taoist twist. Is this a man who dreamed himself king, or a king who wakes to find himself a man? The difference between the two states is slight — a simple gold crown that, here, seems to have teeth. The second Russell Beale slips it on, Richard’s mortal vulnerability vanishes into stately authority. Its presence gives him absolute power — the ability to affect the world with a word. Subjects fall silent whenever he speaks and, on his say-so, rebels like Bollingbroke can be instantly banished.
It is an unnatural position, as Russell Beale makes brilliantly clear. Instead of the usual ill-equipped king, too meek to find the mettle required to rule, his Richard is simply in an impossible fix. He is, effectively, in a snake pit surrounded by vipers and, though he preaches peace outwardly, he snaps viciously at anyone who might step out of line. Adopting a princely posture, hands on his regal hips, it’s not that he’s ineffectual, but that he’s outnumbered, fighting potential foes on all sides.

By framing Richard’s courtiers as a chorus rather than distinct characters, Hill-Gibbins shifts the center of the play. The six-strong ensemble see-saws between Richard and Bollingbroke, from royalists to rebels, huddling like a flock of flamingos as if wary of stepping away from the safety of the pack. Isolated traitors wind up dead, modishly sploshed with a slop-bucket of stage blood. Instead, they cling to the walls, desperate not to be seen, and scatter like sparrows that have spotted a crow. Yet they are all waiting, primed, for an opportunity to strike, sometimes snaking up to the king, sometimes snapping like hyenas. But they’re an unruly bunch, bickering between themselves, and their in-fighting triggers a wonderfully silly set-piece as glove after glove gets thrown down and political plotting descends into a playground free-for-all.

There’s a reason Richard’s crown looks a lot like a snare. It’s a trap — a target every monarch wears on their head. Indeed, the crown contains a contradiction: the absolute power it confers is outweighed by the vulnerability it brings with it. As its wearer, Russell Beale can only wait, gloomily fatalistic, to be knocked from his perch, and when he sits on the ground to "tell tales of dead kings," he’s not burying his head in the sand so much as facing up to his reality. He makes leadership look like a cruel form of psychological torture, where no one can be trusted and nothing seems real. Britain’s imperiled and incapacitated prime minister must know just how he feels.

It’s something Bill’s Bollingbroke discovers for himself. So steadfastly thuggish in opposition, he wilts when he gets his hands on the crown, wary even of putting it on. It adds a grim inevitability to the play’s final moments, as his loyalists call out the names of potential opponents he’s had dispatched in quick and chilling succession. Power is precarious unless it’s made absolute. "Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown" — as does the nation waiting on its word.

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Oven Trouble...

Oh @AEG_Global I really wanted to buy your lovely AEG DCE731110M double-oven. But guess how many buttons I pressed to get a typical 180C? Go on guess! 1? 3? 4? No... 10. Yes, 10!

And don't get me started to how to turn off one oven without turning both off! #LifeIsTooShort 

Monday, January 07, 2019

"LGBT people. Footie fans. Supporters supporting each other. Having fun. Not just talking the talk but walking the walk.Sometimes the best way to way to walk is to simply put your best foot forward" @GayGooners

We Gay Gooners had a memorable away trip to Blackpool to watch the mighty Arsenal take on the slightly less-mighty Blackpool this weekend just gone in the FA Cup third round. It was a weekend to remember - and not just for the Blackpool 0-3 Arsenal score line.

We played crazy golf in the dark, danced and drank in a few gay bars (more on that later), and frequented enough JD Wetherspoon pubs to make you think they might be going out of fashion.

And although we had fun at the game together, had lots of laughs hanging out together, spent lots of bonding together, we also got to speak to many other people too. People not in our group.

Gay people, straight people, just people. We talked about the work we do at Gay Gooners - our aims, our goals, and philosophy. And I think created a lot of allies as a result.

They got to see us in our natural element. LGBT people. Footie fans. Supporters supporting each other. Having fun. Not just talking the talk but walking the walk.

And sometimes the best way to walk is to simply put your best foot forward.

Friday, January 04, 2019

Blackpool Bound!

Me and a bunch of GayGooners are on their way to Blackpool for an FA Cup away game this weekend.

What fun (or not!) awaits us?

Let's see!

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Mariah & Friendz at Bethnal Green Working Men's Club...

On NYE Andy, Kev, Stu and I wen to  Mariah & Friendz at Bethnal Green Working Men's Club.

A string of queer, drag, acrobatic, fire-eating, Mariah Carey impersonators? Yup, usual NYE night out at BGWMC!

Monday, December 31, 2018

Hot Gay Time Machine "Camp as Christmas" ...

Last Saturday night Andrew treated Stuart, Kev, Andy, Alex, Tim, Andy, Michael, Andrew and I to a night out at the theatre in London's glitzy West End.

The term Camp as Christmas has seldom seemed more appropriate than when attempting to describe what is going on downstairs at Trafalgar Studios this Xmas. From the moment you get in there to be assaulted by banging dance tunes and yelled greetings from exuberantly rampant co-creators and performers Zak Ghazi-Torbati and Toby Marlow, and clock the BeyoncΓ© cutouts, shimmer curtain and flashing coloured lights, it's clear that this is going to be no conventional piece of theatre. You're definitely not in Kansas anymore. Also, if you don't like being forced into audience participation, you'd best avoid the front row! You're welcome.

Marlow and co-author/director Lucy Moss are also responsible for the wildly successful Six, and HGTM – as it's emblazoned in huge mirrored letters across the back of Anna Reid's gloriously tacky set – offers a cursorily similar combination of catchy, derivative tunes overlaid with coruscating lyrics. Whereas Six ingeniously reinvents the wives of Henry VIII as a sassy girl group, Ghazi-Torbati and Marlow's subject for this bonkers cabaret is...themselves. Lucky then that they are such an engaging pair.

As the 'Time Machine' zips backwards and forwards, we get tongue-in-cheek re-enactments of their coming-out scenarios, plus a toe-curling moment when Ghazi-Torbati's strait-laced dad catches him trying on women's clothes, nights out clubbing in their gay infancy, and more, all interspersed with witty pop songs. Having scored a hit on the Edinburgh Fringe with HGTM, the boys cheerfully admit they have done little more than shoehorn-in festive references to prepare for this Christmas season ("we're busy, we're gay, we've got brunches to go to") and one of the recurring gags of the evening is seeing just how tenuous that can get.

Despite the flash and glitter of the surroundings, much of the show is devastatingly well-observed: I especially liked the "Over The Rainbow"-inspired number for a couple of grudgingly gay-accepting straight guys who lament that they no longer feel comfortable appreciating rainbows and unicorns. It's often flat-out hilarious.

If it's also a little relentless and heartless – every potentially touching moment is punctured by a bitchy put-down or outrageous chorus – the sheer charm of the performers means that it never quite tips over into obnoxious. Puck-like Marlow sashays on like a cute, preening cross between Millie O'Connell's BritPop Anne Boleyn in his own Six musical, and Andy Bell of Erasure in his 1980s prime. A natural clown, he's also a killer pianist, decent vocalist, sensational twerker, and works the audience like a seasoned entertainer: he's fabulous.

Ghazi-Torbati is the more low key of the pair – although 'low key' is very much a relative term in a show as hysterical as this one – but is equally good, unleashing a genuinely terrific, rangy singing voice, and crack comic timing. Also, he morphs impressively into a variety of figures from the boys' remembered past.

In all honesty, a show this random and up-for-a-good-time would probably work better somewhere like the Two Brewers or downstairs at Soho Theatre where the patrons have constant access to the bar, and the post-performance dance party could happen a bit more organically. Still, at 75 minutes long, it's a perfect length (ooh er missus!) and going to make a lot of people very very happy this Xmas.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

The Tell-Tale Heart at National Theatre...

 Last night Stuart and I went to see Anthony Neilson's enjoyably schlocky The Tell-Tale Heart at the Dorfman Theatre on London's glitzy South Bank.

Based on the short macabre, gothic tale by Edgar Allen Poe, The Tell-Tale Heart is a twisted, graphic and darkly-comic treat.

This meta, post-modern, funny, retelling turns unreliable narrator into a playwright (Tamara Lawrance). Struggling to write a follow-up play after her debut smash hit, the writer rents a Brighton room from a landlady (Imogen Doel) in hopes of breaking through her writer’s block. When Doel’s Landlady reveals to Lawrance her hideous - and cartoonish - eye condition, Lawrance becomes haunted by the vulture-like orb that sees right through her. Interspersed are scenes with the Detective (David Carlyle) interrogating Lawrance’s writer over the whereabouts of a missing woman.

Things soon take a turn for the gory and we are soon climbing the heights of high drama. Murder, drugs, suicide, gore, and LGBT politics - it is a heady mix knowingly full of references to other gothic tales.

Most of its last half hour acts like it’s about to end and then refuses to, rebounding each time you think it might have finished with a new, madder scene. It is all feverishly enjoyable. However, an actual important final twist feels a bit tossed away, buried under an avalanche of mutant blood-red herrings.
Great fun though.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

This year’s Christmas Cracker joke writers are certainly upped their game —->

A mother sent her child out to buy some edable silver ballbearings to decorate a birthday cake. Only the child didn't understand and bought steel ballbearings instead. 

They all ate the cake but the next morning the first daughter comes downstairs and says "Mum, when I shit this morning I had ballbearings come out of my arse."

The second daughter comes downstairs and says, "Mum, when I cleaned my Tampax out this morning I had ballbearings on it."

The little son comes downstairs and says, "Well, you think that's bad. When I wanked myself this morning I shot the cat!"

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Delete Christmas! #DoctorWhoXmas

Happy Christmas everyone. May your days be merry and bright. πŸŽ…πŸŽ„

Bah humbug! πŸ˜€

Monday, December 24, 2018

The Cuban Brothers

Last night Dave, Kerry, Stu and I went to see The Cuban Brothers perform at The Jazz Cafe in London's glitzy Camden.

The Cuban Brothers perform a fusion of comedy, salsa and breakdancing where creator Mike Keat plays ex-porn baron-turned-entertainer Miguel Montavani.

Born of the loins of seventies Havana, nurtured on a diet of soulful, sexy tunes and inspired by Cuban historical fact and mythology their fresh approach to live entertainment whips up a frenzy at every gig. Their legendary performance combines music, riotous comedy, and sensational dancing.
We loved it.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Want to buy a super-duper, sexy, dishwasher safe, limited edition @Gaygooners mug as a last minute Xmas present for you or your loved ones? Well, follow this ink -->

Want to buy a super-duper, sexy, dishwasher safe, limited edition Gaygooners mug as a last minute
Xmas present for you or your loved ones? Well, what are you waiting for? Let us know while we still have some stock left.

Order online from the Gaygooners shop (with free UK P&P) £15


Thursday, December 20, 2018

Bros: After the Screaming Stops is the epitome of genius. “Rome wasn't built in a day. But we don’t have the time Rome has.”

Bros: After The Screaming Stops is a joyous, cringing, Spinal Tap of a film. 

For 90 minutes, the two 50 year-olds Matt and Luke Goss, scratch away at each other's fragile egos and insecurities, apparently oblivious to the camera crew documenting each perceived slight and hissy fit. 

Some of the best (unconsciously) funny lines...

“Rome wasn't built in a day. But we don’t have the time Rome has.” Luke Goss

"I made a conscious decision because of Stevie Wonder not to be superstitious" Matt Goss

"I'm a Londoner. Embankment. Big Ben. Cab drivers." Luke Goss

"The best toy we had growing up was a dart. No dart board, just a dart." Matt Goss

"One of my songs is called We're All Kings. Which is about a man sweeping the road - he's one of my kings because I'm thankful I don't have to sweep the road." Matt Goss

"The letters H.O.M.E. are so important because they personify the word home." Matt Goss

“When Will I Be Famous?” they once asked. Well lads, you have made it when French and Saunders take the piss if of you.

Or Sister Wendy critiques your dog and pint painting.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Fiddler on the Roof...

Last Friday night Stuart and I went to see Fiddler on the Roof at the Menier Chocolate Factory in London's glitzy London Bridge Quarter.

We simply loved it.

Walking into the Menier Chocolate Factory is like walking into a shtetl in early 20th century Russia, dark and smoky. The wooden slats and gable-roofed shacks of Robert Jones' set embrace you. Alongside you, stand figures in well-worn black, dusty brown and gray, their heads covered, their prayer aprons poking out from their heavy coats. Every detail has a texture, a delicacy and authenticity.

With its story of generational conflict and the battle between tradition and change, this crowd-pleasing musical, based on a group of stories by Sholem Aleichem, has become one of theatre’s hardy perennials — often professionally revived on both sides of the Atlantic, endlessly staged in American high schools, and even startlingly popular in Japan.

Combining an ebullient score by Jerry Bock and sentimental lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, it’s sometimes knocked for being kitsch. But in Trevor Nunn’s polished revival, which boasts a cast of nearly thirty and an excellent eight-piece band, it’s at once a feast of dance, a bouncy comedy and a defiant portrait of Jewish resilience.

Andy Nyman plays Tevye, a poor Jewish milkman living in the fictitious Ukrainian village of Anatevka with his stoical wife Golde (Judy Kuhn) and their five daughters. It’s 1905, and the threat of anti-Semitic violence hangs in the air. But Tevye has more immediate worries, as his daughters seem intent on marrying men he doesn’t favour — an unsettling sign for him of how customs are giving way to modern ideas of progress.

From the very start, Nyman's Tevye, finds his own way through the milkman's conversations with God, about his life and his troubles. The famous opening line of "If I Were a Rich Man" becomes a combination of a wish and a grumble about the pain in his back; as he negotiates the song those little "daidle deedle daidle" fillers become different statements of his mental state, until they break out finally into an exuberant dance, and Nyman powers round the stage, arms raised.

Proud, put-upon and addicted to misquoting the scriptures, Tevye is a romantic. Nyman’s performance is contagiously amusing, yet it also has soul and an earthy sense of precariousness. One song contains the lyric "Life has a way of confusing us, blessing and bruising us". Although at first the bruises don’t look that dark, we come to see that Tevye’s family is at risk of being displaced as a result of the Tsar’s brusque directives.

Nyman is the show’s anchor, but there’s vivid work all around him — from Dermot Canavan as amorous butcher Lazar Wolf, Joshua Gannon as timid tailor Motel and Stewart Clarke as Perchik, an educated outsider whose radicalism unsettles Anatevka’s norms. All the while Darius Luke Thompson as the titular fiddler stalks the periphery, a symbol of the world’s fragile balance.

This is a show famous for its set-pieces. The choreography is by Jerome Robbins and Matt Cole, and the highlight is a sequence in which four villagers spectacularly advance across the stage with bottles poised atop their heads. Nunn’s interpretation revels in this heightened physicality, but it’s also thoughtful, warm and intimate.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake...

Last night Stuart, Debbie, Shelly and I went to see Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake at the Sadler's Well Theatre in London's glitzy Islington.

In this Swan Lake, we see the return of the show which, in 1995, changed the British dance landscape for ever. Bourne gives us a repressed and unhappy prince (Liam Mower), rejected by his icily unloving mother (Nicole Kabera), and growing up amid the stifling protocol of court. Encountering the Swan (Matthew Ball, guesting from the Royal Ballet), who may or may not be a figment of his imagination, he falls in love, only to be viciously rebuffed when the Swan’s human double materialises. The final act is shattering, a headlong plummet into tragedy.

The current production features dancers who were not born when the original was launched 23 years ago, and it’s easy to forget what a risk Bourne was taking in his homoerotic framing of the story. The 90s was a less tolerant era than our own (one newspaper captioned a picture of Bourne’s male swans with the words “Bum me up, Scotty”), and if the ballet’s dramatic momentum had faltered it would have sunk, probably taking Bourne’s career with it. But strong storytelling and a charged emotional core ensured that Swan Lake flew, and continues to fly.

Mower is an engaging and technically accomplished prince, Kabera is suitably chilling as his chic basilisk of a mother, and Katrina Lyndon is very funny as the prince’s gauche, puffball-skirted and repeatedly rejected girlfriend.

However, from the moment of his first entrance, it’s Ball’s show. As well as being an assured technician, he’s a dance actor of real charisma. As the Swan, he’s dangerous and commanding, all sinew and hissing aggression; and as the Stranger he’s as disdainful as he is sexually predatory, cutting a ruthless swath through the female courtiers before finally, to the prince’s excruciating distress, battening vampirically on to the Queen.

To ballet regulars, Ball’s performance will come as no surprise. Fast-tracked by the Royal Ballet, he has made promising inroads into roles such as Albrecht (in Giselle), Crown Prince Rudolf (in Mayerling), and Romeo. But here he really cuts loose, revelling in the physical and dramatic nuances of the role, and in the extremes of the characters he portrays. It leads one to wonder whether classical ballet, and the Royal’s increasingly abstract repertoire, is a radical enough canvas for his talents.

Bourne asks hard questions of the ballet, whose first performance in a form that we would recognise today (with choreography by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov) took place in St Petersburg in 1895. Why might a man imagine himself to be in love with a swan? What form would this swan take, and in what imaginative realm might such a strange love story unfold? These were the same questions that Petipa and Ivanov must have asked themselves a century earlier, but which subsequent productions have tended to avoid. Swan Lake today is all too often a beautiful ritual, all too rarely a compelling drama. Bourne’s production is not perfect. The choreography can feel repetitive, and the characterisation of the vacuous, bitchy courtiers is so unvarying that it ultimately loses its edge. But the emotional truth of the piece prevails, as it always has.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Great to make our donation of money collected at @PrideInLondon by @gaygooners and @octopus_energy to @BobWilsonBWSC for @AFC_Foundation

Last Saturday afternoon Arsenal’s match against Huddersfield Town was dedicated to The Arsenal Foundation, as the whole club united to give together. Octopus Energy and GayGooners had generously got involved, presenting The Arsenal Foundation with funds they raised together at Pride 2018.

At Pride, over 100 Arsenal GayGooners and Octopus Energy staff, not only marched together in the big parade on the day itself, but hosted a range of other events throughout Pride week.

Ahead of kick-off against Huddersfield, representatives from both Octopus Energy and GayGooners were pitch side with a giant cheque for The Arsenal Foundation, which was collected by Arsenal Legend Bob Wilson on the foundation’s behalf, in front of nearly 60,000 people.

A picture of the handing over of the cheque was distributed on Arsenal’s Instagram Stories twice (Saturday and Sunday), as well as going out on The Arsenal Foundation’s various social channels.

Copy of the activity also appeared in the match day programme, of which 18,000 were sold.

Social Results
Arsenal’s Instagram Stories:
▪ Saturday’s post
− Impressions: 501,499
▪ Sunday’s post
− Impressions: 533,336

The Arsenal Foundation
▪ Facebook, Instagram & Twitter − 2k+ likes

Great cause, well organised, and great to meet Bob.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Frankie Boyle @frankieboyle @TheHenChickens

Offensive, crude, outrageous, un-PC, painfully truthful, and very, very, very funny. 
But that's enough about my friend Tom, we both went to see Frankie Boyle on Monday night. 

People queue early at a Frankie gig - not to sit at the front but to sit at the back! He has a reputation.

Typical joke from the night...

"Xmas time is a time for kids really. My Xmas childhood came to an end when I realised Santa's semen tasted like my Dad's"

We laughed like drains. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

The Merry Wives of Windsor "We may have moved from Brentford to Brentwood but The Merry Wives of Essex has much to offer" @TheRSC #RSCWindsor @BarbicanCentre

Last Friday night Stuart and I went to see the first performance of the Royal Shakespeare Company's latest production of The Merry Wives of Windsor at the Barbican Theatre in London's glitzy Barbican Centre.

This modern-dress production was fabulous - less classic Shakey and more full-on pantomime. Fiona Laird’s production relocates the action from middle-class Windsor to modern Essex - the Essex of TOWIE, that is - so, of course, we laughed like drains.

The wives were endowed with estuary clothes and accents, the set festooned with wheelie-bins and pink flamingos, and the comedy and wordplay beautifully physical.

David Troughton, equipped with a permanently projecting codpiece and caressing his body with ill-disguised delight, was a first-rate Sir John Falstaff and enunciated every syllable with great clarity. Laird's intention was clearly to show a sexual predator being vanquished by resourceful women. And accordingly both Merry Wives Beth Cordingly and Rebecca Lacey made the point that wives may be merry without being treated as sexual objects.

Jonathan Cullen's Dr Caius wrang every laugh out of the funny-Frenchman joke by pronouncing 'ears' as 'arse'. Vince Leigh fully captured the torment of the insanely jealous Ford. And David Acton as the Welsh parson beautifully lead the audience in a chorus of Bread of Heaven.

We may have moved from Brentford to Brentwood but The Merry Wives of Essex had much to offer.

Monday, December 10, 2018

“I’m taken” How to wind up a homophobe 101 @GayGooners

I do weary of this little bit, but I don’t think they will ever be a fix, ever be a solution. Homophobia will always be part of our lives and the lives of generations to come. Sorry to put a bit of a downer on this but I don’t think there will ever be a "solution". In the same way there is never a solution to ignorance there is only ever education. And through education (and sometimes gentle humour) we hope to change the hearts and minds of the majority and make the idiots stand out even more.
And that my friends is something the Gay Gooners do by just existing as a group. Our visibility is an education to many. And hopefully comments like this idiot will be seen as out of step with the majority. 

Visibility, education, and Pride. 🌈

Friday, December 07, 2018

The Cane - "Relevant, dangerous and exciting - it could be subtitled as Revenge of the Snowflake"; #TheCane @RoyalCourt ...

Last night Stuart and I went to see The Cane, a new play by theatrical provocateur Mark Ravenhill, at the Jedwood Theatre Downstairs, part of the Royal Court in London's glitzy Sloane Square.

The play is a disturbing debate-rousing three-hander where Anna (Nicola Walker playing brilliantly against type) is a hard-edged educationalist daughter who has come to visit her parents Edward and Maureen (played by Alun Armstrong and Maggie Steed).

There is not much love lost between Anna and her parents but as Edward is retiring from teaching after 45 years this initially seems like a simple Sunday morning well-wishing visit.

Only there is more going on than first appears. There is a riot going on outside the house. A brick has come through the window. And as Anna discovers more of her father's misdeeds does she in fact know more than she is letting on.

Relevant, dangerous and exciting it could be subtitled as 'Revenge of the Snowflake.'

We were at the first preview and the acting was fine if a little rushed. The staging seemed a little heavy-handed at times and some of the dialogue a tad repetitious. Our main issue was the basic conceit however. Is using the cane, something that was outlawed in the UK way back in 1986, really a crime? And if so can such crimes be punished retrospectively? But then again, these are perhaps the questions Mark Ravenhill wants us to think about.