Quote Of The Day

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

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Beverley Said It Best....

When you are having a really shit time at work. And your boyfriend leaves you a note as he knows how to cheer you up and make you laugh. That. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

“What brings you to these parts?”...

Watching a Kenneth Williams doc last night. On location the interviewer asked, “What brings you to these parts?” 
“I’ve got a lousy agent”

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Friday, October 16, 2020

Mind the gap. Dinner is served...

Tasting menu. 6 courses. Mexican / South American menu. Amazing. Food was fab, the service great, and I would absolutely recommend it. https://supperclub.tube @supperclubtube

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Talking Heads #4 : Nights in the Garden of Spain and Miss Fozzard Finds Her Feet @ Bridge Theatre...

Last Saturday afternoon Stuart and I went to see the final brace of Alan Bennett's Talking Heads monologues put on at the Bridge Theatre in London's glitzy London Bridge Quarter.

And a clever double bill this was. Both monologues featured fetishism in the suburbs; the first as perverse cruelty, and the second as ridiculous pleasure.

Nights in the Garden of Spain sees Tamsin Greig play a woman married to a controlling man. She is crippled by politeness though and suppresses everything but gently questioning. However, when she is suddenly confronted by darkness next door – dark hoods, dangling handcuffs, cigarette stubbing voyeurs, and a gunning down – she sees her own life in a new darker light. Her smile falls on her face like a shadow.

Our hearts break as Greig delivers the perfect bittersweet line, "I'm pinning my hopes on his prostate."

Marianne Elliott direction is great here; the sinister face of silence and the desperation of the long-married woman are perfectly displayed.

The piece finishes on a more upbeat tone however. The surprising and startling discovery of affection is genuinely tender. And funny.

Things become funnier still with the second monologue of the night. Maxine Peake plays it for laughs in Miss Fozzard Finds Her Feet.

A tremendous comic caper – with touches of Julie Walters's wry delivery - Peake's Miss Fozzard seems at first flattered at the attention her feet are getting and then rather knowing. For Miss Fozzard has a fan. A chiropodist with an easy eye and even easier wallet.

Sarah Frankcom direction sees pairs of shoes placed around the stage – stilettoes, flats, and some more comfy items. All ready for Miss F to slip on. "It gives me immense pleasure to have your feet in my hands", says our chiropodist.

At the start, she is the client and pays him. But then the roles are reversed, as is the payment, and the power dynamic. Before long she can walk all over him. Literally.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Talking Heads #3 : Playing Sandwiches and Lady of Letters @ Bridge Theatre...

Last Saturday Stuart and I went to see the third brace of Alan Bennett's Talking Heads monologues put on at the Bridge Theatre in London's glitzy London Bridge Quarter. 

They were both stories of crimes followed by their punishments.

Playing Sandwiches sees Lucian Msamati deliver a fine performance as unassuming park attendant Wilfred, a man who befriends "kiddies" and hints of a paedophilic past.

Directed by Jeremy Herrin, it is an unsettling monologue that gradually ratchets up the tension as it goes along. Initially Wilfred seems like a nice enough guy telling us stories of his day to day life but it is with a sense of dread we realise he has a dark and hidden past. Two truly shocking moments come in quick succession; Wilfred not only abuses a seven-year-old girl, but he displaces the responsibility for his actions on to the child – "She knew what she was doing." The audience gasped.

Later he speaks of his behaviour: "It’s the one bit of your life that feels right and it’s that bit that’s wrong." We fight to feel any compassion.

The second story is the more famous one to many that sees Imelda Staunton take on the mighty Lady of Letters that is Irene. Irene is a funny old thing. Always complaining. Shooting off letters to her local council, her MP and the Queen, while her anger takes increasingly savage turns. 

While writing letters these days might seem a bit anachronistic, she might just as easily be today's keyboard warrior on Twitter. 

Directed by Jonathan Kent, Lady of Letters has a stronger script than Sandwiches that can be enjoyed for its sheer comedy value alongside the shocks and jolts.

Taking on Patricia Routledge’s original imperious 1988 performance is a quite some challenge but Staunton manages to deliver a more playful delivery and despite frequent hearing, we still laugh at the put-downs and one-liners.

For both of our criminals the inevitable prison life seems to deliver an escape. Liberation for Irene ("the first taste of freedom I’ve had for years"”) and an escape from himself for Wilfred ("a place with nobody there at all").

I must say that both plays do come across much better live than their equivalent TV versions earlier in the summer.

Friday, October 09, 2020

"Sorry. Can I stop you right there? You caught me at a really bad time. I hope you understand. I'm too tense to pretend I like you."

Door bell rings. Run to answer it. Smiling face. 

"Hello, we are asking you, our neighbours, to sign a local petition we are getting up to oppose..." 

"Sorry. Can I stop you right there? You caught me at a really bad time. I hope you understand. I'm too tense to pretend I like you." 

If they were looking for action... they came to the wrong place. Taking no prisons today!

Thursday, October 08, 2020

RIP Jumbo Jet...

Watching the last iconic jumbo jet BA 747 take off on telly this morning made me feel quite sad. Such fond memories of the 747. When I first walked onto one I thought “I’ve made it!” And then looked around for Joan Collins!

Tuesday, October 06, 2020

Friday, October 02, 2020

Charlotte and Jos (hard at work) creating their new home....

Great to see Charlotte, Jos, and Manning’s new house - soon to be new home - in Meldreth. Big rooms, big garden, lots to do, but it will soon be a lovely. 

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

York: Minster, Castle, Ancient Walls, and Van Gogh...

Yesterday Stuart and I spent a full day exploring glitzy York city. 

York is a lovely city. Lots of old streets (“gates”), city gates (“bars”), rickety old buildings, churches, forts, cobbledy streets, a largely intact city wall you can walk along, riverside restaurants and bars, and of course the commanding York Minster too. 

Luckily for us there was an immersive Van Gogh exhibition in town too. We tried to see it in Paris earlier in the year but had just missed it. Here an old church has been converted into an art space. Projectors embedded in the walls and the ceiling projected animated versions of Vincent’s greatest works in a rather  trippy show of glowing, breathing masonry. It was great. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

York: Moors, Dales and Whitby...

Today we went up on t’moors. Down t’dales. And out t’Whitby. All part of our lovely tour of glitzy Yorkshire.

Broken down abbeys and priories, sprawling granges, windswept moors, coarse heather, wandering sheep, the odd sharp word, the expected blunt replies, the North sea, the Dracula castle, gorgeous fish and chips,  picturesque cottages, Harry Potter’s station, Heathbeat’s cottage, steam trains, beautiful vistas, lush green rolling countryside.  Nice here.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Up North...

Stuart said we were going to a hot spot 🌞 
Turns out it’s actually a hotspot 🦠

To York for a few days. 

We will stay safe though. We both have been practicing our Paddington stares.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

I WANNA BE KATE: The Songs of Kate Bush - Remastered & Expanded...

Back in 1998 71 musicians, 19 engineers working in 13 different studios produced a compilation album of cover versions of Kate Bush songs. The first official tribute album to Kate Bush. And it was fab.

Well, in 2020 that album has now been lovingly remastered and expanded to add a further seven songs. And, if possible, it's even fabber!

I WANNA BE KATE: The Songs of Kate Bush - Remastered & Expanded


01. The Aluminum Group - L'Amour Looks Something Like You (2020 Remaster) 04:46
02. Susan Voelz - The Sensual World (2020 Remaster) 04:16
03. The Moviegoers - Hounds Of Love (2020 Remaster) 04:51
04. Syd Straw - The Man With The Child In His Eyes (2020 Remaster) 03:12
05. The J. Davis Trio - There Goes A Tenner (2020 Remaster) 05:07
06. Nora O'Connor - The Saxophone Song (2020 Remaster) 05:15
07. Justin Roberts - You're The One (2020 Remaster) 04:50
08. Mouse - Coffee Homeground (2020 Remaster) 04:56
09. Catherine Smitko - Jig Of Life (2020 Remaster) 04:08
10. Victoria Storm - The Kick Inside (2020 Remaster) 04:12
11. The Baltimores - Running Up That Hill (2020 Remaster) 03:27
12. Diamond Jim Greene - Home For Christmas (2020 Remaster) 03:42
13. My Scarlet Life - Suspended In Gaffa (2020 Remaster) 03:36
14. The Plunging Necklines - Kashka From Baghdad/Babooshka (2020 Remaster) 05:08
15. Trinkets Of Joy - Love And Anger (2020 Remaster) 04:19
16. Thomas Negovan - And Dream Of Sheep (2020 Remaster) 06:32
17. Tom Dunning & Your Boyfriends - Not This Time (2020 Remaster) 05:01
18. Butterfly Child - Top Of The City 04:56
19. Zapruder Point - You Want Alchemy 03:33
20. Yules - Cloudbusting 04:37
21. Tristan an Arzhig - Joanni 06:03
22. Grimeland - Among Angels (Live in Denmark) 05:43
23. Michael Ross - A Coral Room 05:18
24. Tom Dunning & Your Boyfriends - Nocturn (feat. Carol Keogh) 08:22

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Talking Heads #2 : The Shrine and Bed Among the Lentils @ Bridge Theatre...

Last Saturday Stuart and I went to see the second brace of Alan Bennett's Talking Heads monologues put on at the Bridge Theatre in London's glitzy London Bridge Quarter. It was the RAC followed by AA.

The Shrine sees Monica Dolan play Lorna, a woman coming to terms with the death of her husband Clifford. Or is it Cliff? As Lorna sets up a shrine near the place where Clifford's motorbike left the road and crashed into a tree various characters come forward who cast doubt on who Clifford really was. A bird watcher? A speeding wanker? Gay? A friend to many others certainly, and a distributor of Lorna's fancy sandwiches. And who do you call when your husband dies anyway? The RAC?

As Dolan summons for us the skid marks on the road, which her shrine making doesn't want transgressed, the circling kite, the field of sheep, we keenly feel her loss. It is a study in bereavement made all the more potent by its complexity: does Lorna feel grief or only loneliness? And the decision to bear witness has its own kind of quiet heroism, not exactly dented but transformed by meeting a surprising fellow mourner.

Compared to the recorded TV version earlier this year (also played by Dolan) here the piece felt so much more alive. Ironically for a piece about death.

The tone of the second piece, Bed Among the Lentils, is far more comic: Lesley Manville's deadpan vicar's wife Susan, looks back on her adventures and brief moments of happiness while under the influence of the sherry and the communion wine. The monologue maintains a tone of scathing sarcasm towards Susan's hypocritical husband and "fan club" flock that invites us to laugh along with her. After Susan eventually attends Alcoholics Anonymous, her husband even uses the fact to further his own career - exampling his own sufferance and forbearance. More eye-rolling laughter.

The tender notes of the play do come and are sounded towards the Indian grocer – 26, lovely legs – who creates for them both the Bed of the title.

Manville is as charismatic as ever.

The cathartic sense of loneliness shared in both these plays could not be more timely or welcome.