Quote Of The Day

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

Friday, June 23, 2017

Piebury Corner - Kings Cross...

One of my favourite pie shops has branched out. Welcome to Kings Cross Piebury Corner!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Kraftwerk: 3D...

Last night Stuart and I went to watch electro pioneers Kraftwerk bring their immersive 3D multimedia concert to the Royal Albert Hall in London's glitzy South Kensington for the first of their final three nights of their 2017 UK tour.

Bringing together music and performance art, Kraftwerk’s 3D concerts are a true Gesamtkunstwerk – "a total work of art".

Kraftwerk was formed in 1970 by Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider. They set up their electronic Kling Klang Studio in Düsseldorf, Germany, and by the mid 1970s had achieved international recognition for their revolutionary electronic soundscapes and their musical experimentation with robotics and other technical innovations.

With their visions of the future, Kraftwerk created the soundtrack for the digital age of the 21st century. Their compositions, using innovative techniques, synthetic voices and computerised rhythms, have influenced an entire range of music genres, from electronica and synth-pop to hip hop and techno.

We loved the show - the 3D was really astonishing - and the music beautiful, rhythmic, and joyous.

Standout tracks for me were Computer Love, Radioactivity, Tour De France, and The Robots. Sadly no Showroom Dummies this time round but a boy can dream.

The set list was:

Computer World
It's More Fun to Compute / Home Computer
Computer Love
The Man-Machine
The Model
Neon Lights
Intermission / News
Geiger Counter / Radioactivity
Electric Café
Tour De France / Prologue / Etape 1 / Chrono / Etape 2
Trans Europe Express / Metal on Metal / Abzug

Encore 1:
The Robots

Encore 2:
Aéro Dynamik
Planet of Visions
Boing Boom Tschak / Techno Pop / Musique Non Stop

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Brian Reitzell feat. Debbie Harry & Shirely Manson - "Tehran 1979"...

I realy, really, really love the Debbie Harry vocals on the Donna Summer-esque disco track "Tehran 1979" from the final episode of American Gods.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Ludovico Einaudi...

Last Saturday night Simon, Laura, Stuart and I went to see Ludovico Einaudi perform at The Royal Chelsea Hospital just off London's glitzy Sloane Square.

Ludovico Einaudi is the famous Italian pianist and composer whose minimalist scores have graced a wide range of both films and TV shows. Among many others, he's contributed to Shane Meadows's This Is England, This Is England '86 and This is England '90, Ricky Gervais's Derek, the theme to TV show Doctor Foster, Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan and Clint Eastwood's J. Edgar.

The night was rather magical. We were treated to two hours of the maestro's works in the glorious setting of The Royal Chelsea Hospital. As the sun set the sky was lit up with a natural light show of oranges and pinks as the music took flight and soared.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Juniper Manor...

Last Friday night Stuart and I went to experience Gingerline's latest immersive experience at a hush-hush location along London's glitzy East London Overground Line.

Gingerline is a secret dining club. They tell you at 4pm on the day where to go. It is always somewhere on the East London Overground Line ("Gingerline"). This was a gin themed one called Juniper Manor.

The night was sponsored by Sipsmith - appropriate for the gin-soaked connection - and the foyer was a Gin Palace with a multitude of gin-based drinks on offer. Once the experience started each room offered up not only a scene from the past but also food and a gin cocktail of that era too.

We have done all the other Gingerline events too but we have always kept the trips secret and never written about the content in detail as they ask you not to.

We liked it. Whether it is worth the money or not I think depends a bit on your opinion on spending £68 on a meal / immersive experience. It is fun but for £68, you would probably get a better meal elsewhere - but not a better show!

Friday, June 16, 2017

On The Town...

Last night Stuart and I went to see On The Town at the Open Air Theatre in London's glitzy Regent's Park.

"Sex and art don't mix. If they did, I'd have gone straight to the top!" So observes Maggie Steed's drunken singing teacher Madame Dilly. And she couldn't have been more wrong. They mix perfectly in this show.

With an impressive Leonard Bernstein score, Olivier Award-winner Drew McOnie - celebrated for his choreography on Jesus Christ Superstar - directs and choreographs On The Town, the Open Air Theatre's biggest dance musical yet.

Three US sailors have 24 hours in the Big Apple and they are all after one thing - a date for the night. Only these New York gals come with bite. Smart and sexy these women are no one-dimensional man-eaters. They know what they want, they sing, they dance and they are funny as hell.

The show is a complete wow - colourful, exuberant and slick. Maybe the songs are not as A-grade as say Bernstein's West Side Story, but any quibbles are soon forgotten as the show spins and pirouettes on. There is even a particular touching gay scene as one sailor meets his beau.

In particular, the second act with its tour of one cheesy Coney Island club after another dances the line perfectly between taking the piss and unashamedly enjoying the silliness of it all.

Danny Mac, Jacob Maynard and Samuel Edwards play Gabey, Chip and Ozzie - roles made famous on film by Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra and Jules Munshin - and Siena Kelly, Lizzy Connolly and Miriam-Teak Lee take the roles of Ivy, Hildy and Claire.

It you like you musicals stylish, stylised and downright show-busy - this is the show for you.

New York, New York, it’s a helluva town!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Pink Floyd Exhibition: Their Mortal Remains...

Last Sunday Stuart, Paul, Si, Simon, Jo and I went to see The Pink Floyd Exhibition: Their Mortal Remains at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London's glitzy South Kensington.

Pink Floyd are one of the greatest bands in the history of music. Their expansive sound, thought-provoking lyrics and quintessential English style and humour have won them fans across the world.

They have sold over 200 million albums and through five decades have pioneered music composition, technology, staging, graphic design, photography and film.

Taking us on a journey from their early 1960s beginnings and gigs at such places as the UFO club through each album and on to worldwide tours. The artefacts and stories behind them were extensive and extraordinary.

As you enter the show, you are handed a set of headphones, which automatically play back music or interviews to you individually as you approach each video screen or enter different areas of the exhibition. It is a brilliant idea and works really well.

If you like Pink Floyd... Go!


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour...

Last Friday night Bryn, Stuart and I went to see Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour at the Duke of York's Theatre in London's glitzy West End.

Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour has been adapted for the stage by Lee Hall, based on the 1998 novel The Sopranos by Alan Warner.

It tells the story of a choir of Catholic schoolgirls on a trip to Edinburgh for a competition. Foul-mouthed and with a thick Scottish accents our six teenage heroines power-housed their way through 90 minutes of stories of booze, fags, sex, abortion, sailors and theft all to the soundtrack of ELO songs. What's not to like?

The cast singing Shine a Little Love in a deserted night club an especially wonderful moment.

If you get a chance to go see. Do!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Alison Moyet...

Last night Stuart and I went to see Alison Moyet perform at The Round Chapel in London's increasingly-talked-as-(but-not-quite-yet) glitzy Hackney.

Staged as one of the new Amazon Prime Live Events and ostensibly to promote her new album Other the gig was proceeded by a Q&A session.
Alison is amazingly disarming in interviews and talked frankly about living in Brighton, her musical influences, her ADHD, and of her love of decluttering.

As you might expect in a chapel, the gig proper was haunting. Alison was in amazing voice and her new material - such as Reassuring Pinches and I Germinate - sounded fantastic next to her classic tracks such as Whispering Your Name, Only You and the incredible When I Was Your Girl.

A particular standout was new track Other that actually brought a tear to this old wisen codger's eye.

Jazz, disco or just joyous songs about love. This gal has got it all.


Monday, June 12, 2017

Drink Up...

Bryn, Stu and I had a fab time at Oval Space with their Drink Up wine tasting event on Saturday afternoon. Port, sherry, vermouth and of course wine.

Friday, June 09, 2017

Bat Out Of Hell: The Musical...

Last night Stuart and I went to see Bat Out Of Hell: The Musical at the Coliseum in London's glitzy West End.

Synopsis: Dreadful script. Campy acting. Ambitious staging. Brilliant singing. Fantastic songs.

While it is known as one of the most iconic rock albums of our time, Meat Loaf’s Bat Out Of Hell was originally written as a musical back in 1977 by king of the power ballad, Jim Steinman. Now, 40 years on, his work is brought memorably to life as a raucous rock opera - and boy, have the team gone hell for leather (pun intended) with this one.

First, the bad stuff. The script is dire. If any words should fill you with dread it's, "Our story takes place in a dystopian future..." But wait, there's more... "as you join the eternally young Strat (Andrew Polec) and his wild gang, The Lost, while they roam the streets of post-apocalyptic Obsidian, ruled by the tyrannical Falco (Rob Fowler) and his wife Sloane (Sharon Sexton). When Strat falls in love with Falco’s daughter, Raven (Christina Bennington), he sets out to rescue her in a full throttle tale of teenage love, youthful rebellion and living the rock‘n’roll dream." So far, so 'We Will Rock You'.

Yes, we are in full-on ham territory. At times the oft teased line "Would you offer your throat to the wolf with the red roses?" line seemed positively Shakespearean by comparison to the gloriously shouted, "let your heart race faster, until it catches up with MINE!".

The staging was good though; acrobatics, live filming, dancing, pyrotechnics, 50 foot high projections, motorbikes, cars, flames, smoke... it was all going on.

And the pace was breath-taking as the cast tore through Jim Steinman and Meat Loaf’s greatest hits belting out I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That), Paradise by the Dashboard Light, Dead Ringer For Love, and Bat Out of Hell. In fact, the singing was pretty much damned flawless throughout.

Sure, it was all a bit Rocky Horror at times, (if that comparison does not flatter it too much) and the script did make you cringe. However, after 40 years it was about time Bat Out Of Hell made it off the starting blocks.

Did we needed it? Yes. Did we want it? Yes. But were we ever going to love it? No. So Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad.

The song set-list was:-

Act One
Love and Death and an American Guitar
All Revved Up with No Place to Go / The Opening Of The Box / Everything Louder Than Everything Else / If It Ain't Broke, Break It
Who Needs the Young?
Life Is A Lemon And I Want My Money Back (excerpt)
Out of the Frying Pan (And Into the Fire) (prelude)
It Just Won't Quit
Out of the Frying Pan (And Into the Fire)
Two Out of Three Ain't Bad
Paradise by the Dashboard Light
The Invocation
Bat Out of Hell

Act Two
In the Land of the Pig, the Butcher Is King
Heaven Can Wait
Objects in the Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are
Teenager In Love
For Crying Out Loud
You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night)
I've Been Dreaming Up a Storm Lately
Not Allowed to Love
What Part of My Body Hurts the Most
Dead Ringer for Love
Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through
It's All Coming Back to Me Now
I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)
Finale (Bat Out Of Hell reprise)

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Mari Wilson...

Last Sunday night Darren, Stuart and I went to see Mari Wilson in Shepherd's Bush's glitzy Bush Hall.

Known as Miss Beehive, Neasden Queen of Soul Mari Wilson is perhaps best known for her 1982 hit Just What I Always Wanted and her distinctive beehive - though she has long ago changed her former trademark hairstyle.

Promoting last year's Pop Deluxe album of 1960s standards and celebrating 35 years in the business Ms Wilson put on a simply fantastic show. Funny, personable and note-perfect we were treated to top night of entertainment by a gal still at the top of her game.

The sell-out audience hung on her every word - for it was a standing room only gig - even original backing singer of The Wilsations Michelle Collins (Cindy from EastEnders) was consigned to the bar.

One of the highlights of the night was a special guest appearance by Marc Almond who was almost boyishly bashful as he joined Mari on stage for two duets - I Close My Eyes and Count to Ten and I Just Don't Know What to Do with Myself. Marvelous.

But for me the show stopping moment was Mari's haunting version of 24 Hours from Tulsa. A tear was in the eye and you could hear a pin drop. As the last note faded the crowd were on their feet as one in rapturous applause.

Top, top night.

The set-list was:

Baby It's True
Always Something There to Remind Me
You're My World
Are You There (With Another Girl)
Don't Sleep in the Subway
White Horses
In Private
Beat the Beat
I Close My Eyes and Count to Ten (duet with Marc Almond)
I Just Don't Know What to Do with Myself (duet with Marc Almond)
Am I the Same Girl
Anyone Who Had a Heart
The Look of Love
Wonderful To Be With
24 Hours from Tulsa
I Couldn't Live Without Your Love

Cry Me a River
Love Man
Just What I Always Wanted


Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Depeche Mode...

Last Saturday Stuart and I went to see Depeche Mode at the London Stadium in Stratford's Olympic Park.

What has become West Ham FC's home ground, the old Olympic stadium was converted for the night to house Depeche Mode's biggest home crowd - 80,000 people packed in for a sold out show from Basildon's finest.

Synopsis: The sound was shit, the beer overpriced but the boys did a great show. It was an uplifting, intense music gig that easily demonstrated why they are considered one of the world’s most celebrated live acts.

Dancing and prancing the energetic Dave Gahan took to the stage with hair slicked back like Salvador Dalí or Freddie Mercury in his triumphant days. He stalked the stage, flapping his elbows like a chicken, pirouetting, windmilling and grabbing his crotch, at one stage toppling over at the exertion of it all.

The gig was effectively in three parts.

The least effective part was perhaps their new material with songs from their latest album Spirit – such as Where’s the Revolution? and Poison Heart. Good songs but not classics.

The second part was Martin Gore's piano balladeering and lead vocals on songs like A Question of Lust, Somebody and Home were lovely - hushed and reflective, the crowd sang along with every note.

But it was the final part – the late 80s / early 90s classics - that had everyone singing and dancing like lunatics. Enjoy the Silence was received with nothing short of rapture. The 1986 single Stripped also went down a storm. But it was the 1983 fan-favourite that preceded it that provided the night’s highlight. There can’t be many songs about corporate greed and corruption that prompt 80,000-strong mass singalongs. But in Everything Counts, Depeche Mode have such a song. It’s a ridiculously catchy slice of stadium pop. As was 1987’s Never Let Me Down Again, which closed the main set.

My only minor quibble with an almost perfect set would have been to not perform David Bowie’s "Heroes" as part of the encore but to get the crowd into a further frenzy with something like Just Can’t Get Enough.

Having said that, Personal Jesus – from the Violator album – was as stompy and forboding and gripping as ever to close the night.

The set-list was:

Going Backwards
So Much Love
Barrel of a Gun
A Pain That I'm Used To ('Jacques Lu Cont's Remix' version)
In Your Room
World in My Eyes
Cover Me
A Question of Lust
Poison Heart
Where's the Revolution
Everything Counts
Enjoy the Silence
Never Let Me Down Again

Walking in My Shoes
"Heroes" (David Bowie cover)
I Feel You
Personal Jesus

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

St Etienne...

Last Friday Stuart and I went to see St Etienne at the Royal Festival Hall on London's glitzy South Bank.

Promoting their new album Home Counties the English pop funsters were in fine form. Sarah Cracknell seems to get younger every time we see her.

Apart from playing their hits the standout songs from the new album live were the new disco track Dive and the instant classic Train Drivers in Eyeliner.

We had a great time even if some of our fellow audience members seemed to be ob a mission to ruin the night for all around them. Ok, 'intrusive filming and tall people dancing in front of you' you get used to a gig these days but the shouting and loutish drunken behaviour around us was quite beyond the pale. We were astounded the yobs behind us weren't thrown out - shouting at Sarah during the slower songs things like "Sarah! Sarah! SARAH! I can't dance to this one!" Poor form. STFU!

The set-list was:

Lose That Girl
I've Got Your Music
You're in a Bad Way
Magpie Eyes
When I Was Seventeen
Take It All In
Who Do You Think You Are (Candlewick Green cover)
Like a Motorway
Split Screen
Only Love Can Break Your Heart (Neil Young cover)

Encore 1:
Train Drivers in Eyeliner
He's on the Phone

Encore 2:
Nothing Can Stop Us

Monday, June 05, 2017


It is not the walls that make the city, but the people who live within them. The walls of London may be battered, but the spirit of the Londoner stands resolute and undismayed - George VI

Friday, June 02, 2017

The Treatment...

Last night Jane, Sara, Stuart and I went to see The Treatment at the Almeida Theatre in London's glitzy Islington.

Synopsis: Well produced but ultimately a bit of an exasperating experience. But maybe that was the point.

Lyndsey Turner’s immaculate, neon-lit revival of Martin Crimp’s 1993 play lays bare the ways reality is exploited and distorted by the media.

The setting is New York and Crimp plunges us straight into a study of the way two movie types Jennifer (Indira Varma) and Andrew (Julian Ovenden) – who call themselves “facilitators” – appropriate the lived experience of a young woman, Anne (Aisling Loftus). As she graphically describes the way she was bound and gagged by an electrical engineer (Matthew Needham), they become visibly excited by the narrative’s potential. Anne is reminded that “no one’s story is theirs alone”, and we see how she is exploited by the predatory facilitator husband-and-wife team. They first merge her story with a scenario about voyeurism by a clapped-out playwright, and then recruit a big movie star to give the project financial muscle.

The staging is great and the acting spot on but boy were the characters frustrating and hard to engage with. They were all just so unlikable - and the humour, whilst good-natured, wasn't savage enough for us to admire their bravado much either. They were complex people sure, but inconsistently so. Rather like real life people I suppose! But who comes to the theatre to see real, unlikable people? Ha, ha. But maybe that was the point of The Treatment.

Talking of which, there’s a rich ambiguity to the title of Martin Crimp’s play. It could refer to the movie outline being planned or to the manipulative human behaviour of the facilitors. In fact, both meanings came together in a play that combined satire on the media’s distortion of reality with the nightmarish vision of city life.

In the later stages, Crimp pushes his fable beyond the bounds of probability as it moves closer to melodrama and we don't really believe in Andrew's fixation with Anne and the accidental tragedy seems abit tacked on.

One rather odd, and particularly gory, moment saw a character who whilst earlier on in the piece promised “to introduce a Shakespearean element” to the movie treatment then later found himself treated as cruelly as Gloucester in King Lear. Geddit?!

The standout character in the piece for me was the blind taxi driver who perhaps might have served as an excellent muse to each scene in the story and a better 'way in' to the characters for the audience. The blind leading the blind.. etc... But what do I know? Critics? Cretins! Ha, ha.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Ed Sheeran...

My view of @edsheeran has improved immeasurably. His #DesertIslandDiscs book is #HisDarkMaterials and his luxury tomato ketchup. Good man.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Weeping Angels...

On Monday Stuart and I took a lovely stroll around Stoke Newington's beautiful old cemetery Abney Park.


Tuesday, May 30, 2017


Last night Stuart, Ange and I (along with the world and his husband) went to see the magnificent Erasure perform at The Roundhouse in London's none too glitzy Chalk Farm.

Ostensibly to promote their new album World Be Gone the marvellous duo of Andy Bell and Vince Clark put on a great show, as ever, for a very enthustiatic crowd.

Andy bounded on to the stage dressed in a broad-brimmed hat, glitter ball top and trousers while Vince wore a blue suit.

For the next 1 hour 45 minutes we were treated to all the hits - with one notable exception - along with some fan-voted favourites and five tracks from said new self-produced album.

World Be Gone is Erasure's 17th album and is quite a change of direction. Gone is their sugary pop and uplifting songs of love and hate replaced by a voice of remonstration and discontent. The

songs are a lot more sombre taking on topics that blur the lines between pop and politics. None demonstrates this more adult theme than the beautiful protest song “Still It’s Not Over” - a

lament on HIV/AIDS. Although the new songs are mostly melodic, they are slower and painfully vulnerable and perhaps not suited to a largely standing venue when people really just wanted to

dance, dance, dance baby.  Heart-felt though the performances were of these more thoughtful songs when they came on people were all too often seen running to the bar or the loo.

But then when a high-tempo hit came on to follow it the place erupted again in a sea of cheers, dancing and singing. And the hits kept on coming. It was perhaps the biggest kareoke venue in


Even as the last notes of A Little Respect died away the crowd kept singing it all the way out of the venue, along the street and down onto the Northern Line.

There is a lot of love out there for these boys - even if a new album is not quite up there with their best.

And the notable exception that was missed out from the show? Due to the extra security on the door following the terrible Manchester bombing last Monday getting people in to the Roundhouse was

a very slow affair. With Erasure due to start at 9pm, at 8:50pm there were still over 500 people queuing to get in. Eventually the venue gave on the addition security checks and just let people

flood in. But despite this the gig still started a little over 10 minutes late so something had to go from the set list and sadly is was one of my favourites - Ship of Fools - along with one of

the new tracks A Bitter Parting.

Which left the full set-list as

Breath of Life
It Doesn't Have to Be
Love You to the Sky
Oh L'Amour
Oh What a World
Just a Little Love
Blue Savannah
In My Arms
Sweet Summer Loving
Knocking on Your Door
Love to Hate You
Still It's Not Over
Phantom Bride
Here I Go Impossible Again
World Be Gone
Lousy Sum of Nothing
Take Me Out of Myself

Chains of Love
Victim of Love
A Little Respect

Monday, May 29, 2017

Arsenal FA Cup Win...

An amazing game last Saturday saw the might Arsenal defeat a sub-par Chelsea to lift the FA Cup.

Arsene Wenger has become the most successful manager in the history of the FA Cup after winning the competition for the seventh time.

Friday, May 26, 2017


Last night Stuart and I went to see Woyzeck at the Old Vic in London's glitzy Waterloo.

Synopsis: Good play. Rather grim though.

Starring Star Wars: The Force Awakens' John Boyega this Woyzeck is in the British Army living in the grim Berlin apartment in 1981 with his partner Marie (Sarah Greene) and their baby. Unable to afford the rent, he takes part in a paid medical trial and his world starts to fall apart. Big time.

The play is adapted by Harry Potter and the Cursed Child writer Jack Thorne from German playwright Georg Buchner's original work, which was unfinished at his death in 1837. With less philosophising that in many

English translations of the piece Thorne's version is firmly about class, masculinity and mental health.

My only quibble with this version might be that to reinforce the reasons behind Woyzeck's descent into madness Thorne rather over eggs the pudding. We know Woyzeck suffers from mental health issues but let's include:

orphan (check), abusive father (check), sexually explicit mother (check), seven unhappy foster homes (check), traumatic tour of duty in Northern Island (check), bullied by his commanding officer (check), on a dodgy

drug trial (check), jealous personality (check)... the list goes on and on. Yes, we get it. He is not a happy chappy.

The play is certainly dark and yes at times gruelling but Boyega is always compelling to watch. His eventual madness is well handled and we are genuinely shocked when he bangs his head against the wall.

That said, there is much humour to be had from Ben Batt’s roguish, laddish Andrews - Woyzeck's best mate. Mind you, there is a touch of the Iago about Andrews to Woyzeck's jealousy-torn Othello (a role Boyega must

surely play soon). Traitors come in all shapes and sizes, it seems?

Talking of size... Young Batt gets his kit off quite a lot (the programme warns us of full-frontal male nudity) and it doesn't hurt the fact that he's as fit at a butcher's dog.

Oh and the 2017 fashion of using the C-word gets a good old outing here - we counted its use on eighteen occasions. Stuart and I should play Theatrical Sweary Bingo; eyes down for a ‘fuck’ and ‘cunt’.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Kings Cross (Remix)...

Last Saturday night Stuart and I went to see Kings Cross (Remix) at the Camden People's Theatre in London's none-too glitzy Euston.

In Tom Marshman's latest show Kings Cross (Remix) he has brought to light testimonies of hidden histories in the Kings Cross area in London from the 1980s. A painter, a barman at The Bell ("Mrs Bridges", punters, activists, a sex-worker... how the area has changed, HIV, Thatcherism, the music, the sex, the politics, the drinking...

Using mime, dancing, monologues each of the stories is brought to life in vivid detail. It is funny, tragic and - for us who inhabited Kings Cross and The Bell in the 1980s - deeply nostalgic.

Kink, drink and liberty.

Go see.