Quote Of The Day

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

Friday, January 21, 2022

RIP Meat Loaf - You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night) ...



Boy: On a hot summer night, would you offer your throat to the wolf with the red roses?
Girl: Will he offer me his mouth?
Boy: Yes.
Girl: Will he offer me his teeth?
Boy: Yes.
Girl: Will he offer me his jaws?
Boy: Yes.
Girl: Will he offer me his hunger?
Boy: Yes.
Girl: Again, will he offer me his hunger?
Boy: Yes!
Girl: And will he starve without me?
Boy: Yes!
Girl: And does he love me?
Boy: Yes.
Girl: Yes.
Boy: On a hot summer night, would you offer your throat to the wolf with the red roses?
Girl: Yes.
Boy: I bet you say that to all the boys.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

My brand new Dualit toaster just caught fire! Obv sending it back to @AmazonUK @DualitLtd [Dualit 46603 Domus 4 Slot Toaster]

My brand new Dualit toaster just caught fire! So obviously sending it back to Amazon UK.

The central heating element between slots 3 and 4 is faulty. The lower half of this faulty element gets super hot and the upper half doesn't heat at all.  This causes the inserted bread in sections 3 or 4 to remain untoasted in the top half but to burn in the bottom half and eventually catch fire!  

[Dualit 46603 Domus 4 Slot Toaster]



Monday, January 17, 2022

Force Majeure @ Donmar Warehouse...

Last Friday night Stuart and I went to see Force Majeure at the Donmar Warehouse in London's glitzy West End.

Based upon the infuriatingly divisive 2014 film, Force Majeure tells the story of a Swedish family who travel to the French Alps to enjoy a few days of skiing. The sun is shining and the slopes are spectacular but, during a lunch at a mountainside restaurant, an avalanche turns everything upside down. With diners fleeing in all directions, mother Ebba (the wonderfully tightly wound Lyndsey Marshal) calls for her husband Tomas (the distracted Rory Kinnear) as she tries to protect their two children (Florence Hunt, a mardy teen and Henry Hunt, at the cute but irritating stage - both excellent). Tomas, meanwhile, is running for his life... The anticipated disaster failed to occur, and yet the family's world has been shaken to its core, a question mark hanging over their father in particular. Why did he run and not protect his family? Tomas and Ebba's marriage now hangs in the balance as Tomas struggles desperately to reclaim his role as family patriarch.

Director Michael Longhurst and designer Jon Bausor, have done a fine job in solving the not inconsiderable problems of bringing a film set on a large mountain and in a gigantic hotel to a small stage. The Donmar has be converted into small but perfectly formed ski slope! Which adds much to the intensity of the central relationship, now hemmed into a space as small physically as it is psychologically.

A great show.


Friday, January 14, 2022

Habeas Corpus @ Menier Chocolate Factory...

Last night Stuart and I went to see Alan Bennett's 1973 farce Habeas Corpus at the Menier Chocolate Factory in London's glitzy London Bridge Quarter.

Today’s younger theatre-goers might wonder at the popularity of the farce as a genre back in the 1960s and 1970s. Is there a place in the West End of 2022 for crude innuendo, sex puns, wince-worthy double entendres, trouser-dropping, sexism, horny middle-aged men, sex-starved wives, flat-chested spinsters, and jokes about tits and cocks. 'Woke', it ain't. Well, judging by the packed house and the raucous laughter last night, the answer is a resounding 'yes'. We laughed like drains too.

Now this is partly due to the meta style of the piece. We are all in on the joke. Despite being written in 1973 the play is a post-modernist take on the farce and all the characters know who they are. In a pantomime style they often break the fourth wall to tell us they are in on the joke and to make sure we are too. They marvel at the poetry of their own crude lines with their obsession with self, with sex, and with death. It's a bit like Hamlet, playing it for laughs, while chasing the ghost of his father waving a dildo.

Bennett decreed the piece was to have no set, which already puts it in the realm of the modernist play – Richard Hudson's set offers just a coffin, a phone, a stuffed terrier dog and lots of great lighting (design by Richard Howell). And instead of the usual hurried one-liners, double takes and lots of shouting, the text is a treasure chest of resonant speechifying and vicious verbal sparring, stuffed with references to, yes, Shakespeare.

The sexually frustrated middle-class characters, living unfulfilled lives in Hove, turn out to be as melancholy as the Dane, as furiously vengeful as Iago, as nihilistic as Lear’s bastard, Edmund. They have a toothsome text to work with, breaking into couplets where “Sundays” rhymes with “undies” and delivering lines as unexpected as “King Sex is a wayward bollock!” (This from a character called Percy.) Even the self-styled representative of the working class, the cleaner Mrs Swabb (musicals actress Ria Jones), is at it: “The air is black with the wings of chickens coming home to roost,” she declares near the denouement with all the melodrama of a witch on the blasted heath. Bennett played Mrs Swabb himself for part of the first run: that would have been worth the price of admission.

All of this requires an almost deranged performing style that’s nevertheless anchored to a crispness of delivery and impeccable comic timing. As Muriel Wicksteed, the sex-starved middle-aged wife of philandering doctor Arthur, Catherine Russell has a good stab at this mad mix, especially in the scene where she aims a bosom at the waiting cupped hand of the man from the false-breast company (Abdul Salis) who thinks he is there to check that her mail order “falsies” fit. (They have been bought by Arthur’s flat-chested sister Connie, played ably by Kirsty Besterman.) Dan Starkey, too, as Sir Percy Shorter, “head of the BMA”, clearly relishes getting his chops round his florid lines, and his battle of words with Canon Throbbing, the predatory vicar (a subtle Matthew Cottle, who delivers the finale’s wedding vows in Bennett’s voice), is of the high standard the piece needs.

Camp it up too much, though, and it tilts towards just being a raucous romp about private parts and breast implants. That might be what some audiences are looking for in these straitened times but it’s not really the play Bennett wrote. Disappointment particularly registers in Jasper Britton’s portrayal of Arthur Wicksteed, Muriel’s roving-eyed husband, who tries to hide behind the rubric: “As a doctor, I’m a eunuch.”

Britton comes across more as a dyspeptic matinee idol playing the provinces. I wanted to feel he loved the latent anarchy of the piece, but it was a lukewarm relationship at best. His is the pivotal figure of the play after all. The final scene sees Wicksteed pronounce bleak aphorisms about the futility of the fleshly and the terrible pain of deathbed regrets. We're not convinced.

But if you can’t take his finale sadness remotely seriously, there's always the string of cock and breast jokes to make you smile.

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Wicked @ Apollo Theatre...

Yesterday afternoon I went to go and see long-running musical Wicked again at the Apollo Theatre in London's glitzy Victoria.

Stu and I had seen Wicked way back in 2006 and we didn't really rate it. But I thought I'd give it another chance. Besides, the tickets were seat-filling freebies. I didn't have bothered though; still pretty lame. I almost nodded off twice.

For those who may not know, it's the back story of The Wicked Witch of the West from the The Wizard of Oz. Only here she's simply misunderstood here.

Well, the plot's all over the place and the songs are under-powered and forgettable. The dancing is dated and if only the performance had been as tight as the male lead’s trousers...

It's all too typical of the modern Broadway musical: efficient, knowing and highly professional but more like a piece of industrial product than something that genuinely touches the heart or mind Well-meaning but also melodramatic, incoherent and dreadfully superficial. A bit of a mess.

At one point in the show the male hero holds the good witch Glinda at gunpoint. A little lad in front of us shouted out, "shoot her!" Everyone's a critic!

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

BJ by BJ that BJ at BJ…

Tense days ahead as Boris Johnson waits to find out if enquiry set up by Boris Johnson finds out if Boris Johnson attended a rule-breaking party at Boris Johnson’s house. Then if proven, it’ll be down to Boris Johnson to decide what sanction should or shouldn’t be taken against Boris Johnson.



Monday, January 10, 2022

Best of Enemies @ The Young Vic “A man should never turn down two things. Sex, and appearing on television.”...

Last Friday night Stuart and I went to see the electrifying Best of Enemies at The Young Vic in London's glitzy Waterloo.

“A man should never turn down two things. Sex, and appearing on television.”

James Graham's new play is a whip smart love letter to America’s chaotic politics in the late 1960s. Directed by Jeremy Herri, David Harewood plays conservative pundit William F Buckley Jr. and Charles Edwards plays iconoclastic liberal Gore Vidal. Both are simply phenomenal.

These two US political commentators are not only bitter rivals but diametrically opposites politically so when they go head to head in a nightly political televised debate on struggling ABC News sparks fly.

Graham is a political playwright at the top of his game so even though at first the USA and the 1960s might seem a country and an era both quite distant to us, the subject of a deeply divided country, a recent unpopular foreign war, a powder keg of domestic politics, and the wounds of all too recent racial hatred are as relevant here today as they were back then.

Harewood's transformation through the play is particularly remarkable. His Buckley starts as a stiff, impassive man whose emotions are only betrayed by a twitchy half-smile into a cocky, confident media performer who is only undone when national events overtake him, and he cannot contain is underlying fury when Edwards's Vidal gets the better of him.

We loved it.

Sunday, January 09, 2022

Time for a break…

Guys, I’ve decided to take a break from real life so I can focus on social media. I’ll be checking in on my family every now and again but if you need me you can find me here, on Twitter, on Facebook, on WhatsApp, or on Instagram. Thanks for your understanding X

Friday, January 07, 2022

Peggy For You @ Hampstead Theatre...

Last night Stuart and I went to see Peggy For You at the Hampstead Theatre in London's glitzy Swiss Cottage.

Starring Tamsin Greig as the famous Peggy Ramsay and directed by Richard Wilson, Alan Plater's play is set in the literary agent's late 1960s London office.

Now, not everyone will enjoy it as much as we did. The play is written by a playwright. About a famous agent of playwrights. Featuring a lot of other playwrights. Talking about writing plays. You get the picture.

Don't get me wrong. It was very funny. A lot of zingers. But ultimately, we found out very little about Peggy Ramsey herself or what made her tick. But if you like jokes about writing plays - this is the play for you!



Thursday, January 06, 2022

5G outside my front door….

Just outside my front door is a strong 5G signal. No, not the minder-controlling Devil’s trickery, the super fast data network. My mobile phone connects to with speed 362Mb download / 29.3Mb upload. Wow! 



Monday, January 03, 2022

New Year’s Lunch @ Sacre Coeur…

Super afternoon yesterday for our annual New Year’s lunch. Well, I say lunch… it rather stretched into a all-dayer. Fab friends, fab time. ❤️










Friday, December 31, 2021

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

RI Xmas Lectures 2021…

Royal Institution Christmas Lectures start at 8pm tonight on BBC Four are given by Jonathan Van-Tam on viruses and the immune system. Should be good!

Monday, December 27, 2021

Xmas 2021…

Lovely few Xmas days with the family. Myrtle hosting us all. Jos and Charlotte cooking up a storm. Simon was on reading duties. Angus on baby care. Joanna doing everything else and more besides! Will keeping the drinks topped up. And Stuart keeping an eye in the madhouse he’d entered.






















Thursday, December 23, 2021

Dina Martina - The Christmas Show @ Soho Theatre... "Something borrowed, something blue, ’round the corner fudge is made."

As you Brits say at Christmas: "Something borrowed, something blue, ’round the corner fudge is made."

Last Friday night Stuart and I went to see American drag artiste Dina Martina perform in the main auditorium of the Soho Theatre in London's glitzy West End.

We'd seen Dina perform before at the same venue and in Provincetown.

Dina Martina's shows are a mash-up of live singing (off-colour and off-key), outrageous costumes, and hilarious video montages. It's a very knowing, high camp drag show and very funny. The show was called The Christmas Show and featured Madonna, the Beatles and a lot of changed lyrics.

I'm sure Madge and McCartney would both laugh at their songs being lovingly murdered by an overweight drag queen with a quick wit and sparkle in her eye. My sides were literally aching from laughing.

Other comedic reinterpretations were Mungo Jerry's In The Summertime (as an attack on American over-consumption) and that classic Fever (re-worded as an attack on the anti-vax lobby). We were also treated to Dina's favourite - an extended story about earthquake clowns(!)

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Nothing major. Heart monitor removal. I get supper though!

Glad that’s over. They are keeping me in for a bit though for observation. So I get supper! Result! 
[Nothing major, just procedure having my heart monitor removed]






Monday, December 20, 2021

DHL…

What's the difference between Father Christmas and the DHL Delivery driver? 
One is a fictional character who doesn't actually deliver presents at Christmas and the other… is Santa.

Friday, December 17, 2021

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Arsenal 2 - 0 West Ham…

Superb performance by Arsenal in beating West Ham 2-0. Who would have thought Top 4 was realistic this season? But this new young team are playing with passion and skill. Anything is possible now!