Quote Of The Day

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

Thursday, December 31, 2009

My Favourite Jokes for 2009...

Q: Who's the nicest man in a hospital?
A: The ultra-sound man
Q: Who covers his shifts while he's away?
A: The hip-replacement guy.
Q: What do you call a tellytubby who has been burgled?
A: A tubby.
Q: What is Grand Master Flash's favourite website?
A: Wik wik wiki wikipedia.
Q: What's brown and rhymes with Snoop?
A: Dr. Dre
Q: How do find Will Smith when he's lost in the snow?
A: You look for the fresh prints.
Q: What do you call a Mexican peeping-tom?
A: Senor Minge.
My Uncle was a terrible ventriloquist.
When I was little he used to put his
hand up my arse and tell me to keep quiet.
Remember – drinking alcohol can seriously harm your baby.
Especially if you're in Portugal and can't be arsed to pay for a babysitter.

When on holiday, I like to show everyone just how British I am by offering them heroin out of my suitcase
Really, I like to show how British I am by losing one of my children.
I'm Austrian my children don't go on holidays.
I'm Nigerian, I try and stop my children going on holidays, especially to America.
I'm Pakistani and I've been on holiday in Britain for 27 years now.
I'm Brazilian and I avoid the Tube when on holiday.
I'm Chinese and our regulations for holiday luggage can be really strict.
I'm French and I surrender
I'm American and I don't get it.
I'm Maddie, and I'm still on holiday!

[Feel free to reuse these and pass these off as your own - I did!]

Legally Blonde: The Musical...

Last night Stu, Marcus, Richard and I had VIP tickets to see Legally Blonde: The Musical at the Savoy Theatre.

We'd almost seen it in New York a couple of years ago - and now I wish we had. It was fab; way better than we'd thought it was going to be. We laughed. A lot.

Shedian Smith as Elle Woods was excellent (which we'd half expected having been wowed by her in Little Shop Of Horrors a couple of years ago) as was Alex Gaumond, Duncan James (yes, him from Blue), Peter Davidson (yes, him from Doctor Who) and Jill Halfpenny (what a revelation she was!)

Coming from the same pen that wrote the dire Batboy: The Musical I had a bad feeling about the show - but how wrong I was; the songs were good, the lyrics funny and the dancing top notch. And the dogs were very sweet.

Best bit: The song There! Right There! with the refrain "Gay or European?" to the tune of something resembling Beauty and the Beast's Gaston.

Go see.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas Party ft the surliest Santa ever...

On Sunday before Christmas Stuart and I went to Upminster to meet up with the gang for Christmas lunch at The West Lodge, Essex.

Just like last year it was great fun; eating, drinking, dancing and 'Pete, the Music Man' (think Raw Sex).

Making a welcome come back was grumpy Santa Claus to entertain the kids. This year he was more surly than grump though - having been on the sauce since 11am. Stuart doesn't really like kids which is of course why we made him do it. He is, officially, the surliest Santa ever. Needless to say he was brilliant!

Click on the image below to be taken to the full set of photos.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Arsenal 3 - 0 Hull...

What an amazing day we had on Saturday! I'd successfully won a charity bid for an Executive Box at the Emirates Stadium to watch Arsenal take on Hull so took many of my nearest and dearest to join in the fun. The box was amazing - more like a hotel room - great view of the pitch, free booze, Christmas crackers, free programs, heated, LCD TV, waitress...

The game itself was OK too. A bit of a struggle in the first half but an on-pitch fight soon livened things up. We scored, a soft penalty was easily saved my Almunia and it was all downhill for Hull from there. We ended up winning 3-0.

The gang met up at the Hen and Chickens for pre-match beers and went to The Gunners afterwards to unwind. I'd asked everyone who came along to chip in £20 so we could top £1000 for the NSPCC. So thanks to Paul, Barry, Martyn, Simon, Mark, Allegra, Suzie, Matt, Al, Ben, Sam and Jim.

Montage below but click here for more snaps.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Overcoming Obstacles with Spunk!...

Overcoming Obstacles with Spunk!. No really. A genuine book about developing a positive attitude (apparently).

Loving the naughty Amazon customer tags though!

Tags Customers Associate with This Product
monkey custard (17) population paste (15) spunk (11) nyum nyum nyum (9) tadpoles (8) baby gravy (6) baby batter (1) barclays bank (1) blurt splurt (1) bukkake (1) clunge juice (1) come (1) comedy (1) creamy goodness (1) dirty yoghurt (1) duck butter (1) facial (1) gentlemens relish (1) gism (1) glooping (1) hand shandy (1) handy-j (1) knob yoghurt (1) man fat (1) man jam (1) man made milkshake (1) man milk (1) milm (1) national hunt (1) nut butter (1) pram filler (1) protein stain (1) salty snot (1) semen (1) spooge (1) spuff (1) tatty water (1) todger tapioca (1) trunk junk (1) white wee-wee (1)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Carol Singing...

A bunch of us from work went down to Spitalfields Market in glamorous East London last night to do some carol singing (sinning?) to raise money for the NSPCC. We murdered all the classics of course but it was all for a good cause. A few passers-by joined in which was nice and we ended up with a couple of buckets full of cash - some £5 and £10 notes too!

It was ruddy cold down there so we put on loads of layers - which sort of made us look like Weebles.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Sandi Toksvig's Christmas Cracker...

Matt organised tickets for us to see Sandi Toksvig's Christmas Cracker at the Royal Festival Hall last night. Oh dear. Not so much a cracker as a damp squib. We were laughing 'at' not 'with'. Over-long and half-baked.

Sandi Toksvig is funny. But this certainly ain't. A rag bag of singers, lame jokes, a 3rd rate magican, a piss-poor send up of a Christmas Carol - and terrible lighting cues and crap sound didn't help. Stephen Mangan was tragically misused as Scrooge.

Even Ronnie Corbett and his dated jokes couldn't resuscitate this dying turkey.


Word to the wise: at after-show party... gush! Thesbians have uber fracile egos. Saying "that was crap" doesn't go down well!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Brussels and Antwerp...

Stu and I have just been to Belgium for a long weekend. Stu had never been before so we jumped on the Eurostar and before we knew it were there.

Brussels was cool. We ate mussels, drank beer and milled (and mulled) about town.

Antwerp was even better; the Christmas market excellent, the Santa race was fun, we sat in a bar watching the ice-skaters and the twinkling lights in the square in front of the cathedral.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Liverpool 1-2 Arsenal...

Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen on Arsene Wenger's angry half-time team-talk that inspired the Gunners' comeback: "I've never seen him before like that and we reacted very well. It was very important for us to win today - we have closed the gap a little bit and we are back in the race I think."

Or as Paul and I used to say: PBYC! (Play Better You C*nts!)

Best Selling Singles of the Decade...

A list of the best selling singles of the decade.
01. Will Young (Evergreen)
02. Gareth Gates (Unchained Melody)
03. Shaggy (Wasn't Me)
04. Tony Christie/Peter Kay (Amarillo)
05. Band Aid 20
06. Hear'Say (Pure & Simple)
07. Shayne Ward (That's My Goal)
08. Kylie (Can't Get You Out Of My Head)
09. Bob the Builder (Can We Fix It)
10. Atomic Kitten (Whole Again)

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Kim Noble Will Die...

Last night Stu and I went to the Soho Theatre to see the rather wonderful Kim Noble in Kim Noble Will Die. Oh my giddy Aunt!

The poster said, "Contains strong material that may shock or cause offence. OVER 18s ONLY." Too bloody right! Blood, sex, ejaculations, Floella Benjamin, suicide, you name it...

To call it a ground-breaking mix of comedy, video and avante-garde theatre would be putting it mildly. Horrifying. Visceral. Hysterical. Hilarious. Inspiring. Genius. Unwatchable. Pornographic.

Go see!

Don't just take my word for it:

'Shocking, beautiful and profound. It will blow your mind'
****** (Six Stars) Time Out
'The most remarkable thing I’ve seen this year... People blather on about the cutting edge of comedy. Well, for once, here it is'
**** The Times
'Five stars don't even touch the sides of what this breath-stopping show deserves'
***** The Scotsman

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Christmas Market South Bank...

Alison Moyet at the RFH...

On Sunday evening Andy treated us to tickets to see Alison Moyet at the Royal Festival Hall. Alf was on her 25 Years Revisited UK Tour.

First up we had Alex Cornish - - a singer / songwriter who was playing tracks from album Until The Traffic Stops. All quite nice.

Best song: Counting Chimney Pots

After the interval saw the appearance of the lady herself. And boy has she lost weight! She looked almost thin. Of course she sounded as magnicient as ever. She would tenderly caress both her classic love songs and defiant heartbreakers with equal vocal skill. Her range was amazing and style distinctive. We loved it.

The set-list was:
Should I feel That It's Over
One More Time
Only You
Should I feel
Hoo Doo
All Cried Out
Windmills Of Your Mind
Find Me
Ordinary Girl
Love Resurrection
That Ole Devil Called Love
This House
Almost Blue
Ode To Boy
Don't Go
Love Letters
Is This Love?
Weak In The Presense Of Beauty
You Don't Have to Go
Ne Me Quitte Pas
Whispering Your Name

Best track: This House

At least I didn't cry buckets like I did the last time I saw her.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Fever Ray...

On Saturday night was Mark's birthday and he, Patrick, Sarah, Mikey, Ernie, Drew, David and I all went to the The Junction Tavern for a bite to eat before being treated to Fever Ray at the HMV Kentish Town.

Fever Ray is an alias of Karin Dreijer Andersson of the electronic duo The Knife. As the performance started (oh yes, it was a 'performance' for sure) the stage was pitch black and pretty much stayed that way for the next hour and a quarter. There were four performers (I think) dressed in weird costumes (I think) illuminated only by nine fluctuating granny lamp shades and an array of rather impressive lasers.

The music itself was quite hypnotic - at times a massive wall of sound that assaulted the senses and put you into a trance-like state and at times a contrasting quieter, creepier and forbidding sound that transported you into a dreamlike state. Apparently the music has its roots in sleep deprivation, which I can well believe.


Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Under The Wiper...

I once left my car in Sainsbury's car park in Islington when I was doing a big monthly shop. When I came back to it the bumper and rear lights were all smashed up. Then I found this note under the wiper. It said: "I just accidentally reversed into your car. Quite a few people saw me do it. They think I'm leaving my name and details. Well, I'm not."

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sweet Charity...

Last night Stu and I went to a preview of Sweet Charity at the Menier Chocolate Factory.

The show follows the misadventures of love encountered by the gullible and guileless Charity Hope Valentine, a dancer at a dance hall called the Fandango Ballroom in New York City, who always gives her heart and her dreams to the wrong man. Again and again.

And it was just a great production. Tamzin Outhwaite made a simply superb Charity - she can sing, she can dance (and I guess we knew this already) she can act. The rest of the cast were spot on too. Bob Fosse would have been proud. It was funny, entertaining and energetic. The staging was simple but affective.

Best songs of the night: I Love To Cry At Weddings, Big Spender, If My Friends Could See Me Now and There's Gotta Be Something Better Than This.

Highpoint of the night: The Rhythm Of Life

I feel a West End transfer coming on which is not surprising as the creative team behind this show has propelled Little Shop of Horrors and La Cage aux Folles in the same direction.

Go see.

Arsenal 2-0 Standard Liege...

Paul and I were at the match at the Emirates last night. It rained and it was windy but none of that dampened our spirits. We are now through to the last sixteen of the Champions League. Particular mention should go to both Cesc Fabregas and Alex Sing who both had pretty convincing games. Shame Gibbs and Gallas have picked up injuries ahead of Sunday game against Chelski though.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

No Compalints...

“Just because nobody complains doesn't mean all parachutes are perfect.” (Benny Hill)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Get Those Moles Checked Out...

Jim Henson had that 'wait and see' attitude. Now we've got wrong sounding Muppets.
(Stewie, Family Guy)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Mika and the King's Singers, Alex Gardner, Daisy Dares You...

Last night Stu and I went to our second Mencap Little Noise Sessions of the week - a series of exclusive, intimate gigs at the Union Chapel in Islington.

The show wasn't as good as the previous night largely because of the no-show of Paloma "I've lost my voice, honest" Faith.

First up was Daisy Dares You. They weren't bad. Perhaps a little rough round the edges. But she is only sixteen. Highlight song: Number One Enemy.

Next up was Xenomania protégé Alex Gardener. He is just eighteen, Scottish and blessed with boyish good looks. The buzz is that he's the 'male Duffy'. Hmmm. Good voice but not much stage presence I'm afraid. Highlight moment: Yesterday's News.

Last up were headliners Mika and The King's Singers. Love him or loathe him you can't argue Mika puts on a good show. The King's Singers added real depth to his catchy songs and in the surroundings of the Union Chapel seemed at times quite an inspirational choice. Mika was in total control of his band (he could even teach Prince a thing or two!) It was a crisp set extended perhaps a bit to fill in the gap left by Paloma Faith. He/we sang, he/we danced, he/we camped it up. Highlight moment: Over my shoulder . Haunting.

Afterwards we were interviewed by C4. I rabbited on while Stu couldn't get a word in edgeways. Oops. He was the Mary Wilson to my Diana Ross!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

BT Tower...

I was lucky enough to go up the BT Tower earlier on today. There was a BT corporate event being held up there and they can invited me to attend.

The view was amazing from the 34th floor - although I did sneak up to the 35th too to take a peek.

After the BT discussion / presentation ended (panel included Martha Lane Fox) we sat down for lunch. Midway through the restaurant lurched and then started rotating. Clockwise. I put my iPhone compass on the table and watched the rotation. I reckon it rotated about 12 degrees a minute. So that was 360 degrees (one full rotation) in about half an hour.

All great fun.

They say they are thinking of opening the restaurant up to the public by 2012 - with Gary Rhodes mooted as the chef. If it goes ahead then they would be serving English fare, bringing his signature “old school” favourites, such as bread-and-butter pudding, spotted dick and faggots. Nice.

Alexandra Burke, Alphabeat, V V Brown...

Last night Stu and I went to one of the Mencap Little Noise Sessions - a series of exclusive, intimate gigs at the Union Chapel in Islington.

Once again this annual event is being curated by BBC Radio 1 DJ Jo Whiley - and what a show it was. Sadly Marina and the Diamonds couldn't make it but that in no way detracted from the night.

V V Brown she was first up. She played for forty minutes and she was tip top. Great voice and lovely songs. A real talent. Most notable were Crying Blood, Shark in the Water, Game Over and Leave! Highlight moment: I Love You (hairs-up-on-the-back-of-the-neck good).

Alphabeat were up next. They played for forty-five minutes were surprisingly good, impossibly tall and devilishly handsome. The lead woman sounded a bit like 1980s Madonna actually. Most notable songs were Boyfriend, 10,000 Nights and The Spell. Highlight moment: Fascination (we sang, we danced).

Alexandra Burke was the headline act and was a complete revelation. She played for an hour and sang up a proper storm. What a star. All her family were there and she gave a really emtional performance in front of what was her home crowd of Islington. Most notable songs were Bad Boys and The Silence (but to be honest they were all brilliant songs). Highlight moment: Hallelujah sung with a solo guitarist. Wonderful. Quite wonderful.

I love the Little Noise Sessions; good cause and good acts. And the Union Chapel is such an amazing venue. A room with a pew.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Digital DNA...

This MIT project datamines the internet for information about you, then draws you a diagrammatic personal profile. Much more fun than it sounds. Excellent. Try putting your name in.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Motown Sessions...

Last night Stu and I went to Camden's glitzy Jazz Cafe to see the rather wonderful Motown Legends; Brenda Holloway, Mable John, Chris Clark, Jack Ashford and 'his' Funk Brothers.

There were two sets both lasting about a hour and a quarter. The first was Jack Ashford chatting (chatting a bit too much I might add) and his twelve piece backing band and singers performing various Motown standards; I Heard It Through Grapevine, Superstition, (Love Is Like a) Heat Wave, Papa Was a Rollin' Stone etc.

The second set started with Mable John - 79 and still going strong. Her gravely voice was fantastic. She's still got it. Highpoint: Who Wouldn't Love a Man Like That.

Then we were treated to Chris 'Dusty Springfield' Clark. My word, what a revelation. She was funny, gushing, strangely ghost-like and packed some great songs. Highpoint: I Want To Go Back There Again.

Finally, the legend herself, Brenda Holloway. She was simply magnificent. Boy that woman can sing. Real hairs-on-the-back-of-your-neck stuff. Highpoint: You've Made Me So Very Happy.

We left as the house band started up yet another Motown cover: Stevie Wonder's I Wish.

Great night.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Mencap Music Presents...

Little Noise Sessions @ The Union Chapel. We're going Tuesday and Wednesday.

16 Nov - Editors, The Maccabees, Bombay Bicycle Club, Everything Everything
17 Nov - Alexandra Burke, Alphabeat, Marina and the Diamonds, V V Brown
18 Nov - Mika and the King's Singers, Paloma Faith, Alex Gardner
19 Nov - Richard Hawley, I Blame Coco
20 Nov - Lost Prophets, The Blackout, The King Blues
21 Nov - Taio Cruz with special guests Tinchy Stryder and Chipmunk
22 Nov - Florence and the Machine, Golden Silvers, Erik Hassle, Ellie Goulding
23 Nov - David Gray, The Low Anthem, Lisa Mitchell
24 Nov - Newton Faulkner, Scouting for Girls, Little Comets, Stornoway

To purchase tickets go to HMV Tickets or call 0844 209 0330. Tickets are also available to purchase in selected HMV stores

'Crap' Amazon Products...

Did you know you can search Amazon products by tag? Tags are in the descriptions and the comments too. So if you wanted to look for things that are 'crap'... http://www.amazon.co.uk/tag/crap/products

And everything that's cool: http://www.amazon.co.uk/tag/cool/products

And, inevitably, everything that's gay: http://www.amazon.co.uk/tag/gay/products

Monday, November 09, 2009

Friday, November 06, 2009

Thursday, November 05, 2009

b Flat from flat B...

The most fantastic thing ever! b Flat from flat B. http://inbflat.net/. Click on link and start all the clips at once.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

The Sheep In Scotland Are Black...

An engineer, a physicist, and a mathematician were riding in a train through Scotland, when out the window they saw a black sheep.

Said the engineer, "The sheep in Scotland are black."

Said the physicist, "Some of the sheep in Scotland are black."

Said the mathematician, "At least one sheep in Scotland is black on at least one side."

Monday, November 02, 2009

Marc Almond at The Roundhouse...

Paul, Simon and I joined the merry throng to go and see Marc Almond perform at The Roundhouse on Sunday night. Marc was in good voice and (luckily) good mood. Minor technical hitches have been known to throw him but luckily he seemed to wave last night's collapsing music-stand off as a "you can't get the staff" hiccup.

Starting with Glorious and following it up with Marc and The Mamba's Untitled - we knew we were in for a good night. The set-list sagged a little bit in the middle in my opinion (one too many Marc Bolan covers perhaps?) but all in all it was a magnificent two hours.

We had plenty of "you could here a pin drop" moments and we had plenty of stomping crowd-pleasers. In particular it was nice to see him give full justice to Jacky using the full orchestra. In recent gigs he's rather thrown this song away racing through it at great speed.

By the end I think we'd all had what we'd come for. A gig by an artist at the height of his powers. He has a great back catalogue and he's not afraid to use it. Thankfully no Tainted Love for once.

A diva a day keeps the blues away.

Friday, October 30, 2009

First They Came For The Drag Queens...

First they came for the drag queens, and I did not speak out — because I was not a drag queen;
Then they came for the fairies, and I did not speak out — because I was not a fairy;
Then they came for the poofs, and I did not speak out — because I was not a poof;
Then they came for the queers, and I did not speak out — because I was not queer;
Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak out for me.

Candle-lit Vigil for Ian Baynham...

A silent candle-lit vigil will be held against hate crime in memory of Ian Baynham in Trafalgar Square 8pm to 10pm on today Friday 30th October 2009 to show the world that this criminal behaviour is unacceptable here and to stand shoulder to shoulder to stop this happening again.

Below is a picture of Ian (centre) in happier times at Shake Your Tail Feather in August with Janet and David.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Too Perky...

Sometimes people can be too perky in their jobs. Last week we went to check on my nan in the hospital to see if she'd made it through the night.

"How is nan?", we asked the doctor nervously.

"GIVE ME A "D"...!

Daphne And Celeste Getting Bottled At Reading 2000...

Ooh stick you, your Mamma too and your Daddy!

U G L Y you aint got no alibi. You're ugly!

I like the very end when she says, "You guys are wasting so much food!"

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Triplets...

The other week I had the triplets, Sarah, Myrtle and Dad over. Myrtle bought them some toys, we had lunch and we played in Highbury playground. All great fun. Pix here.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Ging Gang Goolie...

Ging gang goolie goolie goolie goolie watcha,
Ging gang goo, ging gang goo.
Ging gang goolie goolie goolie goolie watcha,
Ging gang goo, ging gang goo.
Hayla, oh hayla shayla, hayla shayla, shayla, oh-ho,
Hayla, oh hayla shayla, hayla shayla, shayla, oh.
Shally wally, shally wally, shally wally, shally wally,
Oompah, oompah, (stick in up your jumpa).

Had Had...

James, while John had had "had", had had "had had"; "had had" had had a better effect on the teacher.

And And...

The pub sign painter had spread the lettering out too much. There was too much space between the 'Pig' and 'And' and 'And' and 'Whistle'.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Paloma Faith...

On Saturday night Simon treated Stu and I to a trip to the HMV Forum in Kentish Town to see the rather marvellous Paloma Faith.

The support acts on the night were Mumford & Sons (rather pleasing folk rock with the emphaise more on the 'rock' than the 'folk') and Mr Hudson (without his Library and it has to be said, rather loud but rather bland).

Ms Faith herself was a complete star. She took to a stage that looked like something from Alice In Wonderland - decorated as it was with white helium balloons, over-sized white dominos and small white chairs. Dressed in 1940s garb she bore comparisons vocally to Amy Winehouse, Duffy, Kate Bush and the Puppini Sisters.

Song of the night was definitely current single New York. This was mashed up rather wonderfully with the classic New York, New York and features on her debut album Do You Want The Truth Or Something Beautiful. The song itself has been described as "a gospel-tinted ballad painted with orchestral beauty for broken hearts and dark, sleepless streets." So there.

Ms. Faith is also an actress and appears as the devil's lover in The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus. There is obviously no end to this lady's talents.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Good Riddance You Corrupt Homophobe....

Tory MP David Wilshire is a truly odious man.

It's not just his £160,532 parliamentary expenses bill that make him odious (with his London flat less than 15 miles away from where he lives) or his expenses claims for furniture or travel or entertainment or paying £105,000 over three years to Moorlands Research Services (a company he set up and owned with his partner Anne Palmer to run his office.) Oh no. He has a worse side to him.

For it was David Wilshire who was responsible for introducing the Section 28 legislation in 1988.

The ban was eventually reversed by Parliament in 2003 but naturally Wilshire was one of 76 MPs to vote against the repeal. Early in 2000 the lovely Mr Wiltshire had voted to prohibit teachers from introducing steps to prevent bullying on the grounds of homosexuality in a later Local Government Bill. He also voted against homosexual couples being allowed to adopt children in 2002, against the Civil Partnership Bill of 2004 (which granted a legal relationship for same-sex couples) and against the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) in 2007, which outlawed discrimination in the provision of goods, facilities, services, education and public functions on the grounds of sexual orientation. In each case Wilshire's vote was in the minority.

Well, now we hear that David Wilshire has announced that he will stand down as an MP at the next election. Shame really as I'd have liked to have seen him stand - and lose. Badly.

Good riddance you corrupt homophobe.

Freedom of Speech...

Nick Griffin on Question Time last night was odious. But, as Voltaire said: I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Annie Get Your Gun...

Last night Stu and I went to the Young Vic in London's fashionable Waterloo to see Annie Get Your Gun.

Jane Horrocks plays sharp-shotting Annie and Julian Ovenden plays Frank the handsome, womanizing star who challenges anyone in town to a shooting match when Buffalo Bill’s ‘Wild West Show’ comes to town.

Irving Berlin wrote the musis and lyrics which includes some of his all-time favourite show-stopping tunes, including, There's No Business Like Show Business, Doin' What Comes Natur'lly, You Can't Get a Man with a Gun, They Say It's Wonderful, and Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better.

The song I'm an Indian Too was dropped from the show as it was considered racist and demeaning of Native Americans - although other shows see it as a mildly satirical attack on racial stereoyping. Hey ho.

Good show though.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Japanese Whispers...

You've heard of Chinese whispers, right? Well this is Japanese whispers. Start with a sentence in English and then keep translating it backwards and forwards into Japanese and see when the translations stabilise.

In Their Ivory Towels...

One of my favourite malapropisms: "I bet they feel safe in their ivory towels"

Stonewall Awards...

On Thursday 5th Nov 2009 the Stonewall Awards will be held at the V&A. It's the biggest event in the gay autumn calendar and honours those who have made a positive contribution to lesbian and gay equality in Britain in the past year. The show is hosted by Gok Wan, and nominees include Paul O'Grady, Janet Street Porter, Beth Ditto and Stephen K Amos.

And guess what? Paul is up for an award for broadcast of the year with Economy Gastronomy. Go Paul!

Broadcast of the Year
‘Corrective Rape in South Africa’ (Samira Ahmed – Channel 4 News report)
Economy Gastronomy (BBC 2)
Find me a Family (Channel 4)
FYI Radio (lesbian and gay youth radio station)
Pobol y Cwm (BBC Cymru)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Outrageous! (1977)...

Out at last on DVD is the cult 1970s camp classic drag film Outrageous!

Telling the story of Robin Turner's (Craig Russell) rise from hairdresser to fully fledged drag queen the film's limited budget, so-so sound and grainy print quality does nothing to detract from the great performances.

Craig Russell has a three octave range and is an uncanny mimic (Mae West, Judy Garland, Barbara Streisand, Ethel Merman) - so that’s who Dame Edna Experience got his act from! Close your eyes and it could be SLAGS @ RVT only circa 1977.

The action starts in Toronto where Robin lives with his mad female friend and flatmate Liza (Hollis McLaren). Robin's rapid rise in the drag world is mirrored by Liza's own gradual descent into schizophrenic fantasy. It is both moving and funny to watch the two - the madness of him performing to leather queens in a frock and the madness of her as she tries to cope with her own delusions. Ultimately it is their love for each other that keeps them both going as we see them move from the gay bars by the Great Lake to the The Jack Rabbit Club in the Big Apple.

This is rare film indeed - a pre-AIDS gay film which manages to be non-judgemental in it's depiction of gay men; leather queens and drag queens drinking, dancing, loving and living.

It's a sort of The Next Best Thing meets Hedwig And The Angry Inch meets Priscilla meets Shortbus.

My favourite quotes:
Why do you live with 'that'? 'That' is my best friend.
There are three important things in life: sex, movies, and my career. You should think almost entirely about them and never about yourself.
I'm dead inside. You're not dead. You're alive and sick and living in New York like eight million other people.
You’re mad as a hatter darling. But that’s OK. ‘Cos I am too

It's competition time! I have five copies of the new DVD Outrageous! to give away. Yes, to give away! All you have to do is answer a simple question.

What is the name of the actress who plays Robin Turner's flatmate Liza in the film?

Email your answer and your postal address to onthe@hotmail.com before 26th Oct 2009 and you could be in with a chance of winning a copy of the film to keep and keep again. 

The small print: Five winners will be randomly chosen from correct entries. UK entrants only I'm afraid. overyourhead's decison is final. 

Monday, October 19, 2009

Blackpool Pictures...

Roger and I went to Blackpool last weekend to see the Funny Girls show. We had great fun up and down the Golden Mile and in and out of the bars. It was great to meet Spencer again and indeed his parents.

Friday, October 16, 2009

NSPCC City Conker Cup...

Last night I attending a charity event - the annual NSPCC City Conker Cup at Loose Cannon down by Cannon Bridge.

I'd been baking my conkers, soaking them in vinegar and threading them on the toughest twine I could find - but as per the rules, we could only use their conkers not our own.

Our team was called Conkering Heroes and we got through to the 3rd round before my and ne of my team mates strings broke.

It was a great night and although I didn't win The Conker Cup as planned I did win something way better at the silent auction. I how have a very big hole in pocket now but big ups to the NSPCC for organising.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Canada The Rockies Pictures...

Gladys Knight...

Last Friday night Stu treated me to a trip up the Jubilee Line to Wembley to see the truly wonderful Gladys Knight perform. Allegedly her farewell tour she was saying goodbye to the UK the best way she knew how; a blinding set of her classics, standards and modern songs reinterpreted.

The night began with Tito Jackson and his band The Brothers performing a tribute to their late brother Michael; a string of Michael's best loved songs - along with Jackson 5 hits and his own material. Interestingly his brothers Marlon and Jackie were there too as was their mother Katherine.

After the interval the Knight really started. “Hey y’all!", she said. "Work day’s over it’s time to party!”

Opening with her very first hit of Every Beat of My Heart from 1961 Gladys treated us to a wandering through her career both with and without the Pips. We were treated to such hits as:
I Heard It Through the Grapevine
If I Were Your Woman
You’re The Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me
The Way We Were
Come Back and Finish What You Started
Licence to Kill
If You Don’t Know Me By Now
End Of The Road
Midnight Train to Georgia
I Will Survive

She mused at one point, “I didn’t really understand If I Were Your Woman when Mr Gordy gave it to me and didn’t want to sing it, but he was right in the end to make me.” Too right he was.

Gladys Knight has a uniquely emotional and spiritual voice, few can compare to The Empress of Soul. The raw emotion that she put into her singing meant that every song sounded fresh, bringing many spine-tingling moments.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Doctor Who Fans Name Best Episode Ever...

Over 6700 Time Lord fans responded to a Doctor Who Magazine call to rate all 200 episodes of the classic sci-fi TV series, and selected 1984's The Caves of Androzani - in which fifth Doctor Peter Davison hung up his sonic screwdriver - as the best of the bunch. Davison's finale beat 2007's excellent Blink, with David Tennant, into second spot. Tom Baker deservedly took third place with 1975's Genesis of the Daleks.

In The Caves of Androzani, the Doctor and companion Peri arrive on the planet Androzani Minor, and are soon entangled in a dark plot involving gun-running, drug-smuggling and android duplicates. At the climax of the story, dying from poison, the Doctor has to regenerate to save his own life, but saves the life of Peri in the process.

The full 200-episode league table appears in Doctor Who Magazine #413. The top ten are:

  1. The Caves of Androzani (1984 - Peter Davison)
  2. Blink (2007 - David Tennant)
  3. Genesis of the Daleks (1975 - Tom Baker)
  4. The Talons of Weng-Chiang (1977 - Tom Baker)
  5. The Empty Child (2005 - Christopher Eccleston)
  6. Human Nature (2007 - David Tennant)
  7. Pyramids of Mars (1975 - Tom Baker)
  8. City of Death (1979 - Tom Baker)
  9. The Robots of Death (1977 - Tom Baker)
  10. Bad Wolf (2005 - Christopher Eccleston)

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Victoria Wood's Talent...

Last night the lovely Guy and I went to see Talent at the Menier Chocolate Factory; written and directed by the oh so talented Victoria Wood.

It was funny night and we had the privilege of attending a Q&A with the cast and Victoria after the show.

'Talent' is set in 1978 with a talent night at Bunter’s niteclub, and contestant Julie and her fat friend Maureen are waiting backstage. As they are plunged into a world of ukulele wielding pensioners, crotch grabbing comperes and some long buried personal history, Julie and Maureen have to decide how lucky they really want to be.

Talent is a comedy with original songs written by Victoria Wood. It was first performed in 1978 at the Crucible Theatre Sheffield, winning Wood the Evening Standard award for Most Promising Playwright. Adapted for TV the following year, it won her another Most Promising Writer Award and a BAFTA nomination.