Quote Of The Day

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

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.