Quote Of The Day

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

Monday, May 30, 2011

Home in 3D (thanks to Google Earth)

If you are running Google Maps with Street View simply hit the number 3 on your keypad. Tah-dah! 3D!
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Friday, May 27, 2011

Betty Blue Eyes...

Last night Stu and I went to see the rather fabulous new musical Betty Blue Eyes at the Novello Theatre in London's glitzy West End.

Starring Sarah Lancashire and Reece Shearsmith the story is based upon Alan Bennett's sharply observed comic film A Private Function.

"Belts are being tightened and the country’s long-suffering citizens are being told by the government that there will be fair shares for all in return for surviving Austerity Britain. Meanwhile local officials feather their own nests by taking far more than their own fair share. It is of course 1947, and having won the war Britain seems to have lost the peace, and the country is staggering under the burden of acute rationing, unemployment and the coldest winter for decades. The only bright spark on the horizon is the impending marriage of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip."

The notable songs of the night were Betty Blue Eyes, Magic Fingers, Painting By Heart, Dance at the Primrose Ballroom, The Kind of Man I Am, Another Little Victory and Sarah Lancashire's stomping Nobody.

The songs were great, the acting wonderful and comic timing spot on. May it run and run.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Marianne Faithfull...

Last night Stu and I went to see Marianne Faithfull perform at the Barbican Hall in London's glitzy Barbican. She was essentially promoting her recent album Horses and High Heels but also taking a gambol through her career.

Stu has always been a Faithfull fan - she has all the right credentials; wild child of the 60s, great croaky voice and a woman with a 'history'.

The show was good - almost two hours of straight stand up and belt them out performanaces. She was in good form too - acting really excited to be there. She said, "I have a scan tomorrow so I'm smoking furiously in case they make me give up". Let's hope that's not prophetic.

Stand out tracks of the night were; Working Class Hero, Why Did We Have To Part?, That’s How Every Empire Falls, Back In Baby’s Arms, Prussian Blue, As Tears Go By, Broken English and of course the wonderful The Ballad of Lucy Jordan.
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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Kate Bush - Director's Cut...

Last week finally saw the release of Kate Bush's Director's Cut - a reworking/re-recording of eleven tracks from two of her previous albums; The Sensual World and The Red Shoes. It is Kate Bush's first album released since 2005's Aerial.

Director's Cut was recorded using analog equipment. Bush stated in an interview for BBC radio that she never liked the "hard-edged sound" of the digitally recorded The Red Shoes and feels both the new recordings of the songs from this album and the re-mastered The Red Shoes have a "warmer, fuller sound."

Regarding the entirely new lyrics to the song "The Sensual World," now re-titled "Flower of the Mountain," Bush said this: "Originally when I wrote the song "The Sensual World" I had used text from the end of Ulysses by James Joyce, put to a piece of music I had written. When I asked for permission to use the text I was refused, which was disappointing. I then wrote my own lyrics for the song although I felt that the original idea had been more interesting. Well, I’m not James Joyce am I? When I came to work on this project I thought I would ask for permission again and this time they said yes. It is now re-titled "Flower Of the Mountain" and I am delighted that I have had the chance to fulfill the original concept. For some time I have felt that I wanted to revisit tracks from these two albums and that they could benefit from having new life breathed into them. Lots of work had gone into the two original albums and now these songs have another layer of work woven into their fabric. I think of this as a new album."

The track-listing is as follows;-
 1. Flower of the Mountain
 2. Song of Solomon
 3. Lily
 4. Deeper Understanding
 5. The Red Shoes
 6. This Woman's Work
 7. Moments of Pleasure
 8. Never Be Mine
 9. Top of the City
10. And So Is Love
11. Rubberband Girl

I found the album really very moving - something which Bush reveals she did not intend. In fact Bush very rarely adds interpretation to her work - she prefers to leave that to the listener. She actually also doesn't really mind whether people like her work or not. Recording is very much a personal thing for her.

Apparently she's working on a new album of original material. So fingers crossed for 2014!
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Monday, May 23, 2011

Songs For SurvivorsUK...

Last night Darren treated me and Mark to a fundraising night out at Cadogan Hall in London's glitzy Sloane Square. We went to see Lesley Garrett, David McAlmont, Ian Shaw, Meow Meow and Hannah Waddingham joined the London Gay Men’s Chorus in an evening of song celebrating SurvivorsUK and their clients – men who have been sexually violated.

"The Songs For SurvivorsUK concert marks the 25th anniversary of this pioneering organisation that provides a national helpline and London based counselling services to men who have experienced sexual violation at any time in their lives. The charity also assists the partners and carers of these men and provides links and signposting to services around the country."

Sadly Marc Almond and Lea DeLaria had cancelled but stand out act of the night was Meow Meow. Her brittle, jokey persona had us in stitches.

Good cause too.
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Friday, May 20, 2011

Much A Doctor Who About Nothing...

"I do love nothing in the world so well as you, is not that strange?"

Last night Stu and I went to the Wyndham's Theatre in London's glitzy West End to see David Tennant and Catherine Tate appear together on stage for the first time in a brand new production of William Shakespeare’s timeless comedy Much Ado About Nothing.

The story tells of two young lovers, Claudio and Hero, who are to be married imminently but the devious scheming of a resentful Prince looks set to thwart the nuptials. Meanwhile, marriage seems inconceivable for reluctant lovers Beatrice (Catherine Tate) and Benedick (David Tennant) whose endless witty sparring threatens to keep them apart forever. And hilarity ensures.

It was a 1980s resetting - which worked surprisingly well. There were subtle references to Miami Vice, Wham!, Kylie and Jason, Princess Diana, and Adam Ant.

We laughed and laughed. OK, there were plenty of modern asides that might shake the Shakespearean purists to their core but we loved it. David Tennant was great. Catherine Tate was brilliant.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Rogers Waters: The Wall (again)...

Last night my brother Simon, Paul's mate Gareth and I took another trip back to the O2 Arena to see Roger Waters perform Pink Floyd's seminal work The Wall again. Better view this time so better photos. Sadly no Dave Gilmour this time.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Roger Waters: The Wall...

At 10pm on 30th Nov 1979 I sat with my tape deck for two hours and recorded Tommy Vance interviewing Roger Waters as he played The Wall for the first time all the way through on Radio One. For the next 6 months I listened to it every single night. No need to say, I'm a fan.

Last Thursday Simon, Paul and I went to see Roger Waters perform The Wall at the O2 Arena. Hey You - Dave Gilmour popped up too. Great night of explosions, special effects and sublime music. We were in heaven.

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Monday, May 16, 2011

Eurovision 2011...

Stuart and Luca kindly invited us - and a bunch of other Eurovision fans - to watch the show on Saturday night. They laid on the nosh and booze, we brought the thinly disguised xenophobic mumblings. All great fun. Blue sadly lost. Azerbaijan won. We had a rollicking good time.

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