Quote Of The Day

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

Friday, November 30, 2012

Viva Forever...

Last night Baby, Sporty, Scary, Ginger, Posh, Stuey and me went to Spice Up Your Life! and see Viva Forever at the Piccadilly Theatre in London's glitzy West End.

The shows is still in previews (and it shows). The Spice Girls' songs still sound good but it all needs a bit more spit & polish before it's really ready. It's funny in parts but could do without the fluffed lines or lighting cues though.

The first half dragged although it did end with a nice threeway mash-up of Mama, Goodbye and Headlines which brought a tear to the eye.

The second half got better - as jukebox musicals tend to - when they trotted out the bigger hits and relied less on the 'plot.' Oh yes, the plot. Well, four girls audition for a talent show Starmaker (i.e. X-Factor) and only one gets through and guess what? turns out the talent show machine is pretty awful.


Overall the script could be funnier, the songs could have fitted better. Having a Mel C and a Geri song in the mix didn't hurt.

Sadly a woman in the row behind us passed out so they stopped the show (no, she didn't fall asleep). It was the heat (I think).

If you are thinking of going to see Viva Forever it might be worth booking soon. I can't see it running for too long. It's no Mamma Mia.

Oh and make that interval drink a double. It'll pay dividends.





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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Scared of the Lights...

When I was young I was scared of the dark. Now when I see my electricity bill I am scared of the lights.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Hollywood Costumes...

Last Friday Charlotte, Myrtle, Dad and I went to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London's glitzy South Kensington to see the Hollywood Costume Exhibition.

Judy Garland's Dorothy Gale gingham dress from The Wizard Of Oz was there, along with Marilyn Monroe’s white dress from The Seven Year Itch and all manner of costumes from The Matrix to The Birds, from Indiana Jones to Fight Club. Each had an explanation by the designer of what they were trying to achieve.

 It was quite interesting to read about the process of costume design - how it helps tell the story. And indeed how much input a director will have - often doing drawings for the costumes designers to use as a guide. There was an example of Steven Spielberg's sketch of how Indiana Jones should look and that was almost exactly how he turned out. It was the little touches that stood out - the narrowed rim to the hat so the camera could always see Harrison Ford's eyes; the boots were of a comfortable style due to the long hours expected on set.

The show generally was very well put together and there was much of interest to see in the three large rooms - but the crowds were simply horrendous. A common complaint of these headline shows I'm afraid. Worth a look though.
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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Bronze...

Last Friday Charlotte, Myrtle, Dad and I went to the Royal Academy of Arts in London's glitzy Piccadilly to see the Bronze Exhibition.

It was a fascinating insight into how beautiful and how painstakingly difficult the metallic sculpturing and casting can be. There were example from thousands of years ago that looked as artistic and impressive as they did the day they were first chiselled out of their mouldings.

There were some little known facts too such as why only certain bronze statues exist today. When a foe was vanquished the bronze statues of their leaders would often be melted down by the victors to be reused in fresh casts of the new conqueror. Similarly certain statues of Gods got consigned to the crucible when Christianity began to spread. Revisionism, it seems, knows now boundaries.

The exhibition was divided up into sections; people, groups, heads, animals etc. There was a huge range on display - large and small, simple and complex - but for me the most impressive piece was Frederic Remmington's Coming Through The Rye. An intricate casting of four cowboys on horseback at full gallop - only six of the sixteen hooves are touching the earth with the outer horse completely in flight. A marvel.

Well worth a visit if you are in town.
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Monday, November 26, 2012

A Clockwork Orange...

Last Friday Stu and I went to see Anthony Burgess A Clockwork Orange performed at the Soho Theatre in London's glitzy West End.

A playtime of orgiastic ultraviolence and sexuality it throbbed and pulsated with testosterone. Following the book more closely that Stanley Kubrick's film it told to the story of Alex and how his misguided aggressive ways lead him down a path of crime, capture and redemption (of sorts).

The 80 odd minutes fairly hums along as the all male cast fight, spit, kick, hit, fuck and dance accompanied by a Scissor Sisters, Eurythmics, Queen soundtrack.

We loved it. Brutal, sexy and gay.

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Friday, November 23, 2012

Dentist...

If I cleaned my teeth everyday as thoroughly as I do before going to the dentist, I wouldn't need to go to the dentist.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Arsenal 2 - 0 Montpellier...

Jack Wiltshire is back. His first goal for the Gunners in two year's broke the first half deadlock and started the team on the road to a 2-0 victory and entrance to the lockout stages of the Champions League. After scoring he ran into the stands to embrace his physio. Bless.

The second goal came from Podolski whose powerful left-footed volley delightfully sealed the win.




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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Paul Gambaccini...

When Paul Gambaccini dies there will be no Paul Gambaccini to tell us just how wonderfully-liked and how respected Paul Gambaccini was...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tetris...

If Tetris has taught me one thing, it is that mistakes pile up while successes just vanish.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Arsenal 5 - 2 Spurs...

Well, well, well. So the North London Derby last Saturday didn't turn out quite as badly as it had first looked it was going to. After an early goal by Adebayor for Tottenham Hotspur things were looking grim for the Arsenal. But then he got himself sent off for a dreadful tackle and we ran rampant.

The score ended up being 5 - 2, the same as earlier on in the year when we turned round a 0 - 2 deficit.






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Friday, November 16, 2012

Taboo...


Last night Darren treated Stu and I along with Mark to a night at the theatre. We went to see the Boy George musical Taboo at the Brixton Townhouse.

Last time I saw the show was in March 2002 with Bryn and Marky Mark. Since then it has changed a bit. The guru has been ditched, the plot altered a tad and a song or two has be added. All in all it's made the show tighter, flow better and much funnier. We laughed and laughed.

The story takes places in the early 1980s and concerns the mass unemployment and social upheaval of the times and how this sparked a rebellion in young people that manifested itself as a decadent display of outrageousness and fashion in the club scene. These New Romantics were threw up a lot of weird and wonderful characters such as Steve Strange, Phillip Sallon, Marilyn, Leigh Bowery and of course Boy George.

Although being a fringe theatre the production used the Brixton Townhouse to full effect, with the action taking place on not only the stage but the tables, the bar and all round the auditorium. The acting was great and the singing (and sinning) superb.

I'd thoroughly recommend it and I think we'll be going again before the run ends just before Christmas.




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Thursday, November 15, 2012

David Cameron...

David Cameron: "I look forward to working with Barack Obama for the next four years."

Two years, Dave, two years.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Patch Tuesday...

I hate Patch Tuesday. And it's mad sister Reboot Wednesday. So many things can fail.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Southend on Sea...

Last weekend Stu and I went to Southend on Sea. It was Fay's birthday on the Saturday night (more on that later) but on the Sunday we took a trip along the pier. Longest one in the world apparently, 1.35 miles. It has a train - which we took out - and then we walked back. Nicer than I thought it would be!
Kerry and Fergal then treated us to some lunch and we had a nice catch-up.
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Monday, November 12, 2012

Friday, November 09, 2012

People...

Last night Stu and I went to see Alan Bennett's new play People at the Lyttelton Theatre on London's glitzy South Bank.

Not quite as gripping as The History Boys or The Habit of Art it tells the story of a run down country house and the dilemma the current lady owner (Frances de la Tour's wonderful Dorothy), her sister and companion have in disposing of it. Death duties, porn films, a shady consortium and the National Trust all are circling.

It's the National Trust though that comes in for must ridicule. It's compared unfavourably to the Anglican Church in it's irrelevance, it's pomposity and it's shameless (and shameful) self-marketing.

They want to turn everything into a visitor attraction says Bennett. There is nothing they won't exploit. And harsh though it may be, Bennett puts these words in their mouth, there is ‘nowhere that is not visitable. That at least the Holocaust has taught us.’ Ouch.
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Thursday, November 08, 2012

Virgin Media's TV Anywhere...

Virgin Media's TV Anywhere App for iPhone and iPad is released. At last. http://mediacentre.virginmedia.com/Stories/Enjoy-Virgin-TV-Anywhere-2401.aspx

"The service is available to all Virgin TV customers at no extra cost, and can be enjoyed online through a web browser or on mobile/tablet devices (iOS initially, Android to follow in 2013) giving customers the ability to enjoy TV as well as fully manage their TiVo service when at work or out and about."
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Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Obama Wins...

Clint Eastwood is currently at home, arguing with all his furniture about what went wrong.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Boom Boom...

Last Sunday Andy, Kev, David, David, Guy, Stu and I went out for Sunday lunch at The Dragon in Shoreditch high Street. We were raising a glass or two to Ian Martin whose birthday it would have been the next day.

Ian loved fireworks and so the plan was later on to go to Weavers Field and watch the council display as Ian had done the previous year with Andy and Kev.

After lunch Andy laid on a massive spread of numerous cheeses and (mulled) wines at his place where we were joined by Tom, Darian, Darren, Jason, Jane, Paul, Stephen et al.

About 7:30pm we charged our paper cups and headed off out into the cold night air to watch the display. It was brief but perfect.

On the way back we popped into The Nelson for a pint where David produced some marvellous prints of Ian's firework photos downloaded from his Flickr account.

A very nice way to send our good wishes to the memory of our dear departed friend.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Victor Victoria...

Last Saturday Stu and I went to see the musical Victor Victoria at the Southwark Playhouse in London's not so glitzy London Bridge Quarter.

Based on the fabulous Blake Edwards film of 1982 (which in turn is a remake of a 1933 German film) it tells the story of a down on her luck singer in Paris who shacks up with a gay impresario to dress up as a man and then impersonate a woman. The ruse is a hit and they become the toast of the town. Until that is cupid comes knocking in the form of King Marchand.

The show carries over many of the musical numbers from the film while adding many more. The only notable omission is The Shady Dame From Seville. Henry Mancini sadly never lived to see his new songs live as he died before the show opened on Broadway in 1995. The Southwark Playhouse is great. It maintains all the elements that made the film such a hit. It's well acted, well sung and most of all very funny. The production is super. The many scene and costumes changes are done effortlessly and full marks to the director.

The great lines are still in it of course. The best coming from King's jilted hoofer Norma Cassidy.
"Oh King. Kiiiing. I'm hooorny.."
"Lock the door!"
"You think, you worry, you worry, you think. It's just a vicious ciircle!"
"You're gay? What a waste." "I can assure you madam, it's no waste."
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Friday, November 02, 2012

Jumpy...

Last night Stu and I went to see Jumpy starring the lovely Tamsin Greig at The Duke of York's Theatre in London's glitzy West End.

Tragedy played as farce it was witty, sexy, moving and at times a down right riot. It was also a bit Ab Fab (with Doon Mackichan as Patsy Stone.)

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Thursday, November 01, 2012

Apocalypse How?...

Last Sunday Oliver, Toby, Stu and I spent six hours combing the streets and building east London looking for a series of fiendish clues which required every drop of ingenuity and observation we possessed to solve. It was a treasure hunt murder mystery run by those lovely people at A Door In A Wall called Apocalypse How?

We loved it. Clever, funny, intriguing and frankly exhausting. What a great way to spend a Sunday. 

The pre-amble goes like this:- 20 years ago, Arthur Geddon crawled half-dead from the jungle; a miraculous survivor of a lost expedition. He clutched in his hands a series of stone tablets that he claimed described the end of the world. Now, with the day of reckoning fast approaching, Arthur is found dead. You, his faithful disciples in the Church of the Golden Pyramid, must discover who among your brothers and sisters has killed the beloved leader! Choose your path to victory and leave no stone unturned as you spend a day searching London for clues and characters that will allow you to avenge this sacrifice and, maybe, avert doomsday. Prepare for another all-new murder mystery treasure hunt from A Door In A Wall: Apocalypse How?

More pix here.
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