Quote Of The Day

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

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Chuck Close at The White Cube...

On Tuesday Stu, Andy, David and I went to the new Chuck Close exhibition at The White Cube in Bermondsey's not so glitzy LBQ (London Bridge Quarter).

Close's prints of pixelated, exploded views of the human face are quite extraordinary. He suffers from face blindness - unable to recognise facial features. He also suffered from a a severed stroke and can barely move - he holds his brush with his mouth. So this is a very personal exhibition.

The images are fantatsic. Bewitching, mesmerising and quite a technically achivement.

(Incidentally also at the White Cube is an exhibition with a naked guy on roller skates. Another reason to go!)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Anti-anti-same-sex Marriage Rally...

On Sunday afternoon French protesters alongside various English religious groups organised an anti-same-sex marriage rally in Trafalgar Square. Anglican Mainstream were urging Christians to turn up to protest "the sterile adult-centred nature of same sex marriage". What they didn't want to admit was their thinly veiled anti-gay agenda. This wasn't about marriage it was pure and simply anti-gay.

Naturally I (and a hundred or so other like/right-minded people) felt the need to attend and venture an alternative point of view. And shout their homophobia down. So we had our own anti-anti-same-sex marriage rally. The way you do.

So at 2:30pm I was standing in the freezing cold along with Dilwyn and Johan listening to Gallic homophobia ranting. First the speaker would rant in French and then we heard a slightly calmer English translation. Initially it was fairly good natured. They would have their say something daft and then we would chant "Shame on you!"

But when a speaker said, "I've got no problem with people BUT..." we shouted out "Everything before the 'but' is bullshit!" Not particularly catchy however I think he got our point.

It turned a bit nastier when they realised we wouldn't be silenced. I had to remind a few people shouting in my face that it was a free country. Gosh there are some awful homophobes there.

Something that amused us was that despite being a French protest they seemed oblivious that it was Gallic-crushing Nelson who was looking down on them from his atop his column - with what I like to think of as a sneer on his stony face.

If there had been a few cuter people at our counter-demo I might have suggested a kiss-in. I might be a woolly minded political activist but I'm not an complete idiot.
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Monday, March 25, 2013


Nice to see Pope Benedict passing on the holy chalice to Pope Francis.

Two popes, one cup.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Thursday, March 21, 2013


From today Stu and I have 12 days off work. We were hoping to go away. Sadly my passport is on standby to go to the Embassy for a visa for a business trip so it looks like we can't go abroad. And with the short-term weather forecast predicting wind, rain and snow across the UK - staycation it is!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A Door In A Wall: A Crime Of Fashion

On Sunday Stu, Oliver, Steve and I went on the latest A Door In A Wall murder mystery – A Crime Of Fashion – which was running in Shoreditch’s Boxpark in London’s not so glitzy East End.

We followed trails, we solved puzzles, we got wet. It was great fun. We discovered who the murderer was but sadly failed to win the top prize.

 Our team name was At Death's Dior (geddit??)

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Monday, March 18, 2013

Claudia Brücken...

Last Saturday night Simon and I went to watch high-class synth Teuton Claudia Brücken perform at The Borderline in London's glitzy West End.

Promoting her recent covers album "The Lost are Found" the ex-Act, ex-Propaganda ice-queen vocalist gave a suitably deadpan, note-perfect performance in wonderfully stark contrast to her dreamy song choices. It was a juxtaposition that really worked.

Julee Cruise's “Mysteries of Love” from the Blue Velvet soundtrack, Stina Nordenstam's “Memories of a Color”, Bowie's 2002 single “Everyone Says Hi”, the Bee Gees' “Whispering Pines” all slipped and slid around us. We found ourselves getting drawn into every song.

There were crowd pleasers too from the luscious "Dr Mabuse" to the sing-a-long "Duel".

The band were great too. And the venue intimate. All in all a great night out.

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Friday, March 15, 2013

The Audience...

Last night Stu and I went to the famous Gielgud Theatre in London's glitzy West End to see Helen Mirren in The Audience.

Written by Peter Morgan (The Queen) it tells of the weekly audiences that Queen Elizabeth has had with each and every Prime Minister over her illustrious reign.

Helen Mirren was a marvel - often transforming on stage as the action jumped backwards and forwards in time.

We get to meet nine of the twelve PMs - Blair's talks had already been covered in the film The Queen and Macmillan and Heath were no shows - just mentioned in other conversations. No great loss.

The talks have never been minuted and so much is speculation but Morgan manages to convince drawing on events of the day. Suez Crisis, marital crisis, personal crises - much ground is covered.

In part counsel,  in part sparring partner and in part friend the Queen is always outwardly supportive of her PMs. However she is also often questioning and occasionally advising which can lead to perceived criticism - which never goes down well. Famously she was once overtly critical via 'a close source' in the Sunday Times but it was about Maggie Thatcher so we can forgive her that.

She had a favourite too. Harold Wilson. He made her laugh.

Great show - if you get an chance to be in The Audience - do.

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Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Bride and the Bachelor...

Last night Stu, me, Oliver and Oz all went to the Barbican Art Gallery to see the new exhibition The Bride and the Bachelors: Duchamp with Cage, Cunningham, Rauschenberg and Johns.

The exhibition focused on Marcel Duchamp’s American legacy, tracing his relationship to four great modern masters – composer, John Cage, choreographer, Merce Cunningham, and visual artists Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns. All artists that heralded the advent of Pop Art.

It was fun, funny, thought-provoking, daft and occasionally dull. Everything that art with a capital A should be in my opinion.

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Wednesday, March 13, 2013


25yrs ago I got my first mortgage. It was with the Halifax Building Society for a flat in Finsbury Park Road. I loved that place. But we move on.

Anyway, at the time Halifax made me open (and put £50 into) a new bank account. Which I'd forgotten about. Until today. It's now worth £77.86! The milky bars are on me!
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Monday, March 11, 2013

The Pope...

The Pope will spend the rest of his life in the Vatican avoiding the public. Sorry, did I say 'public'? I meant 'police'.

And after only one week of not having a Pope we're cured HIV - think what we can do after a month!
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Friday, March 08, 2013

The Book of Mormon...

Last night Stu and I went to see The Book of Mormon at Prince of Wales Theatre in London's glitzy West End. It's a religious satire musical with book, lyrics, and music by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, and Matt Stone.

We were really looking forward to it - partly from all the hype and partly because Popbitch had described it as "This is a musical for adults. Adults that are happy to laugh at a grown man fucking a frog on stage."

The Book of Mormon tells the story of two young Mormon missionaries sent to a remote village in northern Uganda, where a brutal warlord is threatening the local population. Naïve and optimistic, the two missionaries try to share the Book of Mormon, one of their scriptures—which only one of them knows very well—but have trouble connecting with the locals, who are more worried about war, famine, poverty, and AIDS than about religion.

The show was funny, clever, rude, had great dancing, had great songs - everything a night out should be. It's South Park meets Lion King with a dose of Family Guy. If you like musicals it's a triumph. Not quite as caustic as much of South Park though but not mean spirited either and every song a self-knowing show-stopper.

They had us from the opening number "Hello". The brilliant "You and Me (But Mostly Me)" had us laughing in the aisles as did the hysterical "Turn It Off". Best routine of the night was the fantastically realised "Spooky Mormon Hell Dream."

Go. Just go.

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Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Up the Women...

Last Sunday Stuart and I went to BBC Television Centre to see the first recording of Up The Women! A new BBC4 comedy with Jessica Hynes (her off of Spaced), Rebecca Front (her off of The Thick of It) and Vicki Pepperdine (her off of Getting On).

It's 1910 and we're in Banbury church hall at the Banbury Intricate Craft Circle. Margaret has been to London and discovered the Women's Suffrage movement so she decides they need to set up their own movement and The Banbury Intricate Craft Circle becomes the hilariously ineffectual Banbury Intricate Craft Circle politely request women's Suffrage.

Gwen is the only member who actually enjoys the craft element of the meetings, while Helen thinks that craft is, a little, unnecessary, but she's not interested in women's rights: "What on earth do women need a vote for? My husband votes for who I tell him to vote for. What could be a better system than that?"

Climb aboard for suffragette witty!
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Monday, March 04, 2013

Liza Minnelli...

Last Friday night Darren and Stuart and I went to the Royal Festival Hall on London's glitzy South Bank to see the wonderful Liza Minnelli. And she was sensational. Almost as good as she was back in 2002.

The crowd at the RFH had all turned into constantly clapping, constantly standing ovators. They clapped as each song started, the clapped and whooped at each mid-song pause and then they stood and clapped and cheered at the end of each. And I'm sorry to admit dear reader that I was also one of those people.

All the hits and more - Alexander's Ragtime Band, New York New York, Cabaret, Maybe This Time, Say Liza (Liza With A “Z”)... sadly no Money Money Money though.

Half way through Liza's set she performed the gay classic "What Makes a Man a Man?" With a silver sequinned top, a blacked out stage, a trembling voice and a single spotlight... 2500 of us held our breath as she sang. Utter silence. Just the soft sound of tears falling. A heartbeat after she finished... the place erupted. Boy, she knows her audience and milked it to the last drop. Adrella would have been proud.

A great show. A great woman. Show-stoppers every song. Her's to the next ten years until we see you again Liza.

And if I may divert a little, it got us talking afterwards about what actually does make a man a man. And all I could think of was what my Dad once told me, "a man makes decisions and lives with the consequences." Admittedly I was only 8 at the time and wanted to change my plain ice cream cornet for a 99 but I guess he was making a point.
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