Quote Of The Day

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

Thursday, August 29, 2013


Don't you just hate it when your new favourite restaurant (LeCoq) gets a four-star full page review in the Evening Standard? Bah! Queues round the door now. Especially with such a glowing write-up and expressions like, "take the three courses. At £20, it is one of the best deals — if not the best deal — in London."

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Pride...

Last night Stu and I went to see gay play The Pride at the Trafalgar Studios in London's glitzy Whitehall.

The play tells two stories using the same three actors. The first set in 1958 tells of a husband and wife on the surface happily married but things go somewhat awry with the appearance of the wife's rather "mannered" friend. What follows is a painful and destructive path where the violence turns from gentle and emotional to painfully and physical. The shame in their actions force all the characters to regret their past decisions and indeed their very nature.

The second story set in 2008(?) tells the story of a gay couple and how one of them suffers from sex addiction. Actually his partner probably suffers just as much. He's had enough and is leaving him. The sex addiction seems to be born out of a self-loathing and the inability to explain himself to his partner has led to the disintegration of their long-them relationship.  It reflects the gay shame that destroyed the relationship of the earlier piece.

Now if all that sounds rather depressing and worthy it is - a bit. And it isn't. There is much brevity in the piece not least by Matthew Horne's various stylised appearances as a sex Nazi, an aversion therapist and most successfully as a lad's mag editor with a story to tell.

The wife in 1958 also playing the straight best friend in 2008 talks the most sense and has many of the funniest lines. She is in many ways the voice of the writer. Counselling and scolding, explaining and supporting.

It's an excellent piece, we really enjoyed it and it's well worth seeing. Not least for the brilliant cast and the "to Russia, with love" signs that they bringing out when they take a bow.

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Pink Panther...

The Pink Panther's To Do list:
- To do
- To do
- To do, to do, to do, to do, to doooo

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Foreign Language...

Jim Apple was having trouble introducing himself when on holiday in France. While at a hotel in Berlin, his friend Gordon Morgan was having similar problems.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Hand Gel...

The best thing about alcohol hand gel in hospitals isn't the hygiene,  but that everyone walks around like they're hatching a dastardly plan.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

London Transport Museum...

Last Friday David and I went to the London Transport Museum in London's glitzy Covent Garden.

Steam trains, omnibuses, taxis and tube trains - there was lots to see and do. It was an entertainment and an education. Who knew the London Underground network used to go out as far as Southend-on-Sea?

Also just opening was a new exhibition: 150 years of London Underground poster - which was worth the price of the ticket alone. If you're ever at a loose end in town and you like that sort of thing - go!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Two Hunters...

A couple of hunters are out in the woods when one of them falls to the ground. He doesn't seem to be breathing. The other whips out his mobile phone and calls the emergency services. He gasps out to the operator: "My friend is dead! What can I do?"
The operator, in a calm soothing voice says: "Just take it easy. First, let's make sure he's dead." There is silence, then a shot is heard. The guy's voice comes back on the line. He says: "OK, now what?"

Friday, August 16, 2013

Duckie Summer Party...

Last Saturday night Tim, Andrew, Chris, Hudd, Vince, Darren, Stu and I went to Duckie's Summer Party at the South Bank Centre on London's glitzy South Bank. It was riot. God, they put on a good show.

Monday, August 12, 2013

West Side Story...

Last weekend Stu, Myrtle, Dad and I went to see the musical West Side Story performed at the Sadler's Wells Theatre in London's glitzy Islington.

The production didn't mess with it in any way - much to our relief - so we were treated to Jerome Robbins original stylish choreography, Leonard Bernstein's glorious (if a little over zealously played) music and Stephen Sondheim's spot on lyrics. We loved it.

My only quibble was perhaps that 56 years on from its Broadway premiere some of the language in West Side Story now seems very dated "man" "you dig" and the shock value of the action isn't there quite so much. Perhaps a production with a contemporary twist could be welcomed - it hasn't done source material Romeo and Juliette any harm.

The performances were all excellent though. The America cast that has been touring with this production can sing, act and boy can they dance. Stand out for me was Penelope Armstead-Williams as Anita - a role that we can all fall in love with. She is Puerto Rican, proud but in love with America.

If you get a chance - go see.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Demo Today to Support LGBT People In Russia...

  • Russia is rated most difficult country in Europe which to be gay by watchdog Ilga-Europe.
  • Legislation passed in June imposes fines for "propagandising of non-traditional sexual relations among minors."
  • Gay Pride events effectively banned for 100 years by a court order.

In 1936 Hitler saw the Olympic Games as an opportunity to promote his government and ideals of racial supremacy, and the official Nazi party paper, the Völkischer Beobachter wrote in the strongest terms that Jews and Black people should not be allowed to participate in the Games. However, when threatened with a boycott of the Games by other nations, he relented and allowed Black people and Jews to participate, and added one token participant to the German team - a German woman, Helene Mayer, who had a Jewish father. At the same time, the party removed signs stating "Jews not wanted" and similar slogans from the city's main tourist attractions.

Boycotts work. Demos work. Good luck today everyone.
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Friday, August 09, 2013

STOP the LGBT violations in Russia NOW...

STOP the LGBT violations in Russia NOW.

In 2012 The Russian government banned all gay pride events throughout the country for the next 100 years.

In 2013, The Russian government adopted a trifecta of anti LGBT bills basically criminalizing homosexuality. One bans the distribution of "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations" to minors. This law imposes heavy fines for using the media or internet to promote "non-traditional relations."

Secondly, the government made it illegal for the adoption of Russian children by gay couples or any single person who comes from a country that recognizes marriage equality.

Thirdly, a bill has just been passed giving authorities the rights to arrest foreign nationals whom they suspect being LGBT or pro gay and detain them for up to 14 days.

There is talk in the media of the next step being the removal of children from Russian homes, natural or adoptive, from parents who are, or are suspected of being LGBT.

We are witnessing imagery in the media showing unspeakable violence towards LGBT people. We see evidence that the new laws are being broadly interpreted by the Russian public and by the legal system to unfairly and violently persecute, intimidate and vilify LGBT people. This violence must stop, and the laws must be repealed.

We are organizing a peaceful static protest for our Russian LGBT family, with whom we show solidarity. We want our Russian brothers and sisters to be free from persecution and to have the freedom to love without fear.

We call on David Cameron, the UK Parliament and the G20 to urge the Russian government to repeal these laws and to provide the same level of human rights protection to all of its citizens regardless of their sexuality and gender.

Protest Details:
Static protest and signing of register of protest:  Date: August 10, 2013
Location: Richmond Terrace, Westminster SW1A 2JL
Time: 1.00pm to 4.00pm
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Thursday, August 08, 2013

The Amen Corner...

Last night Stu and I went to see James Baldwin's The Amen Corner at the Olivier Theatre on London's glitzy South Bank.

Starring Marianne Jean-Baptiste as the fervent pastor Margaret  Alexander the story tells of a Harlem church and how the Old Testament God-fearing woman who leads it whips the congregation into a religious frenzy only to come unstuck by her own family. A son who losses his faith and a wayward husband who returns both throw Margaret's life into a spin. The holier than thou flock she has disciplined so well then turn on her and their petty jealousies soon bubble to the surface. Margaret is undone. Reap what ye have sown. Margaret's transition to New Testament forgiveness then completes the parable.

All the cast were excellent. The gospel singing perfect and the staging simple and clever. The church and all it's holiness was set up above, the family living room and it's harsh earthly realities were set firmly down below.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Luis Suárez...

Luis Suárez
Luis Suárez (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
"Luis Suárez has pleaded with Liverpool to fulfil the promise they made a year ago and let him leave Anfield" says The Guardian.

"Suárez claims the club told him they would let him depart if they failed to qualify for the Champions League this season and that a clause in his contract allows him to leave should someone make a bid of more than £40m. He says he has the backing of the Professional Footballers' Association and that he his prepared to take the issue to the Premier League to force his exit and move to the Emirates before the transfer window closes on 2 September."

So hopefully heading to Arsenal FC then!

Monday, August 05, 2013

Coming Out...

On this day in 1983 I came out to my Dad. 
I took a deep breath and said, "Dad, you know I love you but I have something to tell you. I been wanting to say this for a long time now and I want to be honest with you. Be true to myself. I know you're going to find this hard to take, but... Dad... I have to tell you...  I'm gay. Does it bother you?"
Dad said, "Not as much as it'll bother your mother." 
I said, "Oh no. Oh dear. Do you think she'll be terribly upset?"
Dad said, "Upset! She'll be fucking devastated, she owes me 500 quid now."

Friday, August 02, 2013

The Sound Of Music at Open Air Theatre Regents Park...

Last night Stu and I went to see nuns and Nazis singing and sinning in the park. That's the nuns doing the singing and the Nazis doing the sinning not the other way around.

Stu's favourite musical is The Sound Of Music and the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre put on a great show. The leads were excellent, the script funny, the supports acted well, the kids were great and the orchestra did us proud.

It was the regular musical version with the oft omitted songs re-added and the score in the correct order - not the mixed up film version order.

One funny bit was the abbess saying VERY dis-tinct-ly... "What is it you... CAAAN'T.. face?" Which produced loads of sniggers.

We loved it and are planning a return visit.

Thursday, August 01, 2013