Quote Of The Day

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

Monday, February 29, 2016

Charity Indie Disco and Guilty Pleasures.

Many congratulations to Dave for organising a brilliant Indie Disco and Guilty Pleasures in the upstairs function room at The Golden Lion in Romford last Saturday night. A sell-out night, great to see everyone and all in a good cause. Top man, top night.

Friday, February 26, 2016

David Sedaris...

Last night Stuart and I went to see David Sedaris at the Cadogan Hall in London's glitzy Sloane Square.

There was the usual mix of musings from the masterful man of letters followed by a Q&A.

Topics under discussion were weird Japanese clothing shops, familiar bonding, politics, litter collection, book-signings and gay marriage. We were also treated to readings from his diary and jokes. Lots of jokes.

Here are two of my favourites

A woman goes to see her gynaecologist.
Doctor: Madam, you have a large vagina. Madam, you have a large vagina.
Woman: OK, OK, no need to repeat yourself.
Doctor: I didn't.

Two women in a restaurant.
First woman: How's it going with your boyfriend?
Second woman: He's afraid of the C word.
First woman: Cunt?
(shocked pause)
Second woman: Commitment!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Carry on Screaming...

Last night Stuart and I went to see a screening of Carry on Screaming at the Arthouse in London's glitzy Crouch End.

It was a right old laugh and great fun to watch it with a live audience giggling along with you. "Frying tonight!"

Afterwards we were treated to a 45 minute Q&A with the marvellous, the lovely, the vivacious Fenella Fielding. Compere Mark Ravenhill asked questions about her work on the film we'd just seen, her career highlights and how she got on with her fellow actors. She also took questions from the audience.

She confirmed what we all knew that Kenneth Williams was a bit of a nightmare to work with and mean to anyone else who he thought might outshine him, Harry H Corbett played everything for laughs and so in many ways banjaxed his own straight acting career and Charles Hawtrey was a complete darling.

There aren't many 88 year old women who can hold an audience spellbound while discussing the art of subordinate clauses, purring about figure-hugging red velvet dresses and musing on why people just don't hold back the truth when they are tired.

A funny film, a great woman, a top night.

PS: I wanted to ask a particular question but didn't get the chance. The question I wanted to ask was apparently one she asked Kenneth Williams when they were filming Carry on Screaming and had to ride in a cramped horse-drawn buggy together; "Why is your bum so hard? Do you leave it out at night?" Next time maybe!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Arsenal FC 0 - 2 Barcelona FC...

Good game last night. We played well, missed a couple of good chances, got punished and had to play against 12 men - one with a whistle! And we had red bags!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Arsenal FC vs. Barcelona FC...

It is currently match day - Tuesday 23rd February 2016 - in London town and we are due to play Barcelona tonight. Let the court record show that as of this moment we are currently STILL on for the treble! ‪#‎optimism

Monday, February 22, 2016

Muswell Hill!...

Just completed a 10k run along Parkland Walk to Muswell Hill and now in church. OK, when I say 'run' I mean walk. And when I say 'church' I mean church-converted-into-a-pub. But we are in Muswell Hill!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Mrs Henderson Presents...

Last night Stuart and I went to see Mrs Henderson Presents at the Noel Coward Theatre in London's glitzy West End.

Based on the 2005 Judi Dench film, this new musical with lyrics by Don Black and tunes by George Fenton and Simon Chamberlain, stars the wonderful Emma Williams.

The story tells of Mrs Laura Henderson, the real life impresario and owner of the Windmill Theatre in Soho who, during the Blitz on World War II, hit upon a novel way of boosting morale and getting bums on seats.

Surprise, surprise it involved getting chorus girls to take their clothes off. And to get it past the censor she sidestepped the Lord Chamberlain's objections by making them pose as naked tableaux.

So is this a story of female entrepreneurship and women's empowerment? Of plucky Brits sticking it to Hitler by keeping the lights on as the bombs fell (there motto was "We Never Close")? Or a cynical case of sexist titillation perpetuated by first the fact, then the film and now this musical? And just as importantly, is it actually any good as a show?

Well, the critics have been rather divided. The Independent loved it. The Daily Mail loved it. The Standard hated it. The Times loved it. Attitude hated it. WhatsOnStage loved it. The Guardian loved it.

Me? Well, I loved it too. I thought it was funny, jaunty and frequently idiotically and endearingly patriotic. The songs were fun and at times poignant. Emma Williams as one of the stripping gals brings to life a song like "If Mountains Were Easy to Climb" and Ian Bartholomew as the show's Jewish manager has a call to arms in "Living in a Dream World" which is genuinely moving.

Was it sexist? Yes, a bit. Was it jingoistic? Yes a bit. But what it lacked in political correctness it more than made up for in darned right fun. Rather like The Lyric's Tipping the Velvet last year and the seminal Oh What A Lovely War! it used the theatrical device of a stage comedian between scenes to draw the audience in and examine our own views of what the theatre is for, our views on censorship, and what is done in the name of good old British pluck.

And any show what has mass tap-dancing, male nudity (yes, the boys get their kit off too) and a whole chorus line playing the spoons (no, really) - gets my vote.

Recommended. Especially after a sweet sherry ‘sharpener’.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The End of Longing...

Last Friday night Stuart and I went to see The End of Longing at the Playhouse Theatre in London's glitzy West End.

Written by and starring your own, your very own Friends' star Matthew Perry the play told the story of an alcoholic, Jack, who meets up with and falls for a high-class prostitute, Stephanie. At the same time Jack's dumb best friend (called Joseph - see what he did there?) falls for Stephanie's needy best friend Stevie. Their two relationships have their ups and downs and the will-they won't-they end up together narrative frankly got a bit tedious after a while. Sure, there were some funny one-liners thrown in and the supporting cast made the best of what they had been given but Matthew Perry's central performance was simply piss-poor. It felt like he was reading his lines from a script. Now maybe this was the inevitable consequence of him also being the writer as well as the lead player but whatever the reason it was lamentable to watch. Even his heart-felt confessional speech for his AA Meeting at the end couldn't save it. Could it beeeee any worse, Chandler Bing?

Don't bother.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom...

Last night Jane, Sara, Stuart and I went to see Ma Rainey's Black Bottom at the Lyttelton Theatre on London's glitzy South Bank.

Starring Sharon D Clarke as the real-life Blues legend Ma Rainey the story tells of a day a recording studio in Chicago, 1927. A power struggle is going on between Ma Rainey and her record producers for control of her music. Hardened by years of ill-treatment and bad deals, she's determined that "Black Bottom", the song that bears her name, is recorded her way. Sparks fly.

Down below in the claustrophobic band room four black musicians rehearse and tell stories of the terrible racism they have all experienced. Levee, that band's swaggering trumpet player, plans to catapult the band into the jazz age with his new arrangements but his ambitions put them all in danger.

The play is powerful, funny, musical and very moving. Maybe not as good as say The Amen Corner or The Colour Purple, both of which this play shares many themes, but still recommended.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Valentine's Day Jokes...

This morning Stuart asked me, "What would you like to do for Valentine's Day?"
My reply, "Blow Football. In that order"
I'm now wearing a freshly made cup of tea.

For the past forty years, I've received a Valentine's card from the same secret admirer. So, I was pretty upset when I didn't get one this year.
First my granny dies, now this?

I asked Stuart if he fancied going away for Valentines Day. He took it surprisingly well.

This Valentine's Day I somehow knew I'd be inundated. Sorry. In, undated

Friday, February 12, 2016

The Pass...

Oooh. The London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival BFI Flare's opening film is The Pass. Starring the lovely Russel Tovey. We saw him in the Royal Court play a couple of years ago and it was fab. You can read my review here...

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Old Jokes Home...

An E-flat, a G-flat, and a B-flat walk into a bar. The bartender says "Sorry, we don't serve minors."

Q: Who lives at number 664? 
A: The neighbour of the beast.

Q: What's the difference between a Taliban outpost and a Pakistani elementary school?
A: No idea. I just fly the drone.

Q: What was Whitney Houston's favourite kind of co-ordination?
A: Haaaannnnd eeeyyyeeee...

I popped into Tesco today and nicked all the baguettes.
It was a French stick-up.

I feared my wife had Tourette's, so I took her to a psychiatrist.
The good news? She's not got it.
The bad news? I am a cunt and she does want me to fuck off.

I went out with a cardboard cut-out once. 
She dumped me though, because I stood her up.

Q: Why is Peter Pan always flying?
A: Because he neverlands.

f(x)=2x+1 walks into a bar. 
The barman says "I'm sorry, we don't cater for functions."

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Master Builder...

Last Friday night Stuart and I went to see Matthew Warchus's production of Henrik Ibsen's The Master Builder at the Old Vic Theatre in London's glitzy Waterloo.

Starring Ralph Fiennes in the titular role the play is a deeply peculiar, symbolism-saturated oddity. Largely autobiographical the story tells of a master builder who racked with guilt for past misdemeanours takes on an air of aggression aimed pretty much all around him. He doesn't build churches anymore - not since the tragedy of losing his son - something for which he blames his wife, played marvellously by Linda Emond. He is jealous of his up and coming architectural trainee - despite having crushed that guy's father's rival business - driving him to an early grave. His admin assistant is in love with him - a love he doesn't return but which he uses and manipulates to his own ends. Even the local doctor, played by James Dreyfus, gets it in the neck.

Yes, folks, it's an angst ridden show.

Then enter stage left a woman, played by Sarah Snook, from the master builder's past. Someone he made a promise to a long time ago. She says the unsayable, gets all Freudian about church spires and forces our anti-hero to confront his past - with tragic consequences.

Fiennes is excellent. The play however is rather hard work. And at nearly three hours is to be frank a bit of a chore.

Recommended - if you like Ralph. But then who doesn't?

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Highbury Corner...

TfL and Islington Council are proposing to transform Highbury Corner by changing the one-way roundabout into a two-way traffic system.  The proposed closure of the western side of the roundabout together with a larger station square would create a new public space.

More details here - https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/roads/highbury-corner-roundabout

Monday, February 08, 2016


 Last Saturday afternoon I treated Stu, my sister Jo and my niece Charlotte to a trip to the theatre and a slap up meal in London's glitzy West End. First we saw the wonderful Matilda at the Cambridge Theatre and then we had a booth at Balthazar.

The show was fab - just as good as we remembered it from our first time around - albeit with added kids in the audience. Any minor (sic) quibble we had wouldn't be so much with the kids themselves as with their parents and grand parents. They seemed to think that giving a running commentary of what was happening on stage was what their little brats needed. They didn't. And neither did we. 

Great songs though and the cast were excellent.

"When I grow up..."

Friday, February 05, 2016

Earth, Wind & Fire - September - Maurice White RIP

My favourite Earth, Wind and Fire song. I danced to this when I was 17 years old in a crumby discotheque in Stevenage new town centre, wearing a tight brown tank-top, large collared long sleeved shirt, impossibly tight cream trousers, sporting a centre parting, sipping half a pint of luke warm shandy and thinking it was IT!

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Gay Gooners...

Me, Adam and Pierre - just before a rather mediocre performance by Arsenal against Southampton at the Emirates Stadium last night.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Badly Packed Parachute...

What do a badly packed parachute and Madonna's face have in common?

They both look like a badly packed parachute.

Monday, February 01, 2016

Bloc Bar...

Last Saturday night Tim and Andy invited Richard, Andre, Stu and I round for dinner and then we went to the Bloc Bar in Camden. As you can see, we were rather in the pink (#nofilter)