Quote Of The Day

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

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Easy Star All‐Stars : Dub Side of the Moon @ Islington Assembly Hall...

Last Friday night Stuart, Paul, Simon and I went to see the reggae outfit Easy Star All‐Stars perform their dubtastic album Dub Side of the Moon at the Islington Assembly Hall in London's glitzy Upper Street.

In fact, the band performed various hits from their repertoire, but drew mainly from their seminal work Dub Side Of The Moon (a complete reggae reworking of Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon). We were also treated to tracks from their newer piece, Radiodread (the reggae treatment given to Radiohead's OK Computer). They even threw in the odd track from Thrillah too (their dub version of Michael Jackson’s classic album.)

The masterminds behind Easy Star All-Stars are Michael Goldwasser (a.k.a. Michael G), his production partner Victor Axelrod (a.k.a. Ticklah), and his two Easy Star label partners Eric Smith and Lem Oppenheimer. This New York reggae band are in fact a loose collective with a rotating line-up. Last night there were eight of them on a stage and they did a pretty good job of keeping us entertained.
Recommended, if you like dub. Which I do, diddly-do, diddly-do, diddly-do, do, do.

The setlist was:
True To Jah Love
Lovely Rita (The Beatles cover)
High and Dry (Radiohead cover)
Speak to Me (Pink Floyd cover)
Breathe (Pink Floyd cover)
On the Run (Pink Floyd cover)
Time (Pink Floyd cover)
The Great Gig in the Sky (Pink Floyd cover)
Money (Pink Floyd cover)
Us and Them (Pink Floyd cover)
Any Colour You Like (Pink Floyd cover)
Brain Damage (Pink Floyd cover)
Eclipse (Pink Floyd cover)
P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing) (Michael Jackson cover)
Climbing Up the Walls (Radiohead cover)
Electioneering (Radiohead cover)
Tell Dem Fi Gwaan

One Likkle Draw
Karma Police (Radiohead cover)

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Jean Paul Gaultier: Freak Fashion Show @ Queen Elizabeth Hall...

Last Saturday night Darren, Vince, Mark, Stuart and I went to see (watch? experience?) Jean Paul Gaultier: Freak Fashion Show at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on London's glitzy South Bank.

There was joke doing the rounds in the late 1980s:-
A: "Have you had sex with Jean Paul Gaultier?"
B: "Yes, I have met him."
A: "No, not have you 'met him', have you had 'sex with him'?"
B: "Same thing, love."

Back to the Freak show, it was an all-singing, all-sinning (sic.), all-dancing, camp, funny, occasionally moving, loose story of JGP's life. From dressing up his teddy bear in a conical bra, playing with his grand-mother's corsets, outlandish drawings at school, his brush with the Folies Bergère, his first disaster of a fashion show, the detractors, the admirers, Madonna, the bondage, moving to London, the fetish wear, the sex clubs, AIDS, men's fashion, women's fashion, the highs, the lows, the adoration...

The show had lucha libre masks, lots of feathers, the conical bras (human size this time), banana skirts, and lots and lots of flesh. It had vogue battles, comic skits, catwalk strutting, and wacky dancing. In fact, it was as much a celebration of bodies and sensuality and sexual freedom as it was a fabulously fun romp through the French designer’s life and career.

Everywhere the clothes were brilliantly theatrical, full of humour, beautiful constructed with sensuous textures. Gaultier’s genius rests on his mad juxtapositions: 18th-century pannier hoops and punk bondage, Mexican lucha libre masks with showgirl feathers, a dinner jacket turned into a toga or a half-leather-half-tutu number. It is hard versus soft, sexy versus silly; Gaultier sends up the ridiculousness of it all and yet takes his clothes deadly seriously. The more outrageously imaginative it gets (mocking the plastic surgery craze with extra limbs prêt-a porter) the better.

He laughed with it (and at it). We gasped. We oohed. We aahed. We laughed some more. We loved it.

Was it gloriously self-indulgent or was it utterly, utterly fabulous?

Same thing, love.

PS: I was at a bar once. Late 1980s. Well, I say bar, it was a fetish sex club called Fist. I was wearing army boots, large-hooped chain mail shorts and a smile. I was ordering a beer and as I reached over to pay for it, I felt a hand reach down the back of my shorts. There were large ornate metal rings on the hand's fingers that became entangled in the chain mail. I grabbed my beer and walked away. As I crossed the dance floor, a friend hissed in my ear, "Darling, you're dragging a French designer behind you!" It took three people to untangle JPG from my shorts. He apologised and bought me another beer.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Trevor Horn @ Royal Festival Hall..

Last night Stuart, Jo, Dave and I went to see Trevor Horn and crew perform at the Royal Festival Hall on London's glitzy South Bank.

All the hits, all the covers, and all the (unnecessary) reinterpretations you could hope for. As ever with a Trevor Horn gig, the sound was amazing. He recreates his studio on stage - complete with computers, eight-piece string orchestra, backing vocalists, and all the sound engineers you could throw a stick at.

We sang, we jiggled about a bit, he laughed, we sang some more.

Great fun. And nostalgia by the bucket load.

First Half
Two Tribes (Frankie Goes to Hollywood cover) (with Matt Cardle)
Video Killed the Radio Star (Buggles song) (Trevor Horn vocals)
Cry (Godley & Creme cover) (with Roberto Angrisani)
Rubber Bullets (10cc cover) (with Lol Creme)
It's Different for Girls (Joe Jackson cover) (with Steve Hogarth)
Ashes to Ashes (David Bowie cover) (with Steve Hogarth)
All the Things She Said (t.A.T.u. cover) (with Izzy Chase) (Also with Kate Holmes)
Slave to the Rhythm (Grace Jones cover) (with Matt Cardle) (Also with Izzy Chase)
The Power of Love (Frankie Goes to Hollywood cover) (with Matt Cardle)
Living in the Plastic Age (Buggles song) (Trevor Horn vocals)
I'm Not in Love (10cc cover) (with Matt Cardle) (Lol Creme on keyboards)
Everybody Wants to Rule the World (Tears for Fears cover) (with Steve Hogarth)

Second Half
Owner of a Lonely Heart (Yes song) (Trevor Horn vocals)
Brothers in Arms (Dire Straits cover) (with Danny Cummings) (with Michael MacNeil on accordion)
Rhythm of My Heart (René Shuman cover) (with Roberto Angrisani) (with Michael MacNeil on accordian)
Dancing in the Dark (Bruce Springsteen cover) (with Kate Holmes) (Preceded by a snippet of Preceded by a snippet of "Born to Run" by Bruce Springsteen, Bossa Nova style)
Since You Been Gone (Russ Ballard cover) (with Russ Ballard) (Preceded by a snippet of a Scottish reel)
God Gave Rock 'n' Roll to You (Argent cover) (with Russ Ballard)
Girls on Film (Duran Duran cover) (with Izzy Chase) (Also with Kate Holmes)
Kiss from a Rose (Seal cover) (with Steve Hogarth)
Blue Monday (New Order cover) (with Steve Hogarth)
Relax (Frankie Goes to Hollywood cover) (with Matt Cardle)

Money for Nothing (Dire Straits cover) (with Danny Cummings)

Friday, July 26, 2019

The Hunt

Last night Stuart and I went to see The Hunt at the Almeida Theatre in London's glitzy Islington.

It begins with the house lights up, and a school-teacher extolling the virtues of Lucas, the newest teacher at the Sunbeam Infant School in a small Danish town, who has just organised the harvest festival celebrations. It ends in darkness. In between, The Hunt has taken us to the deepest, most frightening recesses of the human soul.

In fact if you know the deservedly acclaimed film on which it is based – written by Thomas Vinterberg and Tobias Lindholm – David Farr's stage version is not so much a re-telling as a gloss, finding different beats and emphasis in the story of Lucas, a calm, kind man in a small, isolated community whose life is destroyed when he is accused by his best friend's six year-old daughter Clara of molesting her.

The important thing about the story is that we know Lucas is innocent. This is not an investigation of the impulses that lead a good man to do a bad thing, rather it is a tightly-wrought, intense, terrifying study of how a community that prides itself on being tolerant and welcoming can become a violent, excluding place, how friendships can be torn apart and lives destroyed by a moment in which everyone tries to do the right thing.

The key to Rupert Goold's production – a remarkable example of this director's ability to combine flamboyance and control – is Es Devlin's set which builds a circle of blond smooth wood and sets within it a sort of greenhouse, its frame outlined in bright light (courtesy of Neil Austin) with windows that switch from clear to opaque, that becomes a classroom, a hunting lodge (packed with grunting shouting men) and a church. It represents both a place of safety and a source of threat, enabling the staging (brilliantly choreographed by Botis Seva) to unfold around and within it, with ratcheting levels of tension.

The story, carefully structured by Farr (who adapted The Night Manager for TV) unfolds with the breath-suppressing clarity of a thriller, but it is the mysteries of the heart that provide the stress. It is rooted in performances of such rigorous truthfulness that barely a note seems out of place. Everyone is excellent, including Michele Austin as the well-meaning teacher and Poppy Miller as Mikala, Clara's chaotic mother.

But the casting of Tobias Menzies as Lucas is a stroke of genius; he is an actor who always seems to have something hidden, the control of his face concealing secrets beneath, a ticking muscle at the side of his mouth an indication of emotions fiercely under control. The scene between him and Clara (played on press night by Taya Tower with almost unbearable intensity) has a grave gentleness which makes subsequent events all the more unbearable; another with his supportive, wild-limbed son Marcus (Stuart Campbell) aches with love unexpressed, feelings unspoken.

It is that balance between what is said and what lies unsaid that makes this version of The Hunt so suspenseful. When Clara's father Theo (a raging Justin Salinger) confronts his oldest friend with what he is supposed to have done, an entire lifetime both shared and separate lies between them. Lucas has always been part of this community, united by its tribal rituals, its love of the hunt, but he has also always been different. "None of us are open books," he says, quietly.

That examination of human fallibility, of the flaws that make us who we are, of the complicated emotions that drive and control society makes The Hunt a very fine piece of work indeed.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Whodunnit [Unrehearsed] @ the Park Theatre...

Last night Stuart and I popped along to the fundraiser at the Park Theatre in London's glitzy Finsbury Park to see Whodunnit [Unrehearsed].

Created as a way to make money for the theatre - it needs £300,000 a year to keep the lights on, gets no Arts Council or local council money - the annual fundraiser this year took the form of a murder-mystery parody with a twist. The twist being that there was a different celebrity each night playing the inspector from Scotland Yard who comes to solve the crime. Their lines and stage directions are fed to them via an earpiece - one at a time. Hilarity ensues.

Various celebrities are slated to appear. We were "lucky enough" to get Adam Hills - Australian comedian and radio and television presenter. Nice enough chap, but not what you might think as top draw. They had Damian Lewis the other night, Jim Broadbent too, and Joanna Lumley, Gillian Anderson, Ronan Keating, John Bishop, and Catherine Tate were all due. Hey ho.

The plot of the piece is dire of course, the performances pantomime, and the jokes lame - but it was all in a good cause. Moreover, the Q&A afterwards made us warm to Mr Hills much more. His element is clearly comedy rather than seat-of-your-pants acting!

The Park Theatre does lots of work for schools, for various disabled groups, and for the community. It keeps its ticket prices low and offers its theatre space out for a large number of community groups. In addition, it puts on some great shows too. So, well worth supporting.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

The Night of the Iguana @ Noel Coward Theatre...

Last Friday night Stuart and I went to see Tennessee Williams's The Night of the Iguana at the Noel Coward Theatre in London's glitzy West End.

Now, there is top-tier Tennessee Williams – The Glass Menagerie, A Streetcar Named Desire, Cat On A Hot Tin Roof – and then there are scores of other plays by the deified American dramatist, ripe for rediscovery. The Night of the Iguana is not exactly scraping the bottom of the barrel, but it’s not the cream of the crop either.

The play is certainly sensuous and humane, but a little over-baked. Essentially, about redemption and the hope that people can offer one another - it wears its colours a little too brightly and shows its hand a little too soon.

The Night of the Iguana is about a disgraced Episcopalian minister-turned-tour-guide and the companionship he finds in a 1940s Mexican hotel with a New England spinster, her elderly grandfather and the establishment’s widowed owner.

This new production is directed by James Macdonald and stars Clive Owen as our anti-hero minister – making his first West End appearance since 2001 – as well as Lia Williams, Finty Williams, Julian Glover and Anna Gunn.

Owen has the right nervous intensity and he gives a good account of a man engaged in a battle with himself. His funny but and frazzled performance is akin to Nicolas Cage in one of his better films.

He starts the evening as a nervous fidget, pacing the stage, calling out God and sneering at any social or sexual convention that might cross his path and then some, before nosediving into paroxysms of delirium, eventually emerging at the end of the evening with a palpable touch of grace. It’s a great effort, if not always convincing.

His co-stars Lia Williams and Anna Gunn, however, are magnificent.

Gunn is beautifully un-vain and carnally vivacious as hotel owner Maxine, to whom she lends a radiant sensuality that belies her profound loneliness and rampant jealousy.

Williams, meanwhile, is simply spellbinding and astonishingly moving as spinster Southern belle Hannah. The character of Hannah Jelkes is a fascinating one. More robust than many of the playwright’s women – strange, sad and graceful at the same time, pleasingly at ease with herself. Williams captures all of this, and more.

Julian Glover plays Hannah's aging father with suitable gravitas.

As for the set, Macdonald's production of a majestic creeper-strewn mountaintop is great, as is Neil Austin’s lighting, Max Pappenheim’s sound, and Rae Smith’s design.

So, in summary, a great production, lovely acting, but, sadly, a rather underpowered play.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Hair at Milton Keynes Theatre...

Last Saturday night Stuart and I went to see - for the final time in this run - hippy musical Hair at Milton Keynes Theatre in, you've guessed it, glitzy Milton Keynes.

As I have said many times before, we do travel to some far-flung places to see crap productions of our favourite musical.

Despite our misgivings, we have grown somewhat fond of this production.

On this occasion it was rather rushed though - the 10pm curfew meant everything had to run 10% faster than usual which was  bit weird. There was precious little sign on the voluminous dry-ice we had come to expect either. And the normal X Factor lead Jake Quickenden was back as Berger sadly, Bradley Judge was back playing Woof which was good, and also luckily Louise Francis was still playing Dionne. And of course the gorgeous Paul Wilkins as Claude was, and is, ever excellent.

We shall miss this little show. But fingers crossed the 60th year anniversary production is better.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Big Gay Picnic 2019 - with extra nymph!...

We had a fantastic day out at Tim's Big Gay Picnic in The Garden of St John's Lodge, Inner Circle, Regent's Park. Why, we even got joined by a wood nymph!

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Moon Landing "From The Sea of Tranquillity to our sofa, it seemed like a future was rushing towards us" #Apollo11

Fifty years ago, 1969... sitting on the sofa with my Mum and Dad with my eyes wide open watching black and white TV. About 8pm the Apollo 11 lunar module landed on the moon. Then, nothing. 

“Are they coming out?”

We waited. And waited. I fell asleep. We all fell asleep. Then at 4am Mum woke us up. “They are about to climb out!”

It was really grainy. Hard to make out. 

“Look! Look!”

A foot appeared on the ladder. Then two. The slow, slow descent. Then a gingerly placed footstep on the surface. The crackling speech. “One small step...”

We couldn’t believe it. Anything was possible. From The Sea of Tranquillity to our sofa, it seemed like a future was rushing towards us

Friday, July 19, 2019


Last night Stuart and I went to see Ibsen's Rosmersholm at the Duke of York's Theatre in London glitzy West End.

Wow! What a play! What a production! What performances!

OK, full confession, I love Ibsen. His characters are always brooding, sparse, emotional, oppressive, miserable, dark, and tragic. What's not to like? But, this production of this play deserves all the five stars being heaped upon it by the critics.

Here Hayley Atwell plays Rebecca West beautifully, one of Ibsen's greatest heroines. Enigmatic and unpredictable, free-spirited Rebecca brings the winds of change to old country manor house Rosmersholm.

Rosmersholm is full of the ghosts of the past. Sombre portraits line the walls looking down and judging the current occupants. Landlord, and recently bereaved ex-pastor, Johannes Rosmer (played perfectly by Tom Burke) is struggling to cope with the gaze. He has not only lost his wife to suicide but also his faith. And his politics have taken a left turn thanks to Rebecca West who has blown in like a wind from her eponymous direction.

Rosmer’s brother-in-law, Kroll, vividly played by Giles Terera, is a right-wing bigot whose views are even disowned by his wife and children. He marches in to Rosmersholm criticising the pairs' naive socialist views. There is an election tomorrow that Kroll wants to win and having Rosmer wander off to the left politically helps him none. He sees Rebecca as a problem - so starts to dig for dirt...

There is conflict, karma, twists, tragedy, sex, revelations, plenty of coded references to modern politics, and unhealthy populism. The play simply sang.

Atwell gave an award-winning performance. We hung on every word.

The rest of the cast are incredible too, especially Peter Wight as a tattered visionary and Lucy Briers as the wise and watchful housekeeper. Ian Rickson’s production is breath-taking.

Go see (but closes soon).

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Testament of Yootha "We laughed at the funny bits. Felt sad amid the pathos. But largely felt a great deal of warmth to both Yootha, and to @CarolineCooke19 for bring her so very much alive"

Last Sunday night Stuart and I went to see Caroline Burns Cooke's one-woman show Testament of Yootha at the Hen and Chickens theare pub in London's glitzy Islington.

The show is an autobiography of popular 1970's sitcom star Yootha Joyce, forever remembered as the frustrated sexually predatory wife of long-suffering George in Man About the house and then in George and Mildred. But while RADA and Theatre Workshop alumni Yootha forever sought the limelight, she could have been a contender as a serious actress, she never really succeeded.

Here we see Yootha, dubbed "a lady who never complained" by Kenneth Williams, having had enough; enough of the fans, the typecasting, the brandy bottles, the summer seasons, the polo necks and the constant hiding of any feelings that might be dubbed less than ladylike. We fasten your seat belts, it was the last will and testament of a tartar in waiting. And this time she was going to be heard. She'd just have to live long enough...

Actress/writer Caroline Burns Cooke – creator of And the Rope Still Tugging Her Feet (Argus Angel for Outstanding Theatre and Outstanding Individual Performer at Prague Fringe) and Proxy (Infallibles Award nominee for Outstanding Theatre and Ike Award winner for Best Solo Show) – returns with this, her third show, to examine the life of glamorous sitcom legend Yootha: adored by friends and fans alike, hiding acute alcoholism from those closest to her, and (spoiler alert) dying at the tender age of 53.

We laughed at the funny bits. Felt sad amid the pathos. But largely felt a great deal of warmth to both Yootha, and to Cooke for bring her so very much alive.

Could have been worse. Could have been a wet Wednesday at Rhyl Rep.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Top Secret...

Last Friday afternoon Stuart and I went to look around Top Secret, the newly opened exhibition at the Science Museum in London's glitzy Knightsbridge.

From the trenches of the First World War to the latest in cyber security, Top Secret explores over a century’s worth of communications intelligence through hand-written documents, declassified files and previously unseen artefacts from the Science Museum Group's and GCHQ’s historic collections.

The exhibition traces the evolution of the gadgets and devices used to conceal crucial messages and to decode the secrets of others. We heard from GCHQ staff doing top secret work to defend against terror attacks and serious crime and discover the challenges of maintaining digital security in the 21st century.

We also explored the story of Alan Turing and the team of Bletchley Park codebreakers who broke the Enigma code in 1941, uncovered spy-craft from 1960’s Cold War espionage and there was an interactive puzzle zone.

Top Secret coincides with the 100th anniversary of GCHQ, the UK’s Intelligence, Security and Cyber agency.

We loved it.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Peter Gynt...

Last week Stuart and I went to see David Hare's re-imagined Ibsen’s classic - Peter Gynt - at the Oliver Theatre on London glitzy South Bank.

Yes, dear reader, Hare has reinvented Peer Gynt as a "riotous" adventure for the 21st century. This Peter Gynt is searching for something: himself. Traveling from the mountains of Scotland to the pool-sides of Florida, he meets talking hyenas, two-headed trolls and even an Egyptian Sphinx. But his ultimate transformation was not all that he hoped for…

Or indeed what we had hoped for either.

Playing the rebellious antihero, James McArdle (Angels In America) is reunited not only with David Hare but also director Jonathan Kent, the partnership behind the triumphant Young Chekhov at Chichester Festival Theatre and the National Theatre.

It was long play. Three and half hours. Initially funny, but started to drag somewhat in the third (or was it the fourth?)  hour. Yes, it's witty in parts, but rather like a shaggy dog story, it's incoherent ramblings somewhat outstayed their welcome.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Islington's Pride - #LGBT History of Holloway guided walks @IslingtonsPride @Islingtonwalks #Arsenal @Islington @AFCCommunity @Islingtonlibs @gaygooners @IslingtonLife

Last Saturday morning Stuart, I, and bunch of other ne'er-do-wells took one of the fabulously free Islington Pride Walking Tours.

Not only was it fabulous but also fascinating, hugely enjoyable and informative. The walk took in many of the important facets of Holloway's LGBT history.

We started at the site of the first gay protest on Highbury Fields after arrests in 1969, spotted the cottages in the Fields, the location where the Gay Teenage Group met, a bit of information about the Gaygooners (with contributions from yours truly), various fetish shops (like Rams and the now defunct Fettered Pleasures), the places Joe Orton picked up his rough trade, where the Pink Paper and Boyz magazine were run from, the flat "Mr. Telsar" Joe Meek lived and worked, the location of the Galop offices, the notorious Selbys department store, and Holloway and Pentoville prisons where Oscar Wilde spent his first two stretches inside (respectively.)

The walk lasted for about 90 minutes and ran from the Highbury & Islington tube up to the Nag's Head, so not too long either in time or distance. Highly recommended!

Friday, July 12, 2019

Hair at the Theatre Royal...

Last night Stuart and I went to see hippy musical Hair at Theatre Royal in glitzy Brighton.

As I have said before, we do travel to some far-flung places to see crap productions of our favourite musical!

Only this Thursday night performance was actually much better than usual. Why? The normal X Factor lead Jake Quickenden was off (indisposed?) so they had shuffled the cast. And it really worked. It was funny, sexy, moving, and was sung so much better too. Yay! We got our favourite show back!

Bradley Judge had stepped up from playing Woof to playing Berger and simply nailed it. Louise Francis was a revelation too - playing Dionne (Aiesha Pease also indisposed?)

And of course the gorgeous Paul Wilkins as Claude was, and is, ever excellent.

Let's hope the changes are permanent and not just the swing / understudy night.

Because, yes, dear reader, we are going again!

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Europe @DonmarWarehouse "we can't just chalk this up a blip in humanity's ugly past. We can clearly hear the sharp fingernail of current political populism scratching down the blackboard of modern days too"

Last Thursday night Stuart and I went to see David Greig’s play Europe at the Donmar Warehouse in London's glitzy West End.

A new era is dawning at the Donmar, with Michael Longhurst stepping into Josie Rourke’s sizeable shoes as artistic director. Longhurst, whose recent productions include Amadeus, The Son and Caroline, Or Change, has started with a rare revival of prolific Scottish playwright David Greig’s Europe.

Written in 1994, Greig’s play is set in the railway station of a non-specific European town – a railway station that no trains ever stop at, and that two refugees, Sava and Katia, make their home, alongside its officious stationmaster, his dreamer assistant, and the town’s increasingly irate population.

Greig’s sharp, clear-sighted writing unfolds over a number of short scenes, in which he traces how industrial and economic decline leads to introversion, suspicion of strangers and, ultimately, devastating violence. There is humour, yes, but we also sense the impending doom.

And although written about the Bosnia refugee crisis in the early 1990s, we can't just chalk this up a blip in humanity's ugly past. We can clearly hear the sharp fingernail of current political populism scratching down the blackboard of modern days too.

Longhurst’s revival features Armenian actor Kevork Malikyan as Sava, Harry Potter star Natalia Tena as Katia, stage and screen stalwart Ron Cook as stationmaster Fret, and Game of Thrones’ Faye Marsay as his assistant Adele.

Greig’s play is a powerful and pertinent portrait of a (still) divided Europe.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

iOS 13 and iPadOS 13...

I am loving the new iOS 13 beta. Seems faster, new Dark mode, swipe to type works natively now, better camera app, better Photos, new Siri, street view, loads of new hidden settings  etc etc. 
And iPadOS is great too. More screen space! Yay!
Coming this autumn.

Monday, July 08, 2019

Amazing Pride in London 2019! "Our feet might have been sore but our hearts were still singing" Thank you @gaygooners @Arsenal @Gunnersaurus @AdidasUK @PrideInLondon …

Well, that went well. Probably the best GayGooners Pride event I have had the pleasure to be involved with! All the hard work, planning, cajoling, chasing, pleading, and long hours finally paid off. And guess what? It was a palpable hit!

It started on Friday night when we had a great party hosted by Octopus Energy at Be At One Regent's Street where we burned through over £1000 in booze. Oops.

On Saturday morning, Gunnersaurus came to our Pride meet-up event at the Metropolitan Bar to pose for photos and dance. He and his lovely wrangler brought Arsenal scarves and Arsenal flags with him - generously donated by the club. Representatives from Adidas and Octopus Energy also joined us and shortly after noon, as a crowd, we moved off together to join the parade full of high spirits.

Our spirits were lifted higher still when we got to the parade. Organiser Joe, drivers Carl and Aaron, and wheel stewards Elliot, Larry and Jonathan - who had been decorating our vehicle - were waiting for us. They had music. They had good times. They had sass.

We all whooped and cheered, and chatted and danced around. We were quite the envy of the other London-based football supporters clubs I think!

Then we were off! With about 60 of us following the vehicle we danced, we sang, and we waved our Arsenal flags, Arsenal scarves, and new Gaygooners scarves like we just didn't care! A sea of red moving forward, taking over the streets, throwing scarves into the crowds, high-fiving the stewards, smiling, laughing, having fun.

We cut such a dash that we even appeared on BBC TV News TV, on Australian SBS TV News too, and were filmed and shot by numerous photographers.

Most major news organisation picked up images that included us - including online versions of The Mirror and The Daily Mail.

Héctor Bellerín posted his support on his Instagram story feed and there were too many photos, likes and retweets on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram feeds to mention from the wider Arsenal family and beyond.

In fact, there was a lot of love (and sadly some hate) via social media – but then the peer policing was brilliant too! Shutting down the haters.

Hey, even Getty Images got in on the act and are currently selling photos of we Gaygooners marching on the Parade - for £375 each!

After the parade, Carl, Joe and his team derigged the vehicle before joining us all back at Be At One again for a well-deserved bevy and catch-up on the amazing day that had just been. Our feet might have been sore but our hearts were still singing.

What an amazing Pride day that was!

One memory I shall treasure from the day is Chris (one of our older members), his eyes shining as he could barely hold back the tears, saying to me, "Thank you. Just, thank you."