Quote Of The Day

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

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Duke of Welly…

A lovely afternoon yesterday in the Welly bumping into friends old (and young). 

Monday, August 30, 2021

Manning’s 1st Birthday Party…

Last Saturday Stu and I attended the a mazing 1st birthday party for my darling grand-nephew Manning. Held by proud parents Charlotte and Jos.

Friday, August 27, 2021

GayGooners - Pink Plaque - Islington Tribune…

Nice piece in today’s Islington Tribune about GGs and our pink plaque.


Thursday, August 26, 2021

Latest Later Flow Tests from NHS…

The latest Lateral Flow Test from NHS are nasal only (not throat).  Wonder how good they are?


Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Carousel @ Regents Park Open Air Theatre ...

Last week Andy, Kev, Stuart and I went to see Carousel at London's glitzy Regents Park Open Air Theatre. 

Suffice to repeat what I thought about the show when we saw a production of it at the National Theatre back in 2012. It all still holds true. 

"The singing was excellent, the dancing very good, the acting good, the staging not so good, the plot vile. It's hard to really like a story of a no-good wife beater who knocks up his missus, comes a cropper robbing someone, and then comes back from the afterlife and strikes his teenage child. Standout song was the joyous June is Busting' Out All Over. Sadly the sad You'll Never Walk Alone can't quite shake the Liverpool football club stigma however. 
We enjoyed it - just - but also agree with most critics. 3 stars."

Monday, August 23, 2021

Back at the Emirates…

The club’s Covid-19 advice for the behaviour of returning supporters to the Emirates Stadium yesterday was, I’m sure, well thought out and sensible. It did however rather remind me of the advice my dear old mother gave me when I was younger, “Don’t talk to any strange men.”

Arsenal’s advice was: “…avoiding excessive shouting/singing/celebrations... You should avoid hugs, high-fives and any unnecessary close contact with people who are not known to you.”

Talking to strange men and having close contact with people who are not known to me was pretty much my modus operandi of my 20s and 30s!

And such close contact behaviour, albeit it in non-sexual way, had until more recently made a welcome return to my life at the Emirates Stadium. We hug a lot in Block 6. Or, we used to.

Oh well, it was back to nodding hellos and nodding goodbyes it is then.

Stay safe folks. And don’t talk to any strange men!

Friday, August 20, 2021

New Arsenal Shirt “Smith Rowe 10”…

Those nice people at the Arsenal shop sold me (a rather pricey) new Arsenal Shirt “Smith Rowe 10” today. Printed  to order. I asked the printer if he would misspell it for me for fun. He couldn’t bring himself. 

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Westminster Abbey…

Last Saturday afternoon Stuart and I wandered down to Westminster Abbey in London's glitzy Parliament Square to take a look around, take in their 'hidden' tour, and go up to the gallery.

Oh my word. It is amazing.

I'd not been to the Abbey since I was knee high to a grape fly (50 years ago?) and although I suspect not much has changed there, my perceptive certainly has. It was simply jaw-dropping. Going into one section with all the gold and flags and ornate trappings my jaw actually fell open. It took my breath away. The guide on the door to that section saw me clutch my pearls and said, "I know! We get a lot of that."

Ok, ok, the hidden tour was great; freshly dug up skulls, plentiful human remains, hidden rooms, private courtyards, concealed staircases, a secret library - all very Da Vinci Code.

Yes, yes, the gallery was fantastic; awe inspiring views of the Abbey floor below, death masks of various kings and queens, glorious robes, shining armour, dazzling jewellery and funny statues - oh and a Roman sarcophagus from before the Abbey was founded by Edward the Confessor.

But it was the Abbey itself that floored us; the sheer majesty of it all - the views, the huge arches, Poet's Corner, the stained-glass windows (David Hockney's looking pretty cool), great coffins of all those kings and queens, beautiful sleeping statues, all that gold, all that history. It was all so damned exciting.

Definitely worth a visit. Treat yourself.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Hidden London : Kingsway Tram Subway...

Last Saturday morning Stuart and I took a dive down London's last surviving tram tunnel- Kingsway Tram Subway - in London's glitzy West End.

Work started in 1902 constructing the cut-and-cover tunnel which had just two underground stations - Holborn tramway station and the steel roofed Aldwych tramway station.

Services opened to the public on 24th Feb 1906 with a tram running from Angel to Aldwych. Later that year they extended the route starting from Highbury Station to Tower Bridge and to Kennington Gate.

The tunnel was originally built for single-deck trams only but due to the popularity of the service in 1929 was deepened to accommodate the double-deckers too.

After WW2 tram usage declined and it was decided to replace trams with diesel buses which were more flexible. By 1952 the subway had closed.

By 1964 the lower bit of the tunnel near the river had been repurposed as the Strand Underpass for cars. The upper section remains empty so we got to see that and the two deserted stations. The space is occasionally used as a filming location. A forgotten piece of Hidden London history.

Monday, August 16, 2021

Singin' in the Rain @ Sadler's Wells...

Last Friday night Stuart and I went to see Singin' In The Rain at the Sadler's Wells theatre in London's glitzy Islington.

Based on the 1952 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer musical comedy film originally starring Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor and Debbie Reynolds it offers a comic depiction of Hollywood, and its transition from silent films to talking pictures.

Stu and I had seen the production before - nine years ago at The Palace Theatre in London's glitzy West End - so we were keen to see how it might have changed. To our pleasant surprise - not a jot.

The show is an almost scene for scene conversion from the film to the stage starring Adam Cooper (who played the same role nine years ago), Kevin Clifton and Charlotte Gooch.

The show is still very funny - but no funnier than the film. The singing is really good - but not really outstanding. No, it's the dancing that makes this show excel. The lead performers and ensemble really come into their own with the dance routines. The production is put on with such joy and with such a spring in it's step you can't help but want to jump up and dance yourself. You don't of course because that would be stupid but you have a good time anyway humming the songs, clapping your hands and tapping your feet. Yes, folks it's that sort of unadulterated fun show.

And every show needs it's stand out moment and this show is no different. The show stopper is, as might be expected, the title song Singin' In The Rain. Water pours down from above onto the stage and Adam Cooper dances, spins his umbrella and splashes about in the rising water just like in the film. Magic.

The first dozen rows got rather wet - but then that what they came for; a big splash.

My favourite two scenes both featured Steps star Faye Tozer, playing evil actress Lina Lamont.

Firstly Lina tries to talk proper...

Phoebe Dinsmore: [giving Lina diction lessons] Repeat after me - Tah, Tey, Tee, Toe, Too.
Lina Lamont: Tah, Tey, Tye, Tow, Tyo.
Phoebe Dinsmore: No, no, no Miss Lamont, Round tones, round tones. Now, let me hear you read your line.
Lina Lamont: And I cayn't stand'im.
Phoebe Dinsmore: And I can't stand him.
Lina Lamont: And I cayn't stand'im.
Phoebe Dinsmore: Can't.
Lina Lamont: Cayn't.
Phoebe Dinsmore: Caaaan't
Lina Lamont: Cayyyyn't

And later after being accused of being just like other people...

Lina Lamont: "People"? I ain't "people." I am a - "a shimmering, glowing star in the cinema firmament."
[picks up newspaper]
Lina Lamont: It says so - right here!

Friday, August 13, 2021

Hymn @ The Almeida...

Last Monday night Stuart and I went to see Hymn @ The Almeida Theatre in London's glitzy Islington.

The show was great. Stunning performance from the two leads. And genius usage of Rebel MC and Double Trouble's Street Tuff

Two men meet at a funeral.

Gil knew the deceased. Benny did not.

Before long their families are close.

Soon they’ll be singing the same tune.

Benny (Danny Sapani) is a loner anchored by his wife and children. Gil (Adrian Lester) longs to fulfil his potential. They form a deep bond but as cracks appear in their fragile lives, they start to realise that true courage comes in different forms.

Following a sold-out run of live streamed shows in February (which we also saw), Hymn's return is another triumph for the Almeida.

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Wayne's 50th @ RVT...

Last weekend Stuart and I spent an amazing Saturday afternoon helping Wayne celebrate his big 5-0 birthday at the RVT in London's glitzy Vauxhall.

What a fantastic day it was, with fabulous entertainment from the DE Experience.

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Long Covid...

I dont know if I have some mild form of long covid or not but my sense of taste hasn't really returned and I am getting really tired in the afternoons and sleep much longer at night than even I did.  Hopefully it's just post-viral fatigue and will gradually go.

Friday, August 06, 2021

Thursday, August 05, 2021

Constellations. One relationship. Infinite Possibilities (funny, thoughtful, and having a same-sex pairing brings a fresh perspective to it) ....

Earlier last week Stuart and I went to see a revival of Nick Payne's beautiful, multi award-winning, heart-breaking, romantic two-hander Constellations at The Vaudeville Theatre in London's glitzy West End.

"One drink. And if you never want to see me again you never have to see me again."

A quantum physicist and a beekeeper meet at a barbeque. They hit it off, or perhaps they don’t. They go home together, or maybe they go their separate ways. In the multiverse, with every possible future ahead of them, a love of honey could make all the difference.

There are actually four sets of cast members in this fresh production - we saw Omari Douglas and Russell Tovey. The other pairings are Sheila Atim and Ivanno Jeremiah, Peter Capaldi and Zoƫ Wanamaker, and Anna Maxwell Martin and Chris O'Dowd.

Directed by Donmar Warehouse Artistic Director Michael Longhurst it's a lovely play; funny, thoughtful, and having a same-sex pairing brings a fresh perspective to it.