Quote Of The Day

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

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Sloe Gin - Decant - Sweeten - Sample - Oopsy…

I’ve been decanting and sweetening our homemade sloe gin this morning. Am now a bit tipsy having had to sample each after sweetening them. 😉🤪 It’s only 9am 😅

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Sun & Sea "We loved it. It was Phillip Glass meets Benidorm. Beautifully hypnotic." #SunAndSea #Opera @theAlbanySE8 @WeAreLewisham @LIFTfestival @SerpentineUK

Last Saturday afternoon Stuart and I went to The Albany in glitzy Deptford to watch the climate opera Sun & Sea.
Beautifully sung on an indoor beach that you watch from above, Sun & Sea was Lithuania’s national entry for the 2019 Venice Biennale - winning the top Golden Lion award.
A day by the shore unfolds into a musical exploration of our relationship with our planet. The crowded beach, the burning sun, bright bathing suits and sweaty brows and legs.
Tired limbs sprawling lazily across a sea of towels. The rumble of a volcano, or of an airplane, or a speedboat. The squeal of children, laughter, the sound of an ice cream van in the distance. Sunbathers sing languid songs of worry, of boredom, of almost nothing. Songs of early morning flights and half-eaten sandwiches in the sand, the crinkling of plastic bags whirling in the air then floating silently, jellyfish-like below the waterline. Stories that glide between the mundane, the sinister and the surreal.
We loved it. It was Phillip Glass meets Benidorm. Beautifully hypnotic.


Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Wimbledon - Opening Day - Centre Court - with the mother-in-law…

Yesterday Brenda and I headed down to Wimbledon, for the opening day, to take our place in the crowd at Centre Court.

Brenda usually goes with her niece Natalie but she was indisposed so I stepped up.  Mother-in-law and son-in-law to be. 

We got a taxi down to SW19 which took quite some time with a taxi driver who could talk for England. Luckily the rain shower finished just as we pulled up to the gate. Very quickly we were inside and milling about with the 1000s of beaming tennis fans. We had some lunch in a cafe, chatted to a few people, and then took our seats high up in gangway 513 of Centre court. 

First on court was Djokovic who struggled a little bit against his opponent, but did win, and was very entertaining to watch. 

Then Brenda and I went for some strawberries and cream and a glass of champagne. The strawberries and cream are relatively cheap at £2.50, the champagne not so much at £23!

The second match we watched was Emma Raducanu. It was very exciting to see a British woman on Centre Court. She won her match too which was fantastic.

Finally we got to watch Andy Murray. Although he also won his match we didn’t get to see the end because we knew we had a long trip back home so left early at 8pm. We’ve been let down by Uber and Ola taxis earlier on in the day and true to form they let us down again as we left. Bastards!

We ended up getting a transfer bus to Wimbledon station, a train to Vauxhall, and then the tube back up to Highbury. We were both rather exhausted by the time we got home. 

Stuart’s older brother Richard had driven up from Grays to pick Brenda up so the four of us all had a catch up on our day before they set off back to Essex.

A great day - I think Brenda enjoyed herself, I certainly did. 

Friday, June 24, 2022

Diana Ross @ O2 Arena…

Last night Stuart, Darren and I went to see Diana Ross perform as part of her Thank You tour at the O2 Arena on London's glitzy Greenwich Peninsular.

Looking resplendent, Ms Ross was a diva-esque half an hour late (a similar tardiness to when we last saw her in 2007) but soon made up for it with a 90 minute set of non-stop hits*. Four costumes changes (or was it five?) meant we had big frocks, big sound, and big hair. She was fantastic.

If her voice was a tad reedy at times we didn't really notice. Anyone can give an old girl a break - she is 78 - when she has this much stage presence. Besides, her grandchildren were all in the front row.

Great show.


Set 1

I'm Coming Out
More Today Than Yesterday (Spiral Starecase cover)
My World Is Empty Without You (The Supremes song)
Baby Love (The Supremes song)
Stop! In the Name of Love (The Supremes song)
You Can't Hurry Love (The Supremes song)
Love Child (Diana Ross & The Supremes cover)

Set 2
The Boss
Chain Reaction
I'm Still Waiting
Upside Down
Love Hangover / Take Me Higher / Ease on Down the Road

Set 3
Why Do Fools Fall in Love (Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers cover)
If We Hold on Together
If the World Just Danced
Theme From Mahogany (Do You Know Where You're Going To)
Ain't No Mountain High Enough (Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell cover)
I Will Survive (Gloria Gaynor cover)

Thank You
I Will Survive (Reprise) (Gloria Gaynor cover)


Thursday, June 23, 2022

Fascinating Aïda @ Royal Festival Hall...

A few weeks ago Stuart and I went to see super trio Fascinating Aïda at the Royal Festival Hall at London's glitzy Southbank Centre.

Having seen Fascinating Aida perhaps a dozen times since the mid-1980s I knew what to expect and the gals didn't disappoint.

Two hours of great songs old and new, they assaulted us with hit after hit in their very witty, satirical show. The songs were hilarious and topical, the glamour was unstoppable: Britain’s greatest cabaret trio were back with a bang!

We had a lot of classics; Bulgarian Song Cycle was back with new fresh outrageous lyrics, Boomerang Kids was as funny as ever, Lieder got the crowd roaring, the sly but telling Little Girls In Pink was back too, and Dogging made a welcome return. Adele's song Prisoner Of Gender was simply inspirational - 10 years in the writing it was Adele's coming out story of being a transsexual and got the tone just right. And of course Cheap Flights - over 25 million YouTube and Facebook hits and counting - went down a storm.

But Dillie Keane, Adele Anderson and Liza Pulman always know how to freshen up a show of classics too, and they simply relished bringing us their selection of new songs - well, some you haven't heard before and some we wish you’d never heard in the first place! Clever, rude and musical their new stuff worked brilliantly - spot on politically as ever and wildly funny.

We loved it.

Michael Roulston accompanied the gals on the piano and the show was directed by Paul Foster.

Here's the full(ish) set-list:-

Act 1
One True Religion
Is it Me, or Is it Hot in Here?
Boomerang Kids
This Ain't the Hokey Cokey Any More
Little Girls in Pink
Bulgarian Song Cycle 2022
On My Hols
Cheap Flights

Act 2
Suddenly New Zealand
Lerwick Town
Prisoner of Gender
Instagram Hashtag
This Table
Sew on a Sequin


Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Fleapit Fusspotting...

I don't go to the cinema much. All those phone calls put me off. But I've been to see three films at the cinema in the past few weeks.

Buzz Lightyear 4/10
One sentence review: Pointless, largely jeopardy-free, humourless, emotionless, money-rinsing 'prequel'.

Jurassic Park Dominion 6/10
One sentence review: Fun dino box-ticker but ultimately rather disappointing given the high-watermark of the original it so often apes.

Everything Everywhere All At Once 8/10
One sentence review: Quirky, weird, yet strangely wonderful.

Seeing Elvis on Saturday night. Fingers crossed.


Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Tony! [The Tony Blair Rock Opera] @ Park Theatre "a very witty, very silly and very funny show. It walks that delicate line between 'laugh-at' / 'laugh-with' brilliantly" @ParkTheatre @HarryHill Review->

Last night Stuart and I went to see Harry Hill's Tony! [The Tony Blair Rock Opera] at the Park Theatre in London's glitzy Finsbury Park.

Akin to the equally fabulous Margaret Thatcher : Queen of Soho, it was a very witty, very silly and very funny show. By the end our faces were aching from laughter.

A spoof of musicals as much as a satire of politicians, political life and popularism, packed with joyfully withering mirth, Harry Hill's manic humour sweeps you along. It's a sort of Spitting Image but funnier.

The show is ostensibly a reckless reappraisal of the life of former Ugly Rumours front man and Britain’s first pop Prime Minister Tony Blair. The story of how one man went from peace-loving, long-haired hippy and would-be pop star to warmongering multimillionaire in just a couple of decades.

A hilarious tragedy of political intrigue, religion, power, and romance that plays fast and loose with the facts, owing as much to Citizen Kane as it does to The Marx Brothers - Karl and Groucho.

Throw in a stellar cast of larger-than-life characters - Cherie Blair, Princess Diana, John Prescott, Peter Mandelson, Alastair Campbell, Osama bin Laden, George W Bush, Saddam Hussein and Gordon Brown and you’ve got one hell of a weapon of mass distraction! It’s Yes, Minister meets The Rocky Horror Show! and a musical like no other.

It walks that delicate line between 'laugh-at' / 'laugh-with' brilliantly.

Fans of Tony Blair will perhaps love him slightly less.
Foes of Tony Blair will perhaps loathe him even more.
Cynics will just laugh their socks off.

The conclusions of the show?

True Blair bombed a country to bits on a false narrative but his lasting - and some might argue equally damaging legacy - was to start the recent run of popularist politicians the have gone on to wreak political and societal havoc around the world. Blair was just the first of many terrible, terrible leaders. You get the politicians you deserve, and the world is run by arseholes.

Cue the finale to make all this rather depressing conclusion sound very, very funny.

Monday, June 20, 2022

Not a corruption scandal. So please keep this a secret, okay? Just between us. Thanks. #CarrieGate #StreisandEffect

Boris Johnson's spokesperson says he is very, very upset people won't stop talking about his super-injunction for #CarrieGate corruption scandal so please keep this a secret, okay? Just between us. Thanks.


Sunday, June 19, 2022

Electric Ladies of the 80s @ Islington Assembly Room... @toyahofficial @LeneLovichBand @Islington_AH @Hazel_OConnor

Last night Darren treated Stuart and I to a night watching the Electric Ladies of the 80s show at the Islington Assembly Room in London's glitzy Upper Street.

The much-delayed gig, sadly no longer including Hazel O'Connor having had a stroke, starred Toyah (Wilcox) and Lene Lovich.

Lene was up first. Still mad as a bag of frogs she put on a great show dancing around and whooping like a banshee.

Then after the break came Toyah. Who, it has to be said, really knew how to whip up a crowd. She was engaging, funny, self-aware, self-deprecating, and in fine voice.

We laughed and sang along. Great fun.

Little known fact #1: LL released a cover of “I Think Were Alone Now” 8 years before Tiffany did.
Little known fact #2: LL wrote the lyrics to “Supernature” as made famous by Cerrone in 1977.
Little known fact #3: TW recorded the demo of "Slave to the Rhythm" for co-writer Simon Darlow before it was sent to Frankie Goes To Hollywood to hear. They did their own demo but turned it down to then be given to Grace Jones who had the hit with it. TW is now going to release STTR was a single this summer.

Set Lists:-

Lene Lovich:

Blue Hotel
I Think We're Alone Now (Ritchie Cordell cover)
New Toy
Supernature (Cerrone cover)
Say When
Lucky Number


Drone (Intro)
Thunder in the Mountains
Good Morning Universe
Echo Beach (Martha and the Muffins cover)
Brave New World
It's A Mystery
Rebel Run
Space Dance
Slave to the Rhythm (Grace Jones cover
Neon Womb
I Want To Be Free

Will You (Hazel O’Connor cover)
Rebel Yell (Billy Idol cover)


Friday, June 17, 2022

Birthday Trip…

I said to Stuart as a present we can go anywhere in the world for his birthday. So I put a map up in the kitchen and said throw a dart and that’s where we’ll go. 
So we’re both looking forward to two weeks in July behind the pedal bin. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

(Un)Happy Father’s Day…

Time Out gives you the option of opting out of marketing emails about Fathers Day (this coming Sunday?). And Mothering Sunday too if you wish. Thank you Time Out.

Precious few other marketing emails do. Block, block, unsubscribe, unsubscribe…

Sorry to see you go…

“My father has recently died. I find emails from you about Father’s Day distressing. You have no opt-out option other than to go. You have lost my future custom. You mutton shunters.”

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Grace Jones : Up Close and Orchestral "She was a star the whole night through. A brilliant star. A brilliant shining star" @gracejones @gracejonesofficial @southbankcentre #MeltdownFest Review —>

Last Friday night Stuart and I went to see the star that is Grace Jones burn brightly on the stage of the Royal Festival Hall on London's glitzy South Bank. With a full orchestra, she was simply dazzling.

There to open her own curated Meltdown, and a rather tame 75 minutes late (she has been 3 hours late before), Ms Jones appeared at the top a staircase dressed in black suit and bathed in a deeper shade of blue. The audience gave her a rapturous reception. As she belted out the first words of Nightclubbing the place went positively wild.

Over the next hour and fifty minutes she plundered much of her back catalogue, and some new songs to boot. We were on our feet for pretty much the entire show.

Every song welcomed a change of lighting, a change of costume, or a change of Philip Treacy hat. It was a bit like a West End show where, "tonight the role of the diva will be played by Miss Grace Jones."

She commanded the stage and strutted about like she owned in.

She was exceptionally well behaved throughout though. None of the tantrums we've seen over the years*. Although towards the end she was perhaps a little over-excited and rather muddled the words of some of the tracks. "I've not done my homework", she coyly confessed to the cheering crowd. We didn't care. We can forgive here that and much else besides. She was a star the whole night through. A brilliant star. A brilliant shining star.

The most dramatic bit: Hurricane. She sang it facing across the stage into a hurricane fan with full-on special effects, lighting, debris and flowing costume blown horizontal by the wind. Marvellous.

The best bit: Hula-hooping all but bear-chested to Slave To The Rhythm

By 10:30pm she had to finish(?) but got us to join in with Pull Up to the Bumper acapella as she left the stage.

A top night.


Nightclubbing [Iggy Pop cover]
Walking in the Rain [Flash and the Pan cover]
Born Black [New song]
My Jamaican Guy
I've Done It Again
Demolition Man
War No More [New song]
Love Is the Drug [Roxy Music cover]
I've Seen That Face Before (Libertango)
Williams' Blood
Amazing Grace [John Newton cover]
Slave to the Rhythm [with band introductions]
Pull Up to the Bumper [Acapella]

(Sadly, no La Vie En Rose on this occasion)

*Back in 2008 at the Electric Picnic in Ireland we'd seen Grace Jones do a set. She had turned up 25 mins late - not too bad as we came to discover in the later years - but the crowd was a little restless. When she had finished her set and left the stage we didn't immediately cheer for an encore. Off stage and over the microphone she raged and told us all "to fucking fuck off". Love her.