Quote Of The Day

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

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Arsenal 6 - 0 RC Lens...

Sometimes it's just all worth while. Sometimes it's all worth the effort. Trudging through the wind and the rain to football matches both home and away, up and down the country, to Newcastle, to Europe, over land and sea. Sometimes it just all comes together.
And last night was one of those nights.
It was home game. In a European competition we'd not been in for some seven years. It was a return leg playing against French team RC Lens.
Early last month they'd beaten us in that first leg in their wretched stadium just between Paris and Lille. But last night we had them on home turf.
So after a lovely meet-up with a gaggle of gaygooners plus our Amercian guests in the pub we all headed to the Emirates Stadium out for revenge - and boy, did we enact it.
We scored five senstational goals in the first half - all by different players - and then a final nail in the coffin in the second to seal the rout.
As each goal went in the crowd seemed to grow that little bit more; in voice, in volume. By the final whistle we were all on cloud nine. The songs rang out loud and clear. The joy was so strong you could almost taste it.
A bit of a shame that the Lens fans lit so many flares though - how did they get in with them? - and some were even chucked at home supporters.  At one point it looked like the stadium had been set on fire. Idiots. I hope Lens get a hefty fine.
So Lens are out of this year's UEFA Champions League competition, and we have reach the last 16 teams. Hah! 
And those goals scorers?
Havertz (13' minutes / Assist Gabriel Jesus)
Gabriel Jesus (21' minutes / Assist Saka)
Saka (23' minutes)
Martinelli (27' minutes / Assist Tomiyasu)
Ødegaard (45'+1 minutes / Assist Tomiyasu)
Jorginho (86' minutes pen)

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

The House of Bernarda Alba @ Lyttelton Theatre...

Last Friday night Stuart and I went to see The House of Bernarda Alba starring Olivier Award-winner Harriet Walter, at the National Theatre on London glitzy South Bank.
The House of Bernarda Alba is a 1936 play by the Spanish dramatist Federico García Lorca - often grouped with his plays Blood Wedding and the excellent Yerma as a "rural trilogy". The play centres on the events of a house in Andalusia during a period of mourning, in which domineering mother Bernarda Alba (Walter) wields total control over her five daughters Angustias, Magdalena, Amelia, Martirio, and Adela. The housekeeper (La Poncia) and Bernarda's elderly mother (María Josefa) also live there. 
The deliberate exclusion of any male character from the action (save the mysterious ghost-like figure of Pepe "el Romano", the love interest of Bernarda's daughters and suitor of Angustias) helps build up the high level of sexual tension that is present throughout the play. 
The play explores themes of cruelty, repression, passion, and conformity, and inspects the effects of men upon women. 
But was it any good? Sort of. I guess it was okay. The acting was great, but to be honest, the melodrama was just all a bit too mellow for my taste. 
I wasn't exactly expecting exploding helicopters but the 'mothers being mean to daughters' story line, however true to life, didn't really go anywhere. Indeed, however true the trope, it perhaps needed a little bit more colour. A bit more humour. Or even dare I say, for something more dramatic to happen. And unflattering echoes of Little Women and The Beguiled didn’t help either. 
“You’re not going out like that!” “Don’t talk to any strange men!” “My house, my rules!”  Yeah, yeah.
We cottoned on to the ending the moment we saw Checkov’s Gun hanging centre stage. Or did we?
García Lorca real life is probably more interesting than the play to be honest. He was a big fan of Salvador Dali. He allegedly made a pass at him, but was rejected. He was assassinated by Nationalist forces at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War. Some say he was targeted for being gay, a socialist, or both.


Monday, November 27, 2023

Lads Who (Sunday) Lunch…

Great to spend a bit of time with this lot yesterday. Lads Who Lunch & couple of +1s. 
Blacklock comes highly recommended.

Minced Pies…

So I disappear off football 12 hours Saturday (yes, might have been bit of drinking involved before and afterwards) so what does my beloved do in my absence? He makes loads of lovely mince pies all from scratch and they taste bloody gorgeous. What have I done deserve him, eh? 😘

Friday, November 24, 2023

Stranger Things : The First Shadow @ Phoenix Theatre...

Last night Stuart and I went to see a preview of new play Stranger Things : The First Shadow at the Phoenix Theatre in London glitzy West End. 
Set in the world of 1959 Hawkins, Indiana 20 years before the first series of the Netflix sci-fi phenomenon, this new live production follows existing characters Jim Hopper, Bob Newby, Joyce Byers (nee Maldonado), and Henry Creel when they were all younger.
The play is written by series writer and co-executive producer Kate Trefry and directed by The Crown's Stephen Daldry with co-director Prima Facie's Justin Martin. In addition the piece is also jointly written by Jack Thorne. And it blooming shows. It owes a enormous debt to Harry Potter and The Cursed Child. Huge. 
No spoilers, obviously, but the setup is this... a new student, Henry Creel arrives, and his family find a fresh start - which isn't so easy. A shadow of the past has a very long reach.
Indeed, the beginning of Stranger Things may hold the key to the end. And what a beginning it is! My goodness, the first 10 minutes almost literally blew us out of our seats. Brave, inventive, immersive, and visually stunning. In fact it is so good, the rest of the 3 hour running time struggles to quite match it. But it makes a good go of it.
Plotting aside, the show's greatest credit goes to its technical staff who pull off a blinder. This is a sci-fi fantasy show after all. There are majestic scene changes from the real world to The Upside Down, delightful visual and physical special affects (and special they are), and stunts that would put any Bond film to shame. And the sound. Boy, the sound. It's epic.
Beware though, it's not exactly a show for kids - there is blood and gore galore.
The show also comes with a glowing endorsement - from Matt and Ross Duffer no less, who are the creators of the Netflix series. "The cast of Stranger Things: The First Shadow is nothing short of phenomenal."  And I have to agree. The acting is top notch.
Yes, it's a bit Grease at times, and, yes, the plot and special effects are strikingly similar to Harry Potter and The Cursed Child, but it's a wonderful show.  The long running time just flew by.
So if you like Stranger Things you'll love The First Shadow.

@stonstage #StrangerThingsOnStage 

Thursday, November 23, 2023


Happy “date made up by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1941” to all my American friends. 🇺🇸 

 on December 26, 1941, Roosevelt signed a joint resolution of Congress changing the official national Thanksgiving Day to the fourth Thursday in November starting in 1942 (there are usually four but sometimes five Thursdays in November, depending on the year).”


Wednesday, November 22, 2023

The Witches @ Olivier Theatre…

Last Thursday night Stuart, Steve and I went to see The Witches at the Olivier Theatre on London’s glitzy South Bank.   

Here Roald Dahl dark comic novel has been reimagined as a big old family musical adventure.

Everything you know about witches is wrong. Forget the pointy hats, hooked noses (thank you for swerving that problematic characterisation Lyndsey Turner) and broomsticks: here they’re the most dangerous creatures on earth. In a pantomime way of course.   

And they’ve come up with their most evil plan yet. Turn every child in England into mice.   

The only thing standing in their way is Luke and his Gran. But he’s ten and she’s got a dodgy heart. Time is short, danger is everywhere, and they’ve got just one chance to stop the witches from squalloping every stinking little child in England.  

It was great fun. Very funny book and lyrics by Lucy Kirkwood, and great music and lyrics by Dave Malloy.   

Stand out turn of the night though was Luke’s posh friend Bruno who on a sugar rush performs a show-stopping, tap-dancing song and number that would put anything from Crazy For You To Shame.   

A Christmas show for kids and adults alike.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Sarah Birthday Supper…

Lovely to see my bestie last night and finally get together for a long over due bday supper. Love ya Sarah ❤️

Why do I look like I’m giving you a Vulcan nerve pinch though??? 😂

John & Jane Wedding…

Great wedding of John & Jane on Saturday. 

I took a few snaps. Great to catch up with everyone. 38 years of gossip! And a bit of dad dancing! 

Monday, November 20, 2023


Over the weekend Stuart and I went up to a wedding in glitzy(?) Wakefield. 

Great wedding, great to catch up with friends, but my goodness Wakefield is an eye-opener. 

Pretty empty. Closed shops everywhere. Deserted station. We were the only people in our hotel. Pubs seemed empty too and closed early on a Saturday night. 

Very different from the last time I was there. Ok, 38 years ago.

Friday, November 17, 2023

Baker Street: The World's First Underground…

Opened on 10th January 1863 as part of the Metropolitan Railway, Baker Street was home to the launch of a revolutionary idea – carrying passengers beneath Victorian London’s congested streets. Glitzy those streets were not. 

Cutting a 90-minute journey to just 20 minutes, the ‘Met’ revolutionised travel in the city and provided the foundation for Metro systems across the world. 

Stuart and I explored closed-off parts of the station including original platforms, disused lift shafts and corridors that are hidden in plain sight - some of which were last accessed by the public over 75 years ago in 1945. 

We learned about the station’s history as the Operational Headquarters for London Underground, and heard first-hand accounts from those who worked (and played) there over the years. 

The tour, run by Hidden London, took us on a historical journey through the 160 years of the station, starting with the early days of Victorian underground steam travel and ending in the busy station of 10 platforms and five Underground lines that it is today. Along the way, we heard what the very first passengers thought of underground travel in 1863, how the Underground grew and expanded over the next 16 decades, and how Baker Street served not only passengers, but also London Underground staff.

Great fun.