Quote Of The Day

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

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

The Human Body @ Donmar Warehouse…

Last week Stuart and I went to go and see The Human Body at the Donmar Warehouse in London Galaxy West End
Keeley Hawes and Jack Davenport star in Lucy Kirkwood’s romantic drama which is in equal measure a postmodern take on Brief Encounter, the birth of NHS, and a fight for a woman to be heard and to live the life she wants. 
The Brief Encounter aspect follows a similar plot to the film, two married people meeting on a train, and their forbidden love that follows. On stage camera work sees projection of the lovers in close-up so their large faces loom behind them as we were in a cinema. It is very effective. And seems to be in theatrical vogue at the moment.
The stage action was beautifully realised - the actors were grey and every bit of props and scenery was blue. It was quite aluring.
The language was natural and the story compelling. 
Hawes’s character is a doctor, and an aspiring politician. A Socialist. Someone who is fighting for the birth of the NHS. And fighting to be listened to.
The action takes place in 1948. Attitudes of the time are on keen display as her husband, recovering from the war, fights to keep his ‘little woman’ by his side. More conflict after The Conflict.
The love story was genuinely arresting and beautifully played. The political points were gently introduced but clearly stated. The fight of our heroine to be heard both in her working environment, and domestic environment seemed as true to life as they were painful to watch. 
It was a wonderful show. Very funny.  Incredibly moving.  Brilliantly acted. Not only our two leads, but by the three adult supporting actors Pearl Mackie, Siobhan Redmond and Tom Goodman-Hill who each played multiple roles. 
Go see.


Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Dina Martina: Sub-Standards @ Soho Theatre…

I was straight off the plane from Porto to a dark basement nightspot. And I’ve not laughed so hard in ages. 

Last Thursday night Stuart and I went to see Dina Martina perform her new show Sub-Standards at the Soho theatre in London’s glitzy West End.

Seattle-based performer Grady West’s joyously depraved creation Dina Martina skilfully mixes performance art, clowning, drag and stand-up with a skill and wit rarely seen in the West End. 

Her voice sounds like a cat having an epileptic fit on a chalkboard, her body moves like two pigs fighting their way out of a sleeping bag, and her face looks like the collision of a cosmetics truck with a Harvester’s all-you-can-eat buffet.

Her tales are horrifying. Her outfits garish. Her personalised videos, assassinated songs and verbal tics bizarre. 

With pitch-black humour she tells us stories of extreme hoarding, disgusting pot luck contests and infinity toilets where the water reaches up to the WC’s brim. We hear of dead goldfish and an emaciated dog she finds in her home.  

This is no ordinary drag show. 

Dina’s use of sound and vision are inspired too.  Classic songs are brutalised and, in the case of Duran Duran’s “Girls On Film”, outright murdered. She contorts the lyrics to her own ends, throwing up ludicrous and possibly illegal scenarios where once only innocent words existed. 

When she needs to go off for a costume change, she pops on a reel of edited scenes from vintage movies like Gone With The Wind and It’s A Wonderful Life with her face and words inserted for comic effect. 

When she returns her costumes themselves are a carefully crafted collision of styles; one dress has a hemline under her chin while another “steampunk” concoction comes with an outer bra made of Venetian masks below the usual feathered top hat and goggles.   

She deploys language as a weapon of mass distraction. At its best, her viciously vivid imagery - her description of meatloaf adorned with “chocolate polyps” is almost enough to make vegetarians of us all - veers into perverse poetry at times. 

She retains many of the vocal mannerisms we've seen before. Her many mispronunciations (for example, Seattle is enunciated as “See-tall”, soft Gs are pronounced hard and hard Gs are soft) go from cute to grating by the time she says in her casually acerbic manner that “for a while, I must admit that I’ve been waiting… to say joodbye to you all” and tells us to “jo, jo jo” as she ushers us out into the night.    

Sub-Standards perhaps doesn’t push Martina’s career envelope to any great degree but still serves as a superb introduction to one of this century’s finest drag clowns. 

Go see.

Monday, February 26, 2024

Arsenal gaygooners 5-a-side tournament 2024…

It was a fabulous gaygooners tournament at the Arsenal Hub yesterday afternoon. 

Thanks to all our members and other Arsenal Supporters groups who played, and to those who came down to spectate and support the event.

We had 3 gaygooners teams for this years tournament. Sadly the juggernaut that was the Jewish Gooners team swept aside all before them though and took the trophy as presented by the legend who is Martin Keown.

TNT were there too. 

Great organising Steve and Carl. Great fun. 


Sunday, February 25, 2024

Arsenal 4 - 1 Newcastle…

Thanks to everyone who came along to the meet up before the game and also to those who join us afterwards to celebrate. 

There was a score to settle last night. We had misfired at St James’ Park last November. But boy, did the Gunners let loose both barrels at those flapping Magpies at the Emirates. 

In sharp contrast to their Champions League performance in Porto during the week, our boys came out with an intensity, a commitment, a determination, and an aggression. And the goals followed. 

After Botman’s own goal after 18 minutes, we saw Havertz score after 24’, Saka after 65’ and Kiwior at 69’.  Another big win and clean sheet was on the cards, right?

Step forward Walthamstow’s finest Joe Willock to spoil our dream in the 85th minute though! The turncoat! 😂

So that’s six wins in a row in the league for our boys in red. 

I’m going to say it now…. We are going to win it this year! 

Onwards and upwards, my friends.

Saturday, February 24, 2024

Eat, young man!…

Stuart said “are you out at the football all day today?”
“I hope you’re planning some meals in between all that drinking…”
I looked doubtful. 
15 mins later… 
“Eat!”  😂
He’s a keeper, right?

#ARSNEW ⚽️🔴⚪️

Friday, February 23, 2024

Thursday, February 22, 2024

FC Porto 1 - 0 Arsenal…

FC Porto 1 - 0 Arsenal…

A fantastic away day in Portugal. A great meet-up before kickoff. Chatting with friends old and new. 

And then there was the football… 🥴

Pah! A lacklustre performance by our boys in red on the night saw Mikel Arteta's side seemingly holding on for a draw, but switched off right at the end and were duly punished by the brilliance of Galeno. 

At 94’ the Brazilian winger took a few touches to set himself before curling a wonderful finish into the net, past the despairing full-stretch dive of David Raya. To be fair, Porto had threatened our goal earlier a couple of times too. 

Conversely, despite the Gunners dominating possession, we failed to have a single shot on target in the whole match. Poor. 

There is the opportunity to recover of course, this was just the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie. The second leg takes place the Emirates on 12th March. 

Onwards and upwards my friends. 


Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Porto Sightseeing…

Yes, Stuart, we do have to come here together on a non-footie trip. Lots to do and see and eat and drink! I think you’ll love it. 

As it was, I’m here on an Arsenal away day by myself so a scouting mission was in order. And to that end, yesterday was a full-on tourist day. 

Darce joined me on the tour too (ostensibly to avoid boozing all day - but that didn’t work out did it Darce?!) - as our guide Francisco showed me the wonders of Porto. 

Lion square, the nunnery, numerous churches, the police horse stables (I’m sure I’ll be seeing more of our four-legged friends at the game tonight!), the prison, the magnificent bell tower, the cathedral, the station, a wine tour (oops), a ‘locals’ restaurant for lunch, and finally the six bridges river boat tour.  

Nine hours in total - exhausting but great fun. 

In the evening we found a posh steak place. They took a bit of a shine to us when we told them we were gearing up for the footie Wednesday night so we got free drinks. 🍷 😂

Skipped the late night boozing as today will probably be a bit of a sesh. ⚽️🔴⚪️🍻

I like Porto.