Quote Of The Day

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

Friday, March 29, 2024

King Lear @ Almeida Theatre…

Last night Stuart and I went to see King Lear at the Almeida Theatre in London’s glitzy Islington.   

Wow! Just wow! Stunning.   

Danny Sapani is a triumph as Lear.   Moving, funny, outrageous, infuriating - he deserves every award going.   

The three sisters Aliya Henry, Faith Omole, and Gloria Obianyo are sensational.  

The three and half hours flew by.   

Yaël Farber‘s direction is exceptional.   

The reviews were right (but missed a star!)  
★★★★ “One of the best Shakespeares I’ve ever seen” The Times 
★★★★ “A gripping piece of entertainment” Time Out

Thursday, March 28, 2024


Why is Easter so early this year? Well, it's a moveable feast. Literally. 

Last Sunday was the first full moon after the March equinox (when the Sun appears more North than South from Earth). The Sunday that follows that is therefore Easter Sunday. That means that Easter Sunday could fall as early as 22nd March and as late as 25th April.

Bonkers? Yes. Blame the First Council of Nicaea in 325. They came up with the rules.

Back in 1928 the UK brought in the Easter Act which fixed Easter Sunday in the UK as the second Sunday in April. However, the legislation has never been implemented, although it remains on the Statute book. It needed the Church's say so. The sticking point? Various Christian churches fear that if they approve it then other Christian decisions may be 'up for grabs.' 

Yes, people it's 2024.

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

The Bell Reunion @ The Cock Tavern…

Well, that was fun. 

Last Sunday Darren and I (and dozens of other beautiful sleazy balls from back in the early 1980s) were invited by Liz, Peter, and Rob to a reunion of the best gay bar ever. The Bell in King’s Cross. 

I spent about 10 years of my life in that place;
dancing, laughing, 
drinking, loving.

Let’s do it again. Soon. 

Monday, March 25, 2024

The Beginning @ Barn Theatre...

Last Friday night Joanna, Stuart and I went to see the opening night of Dave's play The Beginning at the Barn Theatre in Hertfordshire's glitzy Welwyn Garden City.
Directed by Paul Morton, Pete Bryans took on the role of Danny and Jessica Ducker took on Laura.
It was great night. The play is of course excellent. Very funny.

Jo BBQ...

Last Saturday my niece Charlotte threw a fabulous birthday BBQ for her mum (and my sister) Joanna. 

Lovely food. Great company. ❤️

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Friday, March 22, 2024

Power of Sail @ Menier Chocolate Factory...

Write me a play about unplatforming. OK.
You know unplatforming, right, when a speaker gets told they can no longer speak?  Yes. 
Set it at a university. Sure.
An American one; let's say Harvard. OK.
Have an aging out of touch professor play a freedom of speech absolutist. OK.
Make sure the professor invites a guest who is really despicable. Ok.
A Nazi-loving white supremacist, maybe. You betcha.
The students are going to riot, right? Oh yes.
And the professor's Jewish and black colleagues will tell the professor he's making a big mistake, right? Yup.
And something will go horribly wrong? Gotcha.
Oh, and throw in a twist, but signpost it really clearly.  Ok.
So last night Stuart and I sat down to watch Power of Sail at the Menier Chocolate Factory in London's glitzy London Bridge Quarter.
Is there a thin line between hate and freedom of speech? Yes. Is it adequately served here? Not so much.
The characters are just all a little too cliché.
Dominic Dromgoole's direction of class actors Julian Ovenden, Tanya Franks, Giles Terera, Michael Benz, Katie Bernstein, Georgia Landers and Paul Rider is sure-footed enough. It's just writer Paul Grellong’s Power of Sail is all just a little too predictable.
The piece claims to be 'a moral thriller' but the twists and turns are simply plot developments. Thrilling it is not.
In fact, the logistics of the uncovered plot are as strained as the psychological explanation of our ill-fated professor’s behaviour. Charles’ (Julian Ovenden) is apparently dying of envy of colleagues who have become TV regulars.
Ok, academic jealousy is not something that should ever be underestimated of course. But Charles' is a little too pale, a little too naked.
The most interesting character — which isn’t to say the most credible — is bleach-blond PhD student Lucas (Michael Benz), whose unlikely research (a running gag) is on the “agrarian economy and practices of 17th century Sweden.” It’s not his scholarship but his right-wing long game that reenergizes this sluggish play.
Benz is an excellent actor, so I wish the role would have better packaged his deviousness. The scene on the train platform, in which Lucas slyly entices Charles to indulge in some White Pride, is disturbingly fresh. But all subtlety is lost when this Tommy Robinson knockoff takes off his mask.
Giles Terera almost saves the day as his intellectual equal. But it all rather negates the rest of the play. Cut to the chase Mr Grellong and have the debate. Is hate speech also free speech?


Thursday, March 21, 2024

Happy Birthday Wo-Wo…

I shall be singing a certain Beatles song all day and no doubt get walloped every time I do 😂 Siblings, eh? They know all your secrets! 😘
Happy Birthday to the best sister a brother could ask for. Love you Wo-Wo XXX ❤️

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Charity, Sweetie…

A week or two back Stuart and I tried to drop off an old 1980s Habitat Hungary crockery dinner set off at our local Marie Curie charity shop. Three very large boxes. It was a big set. Over a 120 pieces. So we had it on a trolley. 

One of two people behind the counter, a man, was a little short with us, “No, we can’t take it as we can’t sell them. Try the Crisis shop up the road.”

Oh. Ok. 

So we left the shop. As we were walking away the woman who had also been behind the counter came running after us. Turns out she was the manager. 

“Sorry about that, of course we can take your dinner service!  We can sell it easily. Thank you”
I’d taken a photograph of the whole set and it was pinned on the outside of the box so she had seen it was quite a nice one I think. 

So we when we went back into the shop, the man behind the counter ate so much Humble Pie I thought he was gonna throw up. 
“Hello again. What’s that we’ve got here? Wow! Looks lovely. That will fly off the shelves. Are you registered for Gift Aid?” Etc etc. 
I could only imagine the conversation that must’ve gone on in-between our first and second visits ! 

Monday, March 18, 2024

Eastwood Observatory 15-17 March 2024…

20 friends
14 fiftieth birthdays 
2 years in the planning
1 observatory
1 weekend
A lot of laughs. 

What a fantastic time we had celebrating lots of joint 50th birthdays together at Eastwood Observatory; chatting, eating, drinking, dancing, singing, swimming, hot-tub plunging, playing tennis, climbing, walking, and laughing - one hell of a lot of laughing. 

Thank you Denise, Kerry, and Monica for all the organising. It was something special. 

(A bit Big Brother, a bit The Traitors, a bit Saltburn.)

Friday, March 15, 2024

Opening Night @ Gielgud Theatre...

Last night Stuart and I went to see Ivo van Hove's production of new musical Opening Night at the Gielgud Theatre in London's glitzy West End.
Hmmm. Not brilliant.
First the good stuff; van Hove's usual visual flourishes of on-stage video were all present and correct. The free-flowing, almost improvised style was there too. Rufus Wainwright's music and lyrics were pleasant enough. And the talented cast of Sheridan Smith, Hadley Fraser, Shira Haas, Nicola Hughes, Amy Lennox, John Marquez, and Benjamin Walker were all very good.
It's just the songs were all a bit bland. The acting equally so. And the script utterly under-whelming.
The plot - based on John Cassavetes' film - simply went nowhere. A theatre company is preparing to stage a new play on Broadway. "But drama ignites backstage when their leading lady is rocked by tragedy, and her personal turmoil forces everyone to deliver the performance of their lives." (or so it says here.)  It actually got a bit boring.
Self-indulgence and theatrical naval-gazing are all well and good when you like spending time with the characters.  I didn't.


Thursday, March 14, 2024

National Anthem…

For Glastonbury, I might get cancelled for this but I would find it disrespectful if people don't stand for the National Anthem. 
Personally think it's beautiful & get goosebumps every time I hear “the best thing about being a woman, is the prerogative to have a little fun” So moving

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Arsenal 1 - 0 FC Porto…

Arsenal 1 - 0 FC Porto… 
(HT, FT, AET  1 - 0) 
(Agg 1 - 1) 
Arsenal won 4-2 on penalties  

Phew!  What a night!

Arsenal have reached the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time in 14 years after beating Porto in a penalty shootout following a night of nerve-ripping tension at the Emirates Stadium.  

Our boys went into this last-16 second leg 1-0 down but drew level when Leandro Trossard put us ahead on the night four minutes before the interval with a smooth finish following brilliant work by captain Martin Odegaard.  

By full time we were still level on aggregate 😬  

Extra time, my friends   

Thirty minutes later neither team had been able to find a winner. It had been a scrappy 120 minutes of footie. 

Penalties, my friends     

What followed was undoubtedly Raya's finest night since arriving at Arsenal.  

Raya made the saves that mattered, turning Wendell's second penalty for Porto on to the post before kicking the rebound clear with his heel then confirming the win with a flying save from Galeno.  

Cue wild scenes of celebration around the Emirates.

Great night out. 

Onward and upward my friends. 


Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Dune Part Two…

If you’re looking for a very long all-round action adventure tragic revenge mystery sci-fi blockbuster sandy sequel, this is the film for you!

It’s big, it’s bold, it’s full of amazing cinematography. Hans Zimmer’s music is simply wonderful. The film is packed full of massive armies, towering sand dunes, massive worms, blinking twinkly pairs of blue eyes, and the smirks of sadistic villains. 

Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, and Rebecca Ferguson are all fabulous. Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Austin Butler, and Dave Bautista are all great. Christopher Walken is, you know, just Christopher Walken. 

Roll on Dune Part Three (Messiah)!

Monday, March 11, 2024

Mother’s Day…

Lovely Mother’s Day Sunday roast yesterday courtesy of my beautiful sister Joanna. Thank you for hosting Stuart and me, my darling. 
Great to spend time (and way too much laughter) with Myrtle, Joanna, Simon, Charlotte, Jos, Manning and Felix. ❤️