Quote Of The Day

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

Thursday, October 31, 2013

2.8 Hours Later...

Last Saturday night Stuart, Oliver and I ran all over East London getting chased by zombies in 2.8 Hours Later. Great fun and all followed by a Zombie Disco.









Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Knock Out...

We got knocked out of the Capital One Cup last night by Chelsea. So he's a knock-out picture to keep you happy.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Book Of Mormon (revisited)...

Stu and I went to see The Book of Mormon at The Prince of Wales Theatre again last week. The musical - written by Matt Stone and Trey Parker the creators of South Park - is still a great show; very funny and great tunes. It is deserving of all the praise and awards doubtlessly coming it's way. Oh, and we got to meet Gavin Creel, who has made the longlist for best musical performance in the Evening Standard Theatre Awards. Hope he wins!


Monday, October 28, 2013

Steve Hackett...

Last week I went to Bristol for the night to see Steve Hackett at the Colston Hall with Paul.

The Genesis Revisited Tour was largely to promote Hackett's covers album Genesis Revisited II and thus was stuck firmly in the era Hackett was with the band for the six studio albums between 1971-1976. The audience demographic largely reflected that era too.

Nostalgia crashed over us in waves as we sang along to prog track after prog track. Great music, great visuals, we loved it. 

Set List:-
Dancing With the Moonlit Knight 
The Musical Box 
Horizons 
Unquiet Slumbers for the Sleepers... 
Afterglow 
The Fountain of Salmacis 
Supper's Ready 
Encore:
Watcher of the Skies
Los Endos
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Friday, October 25, 2013

Doctor Who: The Day of the Doctor 3D...

Doctor Who: The Day of the Doctor 3D cinema tickets booked. Show starts 7:30pm Saturday 23rd Nov and lasts 80 minutes. Squeee!

Washing Machine...

TFFT! Builders have plumbed washing machine back in! First lot of washing on in over a month. I've been wearing clothes I never knew I had from the 'back of the cupboard.' i.e. 1980s fashion failures, odd socks and way-too-small underwear. Not pretty.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Clifton...

Popped down to Bristol last night to spend some time with my besty Paul. We walked along the bridge too. The suspense was killing us. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A Doll's House...

Last night Stuart took me to see A Doll's House at the Duke of York's Theatre in London's glitzy West End.

Ibsen's play has been reworked as a savagely funny version by Olivier Award-Winning Simon Stephens. And what a tour de force it is. It manages to be both moving and gripping.

Award-winning Hattie Morahan gives her five-star performance of a lifetime as Nora Helmer, alongside excellent Dominic Rowan, who plays her husband Torvald.

Beautifully directed by critically acclaimed Carrie Cracknell the action takes place in a single exquisite revolving set by Ian MacNeil.

To say it is the best play I have seen on the London stage with year would be no exaggeration. The 1h 40m first half simply flew by; the 1h final act stayed but a moment. Glorious acting. A glorious production.

It is making a well-deserved transfer to Broadway.

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Light Princess...

On Friday night Stuart and I went to see The Light Princess which is currently playing at the Lyttelton Theatre, part of the National Theatre, on London's glitzy South Bank.

Based on the Scottish legend about a princess cursed to defy gravity after not being able to shed a tear at her mother's death the piece child-friendly musical with lyrics and a score written by beautifully wacky songstress Tori Amos.

For this new work director Marianne Elliott brings the same wow factor as she did to her productions of War Horse and The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-time. The production is simply enchanting. It flies as high, as lightly and as deftly as it's leading lady Princess Althea does above the stage.

This regal flight of fancy is mainly acheived thanks to the amazing onstage support actors who lift her, suspend her and transport our heroine above the stage floor. They let her float, fly and spin as she sings.

The production looks gorgeous too. Rae Smith's magical fairy-tale kingdom is inhabited with wonderful animals and strange delights - it's Muppets meeting Handspring puppets.

Althea's beau prince Digby is much more grounded in every sense which only heightens our feeling of elation she teases him from above.

The whole thing is a joy to behold and a definite recommendation. Shame the songs don't quite match up to the visuals though.

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Friday, October 18, 2013

John Grant...

Last night Stu, Mark, Denz, PJ and I went to see John Grant perform at the Jazz Cafe in London's less than glitzy Camden Town.

This particular Q Award nominee is hot right now. And as if to increase the Zeitgeisty feel of the evening even more he mentioned attending the Attitude Awards two nights earlier (where he picked up Man Of The Year) and got to meet his gay heroes Marc Almond and Holly Johnson. Bless him. He knows his roots that boy.

Beardy Mr Grant specialises in a line gravel-voiced miserablism that hits a chord with today's ennui generation and which taps into the celebrity-ladened media's obsession with 'self' perfectly. Only John Grant doesn't need to make up his angst like so many pop stars do each day for the entertainment pages. He is the real deal. He has genuine angst - in buckets.

His exploration of his own psyche - the defensiveness, the occasional self-hatred but utter self-awareness - shows an amazing depth of feeling and passion that simply spews out into his lyrics. And he certainly has the history to draw on - alcohol and drug addiction, coming to terms with being gay and HIV-positive, problems in his youth and trouble with a former boyfriend are topics all keenly and wittily observed. It was at times painful to hear such naked emotion expressed vocally but his songs tell a truth that clearly taps into the collective consciousness of the surprisingly diverse audience at the venue last night. More often than not he had us in the palm of his hand.

Musically John Grant is truly gifted too. There is no other expression for it. Perfectly crafted songs that simmer and then soar into the air like the Icelandic volcanoes he once lived so near. His sound sits somewhere between Sigur Ros and a late 70s prog rock band – beautiful atmospheric songs with the occasional six minute synth-fuelled epic which demonstrate his obvious fandom of bands like the Cocteau Twins.

Stand out songs of the night were I Hate This Town, Vietnam, Pale Green Ghosts, the single GMF and encore-ending / crowd-favourite Queen of Denmark. 

Sadly the much hoped for appearance of backing-singer Sinéad O'Connor swinging naked across the stage on a wrecking ball never materialised. Not so much as a twerk.

Roll on John Grant's next London appearance at the Roundhouse next March.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Led Astray...

Oh heaven help us. Prepare for the worst. If you thought Vicious was bad....

"Led Astray

Tanya (Cilla Black) discovers she has a long lost half-brother Arthur (Paul O'Grady), currently serving time in HMP Wymott. It seems they will never really get to know each other, but with some skilful forging Arthur fixes his release - the only conditions: he wears an electronic tag and stays with his newly found half-sister Tanya. 
Date: Thursday 31 October
Time: 7.30pm
To apply for tickets, visit the BBC Tickets website. 
We do hope you can join us. 
Kind regards
BBC Studio Audiences"

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Alison Moyet...

Last night Stu, Darren and I went to see Alison Moyet at the Royal Festival Hall. Touring to promote her new album The Minutes the lovely Ms Moyet was on good form. We were treated to the whole album interspersed with pretty much all her hits.

As a reflection of the electronic sound of the current album much of the evening had a strong electronic feel to it with two synths on stage. In fact reinterpreting some of her 1990s Swain and Jolly classics as 1980s synth pop ones gave a pleasing retro-resonance to the evening. It was like Yazoo was back in the room.

Great sound. Great voice. Great show.

With high energy shows like this Alison could be playing bigger venues again one day very soon.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Petula Clark...

On Sunday Darren, Stu and I went to see Petula Clark at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. It was a night of lists.

The catalogue of songs she sang:-

  • Colour My World
  • Don't sleep in the subway
  • My Love
  • Crazy (Gnarls Barkley cover)
  • Imagine (John Lennon cover)
  • Someone To Watch Over Me / The Man I Love 
  • Lost In You 
  • Who Am I?
  • Sailor
  • Sign of the Times
  • Downtown
  • I couldn't live without your love
  • Rainbow is Coming (?)
  • With One Look (from Sunset Boulevard)
  • If This Isn't Love (from Finian's Rainbow)
  • Cut Copy Me
  • The Other Man's Grass Is Always Greener
  • Reflections (set to Bach)


The people she had met:-


 She sang, she played piano, she entertained. And all at 81 years old. What a star.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Back to the Real World...

Back home and back to the building work. Looks like the builders have started on the kitchen.  Takeaways for me for the next few weeks!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Miami Beach...

It was a lovely cruise and a fun four days at sea. Back in Miami Beach now for a last couple of days of sand and sunshine before heading home to London. It's been fun - my liver needs a holiday now though.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Friday, October 04, 2013

Sawcross Mills...

Yesterday we went shopping in 'the biggest retail outlet in the world'. It made Westfield look like a corner shop. If I never see another shop ever again it'll be too soon.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Hurricane Mandy...

We drove back across the Everglades to Miami yesterday. The weather took a bit of a turn for the worse but undaunted we set out along South Beach for beers and food. How bad could it get? We're British and are used to terrible weather.... Oh.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Everglades...

We plumped for an all-dayer in the Everglades: airboat ride in the morning through the saltwater mangroves followed by lunch and then a boat tour in the afternoon offshore. Our guide was fast talking Kenny who seemed to know his stuff and regaled us with enough scare stories of what the local wildlife could potentially inflict to keep us listening. We made a number of stops along the way to look for manatees and alligators - seeing just two of the former but a few more of the latter. Being the low season we pretty much had the run of the place and sure we got to tick all the boxes - speeding through the mangroves, holding a baby alligator, eating alligator meat etc. - but it's not a place I'd rush back to. There were one too many gift shops, one too many servers who needed tipping. I'm glad we've done it but done it we have.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Naples...

The road trip continues as we crossed Florida from east coast to west. Currently exploring what Naples has to offer. Apart from Irish pubs that is.