Quote Of The Day

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

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Monday, April 28, 2014

Tim's 40th @ Blo Norton Hall...

We had a lovely weekend away in Blo Norton Hall celebrating Timmy's 40th. Saturday night was Je Suis Disco fancy dress night. Great fun.





Friday, April 25, 2014

Good People...

Last night Stuart and I went to see Good People at the Noel Coward Theatre in London's glitzy West End.

Starring the magnificent Imelda Staunton it tells the story of Margie, a working-class single mum and South Bostonian, who has fallen on hard times. Egged on by her friends Margie approaches recently rediscovered schoolgirl heart-throb Mike for a job. And maybe more.

What makes the play so clever is how our sympathies rarely rest with just one character. We feel sorry for Margie with her tough life and her disabled daughter but as she needles and teases doctor Mike it comes across as plain bullying.

Mike initially resents, then tolerates but soon bitterly regrets Margie's intrusion into his middle-class "curtain-lace" family home. He has done well for himself and but what starts off as defensiveness of his own success soon turns to aggression.

There is true viciousness behind Margie complaints, "You made your choices. I didn't have choices."

And it's a very funny play too with some great one-liners.

"How's the wine?" Mike asks Margie as they sit in his posh front room.
"How the fuck am I supposed to know?"

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Velvelettes and Brenda Holloway...

Last Friday Juggy, Stu, Bryn, Andrew and I went to the 229 Club to see The Velvelettes and Brenda Holloway perform as part of the Modstock festival.

Big-bosomed Brenda was great. The tight-dressed Velvelettes were fantastic. Great voices, great songs, what's not to like?




Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Mind The Gap...

Great team win for Arsenal FC against Hull FC on Sunday. And the team pose for a photo all grinning like Cheshire cats to take the piss out of Arteta who had a front tooth knocked out during the game. Bless.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Bryn and Andrew....

Bryn and Andrew came to stay for the weekend. We can a great time zooming around London markets, restaurants and boozers.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Sam's Exhibtion...

Sam had her first exhibition opening on Monday at The Modern Pantry. It was great. I bought two pieces. No, not these two idiots - the ones below.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Jean-Paul Gautier Exhibition...

Last Sunday Stuart and I went to see the Jean-Paul Gautier at the Barbican Art Gallery. It was amazeballs. The mannequins had video projections of faces on them that were sexy, creepy and funny all at the same time. Some winked, some talked, some sang. Oh and the clothes weren't bad either. And we got to see Madonna's conical bra outfit.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

FA Cup Semi-Final...

Last Saturday Sam and I went to Wembley Stadium to watch Arsenal FC take on Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup semi-final. It was an awful game. We played terribly - just managing to squeeze a draw towards the end of normal time. After extra time it was still 1-1 so it was decided on penalties. Luckily (and I mean that) we scraped a win. They say that victory should taste sweet - but this one left a sour taste in the mouth. Oh well, into the ballot I go for a chance to watch the final on 17th May. Let's hope we pull our overlong red and white socks up by then.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Sophie Eliis-Bextor...

Last Friday Darren treated me to a trip to London's glitzy Union Chapel to see Sophie Ellis-Bextor.

In fine voice she treated us to an hour of her fab new album Wanderlust and then half an hour of crowd-pleasing disco stompers.

As the end of the set approached and in the throws of a fist-in-the-air-pumping-ecstastic move her eyes bounced heavenward and she squealed, "God loves DISCOOOOO!"

A nice coda to the evening was her rushing up to the upper tier of the chapel and under the gaze of a single spotlight she sang us a beautiful a capella farewell ditty. She was quiche.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Cheek by Jowl: 'Tis Pity She's a Whore...


Last night Stuart and I went to see John Ford's 1629 play 'Tis Pity She's A Whore performed by Cheek By Jowl at Barbican's Silk Street Theatre.

Violence, tragedy, blood, death, incest, torture, rape, drugs, bullying, treachery, straight sex, gay sex, nudity, dancing, singing... and that was just in the foyer bar.

It is a great play and this was a great production of it - sure all the female characters come out of it dead, mutilated or worse - but then so do most of the male characters too. 

The production was sexy, visceral, funny, shocking and a definite crowd pleaser. Declan Donnellan's show was a triumph.

They say try everything once except incest and folk-dancing. Well, all I can say after this production is, try both!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Grand National...

Tim and I took a punt on the Grand National last Saturday. We had £10 each way on 10-1 favourite Teaforthree.  Despite shouting at the telly to "move your blooming arse" it fell at one the minor fences. Pah!

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

A Small Family Business...

Last Thursday Stuart and I went to the Oliver Theatre on London's glitzy South Bank to see a rival of Alan Ayckbourn's A Small Family Business.

A comedy/farce it's set in the late 1980s and tells the story of a man, Jack McCracken (Nigel Lindsay), who takes over the running of his father-in-law's family furniture business only to find every one of his extended family is on the take. Stuart seemed to be laughing harder than me at this fact. I wonder why? :-)

Jack compromises more and more until gradually we see him become as corrupt as the rest.

The staging was great - a complete replica suburban house had been built. The acting was sure-footed too - the numerous cast members were very slick at delivering their lines. And the play was good - but only 'good', not 'great'. Sadly I think the source material isn't as shocking or as funny as it was back in 1987. Post-Thatcher and post-MPs expenses scandals we know everyone is on the take.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Lest We Forget...

Last Tuesday Darren and I went to the Barbican Theatre to see the English National Ballet perform Lest We Forget commemorating the centenary of the First World War.

Using contemporary choreographers and performing three new pieces (and one revival) this was not the ENB we were used to. This was a bare-footed ENB, a future-looking ENB, an exciting ENB - bravo say I.

Liam Scarlett’s No Man’s Land: The Ballet boy showed us women working in a munitions factory and the men at the front who did not all return. Very moving.
George Williamson’s Firebird: Sleek and sure-foted it was perhaps a piece that wasn't needed in the evening
Russell Maliphant’s Second Breath: A beautiful dream-like piece.
Akram Khan's Dust: A sensational, visceral piece that had the wow factor as Khan gyrated and convulsed about the stage and the company pulsated along with him.

Three cheers.

Friday, April 04, 2014

20 Feet From Stardom...

Last Friday Stuart and I went to the Hackney Picturehouse to see the Oscar-winning documentary 20 Feet From Stardom.

A joyous film it celebrated the life of the backing singer - often women, often black - who sung on all the hits and all the tours you could imagine. Criminally overlooked these people could sing, could dance and knew how to work as a team. Not all of these artist wanted to be stars in their own right - some like Lisa Fischer - were happy with their lot. But the film highlighted a few that had tried to break the mould and step into the limelight but for a number of reasons had failed. Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Judith Hill had tried (and still are trying) to make it big but a mixture of controlling producers, bad luck, poor material and mismanagement are holding them back.

As Bruce Springsteen said, "those 20 feet from beside the drum kit to the front of the stage can be a long walk."

Following the screening we were treated to a Q&A with one of the films stars - Judith Hill. Gosh, she can belt them out.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Ginger...

To spice things up I put Ginger in the stew last night. Shame really, I loved that cat.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Another Country...

Last week Stuart and I went to see Another Country at the Trafalgar Studios in London's glitzy Westminster.

It was a fresh production of the 1981 classic that back in the day made stars of Rupert Everett, Kenneth Branagh, Daniel Day-Lewis and Colin Firth.

Telling the story of spy Guy Burgess the play is set in the 1930s in an English public school for boys. Guy is openly gay and his friend Judd is a Marxist. Both are outsiders and they rear up against the blatant hypocrisy and snobbery they see around them.

The young and good-looking cast delivered the lines as sharply and as crisply as the day they were written. The scenery was great too - the wooden panelling serving as a powerful metaphor for the claustrophobia both our heroes experience.

It asks a number of questions of the class system too; namely whence comes it's power to force conformity, who runs it's Old Boys' Network that holds the inalienable right to administer career, privilege and position, and why do people caught up in it fear change so greatly.

The answer that Guy finds seems to be 'play the game' but betray it. A conclusion we can perhaps not sympathize with but certainly understand.

Great show. Go see.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014