Quote Of The Day

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

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Dad’s headstone is up (and a lovely family lunch)…

Stu, Jo and I headed out to Welwyn to see Myrtle last Sunday.  We went up to see Dad’s grave and Myrtle cooked us a lovely meal.










Monday, November 29, 2021

Steps @ O2 Arena...

Completely amazing Saturday night at the O2 Arena watching Steps perform their What The Future Holds tour. We danced like fools and sang our socks off. (Sophie Ellis-Bextor was a great warm up too!) Thank you Darren.

Setlist

One for Sorrow
Heartbreak in This City
Neon Blue
Take Me for a Ride
Baby Love / It's Not Unusual / Son of a Preacher Man / Wild Thing / You're My World
5, 6, 7, 8
After the Love Has Gone
Something in Your Eyes
Say You'll Be Mine
Chain Reaction (Diana Ross cover)
Story of a Heart
It's the Way You Make Me Feel
The Slightest Touch (Five Star cover)
A Hundred Years of Winter
Last Thing on My Mind (Bananarama cover)
Stomp
Heartbeat
To the Beat of My Heart
Better the Devil You Know (Kylie Minogue cover)
Love's Got a Hold on My Heart
Summer of Love
Better Best Forgotten
Deeper Shade of Blue

Encore:
Here and Now
Scared of the Dark
Tragedy (Bee Gees cover)
 





















Friday, November 26, 2021

Manor @ Lyttelton Theatre...

Sometimes you go and see something that is just crap. That, dear reader, sums up what we saw last night. People were snoring, bored walk-outs at the interval, comedy that was 'laugh-at' and not 'laugh-with'.

Moira Buffini’s new play Manor at the Lyttelton Theatre was just dire. Nothing glitzy about it. 

It tried to be all things to all men. Sadly it failed on every level. A weak satire, a misfiring haunted house story, a groaning farce, a pointless murder mystery that doesn't have the courage of its convictions, a disaster of a disaster movie, a sub-Albion treatise on a bygone era of Englishness, a story of the Far Right that left much to be desired, a bunch of unearned offensive racist dialogue, a barely awake attempt at woke politics, a pointless gay outing, and an even more pointless (blunter?) lesbian kiss, oh and acting so hammy we should have all been served with apple sauce as we came in to the auditorium. It was toe-curlingly bad.

Unconvincing storytelling. Clumsy comedy. No chemistry between any of the leads. A waste of everyone's doubtless talent. Boring. Avoid.

Monday, November 22, 2021

The Tragedy Of Macbeth @ Almeida Theatre...

Last Friday night Stuart and I went to see Shakespeare's bloody play The Tragedy Of Macbeth at the Almeida Theatre in London's glitzy Islington.

With a star-casting Macbeths (Saoirse Ronan and James McArdle) and auteur-ish director (Yael Farber) it was a fun evening. If by fun you mean a bare stage (later flooded with water), a wheelchair, a tap on a standpipe, a wheelbarrow full of old boots, and a wheelchair, and lots and lots of blood.

Saoirse Ronan's Lady Macbeth is great (if a little miscast), James McArdle's Macbeth is roaring and brutal, but the night (knight?) goes to Emun Elliott’s Macduff who is tremendous, both in grief and rage, rising up to the churning, thrashing McArdle in equal power.

Costumes range from kilts to battle dress to the witches in business suits – serves the magnificent cast in their passionate, often flawless delivery of the great familiar lines, made musical by Scottish and Irish voices.

A great evening.

Friday, November 19, 2021

‘night, Mother @ Hampstead Theatre…

Last night Stuart and I went to see American playwright Marsha Norman‘s rather heavy-weight play ‘night Mother at the Hampstead Theatre in London’s glitzy Swiss Cottage.

Starring screen legend Stockard Channing and Rebecca Night the play won the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Play; so we were expecting good things. Sadly it was an expectation not fully met.

The play is about a daughter, Jessie (Night), and her mother, Thelma (Channing). It begins with Jessie calmly telling her Mama that by morning she will be dead, as she plans to commit suicide that very evening. The subsequent dialogue between Jessie and Mama slowly reveals her reasons for her decision, her life with Mama, and how thoroughly she has planned her own death.

Suicide (or the mere threat of it) should evoke all sorts of emotions for a pair of first-class stage actors to really get their teeth into - compassion, fear, pity, rage, love, regret etc. - but sadly this production was all rather monotone. Matter-of-fact delivery and staging rather undermined the power of the writing. Which is a shame.

Nice to see Channing so close-up though. 




Thursday, November 18, 2021

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Soft Cell : Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret 40th Anniversary 2021 Tour...

Three years ago we went to the O2 Arena to see Soft Cell's 'final' ever gig. Well guess what? They're back! So on Monday night (and again on Tuesday) Stuart, Paul, Simon and I went to the Eventim Apollo in London's glitzy Hammersmith to see them 'one last time.'

Everybody's making comebacks nowadays, but Soft Cell have more to offer than nostalgia - despite the title of the show being 'Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret 40th Anniversary 2021 Tour.' With Marc Almond's solo career at a temporary pause, and David Ball refreshed by his time with dance act the Grid, the duo seem determined to prove that they can once again be vital.

True to that vitality, a clutch of new songs from their upcoming album *Happiness Not Included update the classic Soft Cell sound; along with Almond's soaring vocals and Ball's Motowny synth melodies, the bass frequencies do things to the human body that are illegal. Not that the new songs hold a torch (geddit?) to the old songs mine you.

While their trademark stomp benefits from modern technology, not everything has changed. Almond - the Leeds Warehouse cloakroom attendant who chose to live out his fantasies - is still immersed in lowlife. And yet, there's something cuddly about Almond. When he sings Bedsitter, the timeless tale of clubland alienation, generations cheer and laugh in empathy. Many in the crowd bear the ravages of 1980s hair abuse, but promisingly, there are some younger fans too.

Between 1981 and 1984, Soft Cell defined the synthesiser duo. All these years later, they are still playing to packed houses.

Looking back, Almond and Ball have always been one of pop’s unlikeliest couples: Almond, camp as a row of tents, Ball looking as if he would be just as happy fixing your boiler as putting together some of the catchiest hooks in the history of electronic music. And yes, we are glad to see them back on stage (and still alive!), given that their initial brief four-year career epitomised the live-fast-die-young school of pop stardom. Let's not forget their last two album titles — The Art of Falling Apart and This Last Night in Sodom — accurately flagging the drug-fuelled lifestyle that led to the band’s break-up and Almond’s breakdown.

Misery
Complaints
Self Pity
Injustice.

We loved the show and of course sang along to every word of Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret played track-by-track in Act II.

The setlist was:-

Act I

Torch
Bruises on All My Illusions
Happy Happy Happy
Monoculture
Heart Like Chernobyl
Nostalgia Machine
Kitchen Sink Drama
Where the Heart Is
Divided Soul
L'esqualita
Martin
The Art of Falling Apart

Act II

Frustration
Tainted Love (the Gloria Jones cover)
Seedy Films
Youth
Sex Dwarf
Entertain Me
Chips on My Shoulder
Bedsitter (12" Version)
Secret Life
Say Hello, Wave Goodbye

Encore:

Purple Zone
Memorabilia
 
 




















Monday, November 15, 2021

Dawn’s 50th..

We had a great night helping Dawn celebrate her 50th on Saturday night in Covent Garden.

















Friday, November 12, 2021

Bon Voyage…

It’s been a lovely week in Provence. Now homeward bound.  ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท  -> ๐Ÿš†  -> ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง 




Thursday, November 11, 2021

Aix-en-Provence…

We had a fantastic day-trip to Aix-en-Provence today. There was a bit of an atmosphere to the place as it was a National Holiday. 

First stop was the rather gorgeous Fontaine de La Rotonde. We then wandered up the main drag of Cours Mirabeau, through the Mazarin Quarter with it’s beautifully preserved Fontaine des Quatre-Dauphins and on to the Palais de Justice. 

We passed through fabulous narrow streets with cute shops, Roman arches, ancient bell-towers above, traversed loads of bustling market squares (fruit, veg and cooked food) and eventually found ourselves in the rather lovely Cathedrale St. Sauveur.

Exhausted we decided to nurse a few beers and people watch from one of the cafes in the Hotel de Ville square as people have done daily since the 14th century. 

We watched as the daily flower market evaporated before our eyes and the space was gradually replaced by more and more tables. The square then filled with young flirty couples sharing a smile and a bottle, heavily smoking single men downing some green liquid of other like it was magic potion, pairs of women made-up to the nines knocking back shots of coffee, and groups of young men cradling foaming beers. It was a lovely place. 

We like Aix.























Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Marseille…

We have spend just 24 hours in Marseille and I have to say your experiences have been mixed. Surly waiters, some rather edgy run-ins in some of the dark narrow back  streets, and not much by way of historic attractions. That said, the Mucem museum was fab, the Notre Dame church on the top of the hill was cool, and we have found some great places to eat.