Tuesday, April 19, 2005
Scenes from the National Theatre 19:18 - Book signing with Julian Clary. After a talk tonight that I attended I picked up a copy of the book as well... and got Julian to sign it... Up close he doesn't look half bad. However his good hair stylist and tailoring made one feel downright shabby so avoided any conversation...
Hearing about the death of a friend today has put blogging a little on hold... But coming home on the tube tonight I did listen to a song by William Finn which contains some great lyrics:
And I have found,
Hyperbole, is not what makes the world go round,
Just living, just navigating firm and level ground,
Has power to astound,
I have found.
It's been said,
And I have heard,
That quiet, doesn't have to be a dirty word,
Just talking,is often more expressive than a shriek,
Its nice to merely speak,
I have found.
Contentment it seems,
Accompanied by no grovels
And no tears
from "I have found" - William Finn
And so life goes on...
Scenes from outside Angers Sunday afternoon: Complete with National Front posters urging a no vote in the upcoming referendum on the EU constitution...
Sunday, April 17, 2005
Paul's Travelling Tips Miscellany
More on my weekend later but first my observations travelling 300kph out of Paris:
- A trip to Paris, then on to Angers need not be tiring... Just travel first class. My return leg was in a solo seat so I did not have to play footsie with anybody... The seats are bigger and the cars are quieter... And in general the cars have much better looking people in them... Although the only attractive people in my car tonight are the women...
- You also get nicer messages on the PA system, and the crew are much more polite. Unless of course you are Grace Jones trying to get a free upgrade, or the Asian woman at Gare Du Nord who showed her ticket to the smart French gent after me and got: "YOU ARE CAR THREE THIS IS CAR TWELVE! MOVE ALONG!"
- I am typing this while having a nice glass of champagne. There is a bottle of Bordeaux waiting after that as well...
- The 3pm train out of Waterloo is a good one to catch if you wish to pick up a Gaelic Businessman returning to Paris. I just didn't try hard enough, but then again I only had the Perrier as an aperitif...
- I am enjoying myself more as I type this and quaff champagne...
- Oh and check the Price differential between 1st and 2nd class when you book... For me it was only £20 so I figured that was a bargain...
Friday, April 15, 2005
Travelling on the Eurostar speeding through the French countryside, one notices how much smarter it is to travel in first class. However one can sympathise with Grace Jones as the leg room is still a bit minimal. Have been playing footsies with the French businessman sitting opposite me for most of the journey. Oh and there is an over representation of laptops in the car I am travelling in - hence getting out the iPAQ to be a poser as well...
Julius Caesar last night at the Barbican was a marathon effort. First half ran for two hours, then half an hour intermission, followed by another hour. F thought there were a few places they could have cut, but with things falling onto stage, loud explosions, huge crowd scenes, and an updating of the production to a Bush-like era, there was plenty to take in.
Sitting in second row, Ralph Feinnes as Marc Antony was particularly engaging. Of course he could read the back of a cereal packet and have had the audience hanging on to every word. But the rest of the cast was just as good.
Being a preview there were a few little odd bits, such as a very bright torch falling on stage and pointing out to the audience. The effect was that half the audience in the stalls had to squint for five minutes until an actor picked it up.
Given the star power of the cast, it seems like it will be a popular blockbuster production. Whether everyone will buy the updating to the Bush era - complete with battles fought wearing desert fatigues - may be another matter.
It all happens during interval:
A woman brushes by Paul.
Paul (to F): Did you see that woman rub her breasts up against me?
F: Yes... Complete waste of time for her wasn't it...
Actually, the audience was much better looking at the LSO concerts... But anyway...
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
Lucian Freud new self-portrait goes on show at the National Portrait Gallery. The speculation over who the young naked woman clinging to the 82 year old painter is commences... Nothing like a bit of mystery in the art world, particularly involving a superstar artist...
Alas the gallery was not open when I walked by it tonight... Some other time
News: Sock it to him
Cherie Blair last night tells the East End constituency of New Labour MP Oona King to give George Galloway a bloodied nose at the ballot box. George Galloway used to be a Scottish Labour MP who was famous for visiting and brown nosing Saddam in Iraq. Now with his own loony left / broad coalition of anyone against the war party, he is hoping to capture the Muslim vote in the east end. The papers tried to pin many things on Galloway but he won libel suits against them, but there is something unpleasant about this beady-eyed bald Scotsman. Still that has never stopped anyone from getting elected...
News: Outfoxing the mugger
South Kensington City Fund Manager (and woman) gets pistol whipped in a botched mugging Monday night. Rather than hand over her ring she threw it into bushes and told the would-be mugger that she dropped it... Don't mess with the city fund manager...
No gym tonight as picked up lurgie in the past couple of days. But:
- Will catch the Barbican production of Julius Ceasar Thursday night
- The show is now estimated to run for three and a half hours. As Thursday night is the show's first night it is probably too early to expect too many cuts...
- Julius Ceasar cast includes Ralph Fiennes and Fiona Shaw.
- I was to take Marc to this but that was in the before time, so I am now taking colleage F from work.
- This change of plans did not go down well and I more emails from him in one afternoon than I have had in the past four months (which provided for interesting reading for my friends who love reading the rantings of a madman). Of course personally when you have done the madman relationship in the past it is all a bit frightfully passe.
- Planning to consume the odd can of Red Bull to make it through Thursday and the occasional Lemsip
- Friday afternoon take off to Angers, France for the weekend. Planning on catching some sleep on the Eurostar...
- Life goes on...
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
Tony Christie's ditty has been four weeks at No 1. It is a catchy tune, and has a very tacky video clip which may explain the enduring appeal. Even guys working out at the gym will stop to look at the TV screens when it starts playing... Hmmm...
Monday, April 11, 2005
Today was told my skin looked fabulous. I explained could have been the result of:
- Several litres of water (with gas) I have consumed in the past 24 hours
- Some anti-aging face mask I had a sample of and applied overnight
- Sauna at the gym at Bayswater from Sunday
- Bronzing anti-shine face powder (just the thing for polluted London streets)
- All of the above
Much later, after a 20 minute jog at the gym, one did not look as great. Yet to master the look cool in the gym. Just look sweaty instead.
Sunday, April 10, 2005
'Rubbish' art offered to visitors at the Serpentine today as Takahashi's installation is offered to the public...
Wearing an Abercrombie & Fitch t-shirt ordered online this week which has on it "Here's to being single". A&F are quite popular here amongst the gay punters with their modern takes on classic clean cut items. Late last year they settled a class action discrimination case which accused the company of being a little too clean cut and a little too all-white. Of course none of this stops the punters buying the goods...
Chav #1: I am not doin' any more girls until school finishes...
Chav #2: Yeah?
Chav #1: But Jo came yesterday at 5 and I gave her a good shaggin'... She won't forget that...
Overheard at the London Lesbian and Gay Film Fest tonight:
Leather Man #1: You know Peter, the young boy that hangs around us sometimes?
Leather Man #2: Oh yes I know the one
Leather Man #1: Well he sent me a text around lunchtime which said, "Get yourself to a TV, she looks faaabulous in oyster silk and chiffon!"
Saturday, April 09, 2005
Saw The Far Pavilions tonight. It is a new musical based on the novel by M.M. Kaye, and was previously a BBC mini-series. Obviously musical was the next logical step. Hmmm... Unfortunately epic stories don't usually make for great musicals. For every Les Miserables there is Gone with the Wind or Shogun. This show seems to fall into the latter category.
Set in India it is a convoluted tale about love, the Raj and lots of other things. Being an epic melodrama, the story did get in the way of everything. It also didn't help that the music is not very good (a problem since it is mostly through-sung), the cast had difficulty with the music, and the stage kept spinning around. The spinning stage was a curious staging choice that had the effect of making most people in the front rows a little giddy from its overuse.
On the plus side however I thought the staging and some of the songs were quite good. And given that Bombay Dreams isn't playing in London for the time being it does have the corner of the Asian-themed musical market. Male lead Hadley Fraser had his shirt off at various points throughout the show as well...
It is still in preview and opens officially next week so no doubt changes will still be made. But half the group I was with left at interval so it isn't a good omen for the show. They didn't think much of Fraser's physique either (maybe a few more sessions in the gym before opening night would help). Actually the second half, free of all that messy exposition of the first was actually a bit better. The guy next to me thought it wasn't the worst show currently on the West End - he reserved that for Mary Poppins(!) - which goes to show you can't please everyone.
Overheard on Rupert Street after the show
Transgender girl to boy: So are you like, whatever, gay, like whatever, straight, like whatever, bi, like whatever?
Friday, April 08, 2005
Caught the LSO Beethoven Concert tonight. It was a sensational programme of the Coriolan Overture, Symphony No 6 (‘Pastoral’), and then Symphony No 7. All are very listenable and perfect for unwinding at the end of the day, and the sound that conductor Sir John Eliot Gardiner got from the orchestra was exquisite. Hearing the orchestra at times barely above pianissamo was something else. Quite appropriate to play the Pastoral symphony today as storms break out over Britain, and temperatures are expected to dive below freezing tonight.
Also, during interval I did notice how cruisy the foyers were... I didn't get approached but I did some heavy duty checking out - complete double takes, distracting people from their conversation and the like (and no I didn't have something on my tie - I did check). It was great for the ego. I could feel it inflate as I drank my Becks.
Alas there was no follow up as the bells went to go back in to the concert hall. There was no chance to follow up after the concert either. There are so many exits out of the Barbican who knows which one to stake out? I took heart however that it wasn't a bad result for somebody who had been at work since 8am (although I was using the right products to conceal any sign of fatigue) and besides there are many more concerts...
Thursday, April 07, 2005
Big news tonight is that the Government announces that receivers are called in by MG Rover, and the company disputes this. The announcement came after the Chinese back out of a deal to take over the company. Production stopped today in the West Midlands plant and the future of the company doesn't look bright. Apart from making rubbish cars that fill up London streets by people with no taste, it appears the company hasn't really made it ever since BMW walked away from it five years ago... Unfortunately 20,000 jobs are likely to disappear in a matter of days...
Grace Jones gets thrown off the Eurostar in Kent for being a bitch, which is why people love her anyway (although not Eurostar staff now I suspect). Actually when I saw her on the front page of tonight's Evening Standard I thought "oh no, she's dead!". But no, she was just causing a ruckus after sitting in Premium Class when she only had a First Class ticket, and then beating up some poor unsuspecting Eurostar inspector. Maybe it was the warm leatherette that appealed to her so much she didn't want to move. I am traveling first class next weekend to Angers, but I don't think I will be a slave to the Premium class, I will sit where my seat allocation tells me to...
Wednesday, April 06, 2005
Have managed to go to the gym four days in a row. Doing different parts of the body of course, but this sudden burst of physical activity was more by accident than design. For the last two nights people have cancelled drinks on me. Having a hunch that this was possible as both nights the drinks would have been with ambivalent types, I took my gym bag as plan B. So while I haven't been social, I have been getting fitter. I pointed out to my single colleagues at work that this is important in the post breakup period as by the time one has got one's shit together, one will look a bitofallright. Because let's face it, when you are in a relationship... Things can get let go... Even when they shouldn't.
Overheard at the gym tonight:
Nothing... All was quiet (during the times I wasn't plugged into the iPOD listening to Kylie's latest single Giving You Up - her 29th top 10 UK single - downloaded from iTunes)
But overheard on Tottenham Court Road:
Girl #1: Have you ever considered dropping by the Scientology shop?
Girl #2: Uh no...
Girl #1: They apparently offer all sorts of psychological testing...
Girl #2: My issues aren't worth testing...
The Sun did its bit to help the royal marriage get over the recent series of mishaps by sending a Druid to Windsor Castle to bless some lookalike couples and waving a "curse-be-gone" stick. That'll do it... The Druid appears to have a fake Santa Claus beard and is wearing an outfit with the logo of the paper in clear view...
Muscle Mary (on mobile): I don't mind going to a straight bar, I am sick of the gay onesssssssssssss.
- Pope dies and is buried Friday. On Monday morning there was much alarm at the thought that flags on buildings would be flying at half mast on the day the heir to the throne would be married. The fact that they are flying at half mast on various buildings is something to pause about in Protestant Britain. But the problem disappeared once the decision to change the wedding to Saturday so the Prince could attend the funeral. How in 500 years things change. The Guardian is calling it the slow death of Protestant England. Protestants can take heart that at least the future King is marrying a divorcee, and if the Daily Mirror is to be believed, he was furious that he had to change the date to Saturday. The front page had the classic headline: NO WEDDING AND A FUNERAL. Oh and given the wedding is now on Saturday, it will clash with the Grand National, and so after some horse trading, the race will be delayed by 25 minutes to enable the BBC to cover both...
- The election was called today which was probably the worst-kept secret in politics, since as far back as May last year this date was flagged as the date for the election. Polls are showing a closing of the gap between Labour and Conservatives, but due to the voting system here that will not be enough for an upset (at this stage). This election will be the first election using weblogs, but this one won't be (unless the campaign just happens to run across my travels).
Tuesday, April 05, 2005
Managed to find my stash of Australian Kangaroo Pins given to me before I left by a friend in Oz. The idea being to wear them while you are out and about and if you hit it off with somebody who is abitofallright then you give them the pin. Well hey, you gotta have a gimmick... Will try it out over the next few days...
It was announced late this morning that the Pope's funeral was to be Friday, then an hour later Clarence House announced Charles and Camilla would now get married on Saturday. In the meantime, punters raced out to buy all the tat they could grab with the wrong date on it. I guess the thought is that one day it would be valuable, but cheap printed tea towells are hardly going to a collectors item.
Sunday, April 03, 2005
Scenes from Covent Garden 18:16. There was an unusually large number of people watching this act. This appeared due to the fact the performer wearing a thong and with a large bulge down his front. Here he was mounting an unsuspecting man from the audience... Not much was left to the immagination here...and the punters couldn't get enough of it... Saucy bunch of tourists...
Scenes from Bloomsbury Sunday 14:19. Spring is in the air. Leaves are starting to reappear, and the joggers now wear short shorts rather than track pants...
Scenes from Milton Keynes 6:50pm. I went to Milton Keynes tonight to see the UK tour version of Thoroughly Modern Millie, which was great. The show didn't last long enough in London for me to get around to seeing it last year, and I always have wondered what Milton Keynes was like. Now that I have seen it, I don't have to ever die wondering what this place is like. It has a well-deserved crap town status.
I had pre-booked tickets to see at the National Gallery Caravaggio: The Final Years, which everyone has been raving about, and it was worth it. Some amazing pieces of the artists work made in his final years together in the same location was quite impressive. Those that recommended the exhibition to me I suspect were devotees of the Derek Jarman film from the eighties which certainly focused on the homoerotic nature of his works (and the artists impulses in that direction)... The exhibition suggests his life was a little more complex than a raving queen who got into fights and killed a man, but it all made for interesting context when looking at the art.
Actually amongst the hoards of people at the exhibition there were quite a few friends of Dorothy lurking amongst the darkened rooms and I thought it was if the curators were trying to add some of the seediness of the life the artist led to the exhibition. In fact the darkness was to bring out the artwork - which in some cases was damaged or in poor condition - but that didn't stop that strange feeling that one was being followed from room to room. Just as well there were only six rooms.
Afterwards I quickly ducked into the main gallery to look at Seurat's Bathers at Asnières. The Van Gough collection on the opposite wall is always more popular, but I just like this one. And unlike Caravaggio, there is all that colour and light...
Overheard at the Caravaggio Exhibit
Foreign tourist #1:Zha zzzha zhaa zha Caravaggio.... gay.
Foreign tourist #2:Ahh nozha zha zha zha Caravaggio... bisexual!
Guy-who-took-room-after-me ends up suggesting on Friday night we go for a drink, which after leaving work at 8pm I figure what the hell, I'll skip gym for that. However:
- He has another commitment so drinks will commence at 10.30pm, which is hardly enough time before closing to make it worth the effort, but I figure I am only a 20 minute walk to soho so I should be arsed to do that. I spend the hour and a bit between getting home and going out again discussing the imminent Papal death with lapsed Catholics back in Australia.
- After quick drink in soho Guy-who-took-room-after-me suggests we head to G-A-Y at the Astoria. He bought with him fliers to get cheap (and quick) entry which I thought was pretty organised. The only thing to wait for was the security check. Security guard frisks me and queries the five pound note I have scrunched up in my jeans pocket. I say to him, "its money" and I guess that dumb response suggested I was not some coke addict.
- G-A-Y at the Astoria on Friday nights is pretty casual and relaxed. The music on Fridays is all ABBA, Kylie and a curiously high number of Pointer Sister tracks which will make you wish you put on your "Choose Life" t-shirt, shoulder pads and extra thick hair gel. But hey when you can sing along to all the tracks it can't be that bad a thing...
- Drinks come in cans which is fine if you like English beers or cider. Beer or cider in cans in a very warm and sweaty environment is such an experience, but it does encourage the punters to drink more... Well those punters that can take their alcohol - and take English beer or cider.
- It was probably around the fourth or fifth can of cider that Guy-who-took-room-after-me found an Asian midget and started snogging the thing.
- I realised I was way too sober and after the earlier discussion about Catholicism really not ready for the wild crazy hedonism that seemed to be breaking out on the dance floor amongst the discarded cans, the warm air, the bright lights, and the Spice Girls Movie playing on a large screen and the endless stream of classic pop from the eighties. So I called it a night at the awfully sensible hour of 2am, wishing (on three separate occasions) someone a good night after they tried to distract me from leaving.
- Five minutes later I was home... Location location... I got a text today enquiring if I got home last night and some references to a few too many cans of cider but I figure since I make a lousy drinking buddy and I don't drink cider, I probably wouldn't skip gym again for that. Although I did download some Pointer Sisters tracks from iTunes for my collection... Baby, make your move, step across the line,
Touch me one more time, come on, dare me!
Amen to that...
Saturday, April 02, 2005
Friday, April 01, 2005
At the gym tonight I get a text message from guy-who-took-room-after-me who suggests we should catch up again for a drink. Naturally I text everyone who I had mentioned this unfolding little story, but neglect to text guy-who-took-room-after-me back. Seek to resolve this by phoning but get voicemail instead. Let the phone tag commence...
Overhead at gym tonight
Muscle Mary 1: I was married once. Two years. No kids thankfully.
Muscle Mary 2: I have always wondered what it would be like to do... You know... A woman...
- The heir to the throne was caught on microphone saying how awful the bloody (royal) press are... Well what do you expect from the journalists where a scoop constitutes who Prince William has been taking to the slopes??
- And over 9 million people tuned in to see it, but Christopher Eccleston won't return for a second series of Dr Who. After finally watching it the other night, it was actually pretty darn good. London looked great in the first episode of the new series where mannequins and wheelie bins wreck havoc over the city.
Thursday, March 31, 2005
- Hundreds stranded in Tube tunnel this evening... On the Jubilee line near Swiss Cottage... Well I don't live in NW3 anymore...
- Jamie Oliver manages to change government policy and get a huge government commitment to improve school dinners and tackle child obesity. It shows that in the run-up to the election (and after a very successful doco on C4) miracles can happen. Actually have managed to avoid covering politics for a while, but some smashing political stuff is covered at the Recess Monkey blog...
- And the 19th London Lesbian and Gay Film Fest opened this evening and dammit I haven't booked anything yet!
Wednesday, March 30, 2005
Still foggy and misty. However just after 8am I got a text from the former flatmate saying he was glad that we caught up and guy-who-took-room-after-me was after my number and would I mind sharing it.
At this point I realised it was the standard two days before somebody makes enquiries about getting numbers. Earlier than two days is not the done thing (you don't want to look desperate), but I was surprised getting it so early while I was in an 8am meeting...
When I finally got out of the meeting I spent about half an hour crafting a response, as I figured this was a message that was going to be read fairly widely. My former flatmates are such awful gossips. Bless their hearts.
Overheard in gym tonight
Muscle Mary #1: Now that he's gone I don't want to have anything to do with him anymore.
Muscle Mary #2: Yeah the break-up can be tough...
Muscle Mary #1: Of course, if he pays to fly me to New York, I'll be there!
After 9pm at the gym, everyone is single... but that's not the reason why I go there then!
Tuesday, March 29, 2005
Weather today was misty, wet and cold. What happened to Spring? Given the lousy weather I decided to skip gym and come home early.
It was not related to:
- Catching up with old flatmates from Haringey and having three or four (or possibly five) Becks over the course of the afternoon
- Flatmates wanted all the gory details of the breakup but I just said there weren't any. "When somebody just can't stand the sight of you anymore you know it isn't all about you... So just move on" I told them. Have made mental note to include that line in any future book on postmodern advice that I may write...
- Staying out extra longer with the guy who took the room after me. Wasn't quick enough to make silly jokes about "sharing the same bed"... This was probably not a bad thing
- Heading out again around 11pm to catch up with a nice Jewish boy from California in Central London. This time it was vodka.
It was all very responsible (and quite enjoyable at the time) but I figured an early night in would help.
I was relating all this to my colleague at work and she seemed a little surprised. She had been relating stories to me over the past week so I figured I would return the favour.
Although it was a lot tamer than her stories... Last week while she was out a man sent a picture message of his penis to her which she was shocked about. She was shocked that somebody would do that, but also because it looked so darn good. I reassured her that in these technologically sophisticated times these are the way it is. Whether it is Bluejacking, toothing or picture messaging, it is all making the dating process far more expedient. Besides, a dinner date was no longer necessary. The downside was that he never rang over the long weekend so on Easter Monday she sent the picture back to him with the words "you can have it back".
And so it goes... Easter weekends can be so cruel... Actually I have noted of late that the level of professionalism has declined amongst my colleagues, but what the hell...
Monday, March 28, 2005
Finally caught The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou tonight. Its a great film but it is nearing its main run in London cinemas so I saw it in the bowels of a cinema on Leicester Square. This was rather unfortunate as given its depth underground, the red lights that were throughout the cinema and the smell of bleach that permeated the air, you could have been forgiven for thinking that it was an "adult" cinema... But this was Leicester Square not Piccadilly Circus circa 1970 so it was very legitimate commercial fare, although the film itself was a relief to be a little different from your standard issue three-act movie comedy/drama...
Sunday, March 27, 2005
Today it occurred to me that between my flatmate and I we have
- 3 televisions
- 3 VCRS
- 3 dvd players / burners
- 2 computers
- 3 digital cameras
Its a lot of junk to have... Not to mention the PDA and the iPOD. All this technology reminded me of being in Fopp yesterday (which is a great music, dvd, books and record store) and heard a new track from Daft Punk's latest album - Human After All "technologic":
Buy it, use it, break it, fix it,
trash it, change it, melt - upgrade it,
charge it, pawn it, zoom it, press it,
snap it, work it, quick - erase it,
write it, get it, paste it, save it,
load it, check it, quick - rewrite it,
plug it, play it, burn it, rip it,
drag and drop it, zip - unzip it,
lock it, fill it, curl it, find it,
view it, curl it, jam - unlock it,
surf it, scroll it, pose it, click it,
cross it, crack it, twitch - update it,
name it, read it, tune it, print it,
scan it, send it, fax - rename it,
touch it, bring it, obey it, watch it,
turn it, leave it, stop - format it.
... But I'm not giving up my gadgets. Incidentally it has been pointed out to me that getting a laptop from ones ex (even if you are entitled to it), is still a good deal. One person informed me: "The only thing my ex ever gave me was a dose of the clap!".
Ok I'll take the big ugly Toshiba laptop and run...
Scenes from Tottenham Court Road Saturday 3pm. Scientologists and Protesters collide outside their main shop (for non celebrities) in London. And I have to walk past this every day... A few police were on hand to make sure it was all kept civil...
Snapped up a front row seat to see His Dark Materials Part II at the Olivier theatre. Based on the stories of Phillip Pullman, they have turned it into two three hour plays that cover epic journeys, religion, morality, good and evil and so on and so on...
I figured Part I may have covered a lot of exposition in its three hour length, and so the three hours of Part II may have been more about the action. It actually doesn't work out like that (given both parts have different stories to tell) but anyway.
Sitting in front row meant that as the stage rose and sunk and moved around you did tend to miss out on the action, but you also got the sense at times you were part of the action. It was quite a spectacle and something that really used all the tricks of the Olivier Theatre. Even more of a spectacle were some of the actors and puppeteers, (although that has less to do with the overall appeal of the show and more about my personal taste)...
It was an amazing production and deserves a TV series or movie like the Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings franchises, although religion gets a bit of a battering in these stories (depending on how you interpret it of course, but that didn't stop Jerry Springer The Opera having to cancel its National Tour) so that might not go down well with the usual suspects.
Saturday, March 26, 2005
Caught the (near) sell out concert of St Matthew Passion with the City of London Sinfonia and BBC Singers last night. Richard Hickox conducted, and the Evangelist was played by Tom Randle who was superb. The first time I had seen someone treat the role as though it was retelling a drama and not reciting an oracle (although the music at times does tend to lend itself to being the latter).
At three hours in length however it is a marathon effort - for the performers and the audience. It is one of those pieces that can work really well or fail spectacularly. I was in a performance of the latter once, so it was nice to see the former happen last night.
For those in the audience that didn't feel like DVT was setting in, they rewarded the performers with a raptuous applause. They had definitely earned it, and you could sense the relief in the faces of the orchestra members and chorus that it was over. They certainly earned their performance fees last night...
I found out when I got there that one could have stayed at home and listened to it on BBC Radio 3, but it is more fun being there live... Even with the possibility of DVT. Oh and last minute purchase of one of the few remaining seats meant I was surrounded by pensioners (and the curious smell of mothballs)... They never give you the demographics of who is sitting around you however when you book alas...
Friday, March 25, 2005
Thursday night caught a performance of this year's Musical Theatre Students at the Royal Academy of Music. It was ninety minutes of songs from musical theatre from this year's class that includes Ian H Watkins (or H as he is known). He wasn't a star for this performance however - it was the class and the ensemble on show.
I went with a group of musical aficionados which meant while they were appreciative of a good performance, they was also pretty ruthless when some individuals chose songs that just didn't work for them. Beware the group of musical aficionados if the costumes look too tight, there is a milky white stain on your trousers, or if the song isn't right for you...
On the other hand I was wondering whether they were getting marks for degree of difficulty, such as the man who couldn't pronounce "H" singing the Billy Joel song "Say Goodbye to (H)ollywood" or the woman who just didn't have the notes or the oomph to sing the song "If you hadn't but you did". Although for the odd voice crack or notes left out here or there, there were so many other amazing performances and the show was so well put together for the variety of different musical theatre styles covered.
Wednesday, March 23, 2005
Last night was a bit of an odd night really.
- First a man gets attacked by a large black furry thing while he is looking for his kitty, and it is assumed that another 'Big cat' is on the loose in London
- Then at Brixton Academy two shots were fired in the air during a rap concert causing a situation and stampede out the exits. Gun crime is a hot issue at the moment in Brixton so this sort of publicity was the last thing that was needed. Fortunately there were no injuries in all the kerfuffle, but the English language took a bit of a bruising with this music critic's account of the evening and the "spewing muzzle"... Bleah!
- Ran into the old Australian flatmate from Haringey last night. It was one of those chance meetings that in such a big city you would never believe would happen, but hey Charing Cross can be like that! He has been on a six month holiday around the world and back in London to live and work. Updated him on where I live and what I am doing. He didn't seem surprised. But then again, he was around when all that nasty business cropped up in the heady days of October 2003 so he had the inside information.
- My colleague kept humming the tune "Put your head on my shoulder" today. It wasn't hummed to me, but both of us seem to hum bright and beautiful music from time to time (although I seem to hum songs like "Too much too little too late"). Its the one set of music that we can agree on since she didn't seem too enthused about Elgar Symphonies. To stop the humming however I sent her the lyrics in an email titled "Don't hum them, sing them"
- I should be in bed now - well I am in bed but I am sitting up typing this - but Rear Window is on ITV and it is keeping me up. Where I live now reminds me a bit like rear window. You can see into all the other apartments. Mostly you see is badly looked after plants and clutter. No dead bodies thankfully.
Monday, March 21, 2005
The phony election campaign will last for at least a couple more weeks, but it is Howard that has been getting all the dream press. Today it was the plan to crackdown on gypsies and travelers on illegal campsites... There is a serious issue here but you can't get too bogged down on that during an election campaign.
The mastermind behind the Tory campaign is Australian Lynton Crosby and the Guardian has been asking can he win one for Michael Howard? You would have to say the smart money is no, but there is always the problem for Labour seeking a third term in office that nobody showed up to vote for them... Garden variety Labour voters might be bit prissy like that after the war and things like university fees and may just take their ballot and ball point pen and stay at home...
Scenes of Paul: Apart from retail therapy on Saturday also got standard issue gay mens short haircut. My hairdresser is straight, so does that make it a straight gay mens short haircut or a gay mens straight short haircut?? Whateveryoucallit, I look like everyone else at the gym (except for those one or two horrid people who have long hair, which on men should be banned unless your name is Meatloaf)...
Sunday, March 20, 2005
One of the nice things about London is that
- You can go online Sunday morning and see what's on, and book a ticket to see an evening of Elgar. It was the Elgar Violin Concerto and Symphony No 1 with the London Symphony Orchestra, Richard Hickox (conductor) and Tasmin Little (soloist for the violin concerto). It was a fabulous performance.
- You can get a cheap seat at the Barbican to see it. Mine was £5 because I couldn't see the full orchestra, but I could see the double basses very well (for what that was worth) and the sound was excellent.
- You can show up to the concert wearing any old thing including sandals with socks. I didn't, but the man next to me was in sandals. He was with his wife and they looked like they had been together for some time so that may explain why they let themselves go.
Incidentally I wore a smart new jacket that I picked up yesterday for a song while doing some retail therapy. Forgot to bring glasses however so I have no idea if I was being noticed...
One thing about London audiences, they can be a noisy lot. Tonight there was:
- General coughing and spluttering throughout the performance. I wondered given the average age of the attendees whether there was an ambulance on standby as some didn't sound like they were going to make it to 10pm.
- Someone's alarm going off for at least thirty seconds during the second movement of the Symphony that the acoustics of the Barbican Hall picked up perfectly for everyone to hear.
- Someone perfectly timing a loud AAAAH-CHOO! just as the music went quiet. If people are that comfortable to sneeze loudly they should be encouraged to burp and fart perhaps as well.
You also have to pity the performers. As the moment they finish many people in the audience leap to their feet. Not to give a standing ovation, but to get out. It has become a growing trend I have noticed at various venues here in London. No applause just a stampede out the building. Afterall, parking can be such a bitch...
Scenes from Old Compton Street, Sunday 5pm. The temperature dropped on this smoggy day so arms were covered.