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Showing posts from 2008

Scenes from shopping on Shaftsbury Avenue

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Dead bird on a wire...

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Scenes from Waterloo station

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Under the clock...

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Scenes from the Midnight Eucharist Christmas Eve

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At St Pauls Cathedral... Contrary to what the camera captures the view was not that bad...

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Scenes from the backstage...

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Waiting for the act two call...

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Hot News this week in London...

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Fears Grow For Doctor Who, originally uploaded by LinkMachineGo. Not only has David Tennant missed his star turn in Hamlet due to a back injury, he may not be able to finish that silly TV show... Oh the humanity...

Scenes from a final tech rehearsal...

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Life in London: Grandpa dies in Brisbane

In a week of final rehearsals for a sellout Christmas Concert, loads of Christmas parties and the odd bit of theatre, I received word from Australia that my grandfather (Pa) passed away. He was getting ready to go out on Saturday night when it happened. At 86 he was still was able to go out with my grandmother to a local football club, have a bottle of wine, a meal and a gamble and get home at a rather late hour... All of which sounded awfully sensible to me.

It is always an experience being 10,000 miles away from the rest of your family, but apart from the people around me (you know who you are), what keeps me upbeat is thinking of his sense of humour and his knack of winding people up. I would like to think that I carry on this tradition. When someone says they didn't sleep well last night, I reply, "Well I slept well. I had a clear conscience". Thanks for that one Pa. It gets a reaction every time...

scenes from a dress rehearsal

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It's like a washing powder commercial...

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Theatre: In A Dark Dark House

I had been warned that In A Dark Dark House, currently playing at the Almeida Theatre is a disturbing sort of show. So I figured it was only fitting to be the final show for Adrian to see before he left the UK. I had been in a rehearsal all day and was a little exhausted after that, and Adrian was returning from a few days in Manchester, so something interesting and a little controversial by Neil LaBute was bound to keep us interested.

While we waiting for the show to start we could at least take in the fantastic production design. The Almeida always seem to create the most fantastic realistic looking gardens and grasses and this was no exception.

After a slow start, the play really started to unfold, somewhat sneakily, into another realm... Which also included a mini-golf course. This is a play about sexual abuse and two brothers reliving their unhappy childhood. But it was told from an interesting perspective and there are such terrific performances it is worth catching. All told was …

Theatre: Wig Out

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When friends visit from Australia I find that I see a lot more musicals in the West End. Adrian was in town from Melbourne this week and as a fan of musical theatre I knew that at some stage this week it would end up like this. And it did. I ended up seeing Avenue Q (which in its third year is still fun, but a little lacklustre and the Tuesday evening performance this week had some pretty poor puppeteering), and Zorro (enjoyable sort of panto with the music of the Gypsy Kings and well-shaved gypsies). Bearing this in mind, I was determined to mix it up a little as well. So last weekend I took Adrian to the Royal Court's production of Wig Out by Tarell Alvin McCraney. This is an entertaining and slick production. While music features prominently in the story about competing drag houses in New York, it is no musical.

It seems that for the characters in this play, the motivation for doing drag was that their grandmother wore a wig. Who knew that grandmother's could cause such an …

on the underground Tuesday

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'tis the season for matching beanies...

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Food: the soft option

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Theatre: A Little Night Music

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I was a bit worried about seeing A Little Night Music on Sunday. Well, the last time I went to see a Trevor Nunn show it all ended in disaster (although I ended up with seats with lots of space around me). This time at least I was certain that the material he had to work with was much better. But still, I was a little bit worried. It was less to do with the show and more to do with the company I was with. After having lunch with the Whingers, John and a few others, our party of ten to see it was in a very silly mood.

The two bottles of non-cheap red wine consumed over lunch may have had something to do with it. There was so much banter that anything was a target and everything was hilarious. The production team sat in the row in front of us, taking notes using pens and little notepads looking like they were waiters. John suggested we ask Trevor to take our order for a couple of lattes for the interval. Yes, it was set to be a silly afternoon.

Fortunately all the banter stopped when the …

Overheard in Sainsburys

Woman on mobile: And yeah well then I says to him, I says to him... I think he was right outtaorda... I think he was right outtaorda... And then I says to him, I says to him... He's a bully...

Rehearsals: the view from the back

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Scenes from a new terror threat to London

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Picture 615, originally uploaded by Paul-in-London. Reports are surfacing that the retail downturn in London may be attributable to the threat of freaky giant snowmen attacking shoppers on Carnaby Street...

Theatre: The Walworth Farce

I wasn't that keen on The Walworth Farce after I saw it on Thursday evening. Maybe it was that after seeing Changeling at the cinemas already I had seen enough weird stuff for a week. But then after a few days it still lingers in the mind. And over the course of the weekend I saw enough weird stuff to make me wonder whether the characters in this show really were that bonkers.

The play begins with a father and his three grown up sons putting on a play for themselves in the living room of their run down council flat in Walworth. It is a little weird seeing the usual National Theatre audience types watching characters in a place set two stops on the tube away. It is two separate worlds. With my view over the stalls I could see that there were a few there to see the play who were on dates. As the play develops and a stranger interrupts their world, it becomes quite clear that it isn't a play you should take your date to.

The clever thing about the play is that the story unfolds wi…

Theatre scenes 2: Blowing Whistles

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What did they do to poor teddy? Note the large window too... It's very Clapham North...

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Theatre: Blowing Whistles

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source:www.blowingwhistles.co.uk

I had not planned to see Blowing Whistles which finished this week, but an acquaintance had his date bail on him and I was called in as backup... While waiting for a very long time in the cold while the Leicester Square theatre got the place ready (the previous show didn't finish until the scheduled starting time for Blowing Whistles - 9.15pm), all was revealed. After innocently asking, "So who stood you up tonight?" I heard a great story about a date ambivalent about gay plays and the scene. I wondered whether part of the problem was that they had both seen In a Dark Dark House the night before and date was now seeking therapy... Who knows with the gays these days? Maybe the guy was too assimilated to see a gay play. Anyway he bailed and everyone else my acquaintance asked was busy... Except for me...

While we were waiting in the cold it was an opportune time for taking photos of the long line of mostly gay men waiting for the theatre to o…

with pizza in SW2

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As if any excuse is needed to go to Franco Manca for lunch... Although Grant wanted to catch up before he headed back to oz (one of the pizzas was his)...
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Food: with a lemon...

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Cut lemons do the darnedest things...
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Rehearsals: again Monday

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Not so pretty in pink perhaps
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at Sunday rehearsal in Seven Sisters

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we are getting sleepy...
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Theatre: Imagine This

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Imagine This... A show with its own serviettes...

Tonight was the first night after press night for Imagine This at the New London Theatre and I decided that I would introduce my musical-loathing friend Lorna to it. Well, a musical about a theatre troupe in a Warsaw ghetto circa 1942 is different, so I was thinking she might be up for something a little gritty and a little less gooey gowns and showgirls. Or at least perhaps something akin to Life is Beautiful meets Fiddler on the Roof.

Press night Wednesday may have been buzzing but on Thursday there was a distinct sense that the audience was a bit thin on the ground. It's a pity as it is a great new show. The story is about a theatre troupe in the ghetto performing a musical based on the story of Masada. Things get interesting when a member of the resistance has to hide within the troupe and peform a lead role. And there begins the play within a play, with both commenting on the past and the present.

A lot of very predictable debate…

Scenes from Waterloo

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The Italian rugby team is here...

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The view from the back row ...

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Baritones rehearsing... Of sorts... Only one month to go...
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Movies: W

It was funny to see at the end of Oliver Stone's movie about the failure known as George W Bush's Presidency the words "the end". Bush is still in office, but the movie serves as a comforting reminder that not only is he a lame duck, but that the end of a weird eight years is nigh...

It also is a reminder about the collective administrative and leadership failure over eight years. Iraq is at the forefront here but any number of the administration's policies could have been used. The movie portrays Bush as a likeable guy in a struggle for approval from his father. Unlike previous Stone biographies, you don't really care whether this is accurate as there is too much pleasure to derive from the knowledge that this analysis is bound to piss off the Bush family...

Josh Brolin is great in the title role, but it is a pity that the other actors seem to be more playing dress up than developing characterisation. And what is going on with Jeffrey Wright's eyebrows? I …

Theatre: Blood Brothers

I mentioned earlier this year to Grant and a few others in the chorus, that I had not seen Willy Russell's musical, Blood Brothers. The reaction to this statement was like one of those scenes in a movie... You know like in a western, when a stranger walks into a bar and the music stops, people gasp, and everyone looks up and stares... I was committing musical heresy apparently, even if a show about two guys who turn out to be brothers and then die wasn't high on my list of things to see...

Well Grant was determined to rectify this oversight, so on Friday I found myself at the Phoenix Theatre where this show has been playing for a very long time... Blood Brothers tells the rather melodramatic story of two twins separated at birth. They grow up only knowing each other as friends and one goes to Oxbridge and becomes a Councillor, while the other goes mad (some may be confused about whether there is much of a contrast here). Eventually thanks to the love of a girl and shoes on a ta…

Hot news this week in London...

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parking row turns ugly, originally uploaded by Yersinia. Don't mess with Sevenoaks drivers...

Opera: Aida and For You

The weekend before last turned out to be a bit of an opera fest. I went with Patrick on Saturday night to see Aida at the ENO as he liked a bit of grand spectacle on a Saturday night. That Saturday was so cold and wet I had not dared venture out all day so going to see this rather brightly coloured production of the show certainly felt like a sensible antidote to such a grey day... This production was first staged last year and while the directorial choices are not to everyone's taste I thought it was interesting enough... It runs until later this month... I am trying to get Patrick to write an opera blog as he has far more witty lines about Opera productions than I do as I suspect he has seen every opera staged in London over the last twenty or so years... He has only just got an MP3 player though so the blogging concept might be a bit too new media for him right now but we can only hope as opera writing needs some laughs...

Anyway not content with just Aida on Saturday, on Sunday…

On Clapham Common

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A mass gathering to see the fireworks go off on Wednesday evening... Well... The free show always packs the punters in... Mad scenes of people on the surrounding streets ensued...

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Scenes from rehearsals Tuesday...

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Hot news this week in London...

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BBC In Sex Prank Apology, originally uploaded by LinkMachineGo. Everyone loves a beat up... Just the thing to take your mind off the economy tanking, poor leadership and the like...

Theatre: Piaf

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The dazzling and brilliantly acted Piaf is now playing at the Vaudeville Theatre after its sellout run at the Donmar Warehouse. It looks great, the songs are great and the performances by everyone including Elena Roger are sensational. Roger may not look like Piaf (hey, who would want to?) but she manages to channel Piaf when she sings that it is a thrill watch. The men in the cast are also quite (phwoaaar!) fit as well which was a little surprising. Many of them could easily play Clark Kent if they were ever going to revive that Superman musical. Obvious in Piaf's day it was important for her men to take their vitamins. Maybe that is why they were such bad drivers... That's all the good stuff about this production...

Now I was supposed to see Piaf back in July with the Whingers, however on that day I was hurling my guts up. After seeing this gritty production where people have sex on the cobblestones (owch) you just want to go into all these gory details. Pam Gems has reworked…

Movies: Burn After Reading

Sunday evening I caught the Coen Brother's latest film Burn After Reading. For me it was a great film where cock-ups and sex rather than conspiracy drives the world. Some people leaving the Barbican afterwards were commenting that "it was just farce"... As if that should be a problem with the film... Well I guess these are serious times we are living in but they are also f***ed up enough as well to appreciate a laugh... Particularly when there is a potty mouthed John Malkovich on screen...

Frances McDormand's attempts to get automated voice recognition service of her health insurer to understand her voice reminded me of my attempts to pay my EDF energy bill. In the end I gave up speaking the commands to it and made up my own less than complimentary ones. I always enjoy the parallels with real life. Of course the film wasn't all the real deal... She worked in a gym where all the instructors were over 40... What gym would ever do that???

Hot news this week in London

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Another inflated story, originally uploaded by tonypraxis. Well... Nobody is buying 'em... Nice fashion shoot in the background too...

Overheard at the gym Sunday

Man #1: But what about (whisper whisper)?
Man #2: No that's beef bourguignon...
Man #1: But then isn't that (whisper whisper)...
Man #2: No that's stew and it's much more watery...
Man #1: Oh I thought it was stringy...

Scenes from the British Museum Saturday

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Scenes from the British Museum Saturday, originally uploaded by Paul-in-London. Hmm... Nice golden ass...

Saturday at the British Museum

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A little bit autumn...

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Scenes from the back row rehearsal

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The last two weeks the LGMC has been rehearsing at a school at the Barbican which what it lacks for space to socialise it makes up for convenience of getting home afterwards... While we have been busy beavering away at rehearsals the shows have been selling well... So much so that there is now a Saturday matinee on sale now...
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Irony in London

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Fitness First, originally uploaded by Sim Dawdler.

Scenes at the Serpentine

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Taking in Frank Gehry's pavilion on a rather sunny day that felt like summer's last gasp... This pavilion is Gehry's first project in England and it will open to the public for another week...
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Theatre: Two Gentlemen of Verona

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source:http://www.newstatesman.com

It was a long and fascinating story as to why I found myself at the Barbican Friday evening to see Nos do Morro's production of Shakespeare's Two Gentlemen of Verona. For the purposes of the blog I can attribute it to Dame Fortune and the fact that when I saw AfroReggae with Felicity she had a go at all those white men in the audience trying to dance which turned out to be a source of cheap laughs. After reading my blog, Paul suggested I should go and see this production. I should point out that Paul is another Paul and I am not writing about myself in the third person. It's not that kind of blog...

Anyway, Nos do Morro's production of Two Gentlemen of Verona is a real treat and full of so much energy that you can't help but like it. It is in Portuguese as well which means that I had no idea what they were saying (and the surtitles weren't a direct translation but rather the original Shakespeare text). But I wasn't going to …

Scenes on Clapham High Street Saturday

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A sure sign the economy is tanking... You can get a table at lunchtime at Breads Etcetera... Without waiting 15 minutes... Now I have never seen that before... The coffee and food is great and so is the view usually (except when I was taking the pictures at this point, what was I thinking?)...

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Scenes from a Rehearsal

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The view from the back row... Again...

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Technology: iPhone

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I now have an iPhone which means that I can take more photos like this and in a very obvious way. No more sneaking a photo when people aren't looking. Taking a photo with the iPhone is a very obvious act... Still the best thing about it everyone is telling me is that they can see me at a party and then go home and see themselves on the internet... Well that's web 2.0 for you. One can take a photo and upload it via Posterous, Pixelpipe or Shozu so fast that you can totally disturb your friends and unnerve acquaintances...

Of course I will miss my Nokia n95. Sure it was even slower than the iPhone and had a rubbish web browser, awful mp3 player and did odd things with your contacts, calendar and task list, but over my last 18 month contract we learned to get along... After using it for a week I think the iPhone has an average phone, average camera, but an amazing browser and is afterall an iPod mp3 player... It could be the begining of a blurred but beautiful friendship...

Comedy: Tina C Tick My Box

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source: http://www.tinac.net/

Not content to see just one show this week at the Leicester Square Theatre, on Wednesday night I was back there with Richard to see Tina C's show Tick My Box. Having seen Dina Martina with Richard, I think he is becoming my drag act buddy. Well since neither of us are English we don't get so uptight about seeing men dressed up as women as much as some of the young gays on the scene seem to do... Anyway Richard is a bit of a Tina C fan and couldn't believe that as a gay man in London I had not seen her show before. Fortunately for me rather than suggest I should have my pink card revoked, he got me a ticket to her show.

The premise of this show is that Tina C - a self declared country music icon - is running for President of the United States of America and is after your vote. She isn't red (Republican) and she isn't blue (Democrat) but purple, and she want's everyone to vote purple. Hmmm... Sprinkled through the act are a smattering …

Hot news this week in London

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Global Warming meets Toxic Debt, originally uploaded by Andy Beez. This time Literally... Well at least the Circle Line will be chilled...

Comedy: The Kransky Sisters

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The Kransky Sisters tea towel, originally uploaded by Paul-in-London.

I went to see the Kransky Sisters Tuesday evening at the Leicester Square theatre and all I got was a lousy tea towel. Well actually... Being a boy from Brisbane I couldn't resist the cultural references. I'm sure growing up I saw that sign countless times on those long (and driving anywhere in Brisbane was long) family drives to dams. Of course you don't have to be from Brisbane to get their weird act, it only helps at the margins... Such as I saw the show with Stephen who is from Glasgow, and I had to explain that it was Wivenhoe Dam not Wife and Hoe Dam. He's going to Australia in a few weeks for a holiday so I figured the Kransky's were a good way to get him used to the place.

The Kransky's act starts with a montage of photos to take the audience on a journey to the place where they are from... Esk to be precisely (which is best described as a few hours west of Brisbane rather than a leisur…

Rehearsal: Week four

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It helps to pull ones weight...



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Music: Favelization

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It had been a while since I had been to the theatre, and so Felicity and I caught Afroreggae's Favelization concert at the Barbican on Thursday evening. Afroreggae have played at the Barbican a few times over the past few years, but this is the first time I caught them. Afroreggae began in Brazil in the shantytowns (favelas) and the music is a fusion of reggae, hip hop, soul, pop and latin rhythms. In addition to this the music also is a call to action about many of the injustices in the world, particularly among the world's poor and disenfranchised.

Of course being in Portugeuse this was lost on me. I checked with Felicity and she was a little rusty on it too. I guess most of the audience may have been in the same boat. While there were projections that accompanied the show the rapid fire words deserved to be comprehended. So after making a mental note to add language course to my new years resolutions, I could sit back and enjoy the concert. It was interesting that despite th…

Hot news this week in London

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doggers delight, originally uploaded by red5standingby. A local candidate is even promising to arrive on scene and disrupt the goings on... Ron Davies should have thought about that as an excuse rather than badgers...

Rehearsals: week three

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Rehearsals for the Christmas concert were progressing as normal as could be expected and then Sasha whipped out his fish...Posted by email from paulinlondon's posterous

Hot news this week in London...

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Shockwaves Rock Shares, originally uploaded by LinkMachineGo. Keep on rockin'...

Theatre: 365

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I wasn't quite sure what to expect from seeing 365. It played at the Edinburgh Festival to some very positive reviews, but a two hour play about children in care taking their first steps to independence seemed like an unusual way to spend a Saturday evening at the theatre. Since it was based in Scotland I dragged fellow chorister Stephen to see it since he was from Glasgow and I figured he could help with the translation (well of the accents anyway). I was hoping I would get away with nudging him and asking from time to time "Wha-did-he-say? Wha-did-he-say??" This sort of worked...

The play unfolds telling the stories of a group of children who pass through a "practice flat" as they gain their first steps to living independently and... adulthood. There is much scope for dream-like sequences, music and movement and these appear throughout and help make what could be a depressing subject a little more insightful and dare I say it... Even entertaining.

While at near…

Idle Banter in Soho Saturday

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Man #1: How much is he selling it for?
Paul: I think he said £20...
Man #2: Will he throw in lube for free?
Paul: Only if you want his spit...

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Rehearsals: The view from the back

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The first rehearsals for the London Gay Men's Chorus started Monday evening... And it was a packed house... The concerts are at Cadogan Hall on December 19 and 20.Posted by email from paulinlondon's posterous

Street Art: On leake street

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Amongst the debris, there is some interesting street art...Posted by email from paulinlondon's posterous

Hot news this week in London...

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Is this the end of the Caped Crusader?, originally uploaded by paulbrannan. Holy W7 Batman...