Monday, September 29, 2008

Rehearsal: Week four

It helps to pull ones weight...



Sent from my iPhone

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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Music: Favelization



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 the music being a protest and a call for social change, there was also a message of hope and optimism about life.

The performances themselves were so full of life and engaging that it was easy to get into the groove of it all. The audience was soon on their feet dancing too, particularly when they did a set of classic soul and disco songs such as "Sexual Healing". Looking at those around us, Felicity made some comment about white men and their inability to dance (and she was right as some were absolute shockers) so I didn't dare get up. I just grooved with shoulders and hands and that seemed acceptable.

There is another element to the work of AfroReggae which is using their art for social change and to combat problems in deprived areas. The Barbican have been working with AfroReggae with schools in the East End and the concert culminated in a performance with young people from these schools. It was inspiring stuff... And definitely food for thought... An album of their music is available as well.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Hot news this week in London


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

Rehearsals for the Christmas concert were progressing as normal as could be expected and then Sasha whipped out his fish...

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Hot news this week in London...


Shockwaves Rock Shares, originally uploaded by LinkMachineGo.

Keep on rockin'...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Theatre: 365



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 nearly two hours it felt a little long, overall the play was curiously enjoyable if quirky at times. I wasn't always engaged by the large cast of characters and it wasn't just because of their accents, but perhaps a deliberate attempt at realism. I could live with this, but even in this fractured state I couldn't help but think some of the stories within the play felt like they could have taken more time to unfold, while others could have done with a trim. It runs until the end of next week at the Lyric Hammersmith, a cultural oasis in the motorway wasteland otherwise known as Hammersmith. Well at least the pizza at the theatre wasn't too bad, but after the show Stephen and I couldn't get out of there fast enough to get a drink in a decent part of town. Well after all this realism we needed a drink so we settled for Soho. After an evening's entertainment about children in care being offered stolen dildos, and charlie hardly seemed like a big deal...

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Idle Banter in Soho Saturday

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...

Monday, September 08, 2008

Rehearsals: The view from the back

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.

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Saturday, September 06, 2008

Hot news this week in London...

Holy W7 Batman...

Sights: On the underground

Down in the underground, you'll find someone true... Down underground...

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Front door conversation stoppers...

Pushy man from Npower: You know we are so much cheaper than British Gas
Paul: Yeah but what are your kilowatt hours like?
Pushy man from Npower: Uhhhhhhh....

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Theatre: Joan Rivers A Work In Progress by a Life in Progress



I asked my friend Adam if he wanted to see Joan Rivers in her show and his response (in his best Joan voice) was, "Doo eye??? Doo eye ever???" Such is the pull of Joan Rivers with gay men. They love her. Can't get enough of her. Well, it was a silly question for me to ask.

So there we were on Wednesday night in the Leicester Square Theatre watching her new show. The show is part drama, part autobiography, and part stand up routine and it is great from start to finish. Joan doesn't quite look like she does in the picture when she first walks on, but that is part of the story as well. Being Joan Rivers she doesn't hold back talking about ageing. And she goes into every detail about things that drop...

I always love a filthy mouth and as Joan herself says (to paraphrase of course as I was laughing too much to really note the line), "When you reach 75 why can't you say motherfucker if it gives you enjoyment?" Well she says a lot more than that during the course of the show... She also mixed things up a little during the course of the evening including berating the audience for being a bit retarded, getting a gay man in the front row to help her with her zip, took the piss out of her actors, and she even let two members of the audience ask her questions (I think they thought it was a masterclass)...

All told it was a hilarious evening with Joan and she made the show her own. I was not as familiar as Adam was with her routines or her life (I think he should consider doing her act as he even corrected her chronology of events - although I shudder to think how he would look in one of her wigs), so the show was an extra treat for me. It runs through September, and then there are repeat performances in December and January. Definitely one to catch.

Incidentally I was impressed by the newly refurbished Leicester Square Theatre. It is a different sort of space (which the West End needs) and has two bars in the main theatre as well. There are also some fantastic acts coming up over the next few months that will also be worth looking out for...

At the theatre: joan rivers

She was gorgeous, great and at 75 still getting a great reaction from the audience... And when she didn't she told us what a lousy audience we were... Memorable moments included pointing out what a dump the west end is... Well those paving bricks look like they have been there for a while... More later...

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Tuesday, September 02, 2008