Friday, March 27, 2009

Hot news this week in London...


Best. Headline. Ever., originally uploaded by Ronald Hackston.

She was a big girl perhaps...

Overheard at the gay film fest last night...

Man #1: Andrew's really nice...
Man #2: Yeah?
Man #1: And hot... I bet he shags around a lot...
Man #2: He's got a boyfriend you know...
Man #1: Yeah so?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Arguments: Britain is Indifferent to Beauty

Destined to be great fodder for the Sunday papers (and it was in both The Times and The Guardian today), I found myself at a debate on Thursday evening on the topic that Britain has become indifferent to beauty. It was a lively and entertaining debate with TV Historian pop star David Starkey and Roger Scruton arguing for the case, and Germaine Greer and Stephen Bayley against.

Greer and Bayley won the debate, and not necessarily on the strengths of their arguments, but probably because Starkey and Scruton came across as fussy old men. A pity really as not only did Greer and Bayley contradict themselves, there was an emerging argument that our busy hectic lives has bumped the pursuit of beauty (in terms of the environment in which we live), down the order of priorities. Starkey and Scruton started to touch upon this, but they lost it amongst their stuffiness. Still it is delightful to hear them all speak, especially Greer. She takes a contrary view so easily that you wouldn't want to engage her in anything other than a formal debate...

It was also an audience of mostly members of the National Trust so I suspect that for Starkey and Scruton, they were always going to have a harder time trying to win the debate. Those National Trust peeps sure love their environment, even if they are a bit detached from the real world. One of the comments from the floor went something like: "Oh yoo ohnly halve to look at what the young people are wearing on Kings Road to know that beauty is long gone in this country". What rubbish. Some people need to get out more. And thanks to Google's Street View launched this week, you can see for yourself. In terms of a street scene, it could be a lot worse. I should know. I was rehearsing in Haringey today. Now there's a part of London that is not only proof of indifference to Beauty, but proof there are some places that just make you want to slash up...

Friday, March 20, 2009

Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world... So they say...

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Theatre: Priscilla Queen of the Desert



Tuesday evening I was at the Whinger's organised evening to see a preview of Priscilla Queen of the Desert. I had been avoiding this musical when it was playing in Australia as the only thing I had heard about it was how the costumes were amazing. When I asked about the book, the music and the acting I just got blank stares. The movie has become a modern (albeit camp) classic and so has the soundtrack. So I guess on one level it seemed somewhat logical to make a jukebox musical out of it... Still it seemed like such a missed opportunity. The casting announcement of Jason Donovan and early bird ludicrous offers of inflated prices for a free programme and cheap champagne didn't make it sound any more appealing, however the Whinger's do book early and so I was locked in...

It was never going to be a night of high art, and with a rather frisky and silly audience there was such a buzz from the crowd that once the music started it was hard not to resist this show. Sure the show makes the movie seem like high art, particularly once the characters are stripped of any realism and there is a song every five minutes (whether needed or not). But when they weren't trying to chew through the plot, every number was such a spectacle of dance and costume and so entertaining that you could just let it sweep you away.

Despite playing caricatures, the cast were great. This included Jason Donovan, who managed even to put in the occasional tender moment in the show. Although having been to a taping of the Graham Norton show last week, I couldn't help but think how similar the two look nowadays... Tony Sheldon reprising his performance of Bernadette from the Australian production was a nice touch. Particularly as Bernadette was dressed in clothes that could have come from the wardrobe of Ita Buttrose... Or Hazel Hawke. The YouTube clip above is from the Australian Production. Unsurprisingly there seems to have been higher production values for the London production...

Seeing the show made me a bit homesick. Not for good old fashioned Australian drag shows however (my experience with Sydney drag queens was seeing a couple of shows at the Albury where they made racist jokes about the Redfern aborigines), but for the yumour. Dead kangaroos, sheilas with big tits and ping pong balls. It was still all there. I guess ultimately you can't forget (or should that be escape) your roots.

The show has started previews and looks set to be a perfect antidote for the recession. With such big frocks and over the top production values you could easily forget about the rising unemployment. Well, at least while this show is in town there will be plenty of work for those in wardrobe. Not to be missed, but best to sit in the circle so you can take it all in...

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Scenes from Hyde Park Sunday


Picture 101, originally uploaded by Paul-in-London.

Spring arrived today with sunny warm weather. It was enough to make you want to get out your velour track suit and go roller-blading...

Theatre: La Clique



Saturday night I found myself at La Clique at the Hippodrome. It is a bit burlesque, a bit of acrobatics and a bit of theatre. While there is no thematic link and it isn't some creepy French-Canadian famtainment, this dirty and rough show is intriguing enough to not want to miss.

Alas the German acrobat in the bathtub is not with the show at present, but the other acts had equal novelty value. Although there was a bit of an edge to Saturday night's performance after the hula hoops woman managed to hit some girl in the front row in the mouth with a stray hoop. Tissues were passed along the row and it was obvious she had a cut lip. For the rest of the act everyone in the front row sat slightly terrified (and covering parts of their face). Hoops split and other hoops went flying so the fear was real... In the second half the front row were warned not to lean forward with the skating act... And they took note. They were very, very obedient. And again very terrified.

The second act also had a woman who managed to play a kazoo in a very unusual way as well. It was a marvellous exercise in breath control, albeit not exactly the most sophisticated act to have graced the West End. Still the audience enjoyed all this filth...

The show has had its run extended to June. There are various discounts to have and I would suggest standing (or at least avoiding the front row) would be most advisable...

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Food: Scenes from lunch in soho Saturday

The cannoli in Princi is great (albeit sometimes an odd shape). Great place to eat on Wardour Street in Soho. And good value too. The only thing to watch out is for the those who linger longer after eating their lunch and those who want to sit down and eat. Like right now... And ask you if you have finished as they would like your seat...

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Monday, March 09, 2009

Hot news this week in London


img_0802, originally uploaded by Paul-in-London.

Well it wasn't hot custard, it was green... And it dominated breakfast television coverage on an obviously slow news day... By the weekend the well-spoken campaigner against Heathrow's third runway was arrested...

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Theatre: Over There



Saturday evening I caught Over There, which is a short play having a short run at the Royal Court. The play by Mark Ravenhill, is an interesting enough premise. It is about identical twins separated when their mother flees with one of them to the west. Following the fall of East Germany they meet again. What then takes place is exploring the differences between two ways of life with a smattering of food play and matching underwear thrown in for good measure.

The battle of ideas, socialism versus capitalism and consumerism are brought to the fore and the acting by Harry Treadaway and Luke Treadaway was excellent. Actually at times you did feel for them as the play became more and more harrowing and they had to do weirder and weirder stuff in their matching underwear. I also wondered whether the play could have benefited from more creative direction and imaginative lighting. At times it also felt like it was revisiting the "shock and awe" of Shopping and Fucking. But I guess that at a running length of 65 minutes we can't have everything.

This is part of a series of plays to commemorate 20 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall and runs until later this month. Here's hoping that there are more of these short plays in future. It is great stuff and even if you don't entirely get the matching underwear and food smears, it can be over before you have to think too much about it...

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Hot News This Week in London...


London Redraws Tube Map, originally uploaded by Annie Mole.

Moving from the Circle line to the lasso line...

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Scenes from SW9 Tuesday

The latest in pointing out the obvious signs read "pickpockets operate in this area". So to test that assertion I took a photo with my iPhone. Darn those pickpockets, they must have been on their lunch break

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Monday, March 02, 2009

Sunday, March 01, 2009