Showing posts from April, 2007

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Belters and bohemians: Opera Locos @Sadlers_wells

At the start of the Opera Locos performance, the announcement says that they really are singing. You could be forgiven for wondering that, given the amplification turns up the backing track and the voices so loud that you can't always tell what's real. But this is a mostly harmless and slightly eccentric blend of opera classics fused with the occasional pop classic. However, recognising the pop tunes would help if you were over a certain age. The most recent of them dates back twenty years. It's currently playing at the Peacock Theatre .  Five performers play out a variety of archetype opera characters. There's the worn-out tenor (Jesús Álvarez), the macho baritone (Enrique Sánchez-Ramos), the eccentric counter-tenor (Michaël Kone), the dreamy soprano (María Rey-Joly) and the wild mezzo-soprano (Mayca Teba). Since my singing days, I haven't recognised these types of performers. However, once, I recall a conductor saying he wanted no mezzo-sopranos singing with the s

Overheard on Borough High Street

Man 1: It is hard running with this thing in my front... Man 2: Yeah and I'm cold... Man 1: Lets run on the spot... Man 2: Good idea...

Scenes from a church steps in Borough Saturday 19.52

Scenes from a church steps in Borough Saturday 19.52 , originally uploaded by Paul-in-London . Cantaloupe

Scenes from Tate Saturday 15:40

Scenes from Tate Saturday 15:40 , originally uploaded by Paul-in-London . Despite the warm sunny weather, hundreds of people still flocked to the Tate for the last weekend of the Hogarth exhibition . Warm sweaty (and sometimes a little smelly) bodies huddled close to take in the fine drawings, bringing suffering for art to a whole new dimension... Faces visiting the exhibition looked like some of the post-coital faces painted by Hogarth but it was probably just the hot weather and not something sordid going on in the members' lounge...

Scenes from Waterloo Station Sunday 16:07

Scenes from Waterloo Station Sunday 16:07 , originally uploaded by Paul-in-London . I have no idea what they were doing here at Waterloo Station, but it did look rather impressive...

Partying and whinging

Create Your Own Photos from the West End Whingers After a long day rehearsing for upcoming concerts with the London Gay Men's Chorus in deepest darkest N15 (that's a long way from Clapham), I went back to civilisation and the West End to a party thrown by the West End Whingers . The Whingers first noticed my blog after my account of watching Cabaret last year. There was mutual agreement that the show was rubbish despite all the critics going ga-ga over it (and the fact that it is still playing). Well anyway their blog is definitely a must read before a night out at the theatre. The party brought bloggers, along with wannabe whingers, fans, friends, miscellaneous people from the theatre business, and a dame or two. In fact we all had name tags to describe who we were and what we were doing there. In writing out my tag and putting the word "blogger" I realised it was the first time I identified myself as one. I never identified with that group before. Nevertheless I h

Theatre: Dying For It

Liz White and Tom Brooke in Dying For It In a week of playing theatre catch-up, Friday night I managed to catch Dying For It which is based upon Nikolai Erdman’s once-banned satirical comedy The Suicide. It is a sort of silly story about a man who is propelled into celebrity for announcing he was going to kill himself and pokes fun of all sorts of people in society - particularly post-revolutionary Russian society but I was wondering whether there are any analogies for Islington society as well... I thought there were a number of similarities - artists, the intelligentsia, officials, ideologues, pragmatists, sex workers, unemployed - you get 'em all there... It is always fun to watch a silly play with a silly person. And that I did by seeing it with An. An loves farces and I think I have seen more farces with him than anybody else and so we were able to laugh out loud at double entendres about socialistic uprisings and sex and the like. Actually we do that anyway (the double enten

Scenes from the Victoria line Saturday 17.28

Scenes from the Victoria line Saturday 17.28 , originally uploaded by Paul-in-London . After a long day of rehearsals for the upcoming LGMC concert Bad Boys , one's feet were a tad exhausted... Oh and this marks the first photo posted using the Nokia N95 camera... Hmmm

Film: The Lives of Others

Ulrich Muhe in Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's "The Lives of Others." Photo by Hagen Keller (image from film) I caught The Lives of Others this week. Set in the early eighties, it is a creepy drama-meets-thriller about a Stasi operative who spies on a famous writer for reasons that are less to do with state security and more to do with a woman and a jealous rival. The movie beautifully recreates the banality and subtle horror of a totalitarian regime before its fall. You get a sense that Formica has never been photographed so lovely. The story unfolds like a thriller but it is a little more than that, and its interest in human frailty is really what makes it stand out. Seeing it with M, I had to explain the history of East Germany as much as possible without annoying the other cinema-goers so it does help to have some understanding about post-war Germany before seeing it... And there I was thinking that everyone had seen Gotcha! so that would explain enough... Anywa

Theatre: Porgy and Bess

I finally got to the theatre this month and saw Porgy and Bess - the musical... As somebody who had appeared in an all-white chorus of a concert production of Porgy and Bess back in Australia ten years back (don't ask) I was very familiar with the piece and curious to see how it was translated from opera to musical. The short answer is that it doesn't translate very well. Of course there were moments that worked well, particularly the numbers that are not operatic anyway. The plot was also a lot easier to follow without all those recitatives getting in the way too. But all told the production seemed to be missing a lot of drama and tension the opera has. Also while the soloists "jazzed it up" the chorus still sounded like an opera chorus, which gave it the feel of one of those period musicals rather than something new and different. In a way Porgy and Bess is already a musical (albeit a four hour sung-through one). Most productions in the past have made cuts to the o

Scenes from Jubilee Bridge Sunday 18:38

Scenes from Jubilee Bridge Sunday 18:38 , originally uploaded by Paul-in-London . Matching pastels and thongs on the bridge to the South Bank... Well, after an afternoon of people watching on Green Park (a popular thing to do when the weather is fabulous) it seemed silly to stop...

Bar bitches...

Saturday night we checked out the latest new bar in Soho - Profile - which is a real venue for the online Gaydar brand. The venue certainly has had a bit of money thrown in it and there is loads of orange decor and mirrors. Alas it was too popular on Saturday night and with the odd bar layouts it took forever to get a drink. Maybe it was all the minor celebrities there that caused all the fuss... I am not sure who they were but I was informed they were lurking about amongst the rest of the non-entities... Anyway a novel thing about the bar (apart from the free internet access) is a text messaging system where you can send text messages to a series of screens across the venue. Apparently irony is lacking with whoever approves these messages. My text "Ad is a cocksucker" was not posted on the grounds that it was rude and offensive. A couple celebrating their civil partnership engagement and looking for a spit roast in a local hotel did however make the grade. Well maybe they

Scenes from Gielgud Theatre stage door Saturday 22:19

Scenes from Gielgud Theatre stage door Saturday 22:19 , originally uploaded by Paul-in-London . Stage door Johnnies (and Jills) waiting for Harry Potter to appear from Equus ...

Overheard at the gym Friday

Dude 1: You know, she's pretty lucky having you... Living where she does in the middle of nowhere... Surrounded by sheep and cows... Dude 2: Yeaaaah.... Dude 1: Like, who else would go out with her?

Overheard on the Tube Monday night...

Guy: You fancied that guy didn't ya? Girl: Gehorf he was all o' twenty Guy: Didn't ya! didn't ya! Girl (looking in Paul's direction): Shh I think that guy over there can hear us...

Scenes from the Royal Academy Monday 15:20

Scenes from the Royal Academy Monday 15:20 , originally uploaded by Paul-in-London . Great views, great location... Probably a bit drafty... I wonder if the RA would consider renting out their Jericho installation...

Scenes from a deli in SW4 Sunday 14:56

DSC04795 , originally uploaded by Paul-in-London . We have big butter in Clapham...

Movies: Sunshine

Murphy looking all wistful... With all the flat hunting that has been taking up my time in the past few weeks I have not had the chance to see any theatre. Such a shame as everytime I write something about the theatre I get at least an extra person reading this site. And I have been informed that my site ranks up there on Google when you type in Elaine Paige's Tits so that gives me good theatre cred surely... Anyway, I did manage to catch the film Sunshine on Saturday. It is part 2001 A Space Odyssey, part Alien and part Stargate. But anyway, Cillian Murphy even looks a bit like Sigourney Weaver (and conjures up a little of Jaye Davidson as Ra in Stargate too). The plot involves a mission to restore the dying sun. It starts off slowly and maintains this pace throughout. Some people have told me they felt the film was boring, pretentious rubbish but anything that plays homage to 2001, while throwing in some strange weirdo alien being that has had a bit too much sun can't be

Scenes from The Green Clerkenwell Friday 15:07

DSC04765 , originally uploaded by Paul-in-London . Good Friday and good weather...

Scenes from a street in SW8 Tuesday 17:38

Scenes from an SW8 Street 17:38 , originally uploaded by Paul-in-London . One of the joys of checking out new properties (as I will be shortly moving) is finding strange and interesting new streets, full of rubbish and debris... I passed on the property in this street... The search continues...

Film: Wrestling with Angels

Tony Kushner and composer Jeanine Tesori Earlier this week I caught the documentary Wrestling With Angels which was a brilliant snapshot of the life of one of America's great living playwrights and liberal political activists. It captures the period of Kushner's life from September 11 2001 through to the presidential elections in 2004. During this period it traces the filming of his major work Angels in America (by HBO), a book with Maurice Sendak, an opera and the musical Caroline, Or Change. The film ends with Kushner's attempts on election day to ensure that people get to the polling both. You leave the movie with a sense of wanting to go out and do something to change the world. Although given the outcome of the 2004 election, you are inclined to wonder what is the point... Definitely the best movie I caught at the film festival . One to look out for on the film festival circuit...


Paul: Eww, that man with the beard who keeps smiling at you has missing teeth... Adam: That's okay, I quite like gummy bears ...

Scenes from an over-engineered office Thursday 16:23

Scenes from an over-engineered office Thursday 16:23 , originally uploaded by Paul-in-London . I was in a meeting room on Thursday and after going "What the f---" managed to take this little memento... I think they are sitting in water but it could be that stuff hairdressers sit their combs in...