Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Crash Bang Wallop!

Sunday afternoon found me in the local theatre again - I’m offered discounts now, as a loyal supporter - this time to hear the City of London Sinfonia introduced by Brian Blessed and Presenter/Composer James Redwood. Conducted by Stuart Stratford, they formed an engaging threesome. I might want to re-phrase. They and the orchestra sparked off each other and the audience for a hugely enjoyable hour.

It’s the first time I’ve attended a live concert like this - watching the YMOTY and The Proms in the Park doesn’t do the scale of an orchestra justice; you really do have to be there. Sumptuous was the word that came to mind. Rich and deep - it washed over you and saturated every pore, seeping into your soul. I think I’m hooked on classics (just a little nod back to the eighties again there, for all you oldies!). There’s a fine line I think, between classical and jazz - watching YMOTY last year showed me that.

Brian narrated the whys and hows of each group in the orchestra - strings, wind, brass and percussion with all of them playing their own variation of Benjamin Britten’s The Young Persons Guide to the Orchestra followed by Three Places In New England (2nd Movement - Putnam’s Camp) and Appalachian Spring by Aaron Copeland (wasn’t he in The Police?) In between, we were invited to join in From Darkest Night, James’ own composition and yippee, we were in Brian’s team! Oh, come on - who’s going to be loudest? So there I am, tone deaf, singing along, backed by a full orchestra - how many of you can say that, eh? Just pity the people sat next to me, because James insisted that it didn’t matter how or what we sang just as long as we were loud: Blame him.

Brian very kindly signed a few autographs outside afterwards - just for one man! Myself and another mum shared knowing smiles and raised eyebrows behind our sunglasses - we must have been waiting ten minutes for this bloke, who kept retrieving more paper from somewhere for Brian to sign! And then, just as he finished, some other bloke tried to push in! Now you know what happens when people try to push in on me! I think I was a bit deaf at that point and my laughing “Bloody cheek!” exclamation, mouthed to Brian’s driver, may have been louder than I thought. He backed off anyway - the pushing in man, not Brian's driver.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Britain’s got a nerve

I’m pretty sure that two of the acts we saw last night were put up jobs - I just had an overwhelming sense of something contrived - they were far too good at being so terribly bad. And why give them all that air time, when there were seemingly so many good acts going through - because they’re actors who were being paid? The woman at the beginning - so much apparently in common with Susan Boyle but oh - listen - shocking contrast, let’s laugh her off. And the drag act at the end, please - no-one who can’t sing would vary their tone in equal measures at equal distances, surely - from high, to low and in between - it’s how we all sound when we’re doing it deliberately. IMHO, obviously - I’m no singer - that’s just how it seemed to me. For one horrible moment I thought Amanda was going to put him through, but no. *Phew* And DJ, Get a Talent! Amanda’s right there - someone will put that out as a single. Where’s me earplugs?

So hands up all those who watched purely to see the knife man impale himself? Ha ha - you bloodthirsty lot!

So why am I still watching, I hear you ask. Don’t I? No? Ok, well anyway, I’m still watching for just those odd moments where we see someone actually, you know - talented. The little ballerina, who, to be fair to Simon, should drop the ballerina bit and concentrate on singing, preferably in just one accent. And the dance acts, for whom it’s a way of life, not just something they’ve shoved together for the show. Diversity were this week’s stars - a cool, creative, funny, focused, terrific act and a credit to their ill-perceived age groups.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

3BT: Music Choices

The Lady T - Teena Marie - you see, you grow up, get married and forget - I wasn‘t so keen when the Lady moved into her rocky era - but she’s been back awhile and Congo Square, the new album promises to be her most jazzy yet. Birthday soon; where’d I put that list *crosses out some (not all) of the chocolate*

Fatback - disco? Please, pure funked up groove!

George Duke - Brazilian Love Affair - am now away, on a beach, sun beating down (I'm under a parasol cos I burn very easily) with a dogged eared photo of Ayrton Senna. Send out the search party if I'm not back in ...on seconds thoughts, don't.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Happy St.George's Day!

Is it really Thursday already? Lovin' Google's cartoon take on St. George!

I've realised I've been seriously neglecting my jottings - too many tweets! Which makes a change from too many sweets I s'pose. There's still quite a selection left over - they're in the beer fridge outside in the garage and I'm too lazy to go out there, which is a good thing!

The reason for the major upsurge of tweeting though, is a radio play I'm kind of auditioning 'live' for - me and approx. 180 others, for five spots *eek* - for Resonance FM. The brief at the moment though is to just post as normal; clearly, writers are a chatty lot! Which is great, I'm talking to some lovely people and even if unsuccessful, I figure I'll learn a lot from them.

It's been hectic this week - after work on Saturday, I finally got together with my best friend I've known all my life. You know how it is - work, family, distance - still only a few hours but we know it'll likely be the Summer holidays before we have another chance. Then on Sunday The Hobbit's team played in a cup final, Hubby is coach and they've been really successful - up till now, when this was one match too far, sadly. Still, there's another semi-final this weekend, but I'm taking Matt to see the Crash, Bang, Wallop show instead. It features Brian Blessed, who I totally, totally adore! Fingers crossed The Hobbit and team make it through - their opponents apparently got sent off last week - manager, coach, keeper - so we're hoping they've been banned. Is that wrong of me? No? Good-o!

And, of, course - we're decorating - which is putting the kybosh on all my usual activities (coffee morning etc!) because the decorators (hubby, brother-in-law) want feeding and watering continually. Worth it though!

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Britain really has got talent

I’m not even going to mention the rest of the garbage they showed on this show Saturday night - frankly, the stroppy bleeder of a girl at the beginning, the atrociously bad dancing Darth Jackson and the god-awful drag queen belly dancer just didn’t deserve to grace the same stage as these two.

Music teacher Julian Smith played West Side Story’s ‘Somewhere’ on his soprano saxophone; beautiful is an understatement, it was goosebump central. (And if you’ve been reading my blog a while you’ll know I’m quite partial to the saxophone!) And then we witnessed Shaheen Jafargholi stun the audience, but not with ‘Valerie’, which was sounding pretty ordinary - Simon, to his credit, stopped him and asked what else he could sing. The answer was Michael Jackson’s Who’s Loving You - Shaheen just launched into it, seemingly unfazed. Two fantastic, soulful, powerful performances to rival Susan Boyle.

It’s fun to laugh at the arrogant, awful acts, but give me a show full of Julians and Shaheens any day.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

3BT: Scenes we'd like to see ...

Major brands selling condoms - but retaining the same tagline:

Wot sits on ya wotsits? (Wotsits)

Give your rooster a bit of a booster (Paxo)

Once you pop you can’t stop (Pringles)

There’s also ‘If you like cheese, you’ll love these’ - but for the life of me I can’t recall what the product is! Someone put me out of my misery, please - it'll bug me forever.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

The things they say …

DJ’s, that is. Tony Hall to be exact, a talking head on the Motown Revue documentary last night. Quite apart from the Revue Tour of 1965 being played out to half empty theatres, Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames holding up the Tour bus and the narrator calling Mr. Berry Gordy - Mr. Motown himself - Barry (I swear he did) Tony said the best thing about the Revue show was Stevie Wonder - who was blindingly brilliant …

Monday, 13 April 2009

Coming to a theatre near you, next year!

Terry Pratchett fans, be aware: Only You Can Save Mankind - The Musical! Although an avid reader of Discworld, I haven’t read Only You yet - so I will now wait and see the musical first. I’m following the composer, Leighton J House on Twitter, so hopefully will get a heads up as to when the dates are released for the countrywide tour, before they decamp to the West End. At the moment, they’ve just laid down the strings and brass - you can keep an eye on developments here.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Domestic Bliss?

I come home and hubby says the hoover’s broken: “I turned it on and, once the screaming subsided, I noticed it wasn’t working properly, so you’d better ring the insurance - it’s still under warranty isn’t it?”

Yes, but it’s not broken, I said, it was fine when I used it. “Well, it’s broken now, it’s not picking anything up; the bit at the bottom’s not turning.” This from the man who broke the last hoover, by sellotaping, yes, you heard right, sellotaping the tiny, slight tear in the plastic tubing (so that when it pinged back up into the handle, it got stuck and had to be wrenched out, truly breaking it.)

I’m telling you it’s fine, I said and sure enough I press the button and turn the brush back on - I bet he thought that was the button to wind the plug back in. So I tell him to just leave the hoovering (instead of doing it and a) moaning and b) breaking the hoover) and he says: “I would but it feels neglected.”

Dunno what he means by that. Anyone for fudge?

Britain’s Got (some) Talent. And some real crud.

Ones to watch: Demetri and Logi, father and son Greek dancers brought the house down with the Stavros Flatley routine - completely different to what we were expecting and hysterically funny. Susan stole that ‘shock’ factor though, you could feel the mix of animosity and pity until she began to sing and completely mesmerised everyone. A real presence - let’s see what hair, make up and wardrobe can do with her. Flawless dance troupe look and talk the bizniz “Chase the dream, not the competition.” Fantastic, my only complaint was the camera man, who kept cutting to the audience/judges/Ant and Dec instead of staying on the dancers. Grrrrr - why?

Honourable mentions: Manjit the strongman - he won’t make it to the final but oh! the suspense in watching him blow up a hot water bottle till it burst! Then he pulled a van by his ear - hope they had the handbrake off - and he’s promising a 747 next time. Surprisingly gripping. Antoinette - Andrew - Allstarz - Good Evans, the Brummie Von Trapps - son Elliott the star. The Dynamite display team

Ones you hope never darken your telly’s doorstep ever again: Drums and Roses, what a racket that was. James and the world record attempt on eating Ferrero Rocher!? The record was seven, he only managed four - Ant did five. I’d have been more impressed had it been crème eggs. Gwyneth the witch, who took us back 35 years to Summertime Special and then cursed us. Only not as much as we were cursing her. Bradley and Jennie, whose sadistic Community Worker needs sacking. Andy, the Gene Kelly fan and “dancer”. Since when was Gene Kelly ever a windmill? And worst of all of them - Fabia the strip teasing ex-disco dancer who they went and said yes to. OMG! There were kids there, for goodness sake! Scarred for life now, I should think. And who would have thought those Union Jacks would have stayed put. The wonders of physics, eh!

Friday, 10 April 2009

The things they say

Matt’s lost track of the days and asked when Easter was.

“It’s now,” we tell him “today.”

“No,” he says, “it’s on Friday.”

“Yes - today. Today is Good Friday. When Jesus was crucified.”

“Wasn’t much of a Good Friday for him, was it.”

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Desperately Seeking Colin

I shopped at Sainsbury’s specifically today to buy some repackaged Pollack (cheaper than cod, plenty of it etc - see The Daily Scatter for the full story!) but upon asking a member of staff I got the “Never heard of it, I’ll just find the person who’s on fish.” Who’d never heard of it. I convinced myself it was an April Fool’s joke but researching it online again I find it is true, but they’re only stocking it in ten stores. That’ll teach me to skim read.

Still, it wasn't a wasted trip, I'd left a bag (non food stuffs) hanging on the shopping trolley and had to go back to the centre - and that's when I found the fudge stall. With the chocolate and orange, chocolate and mint and chocolate and vanilla fudge! Some things are just meant to be ...


Swimming: Hannah Miley set a new European record, the fourth fastest of all time.

Diving: Brooke Graddon wins bronze in European Championships, Ben Swain and Nick Robinson-Baker take bronze in the Diving World Series, as does Tom Daley.

Snowboarding: Zoe Gillings finished the season in 3rd place overall in the World Cup.

Monday, 6 April 2009

The things they say ...

The Hobbit's 6th form school report has been received - he's currently on for a mark of 'MM' in PE. He only has that one subject now, having passed the one he was actually bothered about last year and dropped the one he was hating - not the most prodigious of students, our hobbit - so I say to him: "What does the MM stand for?"

"No idea," he says, completely not bothered.

Matt jumps up and down excitedly: "I know, I know ... it's Muppet Moron!" And then, quite understandably, he legs it.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

3BT: Music, Sport, Writing

Sad news this week, with the death Andy Hallet, who played Lorne in Angel. In a show full of characters, he stood out. In a part specially written for him by Joss Whedon, we had many an opportunity to listen to Andy’s wonderful voice.

And talking of music, it seems the Playlist provider fell foul of the licensing issue that hit Youtube, so my play list had been decimated. It seems to be ok now; apologies if you got fed up hearing the same few over and over!

Mixed fortunes for the Brit boys this week in F1 - Jensen earned another classy win but only takes home 5 points due to the abandonment of the race at 31 laps, whereas Lewis ended up with 1 point but had of course lost all the ones he earned last week. Call it a mistake, a misunderstanding or whatever - it appears to show McLaren have little faith in the race stewards after last years stitch ups.

My course is now safely sealed in a envelope and being sent off - no more editing, it’s all done - the assessment pieces, title pages, bibliography, essay - the lot. So I’ve been vegging out in front of the telly and blogging about that - see the unrealitytv link.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

3BT: Scenes we’d like to see ...

... unsuccessful Personal Ads

1. Ex-bank clerk seeks wealthy ex-bank boss with excellent long term money but short term life prospects.

2. Army Staff Sergeant seeks companion for mellow yomps in the countryside. Camouflage gear provided.

3. 22 year old woman seeks man for long and happy relationship. Fifteenth time lucky, eh?