Friday 27 April 2012

The big one

It's a big week next week.  Really big.

The Boy is 17.  That's the last one before he's officially grown up.  And only a year to go before he can take me down the pub and buy that pint I've been demanding for some years now.

It will also be the first birthday where I've not been there to celebrate with him.  Tuesday is my first Olympics rehearsal.  From 5.30 through to 9.30.  Not surprisingly I'm rather excited.  Not surprisingly I still haven't shaken off the cough and cold that laid me low last weekend, so I'll be wheezing around the studio trying not to look like I'm breathing my last.  To celebrate I bought a new pair of trackie bottoms...probably the first pair I've bought for 35 years.  And the last ones I ever will.

Before then I'm at a property tribunal fighting the cause against a greedy, avaricious, deceitful and dishonest freeholder.  To make sure I'm best placed to win my case, I asked a solicitor to prepare the paperwork whilst I was on holiday and submit according to the timetable we'd been given.  That was a couple of weeks ago....yesterday I received a call to say the paperwork was not correct.  I spent the morning getting it right and taking it to the Tribunal, but the reality is there's a reasonable chance my case will simply be thrown out. Depressing.  Expensive.  I may have to sue the solicitors.  That won't be good for my well being.  I'll know more on Monday.

And before then we have some friends down for the weekend.  It's a busy schedule starting tonight.  Tonight we're seeing the Damien Hirst exhibition, and then off for a meal.  Beyond that I don't know:  The Cat's Mother never tells me anything, and when she does I don't listen.  It's a dangerous combination.

The Cat's Mother says that I should check the You Tube video I put up.  Evidently, the Shirley and Shirley one yesterday is inappropriate.  As is Ginger Blush.  As is Richard Herring.  But you're safe watching the Frisky and Mannish one.  Anyway, I'm not listening.

Thursday 26 April 2012

Life is a Chabaret

The weather is not good for my health.  It's not that wet and damp is getting to my lungs, it's just that in this very wet weather ("More than two month's rain in 48 hours" screamed this morning's newspaper) it's not been possible, or sensible to cycle into the office.  So having started the year well, it' snow over three weeks since I put foot to pedal.  As it's the only exercise I do, I can feeling the muscles wasting away and the flab piling on.  So I'm hoping for a turnaround in the the grey skies for the sake of my health and well being.

Hope you've been following the Leveson's entertaining stuff even if you're not much interested in newspapers or politicians.  Essentially you seem to have one bunch of grubby little men (and women) having a pop at another bunch of grubby little men (and women).  And none of them come out of it with any credit.  Would you give any of them house room?  I know I wouldn't.  This week we have The Murdochs (junior and senior) realising that their goose is cooked so far as having any real influence any more...and therefore adopting a scorched earth policy...taking down everyone they can.  Nice.  It would be good to think that at some stage we will have reason to admire the political and economic elite rather than just gaze on at their unrelenting awfulness. Wouldn't it?

You may have noticed that we have quite busy lives.  This can be fun.  Indeed it is fun.  We like it that way.  But has its downsides.  Exhaustion being one of them.  Hence the need to be fit, to keep up the pace.  We're flagging a bit.

Last night The Cat's Mother and I took ourselves off to Pizza East...the cutting-edge pizza restaurant in uber trendy Shoreditch.  We were the oldest by about 50%.  Damn we must learn to act our age.  It was good that The Cat's Mother was there because the last time I was ate at Pizza East, it was a Saturday night and I was with friends without her.  Some of her friends spotted me, and it caused something of a scandal.  Even though everything was innocent and above board.  It was just that I'd abandoned her ill at home in bed whilst I went out gallivanting.  Totally innocent.

We then went downstairs to 'Concrete' to enjoy and intimate cabaret...Chabaret!...we estimate the audience was 100 - 150 folks.  The evening was in aid of Twelveathon - a mad bugger running twelve marathons in 2012 to raise £12,000 for UNICEF and a less well known but very worthwhile cause Scene and Heard.

As ever with cabaret there was a mixed bad.  Compared pretty spectacularly by Radio 6 DJ Shaun Keaveny we got to enjoy the delights of:

A unnamed juggler who's work was cut out by the low ceilings...ever tried juggling with the ceiling just a foot above your head?  He was excellent, so I wish I had his name.  He even managed to apparently cut his arm off by throwing a knife.  Of course we ALL KNEW it was a trick...but, but, but it provoked uncontrolled hysterical laughter.  I was weeping with mirth...

"The Blue Peril – Benjamin Louche from the Double R Club is the world’s newest superhero. You’ll believe a man can fly. Just not this man."

Shirley and Shirley - I can't tell you what they did with a slice of Brie, nor  a two foot long sausage, but they were very funny indeed.

Ginger Blush who did a slightly odd 'burlesque' version of Back to the Future, which nearly went hideously wrong when she couldn't clip her bra.  I couldn't find a video of that performance, but here's another for your delectation

Sarah Louise Young as Bernie St Clair - the bitterest mother you'll ever meet.  Funny if you're not a mother.  She's also one member of Fascinating Aida, so this gives me an excuse to post my favourite piece by them (although she's not actually in it)

The very hilarious Mandy Muden, magician

The very funny Richard Herring, who told us about his life philosophy - "The enemy of my enemy is my friend".  Which worked well until his enemy chose "Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer".  He then went on to talk about his wife of thirty nine day's list of 100 things to do before she dies which he first read when the met years ago.  Number three was build a Ferrero Rocher per the ambassador's ad.  Not difficult, but as he pointed out, she couldn't be bothered to do it.  So he decided to help her out by buying her a Ferrero Rocher on their anniversary.  Second year he realised this was going to take a long time so he bought two.  Year three he realised he'd got to buy four, then 8, 16, get the picture.  Evidently by 2020, he'll be having to build some two million full size pyramids.  But then he'd discovered she'd been eating the chocolates.  Well you probably had to be there.  Here's a clip

And finally,  Frisky and Mannish who do very clever, very funny mashed up versions of your favourite pop songs in the style of other pop stars.  It got quite confusing with Old MacDonald Has A Farm...but we laughed ourselves off our seats.

Tuesday 24 April 2012's not what it used to be

In amongst the post-holiday exhaustion, we managed to pack a few things in last week.  No doubt it was that which gave me a nasty bout of man flu from Friday through to today.

Friday we went to the opera to see a production written by Neil Hannon...better known the Divine Comedy.  As The Divine Comedy he is divine.  He may be a divine opera writer, but apart from the scene about Natasha, I suspect not. As The Guardian says

"Since 2010, the ROH2's OperaShots initiative has offered a range of composers working outside the operatic medium a chance to try their hand at the genre. It's a worthy idea, but it's fair to say that thus far the results have been disappointing; too many of those commissioned have turned out to lack a sufficiently strong set of technical skills to create something viable.
  1. OperaShots
  2. Linbury Studio, 
  3. London
  1. Until Until 28 April
  2. Box office: 
    020-7304 4000
  3. Details
This problem recurs in this year's double bill with Neil Hannon's Sevastopol, written to his own libretto and based on Tolstoy's experiences in the Crimean war, as recounted in his Sevastopol Sketches. Hannon tells his episodic tale with spoken introductions leading into individual sections that don't cohere. The word-setting is awkward, the harmony and instrumentation drab and the ideas frequently kitsch; one or two moments suggest an audition piece for a West End musical, but without the necessary theatrical vitality.
John Lloyd Davies's staging cannot disguise the piece's static nature, though the cast give it a good shot, with Richard Burkhard's Tolstoy holding the centre ground."

At the other end of the artistic scale we went to see the new exhibition of Roa's works.  I'm an absolute groupie when it comes to Roa, so had gone to some lengths to get to the preview.  Contrary to most people's expectations, these street artists are not daft...they're confidently commercial, so no wonder we walked away with a  limited edition book that cost several times the price of the next most expensive book I've ever bought.  The show was in two places...and it was just absolutely magical to see his talent.  One of the great things about street artists is that they don't mind you photographing their fact it's positively encouraged.

Monday 23 April 2012


Have you seen those occasional news stories when people claim to have found the face of Jesus in a piece of toast, in an old rag, the inside of a tomato and so on?  It was inevitable I guess that the moment the powers that be declared a drought, the heavens opened up and its not stopped since.  Noah would be a happy man.  Although it means I can't ride my motorbike, there are many upsides..including our lawn turning green for the first time in many months.  Walking through the local park in Bermondsey, I spotted this may not be the face of Jesus, but it certainly looks like a terrier to me...

Meanwhile we're getting ready for the Royal Jubilee by adding to our collection of limited edition Marmites...we love the stuff, so Ma'amite will go down well on the day.

In an example of ocer-reaction which is all too common these days, I see that a local fair in Northern Ireland was in all sorts of trouble for having an inflatable slide for the was in the shape of a sinking ship, and evidently a lot of people were upset.  So they probably wouldn't appreciate The Boy's antics.  He renamed his iPad The Titanic...just so that when he plugs it in it will sync...or not...