Tuesday 26 August 2008

Last Friday

I’d never travelled first class by train until last Friday. I liked the experience. Mustard City is at the end of the line. So a visit to London is great you get on at the start and get off at the end. Fantastic!

We were heading down to London to experience a Christmas present. It was a Thames lunch cruise. When we arrived at the pier where the boat was moored it seems that our worst fears were recognised a conservatory on top of a barge containing regimented tables. As it turned out it wasn’t too bad. We chugged down and then back up the Thames, eat a passable meal considering that it was mass catering and saw some interesting sites on the way. The only real naff thing was the classical music with a disco backbeat background music which was a bit too loud and rather nauseating.

After our lunchtime excursion we made our way to Borough, and the market there in particular. What an interesting and exciting place. A mass of wonderful food stalls all vying for you custom. It’s a shame that it was a hot day and we still had lots more to do as this prevented us making any purchases, but it was good to wander around drooling over the wonderful food. Edible erotica, you can’t beat it! As I’m no longer a vegetarian my world has been reopened to the delights of meat in all its forms. For me pork products, sausages hams etc are a joy to behold. That coupled with cheese and I’m in heaven. We plan to return to Borough market at a later date. If you’ve not been it is most definitely worth a visit. Being in Borough was a good excuse to visit a pub that I’d wanted to go to for a while. So we made for Tabard Street, home of a Harvey’s pub, the Royal Oak. I’ve blogged about it here.

Refreshed by ale we then headed to Tate Modern. I was keen to see the ‘Street Art’ adorning its walls before it is removed at the end of August. Great pictures, all quite different styles. My favourite, as I suspected it would be is this black and white one.

Even though it’s starting to peel it still looks good. At first you think that it is a man looking down the barrel of a gun until you see that it is really a video camera.

Here are some more pictures of the ‘graffiti’:


Unfortunate gonads!

Inside we went to one of the exhibitions. ‘Cy Twombly is regarded as one of the foremost painters in the world today,’ the introduction in the exhibition booklet tells us. Bollocks! I felt like the little boy in the Emperor’s New Clothes. The pictures are awful. Apart from some vaguely pleasing green efforts in Room 10 the rest is self-obsessed nonsense. Cy Twombly could well become a synonym for a mess. ‘It’s all gone Cy Twombly’, I can hear people crying in frustration as a culinary or diy creation goes tits up. My suggestion to you dear readers is avoid Cy Twombly like the plague!

We left the Tate feeling glad that we didn’t have to pay to enter the exhibition. As members we get in for ‘free’.

We had just enough time to pop into a Tiffinbites for a quick and jolly tasty bite to eat before catching the train home.

An exhausting but interesting day.

Thursday 14 August 2008

Chariots of smoke

Today at work the blokes in the factory organised their own alternative Olympics. See Great Britain keeping it's end up on YouTube by clicking below:

Saturday 9 August 2008

Lost control

Mean moody melancholic Mancunian music. Perversely there is no better way to lift the spirits. A quick blast from Joy Division this morning got me singing at the top of my voice and cheered me up no end. My singing, like masturbation, is not for public consumption, but it amuses me.

Feeling quite happy I then went on to play something by The Smiths who are always guaranteed to send me to ecstatic levels of happiness. Vicar in a tutu anyone?

Music - the elixir of life!

Thursday 7 August 2008

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Sunday 3 August 2008

Goodtime Paul

Friday night saw me attending a concert at the Playhouse Theatre in Norwich with a friend. Rockin’ in Rhythm - Paul Jones and Digby Fairweather’s Half Dozen. And bloody good it was too!

I’ve been a fan of Paul Jones ever since 5-4-3-2-1. Yes I’m that old. I have seen him on a couple occasions before, with the Blues Band, he’s obviously known for his R& B background, but I’d never experienced him under the influence of Jazz.

Both halves of the show started off with Digby Fairweather and his Half Dozen playing a few tunes. I don’t mind a bit of Dixieland, with its foot-stomping rhythms. The only thing I object to with Trad is the persistent clapping that the audience expects and is expected to deliver at the end of each solo. I’m more than happy to clap enthusiastically at the end of a ditty, but not part way through. That said, I still enjoy Trad Jazz. This is more than I can say for its turgid Modern counterpart. Those nauseating noodlings by the likes of Theydon Bois and Brent Cross are not for me, even though Louis Balfour might think that they are great.

As soon as Paul Jones takes the stage the dynamic changes completely. Having seen him before, I knew he was shit-hot when it came to the gob-iron, but I really had forgotten how shit-hot he actually was. He didn’t need to sing. I could have listened to his harmonica playing all night long. But sing he did. Some obscure songs from some equally obscure Blues and Jazz artists, some of his own compositions the man’s a bloody good songwriter, and a few of his hits including Pretty Flamingo and Bad Bad Boy. Whilst Paul Jones had been the heart-throb of my companion in the sixties, Pretty Flamingo took me back to when, at the age of ten, I was desperately in love with Diane Evans. She was a pretty little nine year old who lived in the next close and would often wear a pink gingham dress. I would blush and go all silly whenever she came near. I never got to tell her how I felt about her, but that’s the story of my life. I wonder what ever happened to Diane Evans?

By the end of the first half I was beginning to think that the concert was somewhat Melly-esque. During the second half Paul Jones explained why. Now I’d seen George Melly on countless occasions, always backed by the John Chiltern Feet Warmers, but what I didn’t know was that Digby and gang had backed George for about the last five years of his life. Apparently Paul Jones had compèred a concert in honour of George Melly, which took place just before the great man’s death. Paul had sung a couple of songs at the concert along with Digby Fairweather. When George died, the band were still contracted to perform some concerts, so they asked Paul Jones to take over the vocal reigns. Hence this tour.

It was a first class evening with the finale being an elongated but fantastic version of one of Manfred Mann’s 1964 hits, with audience participation. A few hundred middle-aged gits, including me, singing Do Wah Diddy Diddy was a bit surreal but very pleasurable all the same.

As we left the Theatre I had a big smile on my face. Testament to what a great evening we’d had.

Turtle-dove update

They've flown the nest, but are still hanging around the garden. They seem to be doing just fine.