Okay, here's your chance to come boo, heckle and shout nasty things at me (What do you mean you do that anyway?) I am playing the villain in my drama group's annual pantomime. Barton Theatre Company proudly presents Babes In The Wood featuring Yours Truly as the dastardly Sheriff, Sir Simon Cowbell at Salford Arts Theatre. Performances from 5 - 8 December 2013 See http://www.bartontheatre.co.uk/ for full details
I've been very privileged over the last two weeks to see two excellent concerts by the Halle orchestra at the Bridgewater Hall. I used to go to concerts quite regularly but somehow slipped out of the habit. About a month ago they were advertising the new season and Lesley Garrett was billed as appearing alongside the Halle. Well, I couldn't miss that. So I trotted along and got a ticket.
Unfortunately, due to a family bereavement, Lesley had to pull out so instead we got Alison Balsalm on the trumpet. The concert kicked off with Tintagel by Bax, a wonderful piece that heard before and the Alison came on gave us a Haydn Trumpet Concerto followed by Piazzola Linertango - a lovely jazzy jaunty tango number. Then she nipped off and quickly nipped on again bringing her flugelhorn on which, accompanied by the Halle, she gave a lovely version of Someone To Watch Over Me.
Following the Interval we had Barber's Adagio for Strings, one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever written and one of my favourite classical compositions. When the Halle played it, the audience were rapt, hanging on every note, those heart rending notes the only sound in an auditorium that holds over 2000 ,
And then Sir Mark Elder conducted the entire Variations on an Original Theme "Enigma" by Elgar. Like most people I know Nimrod but I'd never heard the entire work. My night was made when the Bridgewater's organ joined the party. It's long been an ambition to hear that instrument being played and so i got to tick one small item off the 'bucket list' And by the way, it sounds magnificent especially in tandem with a full orchestra.
Tonight was Wild West. The orchestra eschewed the usual formal wear and turned in jeans, checked shirts and stetsons and Carl Davis wore a Sheriff's badge (well he was conducting) and treated us to a selection of themes from Westerns (one of my favorite movie genres). We had among others the William Tell Overture (aka The Lone Ranger), The Big Country, Okalahoma, a medley of TV themes and of course The Magnificent Seven.
The orchestra seemed to be enjoying themselves, the audience certainly were and demanded on encore. Davis turns to the crowd and talks about how much of South West USA was originally a Spanish possession and of the large Spanish influence - particularly musically - there has been and continues in America.He turns to the Halle orchestra who launch in La Bamba.
One of the UK's (and worlds) most renowned classical orchestras playing a 50's pop hit. And playing it brilliantly, smiles across the musician's faces, the audience joyfully clapping along. It was just a magnificent moment. Somewhere Richie Valens is jumping for joy.
A lovely coda to the night was the chance to thank Carl Davis for that La Bamba moment. And to buy a CD of movies themes conducted and get it signed. It's on now. The Good The Bad and The Ugly just finished. Now it's High Noon.
I was fortunate enough to receive books this Christmas. Unfortunately, I have run out of space on bookshelves and have no more space in which to install more bookshelves.
Therefore I have several books in need of loving homes and as most of you reading this are book lovers, I appeal to you to make room in your heart and on your bookshelf and Adopt a book
If you would like any of the books listed below, simply leave a comment. The first person to ask for a particular book adopts that book. I'll comment to say when books have been adopted. If you adopt a book, I'll also private message you asking for your address so I can send it you Please note that this post has been made on both LiveJournal AND Facebook. So you may be first to request a book on Facebook but might be be beaten by someone on LiveJournal and vice versa.
Books are listed by title, Author, Publisher and ISBN (so you can look up the edition you're getting). The books available are:
Flashman - George Macdonald Fraser - Pan - No ISBN Master & Commander - Patrick O'Brian - Harper Collins - 978-0-00-778752-4 A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur's Court - Mark Twain - Panther Books - No ISBN The Princess Bride - William Goldman - Bloomsbury - 978-0-7475-4518-7 Wicked - Gregory Maguire - Headline Review - 978-0-7553-3160-4 The Forest - Edward Rutherford - Randomn House - 0-09-927907-X The Story of Bonnie Prince Charlie - Corbie - 1-902407-00-8 Holiday Memory - Dylan Thomas - J M Dent - 0-460-86229-4 Doctor Who: The Sontarran Games - Jacqueline Rayner - BBC Books - 978-1-846-07643-5 and finally FIVE copies of The Arden Shakespeare: Macbeth - Edited by Kenneth Muir -Methuen - 978-1-903436-48-6
Another brilliant convention. My highlight was tehr eaction to my portrayal of Eric in the play. My photos are available here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.4521440152684.188778.1191235286&type=3&l=ef984c6515
This afternoon, I saw the golden treasure of the Staffordshire Hoard. The beauty and craftsmanship in some of the pieces is breathtaking. What made it even better was getting to spend the afternoon with my Dad. He took the bus from Stafford, 17 miles away. I took the train from Manchester, 59 miles away. I still got there first
Whilst eating a tasty Chinese takeaway, the news informed me that team GB had won two more Gold medals in the Rowing Tonight I watched the athletics and saw Jessica Ennis, Greg Rutherford and Mo Farrah bring home the Golds! And I've just found out we got another Gold in the Cycling.
Six Gold medals in one day. Three athletics Gold medals in one night. Third in the overall medal table.
I got my shopping done early, Then for the first time in about two weeks, I ventured out with my bandanna and sunglasses on and my coat off. (Though I had one in my bag - this is Manchester). Finally, a decent summers day. Blue skys! Warmth! The SUN!!
The reason for this outing was that the cinema in Manchester charges £4.00 for showings before noon, I was going to the 11:00 showing of The Dark Knight Rises ( hence the early shop) I will not give away any spoilers but I will say it is very, very good. A brilliant conclusion to Christopher Nolans' trilogy
On leaving the cinema I noticed that several people in costume were wandering about. It turned out that the MCM Comic Expo was taking place at Manchester Central (formerly G-MEX) and there were many cosplayers in some quite brilliant costumes. Amongst the ones I recognised (I'm not into anime and there were quite a few anime/manga costumes) were the Ghostbusters, several Starfleet officers, a Cylon and some Imperial Stormtroopers (who'd win in a fight between those?), Lara Croft, Spiderwoman (Jessica Drew) (Anyone remember that cartoon) .... and appropriately enough a Batman, a Joker and a Catwoman. Had I known it was on, I might have attended dressed as Spike for I do own the neccesary accoutrements
After a spot of lunch, I visited the People's History Museum. As the name suggest it tells the history of people's struggle to earn the rights and freedoms we enjoy today. It covers the campaign for parliamentary reform (including the Peterloo massacre, votes for women, workers rights (with some emphasis on the trade union moment) and in more recent times, the campaigns against discrimination on grounds of gender or race or sexuality. It's worth a visit
Then after wandering around Manchester for a bit, just enjoying the decent weather, I decided to eat out but didn't fancy anywhere in the City Centre. So I went to Frankie & Benny's on Salford Quays. I had a really nice meal and seeing as we had a bit of summer at last, I had an ice cream sundae for desert!
Then it was home to a cup of tea and The Hollow Crown - Henry V. I missed the first 15 minutes but didn't mind too much as that's the boring bit with the whole Salic law sequence and the tennis balls. It was a very good adaptation and I loved what they did with the Chorus right at the end . It was very clever and I don't think I've seen it played that way before.
I've just got back from a football match - England Women v Holland Women
It was no friendly either but a full competitive international. A qualifier for the Womens' Euro 2013 Finals One England quite needed to win as only the top side in each group automatically qualify. A loss or a draw and England almost certainly find themselves having to qualify via a play-off
It was being played at the new City of Salford Stadium just down the road and figuring you don't get to see the national side every day (and the ticket prices were a bargain) I decided to have an afternoon out.
I'm really glad I did!
The new stadium is really nice and there was a great family party atmosphere there. People had bought along their kids (or being Father's Day, maybe kids had bought along their parents). There were a sprinkling of Holland fans who made the trip and they were sat together but there was no enforced separation.
I'm not a sports fan but I enjoyed the game. There was attacking football from both sides and they weren't afraid to tackle each other. Best of all, if anyone was tackled , they got straight back up, no writhing on the ground trying to get a free kick. At one point I swear the force of a tackle sent one of the England defenders into a somersault and then to the floor. She got back up and stuck in again.
As for the result. Well,, it's possible that some people did record Match of the Day (It was on BBC 2) so if you want to know the result the official Facebook page is here https://www.facebook.com/EnglandWomen
The last performance went really well. We had a good audience
I'v enjoyed Macbeth more that I thought I would. The whole thing has gone so well. We had a large cast, many of whom (including me) had never performed Shakespeare before. It was a huge challenge and I'm so proud of what we've done
We mostly seemed to avoid the infamous curse. That said someone nearly missed their entrance this afternoon, one cast member almost tripped over, My belt did fall off (luckily it wasn't holding anything up) and when we were striking the set, some items had gone mysteriously missing.