Sunday, September 28, 2014

Blues brothers at Ronnie Scott's

Ronnie Scott's, London. Friday 22-August-2014.

We are greatly enamoured of The Blues Brothers movie and, many years ago, went to a "Heroes and Villains" fancy dress party as Jake and Elwood although we leave it to you to decide which category they fell under.

Waiting in the Members Only queue at Ronnie Scotts I couldn't but help feeling a little smug. We had tickets and, looking at the long queue of hopefuls awaiting for returns, I consider us very lucky get be at Ronnie's yet again and watching another classic band.

The London Jazz Review writes, "... the current crew showcases two original and significant members: guitarist Steve “The Colonel” Cropper and tenor saxophonist “Blue” Lou Marini." It made many positive comments about many of the songs but seemed lukewarm overall, "It was a perfectly respectable show by any standards, but one could have wished for a few rougher edges, a slightly less sanitised portrayal of the seamier side of life." Full review...

Personally we had a great time. They had a couple of guys (Tommy McDonnell and Rob “The Honeydripper” Paparozzi) come in dressed as Jake and Elwood to do the vocals for all the old favourites. That's what we came for and that's what we got. A rollicking good time.

Friday, September 26, 2014

BBC Prom 45, Laura Mvula

Royal Albert Hall, London. Tuesday 19-August-2014.

Our first late night Prom and a fine concert it was too. Having heard absolutely nothing of Laura's music I had no choice but to go with an open mind. It was brilliant.

Picture from Laura Mvula on FB.

I was particularly taken by Sing to the Moon.

BachTrack gives it 5 stars:
"This was a concert truly like no other. Mvula has a very honest approach to performing - it all comes from the heart, and, for all her glamorous exterior, she remains thoroughly grounded as she sings. Someone once described her songs as a 'sonic breath'; they were absolutely right. The orchestrations worked in a most unique way, and I hope that Laura Mvula pens many more orchestratable songs." Full review...

Really wonderful, a very special concert.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Battersea Foodies' Festival 2014

Battersea Park, London. Sunday 17-August-2014.

What better way to recover from our annual BBQ the day before than a wander round the Battersea Foodies Festival in the sunshine thanks to a complementary tickets from those nice people at South West London TV.

Lots of food stalls, obviously, featuring everything from one person entrepreneurs to large corporations and all manner of food and drinks.

One woman tied to tempt us to into buying extra virgin olive oil by declaring that it was organic and that they pick and press the olives themselves - "So do we!" rejoined Mary.

Live music...

... and a novel mobile bar.

South West London TV is an internet only TV channel and here is their report on the day:

Definitely worth a repeat visit next year.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Annual BBQ 2014

Wandsworth, London. Saturday 16-August-2014.

Our seventh annual BBQ and wine cellar emptying event was back after a year's gap.

All set up ready for influx of hungry and thirsty guests...

Around forty people turned up over the course of the afternoon. We were ably assisted by our burger flipper Zoe which freed us up to mingle with our guests.

Some turned up late afternoon so we lit another barbecue bag and started a second tranche of cooking. We started at one in the afternoon and finished at one in the morning when the last visitors toddled off.

The next morning it was a trip to the recycling bank at the local tip to dispose of the evidence of a most successful party.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

BBC Prom 38, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra

Royal Albert Hall, London. Wednesday, 06-August-2104

Picnic in a box - doing classical music in style.

A team outing to the RAH; we booked a box and smuggled a picnic in. One ticket had already gone when Mary booked the remaining seven tickets in the box. We had two spare tickets which nearly went to waste but a colleague and partner stepped in at the very last minute.

We set up the impromptu buffet and were just sipping our first glass of wine when the bloke in seat number one arrived. I felt a bit sorry for the him; the usherette showed him into the box with a cheery "these are your new friends" - he looked a bit startled, declined our offer of a drink and scuttled off to his seat.

Mixed reviews from the broadsheets but they all liked Sibelius 2. We also all agreed Sib 2 was much the better half of the programme. Another great night out.

The Guardian gave it 3 stars:
"John Storgårds delivers a thrilling finale to compatriot Sibelius's Second Symphony, rounding out his Proms appearance with solid performances of Peter Maxwell Davies and Frank Bridge [...] John Storgårds's Prom with the BBC Philharmonic flanked two lesser-known British works (Peter Maxwell Davies's Fifth Symphony, Frank Bridge's Oration) with two of Sibelius's most popular pieces, Finlandia and the Second Symphony. Sibelius is often regarded as Storgårds's calling card, though his interpretations of his Finnish compatriot's music divide opinion and there are times when you can see why. Full review…

The Telegraph was more enthused and gave it 5 stars:
'truly overwhelming' This was an amazingly energised performance of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies's chamber pieces, says Ivan Hewett  [...] The other was Sibelius’s 2nd Symphony. It’s a piece where every beguiling or puzzling move is part of a long journey, which leads with iron logic to the final triumphal blaze of D major at the end. It’s easy to lose sight of that final destination, but conductor John Storgards never did. That vision, combined with the impassioned playing of the BBC Philharmonic, made for something truly overwhelming. Full review…

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Open Air Cinema at Battersea Power Station

Sunday 10-August-2014

A chance to see classic cinema in the grounds of a cultural icon courtesy of Everyman Cinema's Summer of Power.

We only discovered this series because a colleague of Mary's had been. We booked to see Breathless - a French New wave classic - on a Sunday afternoon.

We wasted half hour circumnavigating Battersea Power Station looking for the entrance. Some signage would have been good FFS. The nice security guard at Gate 1 had a stack of pre-printed google map directions to the entrance right at the other end by Chelsea Bridge - clearly we were not the first.

Once inside there were usual sort of food stalls and bars. We thought we would treat ourselves to a Perrier-Jouet at the champagne tent but they sold out so we went down scale to prosecco. And then when in our seats we ordered red wine and they'd sold out of that so we had to drink rose.

We went for a 'pod' which was like our own private box with comfy seats and a roof in case it rained. We had headphones and waiter service for food and drinks.

The film itself, Breathless (1960) was entertaining and a classic - so I read later - of French New Wave cinema. Read more on IMDB...

As we left the old derricks silhouetted against the sky were an atmospheric reminder of the power station's coal burning past.