Thursday, 19 November 2009

Atheist's Guide to Christmas

I went to the very packed launch of this book at Foyle's the other day. I was intrigued by the selection of guests: David Baddiel, A C Grayling, Richard Dawkins and Derren Brown.

As I wedged myself into a chair hanging on the end of a row the whiff of B.O. in the air was vaguely reminiscent of the socialist conference I went to in the Summer. As people asked ridiculous questions, this feeling intensified. However, as I found at the socialist conference, any excuse to feel like my brain isn't leaking out of my ears, and I enjoyed it.

I found A C Grayling very interesting and Derren Brown was a bit of a revelation. Having previously thought he was a bit of a tit, I was surprised to find a slightly awkward, intelligent, endearing guy. I am now intrigued by the Croydon boy. It may not be enough for me to watch his programmes, but I may check out his new book.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Bit of John Barrowman

Yes he's everywhere at the moment, and I was a little unsure, but I thoroughly enjoyed going to see Le Cage Aux Folles last night.

The cast, performances and set were amazing. I had tears in my eyes at the end and it was genuinely wonderful.

The funniest moment of the evening may well have been provided by a member of own family though who said very loudly 'you do realise this is about homosexual lifestyles don't you'. Funnily enough, we all did :-)

Everyone should go. With or without the Barrowman its great.

Halloween spookiness

Punchdrunk did themselves proud again on Halloween in Holland Park. A big fan of their's I was very quick off the mark when it can to get tickets, and we turned up at the gates with our pumpkin lights and masks at twilight.

Inside were paths lit with pumpkin lights, a treasure trail and a spooky fair. In punchdrunk style at one point my friends and I were dragged off to look at the moon, sung too, and then I was taken to see a man about signing my soul away to the devil for 7 years of wine. Of course I obliged!

We finished this off with the late night Halloween gig at the Miller. Everyone was dressed up. I think the man dressed as a robot was regretting it. Most of the bands were quite rubbish but funny. There was spooky burlesque, involving a tampon; The Reverend, a performance poet; and a band called Slapper - with a Freddie Mercury lookalikey with a sparkly moustache, leather apron and nipple accessories. It was a sight for sore eyes indeed.

Whirlwind San Fran

There is loads I haven't mentioned so far: The Story of Sleeping Beauty at the Cartoon Art Museum (amazing attention to detail on the story boards); seeing both the exhibition of Maurice Sendak's works, and the film of his most famous book Where the Wild Things Are; seeing the history of punk told in pictures at the main library (admitting that punk did not come from California!); and the inspiring work of Victor Arimondi.

A highlight of my trip was watching the Gossip on pretty much home turf. Despite a sore throat Beth Ditto still out sung most people I have seen live and was endearing, sweet and strong on the night. An incredible mix and a great atmosphere. Its the first gig I have seen in San Fran and was interested to see that although the smoking ban is very much in effect, the smoking of pot is not considered to be included. Makes for a docile crowd!