My daughter

Is brilliant. GCSEs time… Dance, acting, singing. Triple threat time.

Tomorrow | Pollard

Getting ready to get ready for trip to Cornwall, packing endless leads and chargers and camera bits. Excited, really, though, to get away.

Last night to the Theatre Royal to see “Annie”, staged in the original complete version rather than the very strange and slightly repellent movie version. Particularly resonant the political/Hooverville bits with the ol’ Credit Crunch. Fantastic, it was, with Su Pollard as Miss Hannigan.

Pollard is Hannigan

Pollard is Hannigan

London and The Well

Another jaunt to London on Wednesday to see the lovely Scarlet’s Well in concert, at the 100 Club. The train from Brighton was delayed due to the weather. Apparently, trains can only go at around 15mph when it’s raining a bit, so we arrived at Victoria later than planned, found our hotel, changed and got the good old No 73 to Oxford Street. We were full of nostalgia for the days of regularly getting the 73 out of town to home. Nipped down Wardour Street (another memory lane as it were) and nabbed a quick bite at a great (and remarkably cheap) Italian place, then skipperdee’d back to the venue. After a sharp reminder of why I never drink draught lager, we settled down and watched Spearmint, who were quite good, though rather spoiled things with a sub-Pulp rant seemingly directed at “the movies” which didn’t seem to fit well with the rest of the quite good stuff. They were also a little on the loud side.

I’d never been to the 100 Club, even back in my London gig-going days, it was nice to remain a rebel though, by snapping pictures of Scarlet’s Well in spite of (the venue’s) notices stating no photography. We met up with several folks from the Scarlet’s Well forum, which was pleasant, and enjoyed the gig immensely –  as usual the combination of lovely songs and great musicianship hidden in a wrapper of goodwill was super. There were sound problems, apparently, but they didn’t really notice from the audience. The sound wasn’t great but not awful either.

Photographic evidence of the gig here now removed

Afterwards we had to skidaddle quickly (busy day Thursday) and got the bus back to Victoria. Folks were still waiting outside the theatre for Idina Menzel’s autograph. Pip got herself a lovely autographed photo and a little note through the post by the simple strategy of writing a nice letter to say how much she enjoyed the performance.

We decided to have a “nightcap” but London closes at 11.

We departed on separate trains on Thursday morning, but both very easy as contra the commuter flow. Or the commuter, Flo.

Big Balls and White Stuff

Excuse Heading.

Last week we trundled off to the Theatre Royal to see “Slava’s Snow Show”, which was very great. Po-faced clowning, silly clowning, excellent spare set and lovely lighting, plus lots of bubbles and absolutely acres of fake snow – unfortunately we were in the circle and didn’t get the full benefit, but it was still pretty impressive. The coda to the show was the introduction into the auditorium of extremely large but very lightweight inflated balls of various colours, which bounced around giving the show an arbitrary open ending. The cast mooched around the stage and wandered around the place (as they had done in the interval) playing around whimsically with the audience. Slava came and sat on the edge of the stage just watching people either being entranced, laughing or leaving. The strangest and most prolonged ending I’ve ever seen in a theatre (except possibly “The Power of Theatrical Madness” at the RAH, but that’s another story.

Wicked London Trip

A lovely couple of days spent in London, now we’re recouperating at home. L has managed to wangle an extra afternoon off, P is watching “Scooby Doo” and all is right-ish.

So, Wednesday we hopped on the train for a relatively pain-free train ride to London, found our cheapy but good hotel near Victoria, “left” our bags and walked down to Tate Britain, had a good look round the lovely Victorian galleries and the “mod” art. P was most impressed with Chris Ofili’s monkeys, and especially pleased with the idea of “Elephant Dung“. L availed herself of Holbein, P and I wandered.
Back up to the Apollo Victoria to see “WICKED“. It exceeded expectations – absolutely stunning. Idina Menzel is just fabulous – she looks beautiful and what a voice, managing to belt it without grating and sing quiet and tender when required. The sets and lighting were inventive, complicated and great. Nigel Planer was very good as the wizard, though I couldn’t help visualising Joel Gray in his place. Miriam Margolies was superb as Morrible, speaking her lines rather than singing which added to her sinister quality I think. The costumes were wonderful – with a great selection of amazing footwear for the shoe fetishists among us.

Back to hotel, clean up and dissection then out in the pouring rain for a meal, which was nice watching the world go by in a window seat.

Tourist-y ness continued on Thursday. I wanted to go see the Fischli and Weiss at the Tate Modern, and in deciding how to get there (and bearing in mind P already had a blister from yesterday) we decided to take the tate to tate boat, as the day was sunny and nice. Realising it stopped at the London Eye, we noted smallish queues and decided to go for it as we were here. It was great, we had super visibility and enjoyed it thoroughly. Back onto the boat to the Tate Modern, which was packed wth kids (half-term and a carnival atmosphere thanks to the slides, which while impressively high failed to tempt us) – straight up to the somewhat quieter exhibition of F&W – lovely, witty, funny and good-natured art. Their film “How Things Go” was all it was supposed to be, keeping the audience amazed and laughing. Loved the little clay models, and loved the people walking past the “unfinished room”. The genius of it is that if you stop and look, you feel self-conscious that folks might think that you’re the twit. Genius.

Hopped back on the boat, walked back to Victoria and home to Brighton. Unfortunately the Puppini’s signing at Borders had been postponed till somewhat later and we were too cream crackered to wait and bailed out and came home.

Well, Wicked

Got tickets for “Wicked” in October – Idina Menzel is playing Elphaba for  limited season (until January I think). I am going squeeeeeeeeeee in a totally manly way about this.

Part One of The Death Strand | Party

So, it was Pip’s birthday treat yesterday (8!), we took eight of her little chums to the Komedia to see Strawberry the Clown, very neat hour-long show, plenty of participation including a couple of her mates and her on stage for participation antics. Very good, no trauma. Afterwards, to Pinocchio’s Restaurant for an excellent Salad Nicoise.

Later, L and I saw Polanski’s “The Pianist” taped from TV, synchronicity as I have just finished “Everything Is Illuminated” and L “The History Of Love” (she has started in on it again – it was a big thumbs up). These all kind of tie in and I’m almost feeling robust enough on this to embark on “Schindler’s List” which we have on DVD and have never had the moral fibre to re-embark on (we saw it at the cinema, which was a draining experience).

Speaking of draining experiences, as my father fell into collapse and flew away just before christmas, I was moved to write down dribblings related thereto – part one here, more to follow tacked onto more ordinary stuff as we go cartwheeling headlong into February.

SUNDAY 18th DEC 2005 my father taken into hospital unconscious. At around 2pm he had started shaking uncontrollably and not responding, his eyes rolling back; he had been vomiting for a wekk and was very weak, this day had been worse than that. An ambulance was called and took him to Eastbourne Hospital, comatose – he has a major leak in his heart plumbing well not the heart more the blood vessel on the way out. This has led to a stroke / oxygen starvation to the brain / probable brain damage. His existing liver condition, renders the bleeding problem inoperable, and so the surgical team have declred him “DO NOT RESCUSCITATE” with palliative care only – so there he is, breathing deeply on hospital oxygen, his eyes rolled back into his head, occasionally coughing and articulating a groan; occasionally “spasming” one leg upwards (a movement so painfully deja-vu familiar to me from L’s coma) … he is monitored.

S- is distraught. I am (as usual in these sitations) the coldest of cold fish, emotionless – my relationship with my father was never good. He is (soon to be was) my father; did I love him? As a son, I guess not. As a person I bear him no ill will and my heart goes out to the animal laying there struggling for what? Life!What did he think of me? Who cares? Who can say? I think I gave him lots of opportunity to become reconciled, especially since P arrived (and certainly he loved her) – it seemed to me (seems to me) that it was always his choice to continue antagonising and remaining distant. I realise that it takes two. I also realise that in the last few years pain nd incipient deafness have made communication and a straightforward relationship even less easy than ever.

G*d knows how S- will cope – well, I guess she’ll have less “looking after” to do, but I mean the lack of company. Timing impeccable, as usual … just before Christmas … I won’t let this spoil P’s Xmas (or L’s or mine come to that). M&R are driving (!) here to S-‘s (as it must soon be known) tomorrow. Today I mean, as it is around 4am right now. Family resemblance of a dying father to a watching son becomes UNDENIABLE – you are watching yourself – your future snuffing out in hospital light glare and a haze of foul death smells – it’s a spooky feeling. Naturally, I will “get through this” the same as we all “get through” everything. It’s just another layer of sh*t to add on and deal with, isn’t it? He will die, his funeral will be held; next year will come; whatever, whatever, I feel that I have been jolted into an awareness of my mortality that I didn’t feel with B-‘s suicide (although, to be fair, being the mobid sod that I am, I can hardly be said to have been UNAWARE of mortality) – so, an early new year resolution (s easily broken it will be!) in the wake of catastrophe – eat less, eat better, exercise more; use my mind; love P; love L; smile; have more s*x; don’t wait for that to happen to us.

MONDAY 19th DECEMBER 2005 he is still alive, “no change” say the jolly doctors. L has cancelled my students. M&R are on their way from Devon. I am going there (to the house) later. L is taking care of P. I am numb. At the house, S- dropped the bombshell that my father and her are “massively in debt” (credit cards). They all went off to the hozzer. I came home and slept = zero overnight as a call came in the middle of the night to say that his breathing had deteriorated. Morning, P to school holiday club then me race to the hozzer; he is bad; consultant says “let nature take its course”. Yes, why not?

S- calls a chaplain, M&R go back to the house; my head aches/ more later.

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