19 Jul

DUSTY, the musical

Now I have a confession. I started to listen to Dusty Springfield when I had listened to death all of Duffy and needed to move on. My love of Soul made Dusty Springfield a great next step and over the last four years I have listened to all and every album she did. But I knew very little of her life.

So when I saw a musical was coming to the Theatre Royal in Newcastle I jumped at the chance.

Dusty

DUSTY

Well.. I was in tears by the end.

This is an excellent musical, if you like soulful music and a witty book written by a writer who’s cut his teeth on Coronation Street, as well as a stunning portrayal by Katherine Kingsley, and good supporting work by Rufus Hound, then go see this.

PS: I have since read up a little on Dusty and the musical applies creative licence as to her  girlfriend, who in the musical is ‘Lois’ but in real life was fellow singer Norma Tanega. [Dusty had several other girlfriends and one tempestuous marriage to an American actress Teda Bracci.] For whatever reason, and perhaps since Norma is still alive, they have applied artistic licence there. Norma seems to be more of a folksinger to my ears, and she’s there on Spotify as well.]

 

 

17 Jul

Heaton!! First Night, a totally impartial review (not)

Opening night! So, so proud of the magical, multimedia extravaganza that is Heaton! Written by Peter Dillon, performed by the People’s Theatre, and inspired by the Great Exhibition of the North, it is truly a-maz-ing! Catch a preview on BBC Look North; those out of region go here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0bb2nd1

Book: https://www.peoplestheatre.co.uk/whats-on/heaton

 

The Parsons Family

Votes for Women! Florence Nightingale Harrison-Bell

“The evening was a rollercoaster of film, music, dance and superb acting … a huge round of applause to all those involved” – NE Lifestyle Magazine

M.C. George Stanley, theatrical entrepreneur, in association with Shoe Tree Arts proudly presents Heaton!

Heaton: where Charles Parsons developed the steam turbine, giving the world cheap electricity; where social reformer Florence Nightingale Harrison-Bell campaigned for women’s rights; the birthplace of Ove Arup who built Sydney Opera House; where suffragettes set fire to Heaton Park Bowling Green Pavilion; home of Colin Veitch, Newcastle Utd’s most successful captain, co-founder of the People’s Theatre, and where today the Freeman Hospital is at the cutting edge of medical technology.

Inspired by the Great Exhibition of the North, this feast of drama, music, dance and film celebrates the lives and achievements of these pioneers, all intertwined with the love affair between time-travelling fictional couple Freddie and Catherine.

 

04 May

21 Again! My Lovely Birthday Weekend

I had a lovely birthday weekend.

My birthday fell on the Friday, and so I rose early and went into the University, picked up my thesis from the printers, and handed in my PhD! Hooray!! This is the first submission, so it now goes to 2 external examiners for them to read, and then I have to defend it at a viva.

Tom going to hand in his thesis

Tom going to hand in his thesis

Tom submitting thesis

Tom submitting thesis

I have to say, I had no idea how much pressure would come off me when I submitted. It reminded me of the last day of finals for my first degree. I actually felt 10kg lighter! I went and was quite dizzy with some colleagues and distributed jam donuts, and then find a new generation MoBike and rode home. These newer bikes have 3 gears, bigger frames and wheels and are definitely my kind of stationless hire bike.

A bicycle

Next gen MoBike

Matt was up from down South, and so he and Ann took me for brunch at Stark’s Kitchen and surprised me with a stack of 2000AD comics, a new shiny USB lighter for my candles, and a Fitbit, very happy about the latter.. Ann had me well foxed on that.. especially since she had also got me a new amplifier..

Man holding comics.

Matt got me some 2000AD comix!

Man holding present

FitBit4Tom

Back home Alex and Matt joined me playing Five Tribes which Alex bought me about 2-3 years ago and we have never managed to play yet. It’s really tactical, easy to understand, probably hard to fully master, and full of a lot of replay depth. The takeaway was Lebanese and great..

A boardgame

Five Tribes

2 men eating Lebanese food

Lebanese Takeaway

All in all a cracking birthday..

Roll on 54.. er, I mean 22..

On Saturday we decided to continue to play Five Tribes since we had enjoyed it so much. Duncan Rowlands joined us, and then we ate the 2 curries I had made. I was very pleased with the chana dal since I had never made it before, and the cauliflower and sweet potato curry was also good scran. I was not so happy about burning my hand.

Anyway, after 28 winks, we all went to see Ann’s thespian debut in When We Are Married by J.B.Priestley at the People’s Theatre. Ann played Mrs. Northrop, the insolent charwoman. We all thought she was brillig and all her hard work paid off as she nailed this comic West Yorkshire part.

Mrs Northtop getting fired

Ann Zunder as Mrs Northtop

On Sunday.. we hosted the ‘wrap’ party for the WWAM cast and crew. Our house makes for a great party house, and I had cooked 2 enormous pans of chilli. People brought cakes and veggie lasagne, and garlic bread, and booze and hats and we had a lovely day in the gorgeous hot sun of the Bank Holiday Weekend. I crashed and burned at about 8pm with a poorly stomach, but a core group soldiered on and kept the flame alive until midnight-ish. I met some lovely new people from the cast and crew, and many of which I would love to spend some more time with.

Cast and Crew from WWAM (not all of them obvs)

So, all in all a great weekend and then we wrapped it up on the Monday by cleaning up the house, having a fry up at Cafe 120, and later on celebrating Guernsey Liberation Day at Helen and Duncan’s, with lots of bean jar and gâche.

TTFN