Monday, 31 May 2010

The Tate's new 'Exposed' and the Oxo Tower

Sadly the new 'Exposed' exhibition at the Tate Modern on the South Bank was absolutely rammed with people that we gave up after only two minutes, we'll be going back next Saturday evening and hope the crowds have died down.

To pass the time we decided to see what was on at the Oxo Tower Gallery, 'Chords of Grey' photographs by Paul Gallagher. Black and white photographs of largely sea shore and windswept landscapes. Personally speaking, I've seen it all before....... at various college and Uni Foundation Level end-of-year exhibitions. There's no way in hell I'm forking out 50 quid for the photography book containing those prints, I don't care if they're 'signed and stamped by the photographer' in question, that is a rip-off!

Oh well, it was disappointing. Looking forward to 'Exposed' next weekend though.

What is this I spotted at St Pancras? One of the 'Elephants on Parade' with a bad case of wind?!



Muh Muh Muh Mah!

*Puts his 'Paw' up*

So what can I say about Lady Gaga hmmmm, she's certainly proved herself worthy to the pop crown hasn't she?!

We went to see the show in February and, at that point in time, with it being a 'new' show there were some niggling teething issues. Mainly being kept waiting and Ms Gaga being a tad inexperienced with the tour. This time around it was tweaked, and MUCH slicker,

Opening the night with Dance in the Dark being lit up behind the stage screen, teasing the audience of what was to come, progressing through Glitter and Grease and getting the crowd into a frenzy with her first hit Just Dance and then Beautiful Dirty Rich the show was now a pop-filled juggernaut. Crowd happily punching the air, clapping along and pogo'ing like crazy.

For a lass who wasn't heard of in 2008 she's certainly come a very very long way is a short amount of time. Surely she must be knackered?! Obviously not if this show was anything to go by!

After The Fame she switched into LoveGame mode resplendent in a see-through Nun's habit. Now I do like LoveGame but the Marilyn Manson remix is sooooooooo much better. She does a tiny bit of this remix at the end of the song, for me though I reckon she should have done the whole lot, it's harder and dirtier. Would have been amazing had Marilyn Manson actually come on stage to help her with it (not sure if his band is still on tour though).

Boy Boys Boys and Money Honey kept the crowd going and she was teasing her male dancers. It's really good to know she sticks up for her mates having brought an old friend from NYC out on tour with her, I think his name was Posh (and absolutely no relation to V. Beckham I am sure!), and he indeed had improved since the first show back in February too. It's all down to building confidence on those stages around the globe in front of thousands. He was looking like a male Grace Jones, quite a fearsome sight in some cases, vastly tall and amplified by four inch high heals, ones that Julia Roberts would have been proud of in Pretty Woman!

After that, it all went quiet, she was stood out on the front of the 'catwalk' looking towards the audience and doing the 'telephone' hand shape to the side of her face, she didn't even have to introduce the song, which is a belter I'm sure you'll admit. Up next was Brown Eyes, personally not too keen on this one.

Having recently attended a Gala event in NYC where she performed 'Stand By Me' with both Elton John and Sting, she added this to her set list and had the whole audience swaying and singing along, good call Gaga!

All of a sudden the mandatory flames shot up from the piano with Speechless, I'm sure quite a lot of the crowd had 'Johnnie Walker' eyes as well having witnessed the amount of cocktails being supped pre-show in the O2 Lounge!

Winding down, if you can say that of this show, with So Happy I Could Die, Monster, Teeth and her coming release Alejandro, it was then time for the last 'big three'.....

Poker Face was absolutely belting, high intensity and a mass-sweat fest with the whole crowd going crazy. She fought her huge Fame Monster on the stage and won the battle during Paparazzi, returning to the stage for her encore in her gyroscopic 'globe' for Bad Romance which I have to say is my favourite track of hers. Dedicating the song to the late Alexander McQueen, it was a very fitting end to an amazing spectacle.

Her tour continues through to April 2011, personally I would be shattered at the end of all that! Gaga told the audience that the next album had already been written on the road and it was just a case of getting it recorded. So we will all have to sit tight.

Phillip Treacy hats off to the Gaga!

*Puts his 'Paw' back down*

(No photo's I'm afraid as, stupidly, didn't take the camera... made even worse when we were stood slap bang by the stage, arrghhhhh, so many missed opportunities, damn it!).

A big THANK YOU to the two 'O2 Angels' at the O2 Lounge, Phil was out wearing his kilt, they took quite a mighty shine to it. He was certainly enjoying all the attention he was getting in it and made the most of it! ....And we haven't seen that many guys wearing make up since The Blitz club in the 80's!
Just got back from Gaga at the O2, absolutely AMAZING. The show was the same as the one earlier in the year (that we also went to) but it was FAR slicker this time around. The experiences she's been gaining from the full-bore World Tour have certainly paid off.

Will get a wee report up tomorrow, about to hit the coffee and biscuits and watch 'Worried About the Boy' recorded off the TV (about Boy George).

Very, very, very, VERY impressed with the East London Overground too - getting to and from the O2 is now a doddle. Well done Boris!

More later.

Night night,


Lee.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Noises Off - The Rep, Birmingham

Just got home from The Rep in Brum. Bloody good show, it really is a show of two halves. The first, as per usual, you get the introduction to the characters with one or two surprises early on and you think the scene has been set. However it goes back to front for the latter half and it's just non-stop comedy. The play is a play in itself, I'm not giving anything away as really don't want to spoil it. Stand out actors for me with this show were both Gerard Carey as the stage hand 'Tim', and Djalenga Scott as the completely ditzy 'Brooke', utterly superb.

Was literally crying with laughter in the second half, Tim's character really comes to the fore and it's absolutely pandemonium. This is a show I feel that you need to go to see at least twice as there's just so much slap-stick happening at the same time. Absolutely bloody marvellous! GO SEE!!!

StageText were bang-on with their captioning, they are just such a great firm and I continually applaud them for the access they give. Granted that sometimes things do go a bit 'squewiff' as we saw with Billy Elliott in London where the captions were 'late' making that show hard to follow. This time around absolutely no complaints.

I would like to add that it certainly pays (or in this case saves) to check different train routes to save cash. Came back from Birmingham via Leicester and then from there down to London saving at least 15 pounds each, crazy! I think the direct tickets were like 40 to 50 quid for returns for two people, bloody hell!


Next show is Spamalot *Claps excitedly* in Nottingham, after being continually frustrated with the theatre in London not showing any of the performances with StageText it's time to put the leg-work in and go back up cross-country! This time around it's a big group of friends going en-masse!

Hope all is well out there, we're waiting for a chinese takeaway to arrive, too knackered to cook any dinner this evening. Once it gets here we'll be laughing at the recording of the Eurovision Song Contest. Be warned, as with each year, some of the (dare I say 'camp-tastic and down right strange'!) videos and performances have been subtitled and will be being posted to my YouTube account: http://www.youtube.com/northtyne I will pop links onto this very blog. :)

Peace out,


Lee.

Friday, 28 May 2010

Gonna be a busy weekend

Just about to dash up North, going to see the play 'Noises Off' at The Rep in Birmingham tomorrow and then straight back down to London for the Lady Gaga show at the O2 on Sunday night!

*Excited*

More later.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Hello World!

Here I am, kicking and screaming.... well actually I'm eating a pork pie and drinking a pint of cider but hey ho!

If you want to know about me check the page 'Hearing Background' somewhere else on this blog and sit down with a cup of coffee and some chocolate hobnobs, or in Lesley's case a wine spritzer and some old-skool sweeties!

OK, I'm as deaf as a plank, unless I have my cochlear implant on in which case I get all these bamboozling sounds coming at me. You know, even after having it fitted in '04 I am still learning how to use it, doubt I will ever stop learning how to use it, it's a fabulous piece of modern engineering and I feel very lucky to have it.

I mean I still get times where I think "Whooow, holy shit, I can hear!" after so many years confined to silence, it still takes me aback and makes me appreciate it even more. Alas I cannot hear like an able-hearing person can, and probably never will be able to until the technology we have takes another leap forwards. But I'm certainly not complaining!

So, what's what.... I lurrrrrvvvvveeeee music, it's a HUGE part of my life and was part of the reason why I moved to London, to get into the TV music industry and to assist with increasing access to it for the deaf and hard of hearing. I've had meetings with the BBC, MTV and most recently Channel 4. Sadly not successful but hey, actually getting to have meetings and interviews with these people is an achievement in itself. (Just wished I landed the job at Channel 4, it was my ideal role and I blew it, bummer!). I love going to gigs and concerts, we're off to see Lady Gaga at the O2 Arena this weekend, saw her earlier-in-the-year show there and are going back for second helpings!

Been to quite a few concerts, some are here in no particular order: Skunk Anansie (one my all-time favourite bands), Madonna, Pet Shop Boys, Babes in Toyland (many thousands of years ago), Alice Cooper, Marilyn Manson, Scissor Sisters, Bad Robots, The Ting Tings (they rocked and I had Katie's boobs right in my face at one point, scary!), Lady Gaga...and others I can't recall whilst speed typing! Had a blast with one of Skunk Anansie's 'preview' shows at the Electric Ballroom in Camden, was stood right at the front with Skin (their lead singer) stood right atop of my shoulders singing their hit 'Weak' to the rest of the audience behind. It was a mixture of emotions, the first being "OH MY GOD, I HAVE SKIN STOOD ON MY SHOULDERS!!!!", the second being "Oh god, don't fall off!" and third being "Yep, she's getting heavier...!". Bloody awesome show and you can see it all on YouTube, just type in 'Skunk Anansie Weak Electric Ballroom' in the search and et voila :)

Moving swiftly on, I'm now a noveau-Theatre-Luvvie, courtesy of the other 'alf! StageText are the peeps doing the captioning, what they do is amazing and I hold them in high regard as the access they give is absolutely bloody brilliant. So, on top of the gigs you can add the theatre shows (again in no specific order) : Jersey Boys, Phantom of the Opera, Rope, Priscilla (several times), Hairspray (Several times), Evita, His Dark Materials, The Mousetrap, West Side Story, The Lion King, Legally Blonde, Wicked (Several time, I absolutely LOVE Wicked!), WarHorse, Matthew Bourne's Edward Scissorhands, Damon Albarn's Monkey, Avenue Q (hilarious!), Sister Act, Billy Elliott...there's more, but I can't think. Oh yes, several of the Cirque du Soleil shows as well, they are all superb. Oh my god, and how can I forget the absolutely ultimate in visual (and the sing along, and dance along, and confetti, and the rice, the torches, water pistols, oh you get the drift...) feasts.... The Rocky Horror Picture Show!

What else? I'm very much into the art and fashion world, especially photography, something I wish to get into again after many years absence, often visiting many of London's galleries. London is such an amazing cultural centre, it's a pure melting pot of talents, just an amazing place to live and learn.

Outside of all that I manage a downhill mountain bike racing team in my own time away from the day job, have been at the helm of that since the mid-90's and it has gone from strength to strength, there is a link to the team's blog elsewhere on here so go and have a look.

I will keep this relatively short to mark my first post and I hope you all enjoy reading the further exploits that are sure to be coming.

Lee.