Friday, June 30, 2006

SW19


Hurrah I'm off to Wimbledon on Thursday, to entertain a client. Boy I'm going to enjoy flexing the firm plastic!!!!

What Weather We're Having

My Oregon Scientific weather station tells me that today it recorded 34 C in the shade and 36 C in the partial shade (where the sensor is in the sun, but facing away from it).

I'm told red is the colour to sparkle in for Euro Pride tomorrow.

Currently...

...listening to Altered Images

...wearing aussieBum red Tutti Fruitti hipsters

It's Just Pants

...or rather


I've realised how inexpensive it is to by aussieBum direct, rather than from Selfridges or Prowler. For the equivalent of the cost of 1.5 pairs bought in store I've bought 4 pairs on-line plus postage. Cripes. Two pairs for mon C and two for me.



And talking of Selfridges, my neighbours tell me they've provided some hot spanish models for Selfridges' celebration of Pride tomorrow. They'll be handing out donuts and sweets outside the store, dressed modestly, only in their pants.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Currently...

...listening to The Three Johns (Live in Chicago...Death of the European. iTunes can be a blessing. I can find many songs that I have on vinyl at my parents, but alas not all...I so want the Farmer's Boys. Have to find turntable, software and bring my records home then start the conversion process).

...wearing aussieBum commando scuba

Originalaufnahme der deutschsprachigen Erstauffuhrung "EVITA"

I collect recordings of musicals from all around the world, and different versions. So I have Jesus Christ, Superstar in various guises, for example (the best is the 1992 Australian Cast...which I can only find in highlights). The hardest to find was Aspects of Love (my favourite ever musical) in Japanese.

My latest addition is the original German cast recording of Evita. I think it was recorded in 1982. It's shocking. Eva is played by Isabel Weicken (I must Google her to find out more). But she is awful, appalling and some other word beginning with "a"...lets settle for arse (ok, anus).



ALW...is there no quality control?

ps Isabel Weicken...looking as shocking as she sounds.

EUROPRIDE 2006 The Show

Don't say I told you, but here's the schedule for Sunday Night, with Sir Elton and Heather Small at the Albert Hall:

7.45 Start Show


5mins Opening Sequence – EuroPride Parade

5mins Stephen Fry

6mins Tina C (2 numbers)

2mins Stephen Fry

12mins Avenue Q with Andrew Hayden-Smith

2mins Stephen Fry

10min Never the Bride

10mins Graham Norton – Civil Partners

2min Stephen Fry introduces Antony Cotton and Jenny McAlpine Intro

1min Ian McKellen

4min Chicago Company “All that jazz”

4mins Mamma Mia Company “Dancing Queen!”

4mins Widow Twankey & Company ‘Its Not Over.’
AC, JA, SF: Curtain Call

INTERVAL 25 Minutes

Part 2 House Band Fanfare - Flag reveal

6mins London Gay Mens Chorus (2 numbers)

6mins Sandi Toksvig & Julian Clary

10mins Swine Ballet with Betty Legs Diamond

3mins Sandi Toksvig & Julian Clary

10mins Heather Small & Band (4 Numbers)
LGMC to duet for last number

6mins Alan Carr

5mins Sandi & Tennis players
Billie Jean King introduces ‘Elton John’

20mins Elton John & Band (3 Numbers)

3mins Finale :Full Company
LGMC feat. Elton John
”We are Family” – with House Band

I just don't know who Tina C is...and looking at the call times there's one for the swimmers and athletes...who are they and what will they be doing?

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Rudeness

There is rudeness everywhere in London. On the streets, on public transport and sometimes even the service we get (see for example GBD's recent experience).

The rudeness I experienced today included:

1 People getting off a crowded tube carriage, but no one moving up to fill the vacated space, thus leaving no room for anyone else to get on. Which made me seem rude when on the beep of the doors closing I leapt on, the doors forcing me to push forward into the crowd...

2 Some girl in BHS serving me while wearing dark fashion sunglasses, well inside the store. Thought I could return the rudeness by keeping my iPod earphones in while she served me.

(Oh, and I never normally shop in BHS. I just needed some cheap tacky shimmering accessories for Saturday).

3 The French girl sitting next to me on the bus, taking a call and talking so, so loudly into her phone. Just because her friend on the other end is somewhere in France doesn't mean that she has to shout as if across the channel. Lucky her, getting 10 days off from serving peanuts on the Eurostar buffet because she could top and tail shifts around 3 day's actual holiday. Then, no sooner had she finished than I was subject the girl behind me bawling even louder on her phone.

I certainly try not to let other people know my business if using my phone on the bus. My God, I wouldn't want them to know!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

With Elton John And Heather Small, At The Albert Hall

On Sunday I'm singing with some of my gay chums and Heather Small (who is joining us for the finale), at the Albert Hall. Today it was confirmed that Elton John will be appearing, so we'll be singing the encore along with him and everyone else!

All in a day's work...

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Currently...

...listening to Joni Mitchell (and in between Ave Q)

...wearing aussieBum Tutti Fruitti Hipster Toucan.

Something In The Air

Although it's Monday and back to work tomorrow I kind of feel like I'm going to be on holiday. I'm at the Queen Elizabeth Hall tomorrow night for Europride; so have various "optional" call times during the day. Fortunately my office is on the other side of the river, so I'm going to pop over about 11am, and do some work from the QEH. I've some papers to work on, I've got the BlackBerry, so I can be mobile. But just to be sure I can be flexible I spent about 5 hours in the office today to finish off some reports I needed to get done for clients. So I'll go in earlier than usual tomorrow, spend a couple of hours then go over.

If the weather's fine it'll be great just to hang out in the company of the others, in the sun in between sound checks and stuff. I was last at the QEH a couple of years ago, and it was a balmy summer's evening. I've fond memories of it.

So, I didn't really mind being in the office today after all.

Then next weekend I'm so looking forward to my first Pride. I'm going on one of the big floats, so it should just be great fun...

And on Sunday doing some more stuff, this time at the Royal Albert Hall, including something with Heather Small.

Yup, definitely feels like summer.

It's A Reveal

Everything needs re-branded from time to time. Perhaps it's time to switch talking about "coming out" and refer instead to a "reveal". Especially in this age of makeover madness, when reveal parties seem to be all the rage.

Anyway I was out with friends tonight, and JB whom I hadn't seen since February (I realised tonight how lapse I've become at keeping in touch with friends since I met mon C) told me about his forced "reveal" to his parents. And it's one of the most surreal coming out stories I have heard. (JB was already out to his brother and friends of course. Just not to his parents.)

The occasion was JB's sister-in-law's 30th birthday. She was having a movie themed fancy dress party, somewhere up north, to mark the occasion. JB (who's a tall lad, 6'3", slim/toned, and only 23) went dressed as Superman. Head to toe lycra, with padding added as part of the costume to make him extra super I guess. Camp as nickers he said.

Anyway, his father was dressed as Batman, his mother as Robin. His brother was a Godfather-esque gangsta', and his sis-in-law was dressed as Wonder Woman.

JB's Dad went off to chat to someone dressed as Batgirl, leaving Robin (his mother) having a tete a tete with Superman (JB). Anyway, JB tells his Mum something about his moving flat in London and she turns round to daughter in law who is just behind her to ask her what she thinks of the news....Having enjoyed quite a few glasses of pop (the fizzy alcoholic kind) she blurted out..."You mean about JB being gay?"

He couldn't say anything. Here he was dressed in lycra, not able to deny. He marched off to his brother to tell him what his wife had just done. Brother dressed as gangster went to talk to Robin (mother) thinking he needed to to calm her down. She apparently denied she had heard anything, and although she had, she was choosing to ignore.

An hour or so later, Wonder Woman decided to tell Robin she hadn't meant to shock her. But not wanting to mince her words, she came straight out with it and apologised for revealing her son was gay. So, even if she really hadn't heard the first time, she couldn't pretend she hadn't heard this time. But to make matters worse, Batman was now in tow, and he hadn't even been around to hear it (or not) first time around.

So, well on into this party, Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman, Marlon Brando and Superman are all locked away upstairs in a tizz over Superman's coming out. Poor JB. He was mortified...but he said his Mum and Dad were cool, after talking through all the shame and blame stuff.

He just never though that he would end up being outed to Batman and Robin when he was dressed as Superman.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

101

Later today I'm off to the Museum of London to catch Mannenkorts (translated as "Gay Fever") a double quartet from the Hague. They sing a cappella arrangements of popsongs and ballads. As part of the Europride Arts Festival they are giving a free concert there at 15.00 this afternoon.

Before that I'm off to record some songs for the Pride Parade next week. I'm going on a float, which should be a hoot.

Currently I'm listening to Evita (1998 Czech recording); Avenue Q and Sunday in the Park with George.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Special

In my life I’ve had 3 partners (a term I use here in the non-casual sense). B and I were together for 5 years, from 1992 until 1997. Then I met S in 1998 and we were together until last year. This year, a week before my birthday, I met mon C.

We met in the first week of February. On our second meeting on February 9, it was clear that our feelings for each other ran deep. By Sunday, having spent each night in between with each other, it was clear that we were going to be together. It was all rather unexpected. We never intended to connect, but we very clearly did.

He moved in straight away, and we have lived together since then (although he didn’t clear his flat of his stuff until 2 weeks ago).

Deciding to live together and actually doing it all within 2 weeks of meeting might seem like a leap of faith. It was and it wasn’t. We just knew that we were right for each other. We connected, and I knew that for me the connection would develop very quickly into affection and love.

I didn’t rush into a relationship. S moved away in May last year. He had fallen out of love with me. I still loved him, and it was hard to accept being alone. I thought that we were gong to spend the rest of our lives together, and at one time, for some time, so had he.

I had also loved B. I had thought we would be together for always, but it was different for him. Just before he moved to Canada he told me that he always knew that it was never forever for him.

I have never heard from Ben since he moved away from Scotland, originally to London where he worked as an economist for the Bank of England, before going to Canada.

I haven’t seen S since just before Christmas. I don’t think I have spoken to him since then either. We’ve exchanged a few emails, texts and notes with mail.

It’s strange that you can spend so long with someone, be so intimate and beyond. Be lovers, be best friends. And then nothing. It’s harsh, it’s hard, and it’s such a waste. So many experiences and times shared, then so alone. I remember feeling lost. Not so much a single person, but rather half of a whole.

When B left I never thought that I could love someone as much as I had loved him. But I did. It took time for me to let go of B to allow me to fall in love with S. When I did it was as if I had always loved S. I loved S every moment that I was with him. He may not have felt it towards the end of our relationship, but I did.

That’s why C moving in wasn’t such a leap of faith. I knew I would love him, and that in time it would be as if I had always loved him and not someone else.

That journey has been completed.

Last week when I was at the theatre without C (who was in Israel) at the point Eva realises she is dying, in her sonnet (You Must Love Me) I thought of myself in her position, and automatically without thinking about it my Peron was mon C. At that very moment I realised how very much I missed him, how very much I felt half of a whole without him, and how very much I loved him. I’m no longer LOST. I’m with mon C, and that is why this, my 100th blog entry, is dedicated to him. And I hope he reads it where he is. Je t’aime mon C et tu me manques.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Show Me Yours

Thanks to Gay Boy for showing me his....here's mine!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Evita Revisited

Evita was, without doubt, a show of its time. Less rock opera than Jesus Christ Superstar, it still has moments where the electric guitar lets loose and plays out over the orchestration. The new production hasn’t lost that edge, although the melodies have become noticeably more South American.

For me the lyrics are very important, and Tim Rice has written them well. They don’t just provide a narrative. They also reveal Eva’s nature. They work so well because there is a definite symbiosis with them, the characters revealing them and the score. They give a pace and depth that grabs you and carries you along (it never drags).

"Charity Concert", for example prefaced by the straightforward "Colonel Peron/Eva Duarte...I've heard so much about you". Their first meeting on January 22, 1944 planned and calculated. Her past relationships were climbing and networking just for this moment.

Eva tells Peron she would be surprisingly good for him. "It seems crazy but you must believe there's nothing calculated, nothing planned..."

But that's not to detract from the score. Just listen to the almost, but never quite, jarring "Good Night and Thank You"; especially to Eva's melody set against Che and her lovers. "A New Argentina" just rocks. Visually, though, it was a far less spectacular number that it could have been as the Act 1 end. This wasn’t the only opportunity for spectacle that seemed wasted.

I seem to recollect from clips and pictures that I’ve seen from the original production (and I am far too young to have seen the original-take my word for it) that the stage was filled with descamisados (the shirtless ones-a description meant as an insult but transformed by Eva to a term of pride and glory) waving banners and standards.

In the new production the set is big and imposing-especially the Calle Posadas with the Casa Rosada between Peron and Eva's flats. (By a rather strange quirk of fate she lived in a flat in the block next door to the one she first moved herself into with Peron-usurping Peron's 16 year old mistress). Consequently the ensemble can seem rather sparse at times lost against the large set. There are enough of them, but not quite enough for a big impact, especially during "Buenos Aires". Nevertheless that was an extremely well choreographed number.

I remember seeing some clips of the original productions (London & US) and being blown away by some innovative choreography. For example in "Peron's Latest Flame", the group of upper class bodies moved across the stage, tightly packed together and precisely as one and to the exclusion of others. It so worked to emphasise the class division. Eva had a hatred of the middle class and up. When Eva’s father died his legitimate middle class family barred her mother, Eva and her siblings from his funeral. The choreography in this revival is good, but not as innovative, nor as symbolic.

So two missed opportunities-lack of bodies to blow you away; choreography not working in harmony to develop the strands. But where the choreography really and wonderfully works in the current production is during the "Art of the Possible"; when tango is turned into paced, deliberate wrestling, choreographing the struggle for power within the military, resulting in precise hierarchy. Mirroring Eva’s power climb.

The choreography still works to isolate and group the classes. In "Buenos Aires" this grows out from a mixed and indistinguishable whole. “Latest Flame” works in the same vein, with some impatient and rather striking heel stamping going on. Maybe it’s the uniform. In fact there's a really cute wee dancer (I think he's called Stuart Neal-I've yet to do a Google to see what that brings up-what is he doing with his hands when thrust deep in his pockets)?

Philip Quast as Peron is dependable. He's a big guy with a presence perhaps slightly less than his size, but only slightly. I think it's because his portrayal is understated-he has to be to be in contrast to Eva's Lady Macbeth (she is the ambition which drives them).

Physically when he is playing opposite Elena Roger (the main Eva) there is a vast difference. She must be 45cm smaller. In fact, when he kneels, the height differential is far less. Yet, it so works to have the two of them together. In terms of personality and drive Eva is the giant, and to have Peron as the physical giant next to her is a constant reminder of who has the real strength. It serves to emphasise his silent understated submissiveness.

Elena Roger-petite. She has such a big stage presence for such a small lady. She was born in Buenos Aires and apparently a movie and theatre star in Argentina. Her portrayal highlights Eva’s manipulative nature. Everything is calculated in her delivery, which may have been how Eva truly was. Was her success due in some small part to fate, rather than scheming, determination strength and ambition? No doubt the way the Argentinean plays her

She is a belter of a singer. Almost every line shouted out tunefully with real power. But I suspect the cost of that will be that she doesn't last the planned run. I doubt she can sustain it. Technique, training for sure, but even to my technically unskilled ear I can hear she is pushing beyond where she can go night after night. And so on Saturday night she was resting.

But her portrayal of Eva really doesn't develop. At 15 she is still the same Eva at 33. Which is where Abbie Osmon's Eva is different.

The alternate (not an understudy...so many legal reasons why not. Just see the issues the producers had with Notre Dame de Paris on that count) Eva is needed because the role is too demanding for one actor to deliver 9 performances a week. So we are told (even Elaine Paige had the same need for rest).

She gives a much sweeter and naive portrayal, although her Eva has a very Queen's English RP. Which doesn't suit the character (and has more to do with acting school I suspect... the same with Matt Rawle's Che). She doesn't belt every note either, although she can deliver power. Originally I thought she got it so wrong, portraying a more Mary Poppins Eva, totally not manipulative. By the end of the show I realised how much her characterisation had developed. She was a very different Eva, whereas Elena R's was very much constant.

The narrator of the show is Che Guevara. When Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber originally worked on Evita they envisaged the narrator as the "Everyman" character who could be a voice for all-descamisados and opposition and in between. However he became Che, even though there is no documented meeting between Che and Eva in real life. In the revival he is played by Matt Rawle (the first time I saw him, his brother was sitting just in front of me in the theatre). It's a demanding role. He also suffers from the same vocal/training technique that gives him that special RP sound, especially in "Oh What a Circus". But the charming thing is, I think he might actually be a native speaker of a language other than English...not just sure. Anyway, Matt is definitely growing into his role comfortably. Originally he was slightly, only slightly effete. And also slightly camp. His hands were rather Frankie Howerd the first time I saw him, but much less so a week later. Understated? I’m not sure. He is deliberate, becoming accurate and precise...

Originally I thought not enough had been made of the opportunity, but on reflection, seeing the show a second time was worth it. One moment that did NOT work however was Eva's Sonnet (You Must Love Me-the Oscar driven song now brought into the stage show). Freshly dropped onto the empty stage, Eva is left in front of a silent Peron, impotent (and of course he was. Eva is dying there is nothing he can do) The song and the moment just seemed lost, Eva lying on the stage (the rather annoying American child behind me summed it up. “Mommy I can't see the lady...”). Bland, lacking, non-descript, with NO emotional connection to loose yourself in. It could have been much more powerful.

As for the accents. What is happening? Elena R being the genuine article sings with an accent. Magaldi puts on an accent but no one else does. So they stand in isolation. Matt R as Che and Eva 2 are very English which makes Magaldi stand out even more.

Oh, and finally Lorna Want is a wonderful Mistress. Her "Another Suitcase in Another Hall" is a treat.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

A Mixed Tape (Like Me Like Me Like I Like Him)?

Ever done a mixed tape (or probably you'd now burn a mixed CD) and given it to someone you are or wanted to date?. Favourite songs, some with messages for the person you want to hear it? Your deepest feelings hidden in a lyric...

I've done it on a number of occasions in the past, but I never got the chance to make one for mon C. I was just musing what I would have put on it for him.

I don't think I've ever had one though. I wonder what I would get!

True Blue


I didn't realise how blue the moon made things. I should go out and bathe in it. Perhaps I'm just a little bit sad tout seul.

I'm Really Glad You Feel That Way

Thanks to Gay Boy in London for alerting me to it.

Best Gay Blog Newbies. Maybe I'll pick up another couple of readers. No, I *am* special (!) And now that I am officially a Londoner, get me my pearly Kings and Queens!!! (GB do you know what these are or is that another chapter for you to discover?)

Summer Delicious



I have discovered the drink for summer 2006, just the thing for entertaining guests. It's Prosecco Raboso. Described as a "delightfully fresh and frothy Italian sparking wine with an appealing elegant pink colour, and fruity character of pears and cherry drops. The finish is mouthwatering, dry and crisp".

While stocks last, go grab it from M&S. It's on offer...currently reduced by 20% to £5.99 a bottle. It's quite simply the best, most simple fizz I have enjoyed for some time and wholly appropriate for the "pink" connoisseur. I promise, you will not be disappointed. It's as light as this summer's fresh mornings. And tastes so much more expensive (so sssh!)

Friday, June 16, 2006

This Weekend

There's plenty happening. Where will you go today?

Trooping The Colour

Tomorrow is the Queen's official birthday. She's (already) 80. Go to the Mall early if you want to see it. It's lovely pomp and ceremony. Itinery as follows:

The Queen’s Birthday Parade at 11:00am on Horse Guards Parade. Colour trooped by 1st Battalion Welsh Guards. 41 Gun Royal Salute fired by The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery in Green Park at 12:52 hours after The Queen’s Birthday parade and 62 Gun Royal salute fired by the Honourable Artillery company at the Tower of London at 1300 hours to mark The Queen’s Official Birthday.

Trooping The Colour. At the Mall near you. Tomorrow.

West End Live

Happening at Leicester Square, Saturday & Sunday 12 noon to 6.30pm. Enjoy some West End theatre for free. Casts from several top West End shows will be performing, including Blue Man Group, Chicago, Footloose, Guys and Dolls, Mamma Mia!, Stomp, the Lion King and the Producers. Also other entertainment. But be aware, if you want to see West End show performers go early on Saturday (12.20-2pm) afternoon-after that they'll be busy doing their matinees.

Taste of London 2006

...mmm. Happening at Regents Park. Eat at 40 of London's best restaurants in one location. Still to go Saturday and Sunday.

And plenty other stuff I'm sure. Me...my friend from Praha is coming over to see The Queen. I guess he misses her. The we will whisk ourselves off to Regents Park to taste some very delicious and on Sunday we can czechOUT the West End happenings. Talking of which he's off to see Mack & Mabel tomorrow night I'm off to consider Evita again, before I make up my mind...

Homo Alone

Mon C is in Paris en route to Tel Aviv tomorrow, where he's working for the next 3 weeks. He tells me he loves Israel and particularly Tel Aviv. I think that the heat would kill me this time of year, but nevertheless I'm planning a trip with him later in summer.

It's my office summer party at the Savoy tonight, but I really wasn't in the mood to go. I've had an exhausting week at work (again). I'm constantly stressedOUT with deadlines, juggling various projects and demands at any given time. Project managing as well as doing the detailed day to day stuff. Additionally I don't seem to be sleeping all that well right now. I'm a light sleeper anyway, but in summer it's tougher than usual. The early light mornings, the heat, the noise of the birds chirping...on top of sleep interrupted due to stress. As a result I regularly wake up about 4am, lie awake for an hour or hour and a half only to drift back into a light sleep in time for the alarm going off just before 7am. No wonder I feel shagged.

The Savoy would have been nice. Great service, great food, nice surroundings. But who wants to wear a DJ on a night like this? So instead I came home, watered the plants on the terrace (I promised C I would not neglect them, which possibly I'm prone to do in time-I'm certainly not as dedicated as he; he used to get at up at 5am to water them before the sun came out). It's a pity though, because sometimes I quite enjoy socialising with some of my work colleagues. It can can be a chore (depending who you get stuck with). They are not my friends, but it's not so bad. They are a very sociable bunch, and the trainees are always good value.

I realised when speaking about it today that in the two or so years I've been there I've not made any of the firm, department or team summer or Christmas parties. So, how would I know!!! (It's a pity...there's a guy who works in the office-in one of the most visible of offices-I see him almost every day, and I'm sure he rides on the same side of the bus as me (and all other gay-ers). But we've never spoken. I just can tell though. It would be good to find a male colleague who's interested in men-and he is extremely cute too. But that's the problem when you work in a huge office. No opportunity to meet except at a social function. His specialised field is one where we are unlikely to cross professionally. For a while we caught each others eye regularly. But it's been so long that we've never spoken, an introduction would seem so obvious and token!)

That said, however, I realise how much entertaining and socialising is done in the office. On Wednesday there was a department drinks evening, with nibbles. I had a few nibbles, but drank nothing and came home after 10 minutes. Last night the associates in my department hosted a Trinidad & Tobago evening for clients and contacts, which involved drinking, eating and watching the footie. Themed food and drinks. I made an appearance and left immediately! Tonight, champagne and canapes followed by a 3 course dinner at the Savoy. And on Monday, one of my main client's is coming to speak to the my department at my suggestion about the big development that we have been working on. Which will involve more drinks and food. I guess I need this weekend to dry out.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Tricky Conditions

...according to itvWEATHER.

In the meantime, due to record June temperatures and slightly earlier than usual, my office has gone over to summer dress down. It's a bit of relief to start with. And at least I can choose loose, light clothing instead of shirt and suit. It's smart casual, no denim, no trainers.

The novelty soon wears off, however. It won't be long, I imagine, before I'm in front of the wardrobe each morning asking myself what I should wear. Thinking about what I wore yesterday, or earlier in the week. What tops go with which trousers. What footwear. Then I give up and go back to wearing my suit. It's far easier that way.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Evita Revived


On 21 June 2006 a new production of Evita opens at the Adelphi Theatre in London.

Evita is a through composed musical (it’s sung from start to finish, there is no dialogue) based on the life of Eva Duarte, the second wife of the Argentine president Juan Peron. She was born in Los Toldos, a village 150 miles west of Buenos Aires, in 1919, the youngest of five children, illegitimate and poor. At the age of 27 she became the First Lady of Argentina, the most powerful woman her country has ever seen. She died of cancer in 1952 aged 33.

Her rise is by design, as a result of her ambition, determination and plotting. Her elopement with tango singer Agustin Magaldi, her quest to become a successful actress to her first meeting with Peron in 1944 at a fundraising concert for the victims of the major San Juan earthquake, and beyond via her political ambitions for them both, are all shown to be part of her grand scheme.

Her success is not due to social climbing in the usual sense. She had to make her own society. When she became First Lady in 1946 she was hated by the Argentine Aristocracy and military. So she made herself the darling of the working class (and it is they who take to calling her “Evita”).

When she is excluded by the ladies of the Argentine Establishment from the Society of Philanthropy, which is traditionally led by the President’s wife, her solution is to establish her own Social Aid Foundation. Through it, gifts and money are distributed to the poor. Of course, how the money is obtained and where it all goes to is open to question.

Andrew Lloyd-Webber and Tim Rice started work on Evita in 1974, following on their hugely successful collaboration on Jesus Christ Superstar. In 1976 a concept album recording was produced with Julie Covington as Eva Peron. It was her recording of “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina” which became the best selling hit that everyone best recognises the show by.

On June 21 1978, the first staging of Evita opened at the Prince Edward Theatre in London. It made a star out of Elaine Paige, and also starred David Essex as Che (the everyman narrator role).

In May 1979 the American premiere opened in Los Angeles with Patti LuPone as Eva, before moving to Broadway.

Alan Parker’s 1996 film of Evita introduced a new audience to the story, and most notably, Madonna was cast as Eva. It also included a new song (written probably so as to qualify for an Oscar nomination), Eva’s Sonnet (“You must love me”) and now in the new production.

Review of the new production to follow.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

A Tale of Two Sundays

We went on a picnic with friends on Hampstead Heath last Sunday. The weather was lovely, and the Heath was busy. Although I have cycled through it before and around it on my way to Hampstead, I'd never stopped off to enjoy the space. There is so much green.


...tempted, the boys take a paddle.




Today in contrast, it's an indoors day. I'm meeting a friend, a former lecturer of mine. Her husband died suddenly last year. He was an author and playwright. One of her friends from Glasgow, Jackie Kay, wrote a novel "Trupet" inspired by the life of US jazz musician Billy Tipton who was revealed to be a woman following his death. Having become something of a queer classic it's now been successfully turned into a stage play. We're off to see it's London debut, after a spot of lunch, and then to the launch party.

Right Here, Right Now

Mon C and I are enjoying some pink champagne on our terrace. The moon is full and quite stunning. The weather station sensor (sensor 2 located here on the terrace) tells me it's 23.6 degrees centigrade with 51% humidity.

The Celebrity Spot

A few rows in front of us at the theatre tonight (originally recognised by C as someone he had seen on TV, but not sure where) was Corrie's Gail Platt, aka Helen Worth.



She's very small!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Britain, the United Kingdom, the British Isles and England

(Great) Britain is normally used to mean the island which includes Scotland, England and Wales; British is used to refer to the people of these three countries. Great Britain and Northern Ireland together are called the United Kingdom; some people also use Britain in this wider sense.

The British Isles is a geographical, and not a political term. It is the name for Scotland, England, Wales, the whole of Ireland (which includes both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, also called "Eire"), and the smaller islands roundabout.

Note that England (currently locally referred to by the commoners as EngERland) is only one part of Britain. Scotland and Wales are not in England, and Scottish and Welsh people do not (absolutely do not) like to be called "English".

A very informal word for a British person is Brit. Briton is used maily in news reports and newspapers (e.g. Two Britons go head to head in US Apprentice TV final), and to refer to the ancient inhabitants of Britain. The term should not, however, to be confused with Fern Britton.

Fern Britton is one of Britain's best-loved presenters on television today, currently on our screens as the regular presenter on ITV's flagship daytime show ‘This Morning'. Ms Britton was probably best well known for her role as the Presenter of BBC2's top rated and award winning Ready Steady Cook.

Kangaroos come from Australia, and are sometimes referred to colloquially as 'roos, but the Roo is the excuse that the English are currently pinning their word cup dreams on. Neither are known to speak English, which is the mother tongue of Britain, the United Kingdom, the British Isles and England.

And of America; as in the United States of...but let's not go there.

Many thanks to Gay Boy for his inspiration for this posting.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Lunch In Lille


On Saturday mon C and I popped over to France for a spot of lunch, an early dinner and we were home in time for bed! It was actually a pleasant and relaxed day, and a perfect one for eating out "en terrasse". The sun was shining and the main square was bustling.

As we were finishing lunch there was a little bit of a commotion. The next thing we knew drums were beating, music was pulsing and police cars drove into the square. It was the Lille Pride march!

Watching the parade with C, I realised that I had never actually seen (or for that matter taken part in) a gay pride march. I'm a man who happens to be gay. I'm not defined by being gay. It doesn't shape my life-it's only a part of my life.

On reflection it was a rather sad affair, with no more than 10 floats (some of which were just cars). As with the UK, most of the gay population gravitates to the capital, and being so close to Paris geographically, the draw is stronger. The majority of people on the march tended to be student clubbers, and the floats tended to be club oriented. People were having fun though.

I do have the chance to take part in the London Pride march again this year, on a float. It might actually be rather fun. So maybe I should just go for it-pop my pride cherry? Hmm.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Big Brother Watching

Once again I've seen that Big Brother really is …Big Brother, and cleverer than we might think.

We all know that in Orwell’s 1984 Big Brother is watching. But BB is also manipulating. And there was a very obvious example of how easily this can be done by those “in control” in this week’s BB.

No sooner are the nominations for the week’s evictions revealed in our daily viewing highlights than we cut to Sezer smugly revealing to his gang that he will be safe because all the girls viewing will want to keep him in the house (he’s already acknowledged that he is God’s gift to women) and obviously will vote for Lea to be evicted.

And again, we see another similar conversation before the end of the show, just before the numbers are revealed for voting. This of course shows him to be a chauvinistic twat, and convinces us that he’s such a wanker. Which he may well be. But it nevertheless influences you to vote for him. Which I did immediately. Twice.

It’s unlikely that the editor who decided to show these clips was anything other than fully aware of the light these specific clips would cast the housemate in, and the likely effect.

By all accounts it worked, with the housemate accumulating a record 91% of the votes for eviction.

It’s such a clear illustration of how we perceive the people in the BB house being entirely dependant on how we view them, which in turn is how the producers/editors choose to show them to us. Once you work that out it makes you think (if you didn’t already) how else our perceptions are shaped by what we read, see or hear. And what agenda are driving the choices of the people who decide what and how news is reported to us?

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Avenue Q


Last night C and I went to the refurbished Noel Coward to see the second night of Avenue Q. It’s a hoot, the theatre was full and the audience loved it.

Avenue Q is an adult puppet show where problems faced by adults are turned into mock educational songs making it, rather obviously, an unauthorised Sesame Street for grown ups. Hence the disclaimers that Avenue Q has not been authorised or approved in any manner by The Jim Henson Company or Sesame Street Workshop which have no responsibility for its content. It also comes with Parental Advisory Warnings over explicit content (it does have live puppet sex)!

Apparently the show’s creators mooted the possibility of a musical Sesame Street for adults with Henson Co, but they were turned down. So they went off to create their own Avenue Q. It was a huge hit on Broadway-grossing something like $65m in box office receipts-and went on to win 3 Tony Awards, even beating favourite Wicked as best new musical of 2003 (Wicked opens in London in September).

The hand puppets-Kate Monster, Rod and Nicky, Princeton and Trekkie Monster-live with some real people in an apartment block on Ave Q: Christmas Eve a Japanese immigrant with two masters degrees, but who can’t get work as a therapist nor even working in a Korean deli; her boyfriend Brian (aspiring stand-up comedian) and the grown up Gary Coleman (“I’m Gary Coleman, from TV’s Different Strokes/Made lots of money, but got ripped off by my folks”) as the building’s cartetaker.

Kate Monster has a dream to start her own school for monsters (and to find a boyfriend). Princeton needs to find his purpose. Rod is a closeted republican homosexual. And there’s Lucy the Slut

While Sesame Street is optimistic, Avenue Q’s starting point is that life sucks! If children knew how real life was going to be as an adult, they wouldn’t want to grow up-ever. “It Sucks To Be Me” and “The Internet Is For Porn” being two of life’s lessons.

Each performer voices and sings two puppets throughout the show. At first you tend to follow the actor rather than the puppet, but slowly the puppet becomes the character. It works extremely well.

The show has changed slightly for it’s London production. It had been reported that the Gary Coleman character was going to be dropped for London, but in the event it turned out not to be the case. If something ain’t broke, why fix it?

Being the second night, what was exciting was the atmosphere in the packed theatre, and seeing the show’s creators and producers. I even got the chance to speak with Jeff Marx, one of the show’s two creators, composer and writer.

The Celebrity Spot

Josh Rafter (Big Brother 2) walked past as I was having a coffee at Costa on Old Compton Street, waiting for mon C yesterday. From memory he is one of the owners of Outlet, a letting/estate agency business based there, so you often see him.



Later Neil Morrissey passed by.



Then at the theatre last night, a few rows behind me, sitting with the show's original US producers was Nick Rhodes, one of the founding members of Duran Duran. I'd spotten him originally while we were waiting outside the theatre.

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