Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Apologies for the radio silence. I wish I had a good excuse. Normal business will resume shortly.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Life after 30

'Before Elvis there was nothing,’ as John Lennon famously put it. And today on the 30 year anniversary of his death those words couldn't feel more true. As I looked for a suitable clip to put on here today I came across this gem, the only live recording of what has to be one of the best live songs. It rips my heart out every time.

There is a reason he is called the King and that's because in a world where popness has become the measure of everything, we’re all Elvis impersonators now. Elvis was the first. Since him, consumerism and the media have swallowed everything, and Elvis has become the personification of the looking-glass world we inhabit now, a latter-day Narcissus who drowned in his own reflection (on his bathroom floor) - but granted immortality in a universe of surfaces and permanent (shallow) memory.

Elvis’ is Fame’s first name in an age when ‘fame’ is something we’re increasingly over-familiar with. Perhaps this is why in Elvis’ face we can see an angelic/demonic premonition of the faces of so many of those stars that have come after: Tom Cruise, Mick Jagger, Michael Jackson, Jim Carrey, Madonna, Bill Clinton, Diana, Jeffrey Dahmer.

Since his death, the lost lurve-object has been introjected into our collective Unconscious so completely that we don’t have to be lonesome tonight or tomorrow or in fact ever again. His absence has become an overwhelming presence.

Elvis really is alive. It’s just the rest of us that I’m not so sure about.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Who is Observer Woman?

It arrives once a month. It’s often painful, always annoying. Liable to invoke irrational mood swings and violent bursts of temper. It’s messy, embarrassing and is often known as ‘the curse.’ Yes. It’s the Observer Woman Magazine. Could it be less relevant? Could it be more offensive? 51% of humanity reduced to simpering, bitchy whores of the fashion industry. Nothing to trouble our little minds but hunky men, flashy lip gloss and Gucci gussets. I resent it. I resent it so much I went to all this trouble to type up this blog. And I have a real job. It took a good 30 minutes out of my drinking time.

Maybe you think I am being a bit harsh. And that's fair enough. So let's take a look at last week's cover story:

Gwen Stefani interview. Ooooh, this could be interesting...Oh. It's an article about frocks.

"I'm like every other woman. I'm super-vain. I have issues."

No Gwen, you're not. However you have captured the entire spirit of OWM in two short sentences. For months I have been wondering what devil in Prada OWM is aimed at - and now I know. Gwen Stefani IS Observer Woman.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Hot and bothered

I don't know about you, but I am confused this week. For starters, why did it take Americans years to see through Bush and Cheney and days to see through Posh and Becks? Surely Dick's fake heart is cause for more unease than Piggy's fake boobs? Then there is Gordon Brown trying to convince MPs to give the police new anti-terrorism powers alongside revelations of the tragic truth behind the Menezes shooting. Surely not. And then the really bad news that pub operator, Mitchells & Butlers, is facing financial disaster because they didn't know the debt markets are closed. Since when did publicans maneuver in the world of interest rate hedging? Isn't that what investment banks are for?

See what I mean? Contradictions abound. Just look outside: could that actually be sun over London? Before things become too unbelievable, let's restore some order with the 37th edition of City Slicker's "Week Action, Weekend Reaction."

1) Does the annual media build up to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival make you curse double-booked, priced out accommodation that leaves you stuck luvvie-less in London? React by heading to Zone 2's answer at the Camden Fringe. Etcetera Theatre and Liberties Bar, Monday July 30 to Sunday August 26. For the full programme and ticket information, click here.

2) Has word of this weekend's village fete put on by the Innocent smoothie guys made you want to hurl over a Cath Kidston picnic blanket? React by leaving welly wanging behind and head to the Latina-ised version at the Carnaval del Pueblo. 12-9:30pm Sunday August 5. Burgess Park, Albany Road, Camberwell, SE5. Free.

3) Are you more about the Hawaii Ironman than this weekend's London Triathlon? React with sport in the sand closer to home as Regents Park turns into a top beach volleyball venue. Saturday August 4 and Sunday August 5 . Details here.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Aborted attempt

I was en route to the Menier Theatre last night when reality hit: I was going to a musical about aeronautics. When had things got so desperate? Well before the interval is the answer, but I didn't know that then. No, I consoled myself with the prospect of drinks and shrieks as I was meeting up with the fantastically fun West End Whingers. And, sure enough, we soon found out that consolation was in order.

If it weren't for the 'misery loves company' aspect to enduring bad theatre with friends, the night would have felt like training in mutually assured destruction . The attackers played by the show's production team intent on undermining necessary conditions of good musical theatre with the audience as the defenders brazenly resisting the relentless assault. Any actor who is forced to bellow: "How can we be wrong? We're the Wright brothers!" must know that the script is flying (sorry) against the wind.

There is little in the staging or set to ever suggest the sensation of soaring (or the sensation of anything, really). I spent more time looking for the emergency exits than adopting the brace position. When I wasn't fighting to stay alive (I mean awake) I was distracted by whether the actor playing Lindbergh looked more like Wayne Rooney or Phillip Seymour Hoffman. But that's enough hot air for today, if only because the Menier is such a brilliant young theatre that you can't help but want to scale new heights. And, for me, one valuable realisation did come out of the expedition: Amelia Earheart's costumes made me vow to never wear my Snoopy-style leather aviator cap ever again. And that sort of insight always comes at a cost.

Mainstream reviews here:
Independent (honest) , Guardian (complimentary) , FT ( delusional).

And, of course, one is on its way from my most trusted source.