Sunday, October 05, 2014

Parp, Squeak, Clinky-Clank, Bong …

It's BritSinf time again.

Stop yawning at the back. I know … same old post-gig euphoria with some fashion notes thrown in. I'll spare you this time and keep it short.

Best dress: Miranda Dale in a black lace gilet over an illegally low cut dress, the lower part of which appeared to be constructed from ripped spider webs and madness.

As per, the distaff contingent laughed the "black formal" tradition out of court, looking not unlike a mad witch's convention.

Best shoes: this evening's soloist, Nick Daniel: black Oxfords with lipstick pink soles and laces.

Right … The music:
First up: to lull any newbies into a false sense of security, a delightful little Mozart adagio arranged for strings and cor anglais. Lovely.

Look out … it's a BritSinf gig so expect to be startled.
It's Geörgy Kurtág time.
Two short and utterly beautiful pieces: Doodles for András Mihály's Birthday, followed by In Memoriam András Mihály, arranged for piano and strings by regular BritSinf collaborator and one of my personal deities, Thomas Adès. Divers instruments dotted around the stage and the auditorium, in amongst the audience. Weird, cacophonic beauty. I loved it.
Well, that certainly left a few mouths gaping. Awesome.

Now for some show-stopping fun: John Adams' classic Shaker Loops. The Brits have done the full orchestral version before so this time they gave us the septet. There ain't nowhere to hide when there are only seven of you, but the BritSinf are masters of clarity and precision (and frenzied dancing) and this one brought the house down and the first of several encores.

A quick break for wine, chatty and walkabout …

The second half was devoted to one piece: John Tavener's Kaleidoscopes, written especially for Nick Daniel and the BritSinf. Insanely complex and not really Tavenerish at all, this is so difficult to play that nobody else has dared try it, even though it's been around since 2006.
Perhaps only Heinz Holliger in his younger days would have the oboe chops to match Nick Daniel but I can't think of anyone else.
Multi-octave leaps, sustained and intensely fast legato passages that require a masterclass in circular breathing (he gave us a demo in the pre-concert chat, blowing a continuous oboe-player's raspberry for bloody ages, much to our mirth) and more towelling down than fat Elvis in his pomp.
And it's not just the oboe that's tricky. Nick stalks centre stage surrounded by four string quartets at the points of the compass, two double basses and a full set of temple bells and gongs.
No conductor. Four quartets playing in different time signatures, alternating incredibly slow with INCREDIBLYFAST and hitting the sudden-death stops absolutely together every time.
You shoulda been there.

Lots of encores, well deserved.

So, the 2014-15 season has kicked off. I've got my usual seat reserved for every show so look out for more of my blather and faff.


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sheesh! I Forgot to Post the Glam …

It's almost October; what the hell am I thinking?
I can't let a September go without a Goodwood Glam Parade.

This one's my absolute favourite from 2014. 
Gorgeous, glamorous, mysterious …
the vintage camera was the clincher, though.

Dawn, Phil and Old Dive enjoying a civilised luncheon.
A hamper of bubbly and proper sarnies and cake all wrapped up with string.

And now, in no particular order, feast your eyes on some Goodwood Glam.
Check out that hat! Whooee.

Don't forget to top up your lippy and slap.

Land Girls ahoy! Say hello to 1942.

Demure and delightful,
but check out that matching toenail polish!
Hoo boy.

Yikes! It's Lydia, the Tattooed Lady.
(sing along … you know you want to).

Kawaii Kimono and chic beret.
Style and to spare.


Redhead, blonde or brunette?
If you can't decide, take one of each.

The gels love a uniform, chaps.

Well, hello to you, too!

That's enough glam for today, people. There's plenty more for another day.
Toodle pip from the catwalk.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Bohemian Rhapsody

Weirdly beautiful and cool as fuck.
People, meet the glorious Tatra T87

Born in Czechoslovakia in 1939 with an arse like a space rocket and speed to match;
stolen by the Nazis as "THE car for the autobahn" and driven by Erwin Rommel among others;
the T87's amazingly low drag coefficient and awesome 3 litre transverse engine mounted over the back wheels inspired Doctor Ferdinand Porsche to copy its front end and engine arrangement for the Volkswagen and Porsche 911, an act that got him sued by Tatra for breach of copyright.

A baby like this will set you back around £140,000 (they only made around 3,000 of 'em) but amazingly there's an orange one that regularly races at Goodwood (see posts passim).

The Tatra T87: it's utterly bonkers but I love it.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Performing Through The Decades

See? See?
It's NOT just the young, skinny glamour girls I chase after for photos at Goodwood.
Well … occasionally it's not.
Not when such a magnificent lady as this one pops into my viewfinder.
The "Performing Through The Decades" slogan on the back of her race programme
seems to match her own experience.

These two, too, are completely beautiful in their "land girl" getups.

Dressing up in period garb doesn't have to mean glam and glitter.
This pair are perfect.

The Goodwood Revival Meeting is for ALL ages.

Indeed for all sorts.

And for all shapes and sizes (not so sure about the glitter shoes, though).
Yes, polka-dots are slimming …

… but they're no substitute for ACTUAL slimming.

That's all for today. I'll glam it up a bit next time.
Toodle pip!

Monday, September 15, 2014

They Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To (because they're a bunch of cheap shits with no more sense of style than a week-old dog turd) …

Continuing a theme I often get entangled in (and rightly so):

 Like the sad case of the classic Merc featured in the link above, Goodwood's annual Concours d'Elegance reminds me - rather forcefully - of the tragic loss of style, elegance and sheer, sumptuous beauty in 21st century "design".

This is a 5-series Beemer: the unutterably gorgeous BMW 507 from 1957.

 How fucking sexy is that? 
You know you want it, don't you? Yeah? Yeah?
Yes, you do. I can tell by all the drool on your chin.

Does it look like a 5-series Beemer to you?
Does it buggery.
No, instead it looks FANTASTIC!
What the hell happened to BMW?

Wake up, you serried tossers of the once-honourable Bavarian Motor Works!
You could do it once. You can do it again. How hard can it be?
I mean, this car is older than I am! 

I couldn't bring myself to photograph the modern version (you can just about make it out in the background).
The imbeciles have taken the magnificent grille of the 507 and turned it into a joke Hitler moustache.
Oh, for the love of all things decent …

Get a grip, you horrible Huns and sack your entire design staff.
And make sure you kick out the accountants, too.
Get some class, assholes.

The rest of us will just sit here and ache with longing for what might have been if you hadn't lost the plot.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Privates on Parade

In the words of the incomparable Captain Mainwaring:
Right, you 'orrible lot. Get your kit on and get your arses on parade.
Normally at this time of year you get photos of Phil with the Glamcab Girls

This year, however, to show solidarity with the distaff side, we present Dawn with the Dad's Army Boys.

And you all know what that means … Prepare yourselves to be deluged with post after post of vintage racing cars, planes and pretty gels in spiffy frocks.

Follow the rules and nobody gets hurt.
Welcome to the 2014 Goodwood Revival Weekend!

Monday, August 18, 2014


Yummy meal at the weekend for Mum's birthday. Phil treated us to a blow out at the Fox and Goose at Fressingfield.
Top food, top service, middling prices, beautiful building: Boffo!

Petrea, when you come over I'll take you and John there as you'd love the building (c.1503) as much as the food.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

A Whistleblower Writes …

Please read this article from the Guardian.

For any non-English readers, the Tories have been trying to replace state education with so-called "academies" (run for profit by corporations rather than for the education of students).

The OFSTED results (schools inspectors) gave the "academies" terrible reports, with good reason.

Suddenly, however, this spring, the "academies" were getting startlingly good reports and the right wing press (the Torygraph and the Daily Mail) were trumpeting their success.

Gosh! Maybe it's a GOOD thing to replace our free state education with profit-raking greed …

So what was happening?
By law, schools are only allowed half a day's notice of an OFSTED inspection. A friend of a friend who knows I love doing this kind of thing passed me this document, which I sent on to the Guardian's education department as well as local papers and other like-minded Tory-baiters:

It appears that the Tories, being a (cough) open and honest government (choke … gag) have been secretly giving their "academies" two weeks notice (sometimes more) of OFSTED inspections and parachuting in better teachers (only for inspection day), removing disruptive pupils, plastering over the cracks and slapping on a fresh coat of paint; in fact doing everything they can to fake a great report.

I had asked the Guardian to run with this and see where it went and it seems they have done just that.

Now all we have to do is kick the fuckers out at the next election and perhaps we can return to a decent education system, not one run for profit by filthy Tory financial donors.

Whistleblowing is a wonderfully rewarding hobby. I'd recommend it to anyone.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Beware Saggy Old Men in Lycra

Hey, laydees … Saggy old men in lycra are waiting for YOU!
Please note, I'm the only one present with sufficient common decency to cover my lycra padded undercrackers with baggy shorts.
Meet the newly consecrated office road race team about to set off on our first practice run for next season's Tour de Broads. The gels are kitting themselves out with new bikes and Emily and Corrina should be joining us next time around.
Tragically, the boss has designed some company cycling clothes (bright orange!) which should arrive before our next ride.
Here's where we went. A lovely sunny evening with much banter and some wicked hill climbs and sprints en route.

 We managed to get back in time for beer …

… and sunset.
Amazingly, no aches and pains today and having done the long distance meant I knocked five minutes off my time cycling home this evening.

Dammit … I'm becoming a cycling bore.