Tag Archives: Spud

Happy New Year

15 Jan

Not to you, dear reader – I’m two weeks late for that – but to just one dear reader…

…yes, Spud is 23 today! Happy birthday, Spud.

To celebrate, here’s some of your greatest hits:

 

 

And a little song to celebrate:

 

Not a birthday song, but one of my favourites by Alex and, let’s be honest, when I found out I was pregnant twenty-three years ago, I felt like dancing. Now I dance like felt.

Happy birthday, sweetie pie!

 

 

Yet More Dancing

14 Mar

An old pic of me dancing (in the rain)
The reason for oldmedancing is shared below

Thank you to everyone who made suggestions for my forthcoming book’s #I’mNotAllowedToSayTheNameYet dance song. I decided to go with – well, I had to, really, didn’t I? – the suggestion from ME Lewis at France Says:

Picture me boogying to this in my bedroom after hitting Send to my publisher.

You’ll have to picture it, because there are no pictures of it;  I haven’t boogied yet. Right after sending off my manuscript, I succumbed to a bacterial infection which saw me in bed for days, gulping down not one but two courses of those increasingly hard-to-get miracle pills, antibiotics. I’m on the mend now but it was touch and go for a while there whether I’d be able to eat all of my Maltesers. I’m happy to report that as of today I have none left.

When looking for a song, I came across this:

As much as I’d love to have used it, it’s not dancey enough. I found another which is quite dancey but, sadly, not entirely appropriate for a family-friendly blog. But go look it up; Google #MENOPAUSE MONDAYS®A Singing Uterus Explains Perimenopause and Menopause. Hilarious in an I-can’t-believe-what-I’m-seeing way.

The family and I – Hub, me, Spud, DisgustedwiththeTories Boy, and our newest member, Daddy’s Boy – were all dancing for joy this week, for an entirely different reason.

Debra at Breathe Lighter asked me a while back what Alex plans to do post-uni. I am now allowed to tell you that he got into not one, but two drama schools, and has accepted a funded place on a one year course at Oxford School of Drama.

When we heard the news, we all did this:

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Just to be clear – we’re all Laura Linney, not Karl on the right, who is every new graduate who has just realised the fun’s over; real life starts and oh no! here come the bills.

Fortunately, that’s not Alex. He won’t start work at McDonald’s for at least another twelve months.

 

Thank You

22 Feb

Thank you, everyone, for your good wishes this week. It’s a thrill to know how many friends I have, in the real and virtual worlds. I intend to respond to you all but this has been a manic week for me – although, these days, when is it not?

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I wanted to take a minute to share a video with you. As you know, Alex has sung with Sheffield University Broadway Orchestra many times, performing lost (though presumably found by the time they get to him) and forgotten (though presumably remembered etc., etc.) songs, some of which he was the first person ever to sing, or the first person in Britain ever to sing, for as many as eighty years.

On Sunday, he will sing in what will probably be his last Broadway concert, as he graduates this year.  

😦

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                                                                                          😦

Sorry, I needed a moment there. I have LOVED these concerts. Apart from The Tree of War (obviously), they have been my favourite shows to watch. They are fabulous.

The show is composed of songs from The Music Man, in honour of its sixtieth birthday. I had thought that they are not lost or forgotten but the website says the show includes ten songs cut from the original. Either way, they are rarely performed these days so, if you are in the Sheffield area on Sunday night, why not pop along? Here’s a link: The Music Man

To whet your appetite, here’s a snippet from rehearsal. Alex is singing with his regular collaborator, Debra Finch.

Hash Brown Rehash

9 Oct

A full English breakfast with scrambled eggs, ...

A full English breakfast with scrambled eggs, bacon, sausages, hash browns, and half a tomato (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

 

I’ve been absent for a month because things changed fast around here.  When I get a spare five minutes, I’ll tell you about it (and reply to your comments).  In the meantime, here’s a post that first appeared in 2012.

 

Saturday.  The scene: dinner time in the Bud House.

Spud:  What’s for dinner?

Tilly:  Bacon eggs pork sausages beans tomatoes leftover potato croquettes I found in the bottom of the freezer from when the kids were here in August because I’ve run out of hash browns and bread to soak it all up.

Spud:  Bacon?  But we had gammon yesterday.  Why are we having what is effectively the same meat again?

Tilly [Not bothering to put up a fight she knows she’ll lose]:  Fine.  What do you want instead?

Spud:  Sandwiches.  Got any ham?

*

*

Sunday.  The scene: dinner time in the Bud House.

Spud:  What’s for dinner?

Tilly:  Bacon eggs sausage beans tomatoes leftover potato croquettes I found in the bottom of the freezer from when the kids were here in August because I’ve run out of hash browns and bread to soak it all up.

Spud:  Do I have to have bacon?  I had ham yesterday and gammon the day before.

Tilly: [Previous bracketed comment refers]:  Fine.  No bacon.  Just the pork sausages?

Spud:  Great!

Fringe Benefits

8 Aug

Alex is at the Edinburgh Fringe this month in two shows, both of which have been shortlisted for the National Student Drama Festival’s Emerging Artists Award 2017 .  That’s twenty shows of over three thousand appearing this year.

I’ve seen both shows and they’re fantastic (there’s a reason they were nominated).  One is hilarious with music and the other is a musical with hilarity.

The music is great in both.  You can check out some of The Iconoclast songs on SoundCloud.  Sadly, there’s no link to Buried‘s music (yet), but I’ll share three of six from The Iconoclasts.

For me, this is the best song in the show: Estelle’s Song.

 BURIED

An exhilarating and witty look at love and the places it can take you. He’s a shy, seemingly-average young professional. She’s a sarcastic thrill-seeker. After matching on an online dating service, this young and fun-loving couple form a unique relationship when they discover something special that they have in common: they’re both serial killers. Tom Williams and Cordelia O’Driscoll’s dark, new piece of comedic musical theatre puts a sinister spin on relationships in the twenty-first century. Colla Voce Theatre make their Edinburgh debut with a bold new musical.

You can buy tickets for Buried here.  

britishtheatre.com describes the show as:

perversely charming and entertaining, full of dark humour and some killer songs..the music is richly melodic and soulful…book and lyrics are sharp and often funny.

THE ICONOCLASTS

The Iconoclasts tells the story of an exuberant family façade that is just about ready to crack. Music, magic, poetry, drag and comedy meet in an explosive night of would-be redemption for the former celebs, but the cabaret-style comeback night just goes further and further off course. Half-farce, half-tragedy, the Northern Irish family’s plight leads the audience through their chequered history with poignancy, humility and irreverence – all backed by a live funk band. If they’re going down, they’re going down swinging! ‘Beautifully played’ (Sunday Times).

Tickets for The Iconoclasts available here.

Listen to Alex’s solo: Razzmatazz

The Iconoclasts has been forecast by Fringebiscuit as one to watch:

They had me after four words. Part tragic theatre, part comedy cabaret night, emerging company Dear Hunter Theatre have basically put everything I love into one show. This could be a huge hit.

Their first review from Broadway Baby gave them four stars; here’s the opening paragraph:

The Iconoclasts is a perfect example of why one should never go into a show with any expectations. Based on the poster and description which I had only briefly skimmed, I was expecting a run-of-the-mill artsy cabaret show, with a bit of overdone backstory thrown in. What I got was a unique, political and thought-provoking piece of theatre, which worked on so many levels it is still making my head spin to think about.

The show’s closing number: Finale.

If you’re in Edinburgh this month, do yourself a favour and go and see both of these shows.  You won’t regret it.  

 

Good News, Bad News

14 Jun

Bad News

The Manchester date of The Iconoclasts tour is cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances.  

Good News

I can stop nagging my friends and family to buy tickets to support them.

Good News

Which is bad news for you if you live in London, Nottingham or Bristol – the other dates are still on:

18th and 19th June @ Camden People’s Theatre LONDON, 20.00 – 21.15
Tickets: https://www.cptheatre.co.uk/production/the-iconoclasts/

21st June @ STUFF NOTTINGHAM
http://newtheatre.org.uk/stuff/

26th June @ Alma Tavern & Theatre BRISTOL, 19:30 – 20:45
Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-iconoclasts-the-alma-tav

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Good News

My choir is staging a concert on Friday, with songs from the musicals.

Bad News

I can nag my friends and family to support us.


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Bad News

You visit this blog, expect to be hounded.

Good News

Buy a ticket and watch my colour change from red to less red as my hot flushes [desperately searches for a singing pun] [gives up] [if you can think of a good singing pun, you know where the comment box is] come and go at random.

Or, as Home’s Cool, one of my American readers so memorably put it, watch me as I flash in church.

 

The Theycanoclasts

18 May

(If They Get Enough Support)

The Blurb

‘The Iconoclasts’ is the debut show by Sheffield based theatre company, Dear Hunter Theatre. After a 5 star, sell-out run in Sheffield and performances at the National Student Drama Festival, this summer we are taking the show on a UK Tour, followed by a run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. We have been hard at work raising funds for the last few months. However, to ensure the show can go ahead, we need your help to raise a further £3000 to cover the enormous costs that come with a tour!

Image may contain: one or more people, people on stage, concert and night

All photos copyright Dear Hunter Theatre

The Link:

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/dear-hunter-theatre-s-the-iconoclasts-uk-tour#/  

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Tour Dates & Venues:

18th and 19th June @ Camden People’s Theatre LONDON
Tickets: https://www.cptheatre.co.uk/production/the-iconoclasts/

21st June @ STUFF NOTTINGHAM
http://newtheatre.org.uk/stuff/

26th June @ Alma Tavern & Theatre BRISTOL
Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-iconoclasts-the-alma-tav…

28th June @ 53two MANCHESTER
Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-iconoclasts-tickets-3423…

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The Review

From The Sunday Times:

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The (Ironic) Fun

If you are in the area, do try to see one of the shows, either on the tour or at The Fringe.  There’s a packet of Maltesers in it for you…

Don’t judge me; I’m a mother: bribery is my default setting.

 

 

There’s Been A Change Of Plan

17 Apr

Alexander Cosgriff (Alec Iconoclast) in The Iconoclasts, by Dear Hunter Theatre (Sheffield), at NSDF 2017.

So, there we were, all set for his radio debut, and what happens?  Alex comes back from the National Student Drama Festival with a horrendous chest infection and no voice.

He arrived home on Saturday and immediately set to with hot toddies of honey, lemon & ginger; Vicks in a bowl of hot water; a good night’s sleep; no dairy or caffeine – all of the usual remedies.  He went off to rehearsal in Sheffield yesterday with high hopes of a miracle occurring in the hour it took to get from home to hall.  His people dosed him up with more of the same; he opened his mouth to sing…and out popped a box of frogs.

The interview and live singing (by Debra Finch) is still going to happen today, 17h50 GMT on BBC Radio 3, but without Alex. 

Sad faces all round.

Alex is tucked up in bed here at home, disappointed but stoic.  As his mother, I’m less stoic and more gutted to my very core, but I’m a tad more dramatic than he is.

He had a great time at NSDF, at least.  Silver linings and all that.

The show he was in (The Iconoclasts, from Dear Hunter Theatre) is available to watch in its preview form.  It was recorded last year but has changed quite substantially since then.  His big number has remained, however; you can find it at 48 minutes:

Alex On The Beeb!

13 Apr

Alex is going to sing live on Radio Three on Monday.

That’s on THE BBC – OUR NATIONAL BROADCASTING SERVICE!  THE BBC! BBC RADIO!  He has to TRAVEL DOWN TO LONDON!  On a TRAIN!

I’m not at all excited.

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I don’t have any details yet, except that he’ll be performing with Debra Finch, his singing partner in the last few Broadway shows he’s done; and it’s to promote their next show, Lerner & Loewe’s The Day Before Spring, which hasn’t had a full performance since 1953 – which is probably why the BBC is interested.

I’ll update this post with details when I have them.

In the meanwhile, picture me on Easter Monday, sitting glued to the radio all day – or TV, in this case, as everyone listens to the radio via their TV these days.  Or maybe glued to my phone, waiting for Alex to remember his doting mother, up in the northern wilds of Britain, anticipating that text which will tell her what time he’s going to be LIVE ON THE BBC (radio, admittedly; and not even the MAIN radio station, but STILL, it’s the BBC, you KNOW).

No, I’m not at all excited.

Two Songs & A Book

28 Mar

First, Alex singing Celie’s song I’m Here from The Colour Purple in Miscast the other week:

Next, do yourself a favour – two favours – sign up to BookBub and download lots of free books to your Kindle…and then delete half of them because they’re terrible, but at least you didn’t pay for them; and the good ones are worth wading through the dross.Neanderthal Seeks Human (Knitting in the City, #1)

And do it TODAY, so you can get a free copy while it’s available of Penny Reid’s Neanderthal Seeks Human.  She writes witty, intelligent romances with quirky characters and I own every book she’s written and hate that I discovered her while she’s still writing because I have to wait for the next book, and the next, and the next…you get the idea.

How can I convey the depth of my love for her books?  If I tell you I would spend my Malteser money on them, would that do it?  

My favourite line: This is the mammals all over again.

Go and get it NOW!  It’s FREE!

Finally, Alex and the other Colla Voce Boys in Chicago’s Cell Block Tango:

SElf-Explanatory

13 Mar

Here are some videos of Alex performing.  The first is from The Boy Next Door, a concert of the music of Hugh Martin.  There are more videos if you let it play out; and The Mamas & The Papas fans might enjoy a new girl group’s rendition of one song in particular:

The second is a compilation of snippets from a show he did last year, The Colla Voce Theatre Cabaret, made up of songs from modern musicals:

This weekend Alex was involved in several events at Sheffield University’s Platform festival, in aid of Cavendish Cancer Care.   On Friday he sang in the SUPAS Showcase, playing George III in Hamilton, singing You’ll Be Back:

 

Thursday to Saturday he’s performing in Miscast, again with Colla Voce Theatre:  

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Hit the link to buy tickets if you happen to be in the Sheffield area.

If you haven’t heard of Miscast, it’s ‘an annual benefit in which Broadway stars perform songs from musical roles which they would be very unlikely to land in…’ [Playbill].

And finally, I have a belated Christmas gift for you: I don’t think I’ve mentioned that he had his first paid acting gig at Christmas…playing one of Santa’s Experience Elves at the Trafford Centre.  I love that he did that as it gives me another opportunity to poke fun at him; I don’t even need to say anything – just put the pic out there:

 

 

 

March Repeats

6 Mar

Here are some bits ‘n’ pieces from March 2010, because nothing says ‘tired blogger’ like recycled writing.

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On a Broken PS3

Sony, intimidated by my threat to mobilise the world, have fixed the problem. Or, to be strictly accurate, the PS3 has fixed the problem itself. Just what we need: intelligent computers. A few tiny steps from sentience and then we’ll have Arnold Schwarzenneggers all over the place.

Let me terminate this topic by telling you that Spud is at this very moment catching up on last night’s playing; I can hear him muttering parent-approved swear words under his breath (blast/fart/crap).

He reminds me of his father, who would come home from work in the early days of our marriage and play games on his monochrome screened, 20 megabyte hard driven computer, and scream the foulest language at it. When I asked him why he played them when they had such a deleterious effect on his mood, he replied, ‘Because it relaxes me.’

Proving that even back in the Eighties computers were already smarter than some people.

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On a Horse

I read this years ago and I have always wanted to share it.  It is supposed to be a true story;  you’ll have to decide for yourself.  I soooo hope it is.

The Queen was entertaining a visiting head of state; they were parading down the Mall in a horse-drawn carriage, chatting nicely, when one of the horses made what can only be described as a rude noise.

QEII: I’m so sorry about that.

HoS: Please don’t apologise; if you hadn’t said anything, I’d have assumed it was the horse.

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On Exercise

I was cheered by a report in the Telegraph* that says dog owners get more exercise than non-dog-owning, gym-going folk. 

*Yes, I know the report appeared months ago but give me a break; I’m exhausted from all the walking.

This is true (it says so in the papers so it must be).  My dog has short legs – shorter even than mine – and it was recommended that he get half-an-hour’s walking a day, which means that I get half-an-hour’s walking a day.  He often gets more, of course, but only if it’s not cold, not wet, not dark, not boring and I’m annoyed with the Hub.  If I’m being honest, if it was just the last qualification we would have daily three-hour walks.  

Toby also runs around a lot in the house – she’s standing up: there must be food!  He sneezed; I wonder if there’s any food?  The big one’s home; I bet she makes food.  He likes to play tug with his gezillion toys, which means that we play tug with his gezillion toys as well.   He’s very demanding; maybe we should have had another kid instead; at least they grow up and leave you: we’re stuck with this fella until he departs for that great park in the sky.  Hope there’s less poo up there.

I was also chuffed to notice a related article which claims that playing Sudoku burns off more calories than is contained in a Hobnob.  Me, I am liking this newspaper.  When I spotted that ‘Comfort eating does work’ and that superdiets are ‘based on myths’, I had to roll around in a box of Maltesers to celebrate.
*

I am a little surprised, given this rigorous exercise & diet regime, that I don’t look like Posh Spice**.  Next time I am exercising the dog  I will put away my Sudoku puzzle as I sit virtuously on my park bench, and exercise the little grey cells instead: I’m sure M. Poirot will be able to help me.

After all, we look so alike.

**I first typed, ’I am a little surprised that I don’t like Posh Spice’.***  Think it was a Freudian slip?  I don’t; I rather like her, but why does she never smile with all that she’s got to be happy about?  I bet she’s hungry.  She should follow my diet then she could look terrific and be cheerful.

***Then I corrected it and accidentally wrote, ‘I am a little surprised that I don’t loo like Posh Spice’.  Don’t think we’ll go there.

21 Today!

15 Jan

Linda & Alex 15011996

Happy birthday, Spud!  You survived me to manhood; you deserve a medal…or at the very least, a trip to the RSC to see Simon Russell Beale smash Prospero.

Oh, wait, we did that yesterday!

This is you, handsome as always:

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This is you, letting me be in the picture this time:

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We love you; we’re proud of you; please get rich so that you can look after us in our old age.  That’s why we had you, after all.

Here’s a birthday poem for you:

Happy birthday to Spud
You’re not quite a dud
You like Shakespeare
And have big hair
You’re a good kid, though weird*

*Seriously, what do you expect?  It’s almost midnight last night and I was out on trains, eating chips, and at the theatre all day; if that isn’t good mothering, I don’t know what is.  Don’t expect great poetry as well.

Happy birthday, darling boy!  

PS Angry Men!  Snow!

 

You Lerner Something New Every Day

22 Dec

Sorry!  Sorry!  I know I owe replies and visits for more than one post but at the moment my life is hectic; I can offer no reasonable dialectic, simply that my use of time by default must be selective; in truth, it is somewhat eclectic…hence this frantic pseudo-poem.  Oh no!  Must you really be going?

I also apologise that this poem is catalectic*

*adjective:   (verse) metrically incomplete; especially lacking one or more syllables in the final metrical foot 

Right, now that I’ve got that out of my system, I really do apologise for being so neglectic.  If I believed in New Year’s Resolutions, I’d make one to blog properly i.e. stop being so rude.  Fortunately for me, I don’t; so I won’t.

Kidding!

I want to wish you all a Happy Christmas so I’ll do that by shamelessly promoting Alex with videos from his last show, Lerner Without Loewe.  Alex sang twelve songs with Matthew Malone’s 35 piece orchestra, all with lyrics by Alan J. Lerner (Camelot, My Fair Lady, etc.) and music composed by someone other than Frederick Loewe.  Breathe, dear reader…I won’t post all twelve here, or you’ll be watching until next Christmas.

In this first trailer, the first speaker, Professor McHugh, is a leader in the academic field of Broadway musicals.  I confess, I’m not certain how big that field is, but the man really knows his stuff:

Alex appears halfway through this next one but the first song is worth listening to; Lerner’s brilliance with lyrics really shines through – listen for how he rhymes ‘rhododendron’ with ‘friends’:

A quick one, in rehearsal:

This next one makes me simultaneously proud and queasy – Alex sings so sweetly but the song is from what amounts to Lolita – The Musical, and the lyrics reflect that:

More rehearsal:

And more (Alex is halfway through again):

This one, also in rehearsal, has Alex singing a song that was written between 1936-1938, words & music both by Lerner, which has probably not been performed since, meaning that Alex is quite possibly the first person to sing it in eighty years.  This is also probably the only recording of this song, so, just like the secret mentioned in the lyrics, here’s a secret from me to you: he fluffed one of the lines.  Heehee!

This song was written for three parts but Alex sings it all:

Another good one sung by Debra Finch:

Last one, from rehearsals.   The final song is the only one I’d heard before, and it turned out to be my least favourite because there were just so many great songs on the night:

You deserve some eggnog after that marathon watch. 

Merry Christmas!

 

Don’t Cry, America

9 Nov

There’s a song from The Book of Mormon called Turn it Off.  That’s the advice given to those facing disaster or who may have too many feelings.

It just so happens that Alex sang it with some of his fellow performers on Friday night, and I have the video to prove it.  I thought it might cheer up those of you in a state of shock right now.  Or at the least help you to contain your horror.

Enjoy!

 

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