Tag Archives: Spud

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!

 

I’m On The Telly (Sort Of)

4 Nov

In an advert.  My voice is, anyway: one of many, fortunately, otherwise Toys R Us shoppers would stay away in droves.

You remember I joined a community choir this year, run by the wonderfully talented Ollie Mills, who composed The Tree of War?  He was commissioned to do the arrangement for this year’s Toys R Us Christmas advert, and they needed a choir for the end.  It just so happened that Ollie had a choir on speed dial…

We recorded our bit in St  Nicholas’s Church, Burnage, where we practise (join us if you live/work in the area).  We had a sound recordist, fluffy mics, screens and everything.  It was great fun for ninety minutes but I wouldn’t want a career as a studio recording artist: the same lines repeated until Herr Diktator Mills was satisfied – he must have made us do each line at least three times.  I don’t know how singers cope with the tedium.

Kidding!  I had a blast; we all did; and Ollie is the most patient musical director I know (and I know at least three).

I’m now going to debunk a myth I have long believed: that the people who appear in adverts use their own voices (except for the obviously foreign adverts, overdubbed with British voices.  Hello?  Febreze?  On a sunny day?  I don’t think so…not in Britain, anyway; we don’t do sunshine).  The choir doesn’t appear in the advert; in fact, all of the singers are actors dubbed by real singers and me.  Go figure.

Talking of real singers…if you’re in the Sheffield area tonight, Alex is appearing in cabaret.  Colla Voce Theatre Company (for whom he appeared as The Last Five Years’ Jamie Wallerstein) is staging a one-night-only

[E]xciting evening of contemporary musical theatre, hosted by our very own emcee, Karam Deo. Accompanied by a live band, hear audience favourites with songs from musicals such as Book of Mormon, Hamilton, and hilarious comedy writers such as Joe Iconis whose work is rarely seen in the UK. Catch some classic Jason Robert Brown, and experience the up and coming talents of Bobby Cronin. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to catch a “remarkable” theatre company performing inspiring work.

Do make it if you can; there are still a few – a very few – tickets left.  Buy online here.

Oh no!  I went to add the link and the show’s sold out.  Hmm…maybe that should be, Oh yes!

And Finally…

Here’s some audio of Alex singing in concert with Matt Malone’s orchestra earlier this year.  It’s a song from the original stage version of Paint Your Wagon, which didn’t appear in the movie.  It’s a shame, because it’s a great tune with clever lyrics:

 

In Which I Attempt To Smooth Over My Long Absence By Offering You Some Old-Fashioned Entertainment

22 Sep

Hey sweeties, how are you all?

Apologies for how long it’s been since I last posted.  In my defence, 2016 has been the busiest year of my life, one way or another.  I took a couple of weeks off in August to recharge my batteries but hectic life started up again in September.

Some highlights: as a volunteer, I now run a monthly creative writing workshop at a mental health charity here in Stockport.  I have also delivered other workshops elsewhere, including at the school where I’m a governor.  I’ve given a number of poetry readings.  I finished the holiday club script and dived straight back into editing my second poetry collection.  I have been up and down the country by train for various reasons, most of which – but not all – involved watching Alex perform in one thing or another.  We’ve had both boys home, together and separately.  And I joined a community choir (because I obviously don’t have enough to do).

I love to sing.  I have a pleasant voice; not great.  Naturally, if I’d had training, I’d be a massive superstar a la Kylie Minogue (same height) or Susan Boyle (same great looks), but instead, thanks to my parents’ complete lack of foresight, I’ve had to settle for a wobbly command of mid-range notes, sung in the my-dog’s-embarrassing-howl style.  Nevertheless, I love being part of a choir.

I especially loved it last Saturday, when the choir held its fifth anniversary concert, singing a collection of music down the centuries, from Mozart and madrigals to the Beatles, Coldplay and Adele (what is wrong with that woman?  Someone Like You…total stalker anthem).

Here’s my problem: I’m easily distracted.  If I sit in the middle of the Altos, I can sing the alto line-tune-harmony-whatever.  Place me anywhere near the Baritones or Sopranos, however, and I’m all over the place, and not in a good seeing-the-world-and-all-its-wonders way.  I’m the musical equivalent of a wrecking ball, bashing the closest notes in a frenzy of must-get-through-this-no-matter-what and taking down anyone within range before they’re even aware that the trill under the bridge has escaped to eat anyone unfortunate enough to cross its path.

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This is not a case of false modesty: I cannot hold a tune if my neighbour wavers even a little from my particular party line.  It is for this reason I opted to sit near the back of the Altos on Saturday night, at the end of the row closest to the wall.  I was safe there; and everyone was safe from me…until three surplus Sopranos were moved to the only empty seats on the stage, next-but-one to me.  Ah well; I smiled a lot, sang the unison parts and mouthed the words when the tune overpowered me. The audience seemed to enjoy themselves all night so I don’t think they noticed; though the Mayor of Manchester did leave early…he said it was for another engagement, but he would say that, wouldn’t he?

The most exciting thing for me was that I got to perform with Alex!  Granted, he was a featured soloist and I hid behind my scores the whole night, but still, I performed with my baby!  He sang the lyrics to Billy Joel’s For The Longest Time and the choir sang all the backing ‘woh-woh’ bits. Thirty-six members of the choir sang the ‘woh-woh’ bits, that is; and one member kept getting distracted and forgetting where she was up to.

The harmony lyrics are basically, Woh-oh-oh-oh…For the longest time.  How hard can it be?

Pretty hard, actually, if you’re trying to listen to the child who once sat in your stomach like lead pillow stuffing sing like the angel who gave you stretch marks on top of your other angel’s stretch marks, and thirty-six other people won’t shut up so you can hear him.

Now for the promised entertainment: I’m not going to give you For The Longest Time because there’s some woman in the back out of time and out of tune; instead, I give you a little bit of Gershwin.  You may recall Alex’s frequent collaborator, Sam Gilliatt, who played Jesus to his Judas in Godspell; and Greville to his Bert in two separate productions of The Tree of War.  Here they are showing off their natural onstage chemistry.  You can thank me in the comments.  Incidentally, this performance came after one ten-minute rehearsal, thirty minutes before the show.  Both boys had been busy with other things and that was their first opportunity to rehearse together.

Fred & Ginger Fred

Postscript:

My favourite comment of the night came from the sweet geriatric lady who told Alex, ‘I’m one of your groupies.’

 

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