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The Review of Life - Day 20 - David Boyle as Anthony Newley Tue 7th Aug, 2007

 

This is not a precedent. This is not the way of the future. This is simply a coping mechanism.

 

Edinburgh during the festival does not adhere to the conventional rules of time and space. A day becomes a week, a week becomes a month, the month of August becomes a year and an hour becomes, well, ask my audience, but i am guessing an hour becomes eternity in a bad show and five minutes in a great show.

 

To try force some sort of balance a lot of the reviews this month will be very short indeed. Time is stretching up here, so i am fighting back by squeezing it. I know, i am one of the good guys, fighting back against the tyranny of time.

 

The last review was Hairspray, which incidentally has become my soundtrack of choice for the festival so far, and since then i have seen one show a day.

 

Wednesday

 

The Songs of Anthony Newley by David Boyle.

 

I love Newley, he is one of the neglected geniuses of the 20th Century. He wrote so many great songs, great musicals, was a child star (the Artful Dodger in Lean's Oliver Twist) and was a massive cabaret star in Vegas during the 60's.

 

The show is the story of his life, performed by David Boyle who does an absolutely incredible imitation of Newley. The singing is simply stunning, and he looks weirdly like him as well.

 

The show itself is a little flat, possibly because it would have to be brilliant to match up to the songs and the performers voice, but i think the main problem is that we don't really get to know about Newley's life that many people don't know anyway.

 

There is very little depth to the show, but is almost impossible to criticise in terms of pure performance, and the sheer quality of the songs.

The Review of Life - Day 19 - Hairspray Wed 1st Aug, 2007

 

Paul Sinha, very good stand-up comedian and gay, once told me that he isn't into any of the trappings of being gay, but just really likes the sex. I think i am the opposite, i like nearly all the lifestyle bits, just don't fancy men.

 

I went to see Hairspray yesterday, the film version or the Broadway musical version of the original John Waters film, Hairspray. I have never seen the show but love me a musical.

 

The story, in it's loosest sense, follows an overweight girl called Tracy, and her attempts to perform on a TV dancing show in the 1960's, and how her attempts lead to love and racial integration.

 

As i am trying to put off thinking about Edinburgh, there is nothing better than a few hours spent in the cinema watching a musical about a podgy girl jiggling about.

 

I completely understand people reticence towards the musical as type of entertainment, the contrived bursting into song, the songs themselves that are never anywhere as good as proper songs, the overacting and the garish colours, rubbish plot and dodgy script.

 

I can't really see where the criticism is meant to lay.

 

Hairspray contained all these elements, and more, and not once did i get bored or insulted or cringe at the lack of quality across the board.

 

All i did was tap my foot and try and sing along to songs i was hearing for the first time.

 

Ok, so here is the caveat.

 

I was the only one.

 

I got in a bit late due to confusion surrounding my desire to have exactly the same ice cream that i had the day before, and as the film was busy, due in part to The Simpsons selling out, when i got into the cinema the only seats left were right near the front.

 

I don't sitting close to the front, in fact my favoured location tends to be about 8 rows back and on a 45 degree angle to the screen. I was a little closer than optimum, but not enough to spoil the experience.

 

The thing about this seating location was my ability to look behind and see the reactions of the masses watching and nibbling and sitting completely still. There was no foot tapping. There was no head bopping. There wasn't even a broad streak of smiles from one side of the cinema to the other.

 

All i saw was a group of passive sitting passive as these hugely colourful images and loud acting and annoying songs ripped across the screen.

 

These colourful images that informed my dreams and these annoying songs that have stayed in my head for the past 24 hours.

 

I don't need drugs or booze or gay sex or straight sex or a combination of the above to survive Edinburgh, all i need is fat girls dancing and men in drag singing.

 

 

The Review of Life - Day 18 - The Simpsons Wed 1st Aug, 2007

 Before reading this just be aware that it is the day before my Edinburgh show starts. Armed with the knowledge carry on.

The problem with the Simpsons is that there are just too many of them. The jokes are amazing, but there are a lot of them. I have friends who can do that thing where they repeat jokes from Alan Partridge and The Simpsons, and other shows of that ilk, but i have never been able to do that. I enjoy those shows but most of the time they just go in one ear and out the other.

 

The great thing about The Simpson's film is that it is finite, and i don't have 400 episodes to remember, and just 82 minutes.

 

And it was a good 82 minutes. A great 82 minutes. Or is it 86? Never mind.

 

I don't really know what else to say that hasn't already been said. My mind is a bit too much in Edinburgh mode to form actual paragraphs and constructed thought, so, as with exams, if you can't do the actual work, at least show your working out.

 

Seeing all the characters on a giant screen was a bit freaky.

 

Seeing Bart's cock was a bit odd.

 

I had a really nice ice cream.

 

There was a little boy sat behind me who laughed louder and for longer than anyone i think i have ever heard, i thought he might die.

 

I think maybe they should just cancel the programme and make films.

 

I don't really get why Marge loves Homer so much.

 

I wanted more of Barney.

 

I wish Lisa's bloke was not Irish.

 

Ned is a lovely man.

 

I worry that i am turning into Comic Book Shop man.

 

I would like to live in a dome.

 

This is how my brain is working at the moment. I flit between pro-evo, books, magazines, TV, walking about, and can't really do anything for more than five minutes without my mind throwing me into my gig tomorrow night.

 

I have been rereading these reviews and notice that they reflect my mood, and at the moment i feel slightly autistic/adhd, if i was able i would probably end up putting pictures drawn with crayons on here rather than write.

 

Right, i am off to rock backwards and forwards in a corner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Review of Life - Day 17 - Cheese and Tapas Mon 30th Jul, 2007

 

This is it, my last food review for a while. I have been reading the last entries and am worried that i am becoming both repetitive and as bit mental about food. I would love to blame the pressure of doing Edinburgh, but that falls down because a) i am not feeling too nervous at the moment and 2) i tend to focus on food too much anyway.

 

Yesterday (i have managed to almost get back up to date with this review thing) i had a lovely Sunday roast in Stockbridge and last night i had tapas.

 

I like tapas, it feels like a very British thing. I know it has a foreign name, and comes from foreign places and usually consists of foreign type food, but there is a sort of traditionally pub food quality about it, reminding me of going into pubs with my dad when i was younger and seeing bowls of roast potatoes on the bar.

 

This tapas was not great. There were a variety of chicken based things that ranged in quality from not bad at all to making me want to rip my tongue out, and then other things that i kind of recognised and liked.

 

The thing that made it great, and i think this will be the first review that is also a little tip for the day, was the Camembert.

 

I think cheese can make everything better. I have a slightly odd relationship with cheese. I am not a fan of it in chunks, finding the process of biting into it makes me feel a bit odd, but in all its other guises i think it is great, good cheese can turn a horrible meal passable, and a good meal great.

 

Last night is a good example. I was not particularly enjoying the tapas until i discovered the Camembert and then used it, and various meaty things, as my very own little fondue.

 

I must have looked like a heart attack in waiting, sat on my own discovering ways of fitting food into the cheese. I am able to block out the world when eating, partly because of my love of eating, but mainly because of the concentration i need to get things from plate into mouth.

 

Cheese is great as a way of binding the food, stopping stray bits landing on me, apart from strangely, stray bits of food.

 

Cheese is my friend.

 

Sorry, i have been in this flat on my own for two days and feel that i am quite close to buying several Dairy Lea triangles and leaving them in places to act as company. And finally would have a flatmate i can beat at Pro-Evo.

 

 

The Review of Life - Day 16 - Fat Jacket Mon 30th Jul, 2007

 

I apologise for the following few reviews. The Edinburgh festival has reared its Scottish head again, and while in the next view days the Review of Life will return to its badly spelt, badly grammatical and esoteric ways, the next few days will consist of various degrees of staring into space and folding pants.

 

I like food, which i think has become painfully obvious, and although my radar tends to point me in the direction of fatty things and bits of stuff battered and covered in other stuff, i also have a soft spot for traditionally healthier options. Albeit dipped and smothered in cheese.

 

Had a jacket potato on Saturday and am amazed that i didn't immediately leap into the Burger King next door to remove the taste and memory of the spud from my mind.

 

All shopping centres seem to have a food court, with various different eateries scattered around selling over priced eats. The food court at The Galleries in Bristol has declined to such a point that the only remaining outlets are the Burger King and a jacket potato supplier called Fat Jackets.

 

I could, and in retrospect, should have followed my instincts and went for the burger, but with Edinburgh in mind, and some ridiculous notion of health and well being went for the jacket.

 

Now, if i ran a jacket potato shop i would probably have potatoes as my mainstay, and then when that central ingredient is firmly, and burntly, in place, i would probably go a bit jazz. I would throw loads of different toppings together, i would give them wacky names, i would have a menu several metres long and pictures of little people tossing the toppings onto the spuds.

 

I would not have a menu that consists solely of cheese, beans, tuna and cottage cheese. I would not charge 89p for a portion of cheese. I would not use the chalkiest, flakiest, most artificial cheese in the world. I would not charge £4 for the potato and i, and this one is incredible to write down, would not forgo the salad.

 

I would not serve the “meal” in a bowl that seems to be slightly smaller than the spud itself. I would not use bowls, and plates, that look as if they have been obtained from a car boot sale.

 

I would not go on a carb overload and serve badly cooked garlic bread in a completely non-ironic way. I would not serve small drinks in the pretence that they are the large version.

 

I will not go again. I will never deny my instincts and i will never, ever, feel guilty about eating chips when i know next door there is someone who paid £2 extra to eat something that looks, and tastes, as if it was not even good enough for the Irish during the potato famine.

 

 

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