Down In The River to sing

Like a lot of people who enjoy making music, my activities have been rather  constrained by the lockdown. There’s not much that’s good about Covid-19, but one silver lining is that it has arrived at a time of unprecedented* connectivity.

And so I’ve jumped at the opportunity to sing virtually with others.

This project was organised by Morag Hannah, via The Viral Jukebox on Facebook. I was particularly keen to take part, as I used to sing this song as a lullaby to my three boys, all of whom are now hulking adults.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy it.

(*Every article about Coronavirus has to include this word. It’s the law)

See One, Nineteen in Birmingham this weekend

My friend and fellow Archers writer Tim Stimpson has a play on this Friday and Saturday, at the Old Joint Stock Theatre in Birmingham.

I saw One, Nineteen when it was premiered in London. It’s fast moving, funny and thought-provoking. It got great reviews, including four stars in Time Out.

Since then it’s been performed in Suffolk and Salford, and finally comes to Tim’s home city of Birmingham.

And given the news from the other side of the world, the subject matter is, to say the least, prescient. To quote from the press release:

“…Freak storms bring devastating floods to the English coast, but before the rescue effort arrives, the media are already in town spinning their story.
A play about the power of the news, the strength of the government, the question of climate change, and of course, and the search for Sam, Jack and little Chloe…”

See you there, I hope.

More details and to buy tickets

Flyer and production company details

Amazing YouTube mash-ups by Kutiman

I’ve been knocked out by an amazing YouTube mash-up project by Kutiman. It’s called Thru You.

He’s trawled YouTube for completely unconnected clips and then cut and mixed them to make entirely new tracks.

I can’t conceive of the hours it must have taken just to find the clips, let alone all the editing and mixing.  And the music he’s made really works on its own merits, not just as a novelty.

Once you’ve listened, click on the credits to list all the source material, then follow through to some of the clips to get a feel for what the job must have entailed.

Singles reviewed as if they were Archers characters

The Lipster has reviewed this week’s singles (well, some of them) as if they were Archers characters.

Morrisey’s new single is described “as all rather spineless, but in a pleasant enough way”, which equates it to “wet” Nic Hanson.

And Thunderheist’s Sweet 16 is compared to sexy Annabelle Schrivener.  “…Rather like Krystal Carrington with her high-falutin’ head for business and bod for sin, Annabelle also has a fearfully dirty way of intoning sentences about protection orders on local bird’s nests. She is, to use modern parlance, well fierce…”

It won’t mean much to non-Archers listeners, but The Lipster clearly knows her (I suspect it’s a her) music and her Archers, which makes her a top bean in my book.

(Do books have beans?)

Four Word Film Review

Thanks to Katie Parry (not the one who kissed a girl and liked it – that’s Katie Perry)  I’ve just been introduced to Four Word Film Review.

No need to explain what it is – that is encapsulated perfectly in the (four word – neat) title.

There’s a website which contains (as I write) 28,726 films and 283,727 reviews, which I guess is a tribute to a brilliantly simple, accessible and fun idea. And indicates that I’ve come to it rather late.

The top-voted “review” for Casablanca is the clever “Nazis bogart Rick’s joint” (only clever if you’re familiar with the verb “to bogart”, of course.  If not, Urban Dictionary will enlighten you). I actually prefer the less popular, but inspired “Yellow Lorre, dead Lorre”.

And for The Matrix?  “Finding Neo”.  Nice that it references another film, I think.

You don’t have to send your reviews to the site, of course, although I hope you will.  You can play it as a game with friends, guessing the film from the review.

I haven’t tried this with the family yet, but I suspect it could lead to a lot of screams of “it’s obvious” from the setter, viewing their clue from the vantage point of the answer, while everyone else tears their hair out, trying to match it up to the hundreds or thousands of films they know.  A good one for car journeys, maybe.

Here’s a few of mine to kick you off:

  1. Dude, wears mascara?
  2. Takings in the balance
  3. Sent he mental, Johnny
  4. Women over the edge
  5. In the white Gere

Answers:

  1. Tootsie
  2. The Italian Job
  3. The Shining
  4. Thelma and Louise
  5. An Officer and a Gentleman

I’d love to hear your suggestions.

Rage wants amateur actors

Rage, which teams amateur performers with professional directors, is about to cast its next production – Our Country’s Good.

They’re looking for people 16+ (older than school leaving age) for an  open workshop audition 11am – 5pm on  Saturday 31 Jan in Birmingham.

The play will be rehearsed at a central location, three evenings a week.

The show will be performed 14 – 16 May at a  Birmingham theatre (they haven’t said which one yet).

They’re also intersted in hearing from people who want to work behind the scenes.

Full details