A Slice of Saturday Night


Last night, I saw a local production of A Slice of Saturday Night, a show set in a 1960s nightclub, featuring the lives and loves of a group of teenagers over one typical Saturday night.  I went because I know several of the cast, including my housemate.

It’s not a particularly good show, in my opinion.  The music is 1960s pastiche, but it veers between outright stealing of tunes and general dullness.  There are some fun songs,though – with about 30 numbers, they had to strike gold at least once!  The plot is practically non-existent as well, just wandering around between the characters, with one character serving very little purpose as far as I could tell.  There are some laughs, but it doesn’t hold together particularly well.

However, the cast were very good and carried the material well.  Some of the singing was marvellous, and several of the cast managed to create characters out of very little from the script.  The dancing varied from competent to very good, and the band sizzled nicely.  It’s not a show I want to see again, but it entertained me.  A popcorn musical, I suppose!

Overall verdict: a not-very-good musical performed very well.

Singing silence


It has struck me that I have written about various things here, but I haven’t really touched on singing, which is an important part of my life and forms part of the blog’s title.  So why not?  I’ve realised that singing is surprisingly hard to talk about.

Technically, I’m not a great singer.  I read music very slowly, and I understand very few of the concepts.  Yet I can vibrate my vocal cords, flap my lips and tongue around and create a noise which people tell me is very pleasant.  I can’t improvise a harmony as many people can, but I can learn a harmony and stick to it.  When I sing, I like to use the words and the emotion as much as (perhaps more than) the notes, so I’m probably more an actor who sings than a singer who acts.

So, it doesn’t make any sense to me, but it feels very right indeed. Better than right, in fact.  Continue reading

52: Real-time comics


What do a drunken ex-cop, a social crusader with no face, the ruler of a Middle Eastern nation, a grieving detective, a man from the future and a moral scientist have in common?  52, that’s what.  Read on…  Continue reading

On blasphemous operas


A column in the Guardian prompted me to think, yet again, about the intriguing phenomenon that is Jerry Springer: The Opera.  This is a show that I feel rather strongly about, and given that I am an evangelical Christian, you might think that you can see where my thoughts are likely to be headed.  You’d probably be wrong.

Continue reading

On crossing the road


Hello, everyone.  My name is David and I am a pedestrian.

Sometimes I feel that this fact about my boring little self is sufficient to mark me as a social outcast, a strange and peculiar creature that should not be able to function within the bounds of modern society.  Yet somehow I manage very well, and have no desire to learn how to drive.  I’d be a rubbish driver, anyway.

Today, as I wandered the streets of Singinglibrarianville in search of a prescription for my housemate, I was struck by the many oddities of crossing the road, a routine pedestrian activity.  I am glad I live in the UK, land of the amusingly-named crossing places, and more importantly, a land where pavements (sidewalks) actually exist on almost all roads, and where crossing the road somewhere other than a crossing isn’t a crime against the state.  Anyway…  Continue reading

View from the office window [Haiku]


Moorhens by the pond
Built like dinosaurs, they stalk
Chasing the blackbirds

Caesar, beware the monotheistic religions of March…


I recently finished reading Roma Eterna by Robert Silverberg.  This is an alternate history, asking the question ‘what if Rome never fell?’  Or it purports to ask that question.  The real ‘what if?’ is ‘what if the Exodus never happened?’ – the main effect is that Rome doesn’t fall, and at various points during this alternate history, the theme that a monotheistic religion would be dangerous to the Roman Empire is hammered home with all the subtlety of a herd of elephants walking across bubble wrap.

It’s an absolutely fascinating concept for a book, and it contains oodles of intriguing ideas and situations, but it completely failed to grab hold of my imagination or to excite me, and I’m not entirely sure why.  In the end, the whole thing is just rather dull, falling far short of my expectations.  History is often cyclical, but the repetition of situations and stock characters throughout the ten snapshots from 1500 years of Rome’s history soon becomes tedious.  Ooh, look, here’s another supposedly idle prince who reveals greater depth to his character.  And heavens, is there an old retainer who thinks that Rome is slipping into decadence?  Why, yes, there is!  Yawn.  Civil war, assassination, conquest and romance all blend into an insipid, unsatisfying soup of unfulfilled potential.

I like alternate histories.  Fatherland is a particularly fine example.  And I often like stories based in Rome.  But this just bored me.  Too many ideas and too little execution.  I think the problem is that the author got ever so excited thinking ‘ooh, ooh, ooh, wouldn’t it be exciting if the Romans had trouble conquering the New World’ and forgot to put any excitement in.  Ah, well, never mind.  Hopefully, my next read will redress the balance and exceed expectations.  Fingers crossed…

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