gervase_fen: (Default)
2017-05-13 09:05 am

Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, The Anvil, 12/5/17

"They say you play the Basingstoke Anvil twice in your career.... "

I think this is the fourth time they've visited, and as always a delight. Old favourites (Psycho Killer, The Good The Bad and the Ugly, Life on Mars / Born Free / Fly me to the Moon / Substitute, Limehouse Blues) and some new ones I hadn't seen in performance before (A Case of You, Highway to Hell, Otis Reddings' Too Hot to Handle.) Jonty Bankes' bass playing and Peter Brookes Turner's bass voice are two of my favourite things about the ensemble and the sound engineer did them both justice.  No George Hinchcliffe tonight, so no Wuthering Heights or Shaft, but Ben Rouse shone in his place with clawhammer virtuosity.
gervase_fen: (ermine)
2016-12-08 07:39 am
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Missing Believed Wiped Central, 12th November 2016

A few weeks ago I was thrilled to accompany [ profile] parrot_knight to the my first Kaleidoscope event since 2009.  2016 has turned out to be grim in plenty of aspects, but in terms of recoveries of lost television it’s been a proverbial annus mirabilis.
A 6 a.m. start on a cold, blustery morning... )

gervase_fen: (ermine)
2016-07-28 04:52 pm
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Here are this year's shortlists in the categories that I'm particularly interested in:

Goldsboro Gold Dagger, Best Crime Novel of the Year:
Black Widow, Chris Brookmyre
Blood Salt Water, Denise Mina
Dodgers, Bill Beverly
Real Tigers, Mick Herron

Ian Fleming Steel Dagger, Thriller of the Year:
Make Me, Lee Child
Rain Dogs, Adrian McKinty
Real Tigers, Mick Herron
The Cartel, Don Winslow
The English Spy, Daniel Silva

John Creasey (New Blood Dagger), Debut of the Year
Fever City, Tim Baker
Dodgers, Bill Beverly
Freedom's Child, Jax Miller
The Good Liar, Nicholas Searle
Eileen, Ottessa Moshfegh

Endeavour Historical Dagger
The House at Baker Street, Michelle Birkby
The Other Side of Silence, Philip Kerr
A Book of Scars, William Shaw
The Jazz Files, Fiona Veitch Smith
Striking Murder, A J Wright
Stasi Child, David Young

Winners to be announced Tuesday, 11th October.  There are, compared to last year, some properly short shortlists here, and a crossover with this year's Booker longlist.
gervase_fen: (ermine)
2016-05-06 09:25 pm

The Colours Out of (an Adventure in) Space (and Time)

The Changing Face of... )
Subtle Knipe and Cummins attractions )

The main exhibition, a history of the British Graphic Novel, served to highlight my ignorance of this genre - I was particularly taken by the specimen pages of Montague Terrace, Gast, Strangehaven and Will Kevan's My Life in Pieces.  Clearly some of the titles featured were worthy of an exhibition of their own -  The Sandman was represented by two pages and one of Dave McKean's intricate creations for a photographic cover. Some of the connections made between the earliest British cartoons and their 20th and 21st century descendants did seem a bit tenuous, but I'm not complaining if it means the chance to see four pages of Ronald Searle's Capsulysses or H M Bateman's Getting a Document Stamped at Somerset House.
gervase_fen: (ermine)
2016-02-27 09:03 am

TV 2015 / 16 : Dickensian (2015)

Ten things Mrs Fen and I loved about Dickensian :

1. The cast. Already off to a flying start just by having the sublime Anton Lesser in a major role, but the strength in depth of the ensemble was terrific. Take a bow, Jill Trevillick,

2. Speculating whether Sophie Rundle or Tuppence Middleton, in twenty years or so, would look more like the Lady Dedlock of 2005's Bleak House or the Miss Havisham of 2011's Great Expectations.

3. Sarah Phelps' writing. Nancy : ""He ain't my young man - Mr Sikes. I don't have a young man. Just a lot of old ones."  Honoria : "We both died with our daughter last night. We are ghosts of the people we used to be." And of course -

4. Inspector Bucket  - "Put Madame Snuggles down a moment, Mr Venus." We would both love to see a spin-off show of Bucket and Venus (and Snuggles) Investigates.

5. The cast (again.)  Of course, we expect Anton Lesser, Pauline Collins and Stephen Rea to be good.  But this was apparently Joseph Quinn's first big role for TV, and as Arthur Havisham he was terrific at conveying self-loathing, selfishness and petulance, at being repelling but also redeemable.

6. The design.  By shooting on a specially constructed set, with no outside location filming, the series had the feel of studio-bound BBC classic adaptations of the 70s.

7. Episode 16. Plotted by Dickens for Bleak House, performed to devastating effect by Sophie Rundle and Alexandra Moen.

8. Bethany Muir singing "I dreamt I dwelt in marble halls."

9. Dickensian grace notes - I liked Mr Pickwick being kept just out of the frame, the framed murderer of Marley being called Manning, Above all Captain Hawdon's last lines in the story foreshadowing his identity in Bleak House : "I am nothing without you. I am nobody."

10. Seeing what was clearly Tony Jordan's passion project of the last few years reach fruition. As with Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, it felt as if this was a drama being made with real determination to both honour the source material but also to bring a new audience to it.