Amongst other things, I write professionally. I've been published everywhere from the small (Barnsley Chronicle), to the large (London Sunday Times colour supplement). I primarily write about music, theatre and sport.
Most of the articles here have been previously published. No copyright infringement intended
I also work in the music world. I've worked as a producer, promoter and general ideas man and conceptualizer. At the moment I'm working with Sad Cafe among others.
I'm building a theatre. It's almost done after three years of planning and trying to be kind to my architect and my builders. We open in October 2012.
I run a theatrical production company called "The Shakespearience". We perform an introduction to William Shakespeare for young people.
Most of all I work in the charitable and faith sphere. I'm senior pastor of an unusual church in central London.
I'm a busy man.
Where: The Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-Upon-Avon
Who: The Royal Shakespeare Company
When: 21st February 2019
Kimberly Sykes’ direction of the current Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) production of “As You Like It” has many strengths but there are some self-created weaknesses which it seems to me have little to do with the writing of the Bard of Avon. The peculiar things is that they are similar flaws to those present in other recent productions by the RSC and those were handled by other directors. I hate to be repeating myself but… What is going on here?
Last Christmas on the 15th of December I was stood just in front of the stage as Sweet tore up Nell’s Jazz and Blues playing to a packed house and delivering an uproarious set. Well, having started a good tradition, why break and so I and they are back just a little over a year later for more of the same.
Where: The Swan Theatre @ The Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Waterside, Stratford-Upon-Avon
Who: The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC)
When: 13th December 2018
It has been a strange year for the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC). It just got stranger. Their take on – should I say adaptation of Timon of Athens – is an unusual one. And that is to say something quite remarkable because this play is seldom performed.
(Sometime over the last few years I was approached to write a “blurb” for the cover of a book of thoughts about Bob Dylan by an Australian author, Phil Mason. I’ve never met Phil but I’ve been privileged to help him with his research. By the time the book was approaching readiness, the idea had expanded and I wrote a foreword for the book which eventually appeared under the title of “A Voice From on High”. As well as reproducing that foreword here, I take the opportunity to recommend Mr Mason’s book which can be obtained through Amazon in softcover and for your kindle.)
“Well I’m sitting in church
In an old wooden chair
I knew nobody
Would look for me there”
Bob Dylan – Marchin’ to the City (Disc 3 of Tell Tale Signs 1989-2006)
In 1707, Isaac Watts, the Christian hymnwriter, wrote a lyric called “Marching to Zion” in which he referred to Zion as the beautiful city of God. Now, this was long before Zion had become a short-hand for some Western European political scheme to establish a physical homeland for disenfranchised Jewish people in the middle East (a scheme commonly referred to as Zionism). It is Watts looking forward to the end of an earthly journey where all the faithful people of God, Jew and Gentile, would be gathered in to an eternal home.
What: Twentieth Anniversary tour of the “Gran Turismo” album
Who: The Cardigans
Where: Hammersmith Apollo, Hammersmith, London, UK
When: 7th December 2018
Twice during this show (once during the performance of the whole of the “Gran Turismo” album and one during the subsequent “smorgasbord” selection) all the sound from the stage failed, leaving Nina Persson and the rest of the band stranded. Taking this all in their stride, they pressed on in good-humoured fashion to return with flash and panache as soon as the problems were corrected.
A Frankie Valli concert in 2018… is, well, a Frankie Valli concert. Unless you haven’t seen him perform in recent years, it doesn’t come packed with surprises. In fact, it doesn’t have any surprises. Even the possibility of the inclusion of a less well-known album track, say, Streetfighter or Harmony, Perfect Harmony is all but gone. He will talk about a recent album (Romancing the 60s) but that album is 11 years old now. He has one album since then, the Christmas set, “‘Tis the Seasons”, but even though it is the right time of year for something from that, there will be nothing in the show. And the show will probably be much the same as last time you saw him.
So, this is going to be a negative review, right? No, this was a wonderful, wonderful show.
Where: The Beacon Theatre, Manhattan, New York City, USA
When: 24th October 2018
What: Countdown to Ecstasy ++
(In September, I was commissioned by a management group to travel to the USA and cover Steely Dan’s shows at the Beacon Theatre in October. Once I am allowed to, I am expanding the articles I wrote to lengthier reviews which will appear here and elsewhere. My last piece was on the “By Popular Demand” night (which was really more like a “Greatest Hits” show). In this next group of writings, I will concentrate on the performances that were based on individual albums – concentrating on the songs that were not in the earlier performance, beginning with the “Countdown to Ecstasy” night)
On my way out of the “By Popular Demand” show, someone commented “Steely Dan may not be the best live band in the world – but if they’re not I’d sure enjoy seeing some of the others”. It’s right. It’s hard to imagine a tighter, more capable band