Sweet Tidings of Loudness and Joy

Who: Sweet

Where: Nell’s Jazz and Blues, West London, UK

When: 19th December 2018

What: Live in Concert (50th Anniversary Tour)

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.

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A (Nut) Cracker for Christmas

What: The Nutcracker

Who: Saltmine Trust

Where: Ravenscourt Arts, Hammersmith, London

When: 14th December 2017

This Christmas was Ravenscourt Arts’ 4th annual Christmas production and its most difficult to organise – simply because it was put into the theatre’s calendar very late and, because of that late organisation, then trying fill up the house for a free show for children when schools had so much already organised proved rather difficult, meaning a half full house. This for a show that deserved so much more but fortunately a heart-full of humour made this production a huge success.

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A Cracker for Christmas

What: A Christmas Cracker

Who: Riding Lights Theatre Company

Where: Ravenscourt Arts, Hammersmith, London

When: December 9 & 10th 2015

This was the second annual Christmas play / pantomime at the Ravenscourt Arts theatre in Hammersmith and saw the theatre once again join forces with the Riding Lights Theatre Company from York to bring joy to the lives of an audience who were mostly between the ages of 4 and 11 with a smattering of teachers and parents.


Cracker the Dog

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Christmas in the Heart – Third Time Around

My friends just don’t get it – not even my Dylan-fan friends – but I remain fascinated by the 2009 release “Christmas in the Heart“.

It seems to me to be one of the consummate Christmas albums for several reasons which I will list below. I’ve written about this album on two occasions before –  most recently here:


But here’s my reasons that this is a classic of the seasonal kind:

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Carols at Ravenscourt Park

As I mentioned last week, we sang Christmas carols to raise money for the homeless at our neighbourhood tube station, Ravenscourt Park, here in Hammersmith. The event went extremely well. The sound was beautiful. Several hundred pounds were raised from kind passers-by.

Last night, the London Paper, one of our local evening freebies, made our event subject of the picture-of-the-day. That’s Sereyna, my daughter, in the foreground, with her collecting bucket.

God Rest You, Merry Gentlemen

Place: St Brides Church, Fleet Street, London

Time: Yesterday Evening

Event: The "Jethro Tull Christmas Carol Service"

What? Those rockers who so ably debunked organised religion on their album, "Aqualung", in a Christian church and involved and leading an event full of Christmas Carols, prayers and Bible readings.

Surprising, indeed.

But this was an event aimed at raising money and support for London’s homeless and this proved an easy alliance. Aqualung, a wheezy old tramp of the old school, didn’t make an appearance but there was a portion of "Thick as a Brick". In short, Tull took care of seasonal entertainment whilst the clergy and church members added the spiritual decoration. And a fine night was had by all.

Highlights of the night? Gentle wintry folk, from Tull, including "Weathercock" from Heavy Horses, and "Jack-in-the-Green". They also turned their hand to jazzy renditions of traditional Christmas music – albeit in instrumental form – with "God Rest Ye, Merry, Gentlemen" and "We Five (Three) Kings of Orient Are". They even came over all Steeleye Span with their own re-working of "Gaudete", led by Ian Anderson and the church’s choir, with the congregation doing their best on the chorus.

Journalist, Gavin Esler and actor, Andrew Lincoln helped Ian and the men in dog-collars out with the scripture and poetry readings.

Apparently, the whole thing will be mixed down for a limited cd release.

A cool yule indeed!

Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull gets into the Christmas Spirit  

Carol singing at Christmas

If anyone is in Hammersmith, London, tomorrow afternoon and evening then look out for a group I’ve organised singing Christmas Carols and collecting money for the homeless of the neighbourhood. Hey, all of this started with a kid who couldn’t find a bed for the night so this is really in the spirit of the occasion.
One gathering of singers will be at Ravenscourt Park tube station and the other just across the road from there. Come along, add your voices if you like and bring your coins and notes to help those who are out in the cold this winter