Monday, August 31, 2009
The girl group classics of the 60s are usually associated with Phil Spector but in fact many of the tracks I love (something which grew from singing along to our 'Girls On Top' cassette on long car journeys) were penned by Greenwich. This includes the brilliant Be My Baby, Da Do Ron Ron, Then He Kissed Me, River Deep, Mountain High and, of course, Leader of the Pack.
'I met him at the candy store!'
I remember that it particularly appealed to my embryonic feminism that these songs that I loved so much, and came from an era where I assumed men did the songwriting, came from a woman's brain. Those early connections have a tendency to stick and so - despite the fact that I can't pretend to know all that much about her - Greenwich has always been something of a hero for me, or at least someone who I hugely admire.
In celebration of the life and works of Ellie Greenwich then, who passed away just last week, here's one of my favourites; Be My Baby performed by The Ronettes:
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
As you all probably know, Aoife isn't just my very good friend, but also a very good journalist, so I thought your lives would be considerably improved by reading about her experiences as a member of Adam Hills's entourage in her own words. Sure, she missed a couple of hours of the 24 Hour Show, but I think she's ok with that...
Friday, August 21, 2009
Watson, along with the innovative Camden-based production company The Invisible Dot, has commandeered an entire townhouse on Queen Street in the New Town, and with a cast and crew of dozens, turned it into something which is part comedy, part play, and part art installation.
The audience are guests at The Hotel, a once-salubrious B+B (recipient of a Highly Commended Award for Best Integration of TV in Lounge or Games Room in 1991, according to the witty flyer you are handed on your arrival) that has now fallen on hard times – a fate mirrored by its tragic owner, Charlie Rowland.
Ushered from room to room by staff who are either over-eager, disinterested, or foul-mouthed, the guests experience a little more of The Hotel each time they open a door. There’s the Boardroom, where a job interview leads to the candidates brawling out in the street; the ‘Wellness’ Room, where you’ll get fit or else; and – most disturbingly of all – the kitchens, where unstable chefs are kept behind glass for the guests’ safety, and use increasingly unconventional methods to either cook the food, or escape.
The attention to detail in all of this is exquisite. The shabby wallpaper, the woeful attempts at modernisation and the crazed look in the staff members’ eyes all come together to evoke an establishment where even faded charm has faded.
The most impressive example of this comes in Charlie’s room at the top of the house, where empty whisky bottles and takeaway wrappers are strewn across the floor, while letters charting Charlie’s demise cover the walls. Down in the Computer Suite, access to Charlie’s emails gives further, unsettling insight into his troubled mind.
The only issue here is time-management – you get sucked into a certain room (this can easily happen in the Cabaret Bar, where “proper” comics including Pippa Evans and Marcel Lucont perform) only to miss out on something equally great elsewhere. And that’s such a shame, because there is something to delight, disturb or otherwise confuse in every room: in a town where the abnormal is normal, The Hotel still manages to be seductively weird, and utterly unique.
Also at MusicOMH.com
That's a picture I drew at about 00.20 NST, of Chris Cox using his powers of suggestion to guess what pictures people would draw, with Sherwood and Butterworth in the background, tinkling and bowing away. Nice huh?
Anyway, below is my final video in this little series (and maybe my last ever, who knows) and it's just me gushing about the 24 Hour show. I've done a review of The Hotel too, for MusicOMH, so that'll be added here when it's been published.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
But Darby has done more than his fair share of low-key gigs; indeed he has been to the Fringe many times in the past as just another act struggling to ‘make it’. Then came his role in Flight Of The Conchords as the hapless, naive but loyal and ultimately lovable Murray, and suddenly he’s playing Udderbelly (a purple, inflatable, upside down cow) alongside the likes of Reginald D Hunter.
It is precisely this move from small-time, niche New Zealand comic to celebrated cult star that informs much of Darby’s show, It’s Rhys Darby Night. In past shows, flights of surreal fantasy about meeting mermaids and jettisoning girls out of his car have been built around the uncanny sound-effects he can produce, but here that talent is put to use adding colour to real-life tales about his recent fame.
Stories which begin "So I was in LA shooting a film" could easily become self-congratulatory - certain reviewers have, rather harshly, used the word arrogant – but in fact Darby is ploughing classic Conchords territory here in that they are all told from the viewpoint of a man with a small-town mentality suddenly being thrown into a world of conference calls and glitzy dos and not knowing quite how to react.
There are one or two flat moments - his whale-watcher character especially seemed to lack a point and, more importantly, many laughs – and it seems that Darby is at a cross-roads in terms of his stand-up: does he continue as before, all robots and jet-packs, or confront his new-found celebrity and go down a story-teller route? One suspects the two can be successfully intertwined, though it’s not quite there yet.
But in the end, this is a fun, thoroughly generous show performed by a comic who at heart quite clearly exists on stage simply to make his audience happy in whatever way he can. When his mic-pack becomes dislodged, he does an impression of a dinosaur to compensate; when he spills some water he licks it and employs his clowning skills to “slip” extravagantly - and, yes, he even lets the immortal words ‘band meeting’ pass his lips.
also on MusicOMH.com
Mark Watson and David O'Doherty at about 8am (it started at 1.20am, BST, or 1am NST - New Scottish Time, which was establish to rectify the late start...!):
Adam Hills decided he wanted an entourage, and what Hills wants, Hills gets. (Aoife is in the red cardie):
Brendon Burns, Dan Walmsley and Tim Key react to... something:
'The Lovely Band' (James Sherwood on piano, Amy Butterworth on violin, Martin White on accordion and Ali McGregor on a strummy thing [sorry again!] and vocals) performing a beautiful version of Radiohead's Creep:
Adam Hills (suit), Mark Watson (green), Brendan Burns (headscarf), Tim Key (shirt), Tiernan Douieb (happy), Dan Walmsley (background) and Simon Amstell (non-load-bearing) celebrate the end of the show:
This one's a couple of actual, proper reviews from Paul Fuzz/Waits/Lowman and Becca Dumican - a couple soon to be known as Paul and Becca Fuzz-Lowman-Dumican-Waits. Or Paul and Rebecca Lowman, something like that. (They're getting married at Christmas! Yay :D)
Up for discussion in this vlog: Hugh Hughes and Grave Situation...
If you'd like more of an idea of the show than you get from my review (surely not!) there was a really great piece about it on The Edinburgh Fringe Show (aka The Culture Show) last night, which you can watch on iPlayer here.
So here we go, my first vlog - just me, Aoife and Sabina chatting about what we'd seen, about two days in.