Durham Gala, jazz and aliens

Exciting news! I’m to be a blogger/reviewer at the Live Theatre in Newcastle for a month. I sent in my application and a link to this website so they could read some of my work. I use the term ‘work’ facetiously. Obviously they didn’t look at this because they accepted me straight away. 😉  Here’s the link  Live Theatre    I’ve been going through some of the work (and this time I don’t use the term facetiously) by people who have gone before me at Live, and although my enthusiasm remains undimmed it hasn’t half made me nervous. They’re all bloody good and are going to take some living up to. I’m down at the Live twice this week so I’ll let you know how I get on. 

I’d put a few pounds on when I went to Slimming World last night which generally means that Heather and I have been enjoying a night or two on the tiles. We had tickets to see Clare Teal at Durham Gala you see. Even though it was only in Durham we thought we’d take advantage of the fact that my brother was up here for the weekend because it meant I didn’t have to worry about looking after Mum. He’s quite good-natured when he rings and says he’s coming and I reply; “Oh well we’ll go away then.” I think he understands the context in which I mean it. 

I love a room with a view don’t you? This is why we stayed at the Premier Inn. 

The View

We knew we would have to pay for public parking, but I tell you what; the ticket inspector was a bit of a bugger. We managed to nab a space, fed the machine with six quid, and when we got back to the car there he was biro in hand, preparing to scribble. Some verbal fisticuffs ensued which we got the better of. We didn’t go home until Monday morning but the machine wouldn’t let us top it up on Sunday. Nope, it steadfastly insisted that we would have to get up before eight on Monday, and it would only accept our money then when our current ticket expired. Heather got the short straw and sleepily meandered to the car park in her Pooh Bear onesie at 7.50am. There was that ticket bloke again, the same one – hovering. He’d obviously remembered both of us, and also the car, and was hoping for a quick kill. Heather gave him her best smile. 

So anyway as I was saying. Down to Durham on Saturday morning until Monday, the gig being on Sunday night. We’re fond of all kinds of gigs Heather and I, but Clare Teal is a bit of a favourite of mine. I had a review to write for What’s Good To Do (link below) however I could have written it all without ever having set foot in the auditorium, because I’ve seen her six times now, and I always wait patiently in the queue at the end to get a CD or three signed. www.clareteal.co.uk

Clare Teal is one of the best jazz singers/vocalists that this country has ever produced, and is an openly gay woman. Possibly you’re wondering why the hell I see fit to mention this last bit, and how on earth this impacts (or otherwise) on what she does for a living? Because sometimes young people ask me for advice in relation to being gay. When I was a teenager I always kept a watchful eye on the TV & radio listings, newspapers etc. for any information or help I might be able to glean, and in particular I searched for role models. It was a fruitless search because there weren’t any – well there were – but they were all driven to keep quiet. Gay women portrayed in film and on TV were less than encouraging; Beryl Reid in “The Killing of Sister George” for instance.

 Kids today don’t have that to put up with this. I can point towards high-profile, high achievers, in happy and stable relationships who lead by example. I like to think that I do too. Not that I’m either high-profile or a high achiever, but I’m renowned for my happy relationship. It’s reassuring to see people like Clare Teal, Clare Balding, and many male gay icons out and about with their partners successful and happy. I think this has assumed even greater importance since the emergence of Nigel Farage and his party.
We were kept fairly enthralled by another event on at Durham Gala on Sunday, a Sci-Fi convention thing. Take a look at this.image
I thought this guy was from Star Trek, but when I posted this picture on Facebook with a comment mentioning “Trekies”, I was berated with 30 ‘notifications’ telling me, “No! It’s Darth Vader from Star Wars you idiot.” I took my niece and nephew to see Star Wars when they were young, and in an effort to relieve the tedium I left my seat and pottered about in the cinema foyer for half an hour. It must have been the half hour that Darth Vader was on.alien00057