Isadora Duncan had a penchant for floaty scarves. Back in the late 19th Century the American dancer had made quite the name for herself in Europe, as she reclaimed dance and movement as high art. She was exiled from America due to her Soviet Union sympathies and resided in Europe until her dramatic and tragic death. In September 1927 Isadora was holidaying in Nice, France. In the seat of a convertible next to her lover who could have known her long and delicate accessory (scarf, not man) would be the cause of her demise?
I'm a sucker for a bad pun, so Tits 'n' Giggles started off on a positive note with me. A night of comedy to raise money for breast cancer awareness - really, what's not to like in that sentence?
Well, when I first heard about CoppaFeel! the charity - the gig was raising money for - last year, I wasn't so sure. I've known people who have had breast cancer, and my day job occasionally involves working with people who have or had cancer, and the advertising campaign I saw didn't sit well with me. It used young women, in what seemed like sexualised poses. Is that really relevant to the average person with breast cancer when the usual age of diagnosis is over 50?
The great thing about David Bowie is he is a lot of things to a lot of people. He has appeal that transcends decades and encompasses more than his music. Bowie's chameleon-like nature and infinite creativity has given us characters, costumes, lyrics and iconic images that have become works of art in their own right. No wonder one of Britain's most acclaimed musicians has his own retrospective and he doesn't even have to be dead to make it the most popular exhibition in town.
The Victoria & Albert Museum poster for David Bowie is dons a world famous image of the man as his most well know creation. Lightening bolt make-up splits the porcelain face of a flame haired Ziggy Stardust. Immortalised by photographer Brian Duffy, Ziggy stares back at you from the Â£4 print. I wanted one of these posters more than anything on Earth, but as always you exit though the shop and I had a whole exhibition to take in.
The set of Scales! image: Future Atlas
It was a soggy Sunday night when I agreed to meet my friend Rick in Angel for a pint and instead a packet of crisps, some improv. When I got the The Old Red Lion. It looked like a good hearty pub. Footie on the flatscreen, fruit machine blinding me with its flashing lights and a box office booth next to the men’s toilet. It was a bit of a David Lynch oddity, with a little smiling man with a clipboard nesting inside. We picked up our tickets and right before we ascended the stairs I asked, “So what’s this all about then Rick?” He replied “We’re going to see Music Box
they perform improvised musicals.” Oh dear, I thought, oh dear.
I was a bit dubious of the whole musical theatre improv thing, I like songs and, hell, I like theatre too. But I am not a fan of awkward silences and narratives that fall flat on their face before they even get to their feet. I was preparing to cringe; Music Box's primary coloured outfits and beaming smiles were already setting off my ‘Glee’ alarm bells.
I didn't really know I was into Britpop until it was all over. Despite the fact that the first album I bought was Pulp's Different Class, and I vividly remember Newsround reporting on the Blur / Oasis rivalry, I was too young to really appreciate the music. My 90s was more about crimpers and school sports days than new drugs and music. Dammit.
But I did fall in love with Britpop, both then and retrospectively, which is why I decided to buy tickets to Rosie Wilby's show How (not) to make it in Britpop
If you want to watch comedy right now, it probably helps to be in Edinburgh. Which I'm not. But it turns out there is more on in London right now than the sport. It's just unfortunate no one told Londoners that... I ended up in an audience of 6, in what should have been a sell out show.
Egusi Soup is a West African Soup which is thickened with ground seeds, there is much local variation within the dish. It is also the name of Janice Okoh’s play and centres around a Nigerian family who are packing for a trip back to Lagos. They are travelling back to Nigeria to attend the first year memorial service of their departed father and husband.
Mr Anyia is gone but certainly not forgotten, Mrs Anyia wears a photo of him on her commemorative t-shirt and his absence is made tangible by an empty leather chair in the corner of the room. No-one is allowed to sit on the chair as it has not “even been up to a year” since he died.
“If you’re of a delicate disposition... then what the f*ck are you doing in here?!” The question from Dillie Keane halfway through Fascinating Aida’s Brighton show was certainly apt as the trio took on everything from politics to sex in musical form.
Fascinating Aida was formed in 1983, and has been through a few line-up changes since, with Dillie (who you might recognise from Grumpy Old Women, although she has a very varied stage career) the founder and longest-serving member.
She was joined on stage by her long-time collaborator Adele Anderson and the newest and youngest member of the group, Sarah-Louise Young. It’s a trio that works really well:each is a strong singer with impeccable comic timing, but brings their own take to the mix.
How often do you see women, especially older women, on stage or screen being ribald, funny, dirty and political? Not often enough, and certainly not in song.
The evening started with a song about tax evasion - Companies Utilising Nifty Tax Schemes (“or cunts”) and didn’t let up.
Short ‘song cycles’ satirised the week’s news, and a rather amazing ‘yoof’ parody included both the wonderful sight of Dillie Keane moonwalking and lines from Whip My Hair, while the ‘Love’ songs turned out to focus on sex (Dogging and One Night Stand) or polyamory (Mr and Mrs and Me).
You can sample a little of the FA goodness on their website - but it's an act that works far better in person than through a screen.
I've wanted to see a play at the Globe for as long as I’ve known about it, and now I have fulfilled that dream. I’ll be going back; it’s a fantastic setting and the play I saw, Much Ado About Nothing, used the space to its full advantage, talking to and walking through the groundlings. The first thing we commented on? “Oh my god, is that Geoffrey from the Fresh Prince of Bel Air playing Leonato?!” Yes it was, and he was very good, but there is much more to talk about...
I focused on Beatrice and Benedick, as it’s their interplay between that holds the play together; if anyone tries to argue that Hero and Claudio are the central couple then they’ve missed the point.
When I read Much Ado, I have to admit I never paid much attention to Benedick, apart from as a foil to Beatrice. She was the one who interested me, and he was just there for her to banter with. Shakespeare’s women are not always easy reading, but Beatrice is my second-favourite heroine (Rosalind from As You Like It has to take the crown).