Blakeson - Writer

Cardiff-based film, theatre and gig reviews, cultural ramblings, whingeing, short films, etc.

Saturday, May 20, 2006


Still slightly deaf and delirious from the Morrissey gig at St. David’s Hall last Monday; an unexpectedly beautiful experience. I last saw him with the Smiths in 1984, and assumed that both of us might have matured significantly in the intervening years, but sadly not. Supporting was Kristeen Young – piano/movement/electronics/vocals with a drummer; largely harsh and engagingly unforgiving, with the occasional Kate Bush moment – sadly, the bulk of the sell-out crowd elected to remain in the bar area. When the man himself came on, looking somewhat like a Championship football manager, he and the band took a bow before assuming their positions, prompting the fear that they were anticipating being booed off at the end as had happened a couple of days earlier at the London Palladium. No chance of that, though. The new album was given a caning, obviously, but there was respect paid to his Smiths heritage – “Still Ill”, “Girlfriend In A Coma”, “How Soon Is Now” as a finale – as well as “Quarry”. He seemed in a good mood, bantering with individual audience-members, and even doing an encore of “Irish Blood, English Heart”, the nearest he came to making a political statement. I don’t know why I’d been expecting not to enjoy it that much; maybe I’ve just grown too accustomed to life being one long anti-climax. I even managed to get a vaguely passable photograph, since the security people seemed to abandon the venue’s frankly illogical ban on camera-usage, in the face of mass civil disobedience. A delightful evening.

I’m coming dangerously close to completing my doctoral thesis on “The Playwright as Filmmaker”. I’m told it will open doors; I’ll believe it when I see it.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Home Again

A surprisingly uplifting Sunday afternoon gig at the Cardiff Barfly yesterday, featuring Dick Valentine of Electric 6, doing an acoustic show. He played most of the hits, of course, such as the iconic “Gay Bar”, accompanied on stage by approximately two-fifths of the audience. No “Danger, High Voltage!”, but he did acknowledge his friend Jack White with a brief “Rock Profiles” style tribute song. The bulk of his other stuff was somewhat sardonic (including a song about the French, which was amusing for all the reasons you might expect), and at times he seemed to be channelling Warren Zevon, which is never a bad thing. It’s always good to see someone vaguely famous in such an intimate setting (Glen Tilbrook, a few years ago, is an abiding memory), especially if they’re any good. In support were lively acoustic strummer Freddie Stevenson (one of whose songs appeared to contain the classic lines “I may be the Jewish Daniel Day Lewis” and “I may be a sexy Liza Minnelli”) and his band; and lounge-core locals Smokehand who, without their guitarist, provided some pretty effective MOR jazz balladry.
Home Again”, the sitcom on which I was “employed” as an apprentice script-writer - just an observer, really – made its BBC1 debut on Friday evening. Aiming for the mass audience, so not attempting to be “dark”, “edgy” or “subversive”, but simply to amuse the “I don’t go out on a Friday night” demographic. I suspect the reviews won’t be glowing, but it’s the kind of show whose future will depend solely on the size of the audience. Whatever happens, it was amazing to watch the illustrious cast and ultra-professional writers and crew at work during the rehearsal process; not to mention getting some insight into how the BBC works – so many hoops to jump through, it’s a wonder anything ever gets made.
Some disturbing developments during the local elections last week. If the sporadic success of right-wing extremists proves anything, though, it’s that the problem with politicians promising to “listen to the people” is that a significant percentage of “the people” are idiots.