Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Sparkle up the dark

Well, it's been a longish time since I've updated this blog: the usual ho ho ho festive period excuses. Another blog from a train this time, as I'm travelling back to civilisation after three days visiting my and TSB's families in Scotland. It actually didn't go too badly, all things considered; felt like just the right amount of time to see parents, siblings, nieces and nephews and leave 'em wanting more rather than reverting to boredom-induced sullen sniping and picking irresistably at old wounds.

Nearest thing to a spat was TSB's somewhat arsey little nephew (only recently out of his teens) opining of Boris Johnson "at least he has the brains not to be a socialist" and me responding, "well, he doesn't have the brains not to be a racist"... and subsequent awkward "I can't be a racist because..." hole-digging. I really ought to keep my mouth shut more.

(Someone on this carriage has a mobile 'phone text alert that sounds exactly like one of the bleeps from Hot Chip's Ready For The Floor. Everytime it goes off, I get the urge to sing, "I can't hear your voice, do I have a choice?")

Prior to our trip northwards, there was much sparkling up of the dark. I'll probably talk about this over a couple of blog entries, as my attention span's eroded by gewürztraminer bought in the M&S in Edinburgh station. 'Tis good, nicely floral and still good and cold.

December 20th was the last Duckie before Christmas. Having trekked up to Scotland for a funeral a week or so earlier, we were very much in the right headspace for a good, hearty Duckie. We'd also had our usual Christmas argument over the Norwegian spruce (bought at the last minute from Clapham High Street and hauled back home, painfully, via taxi), which I'd decorated in a state of passive-aggression.

Thankfully (thankyou, Baby Jesus) it was just the right Duckie to heal all wounds. Gareth was there, as was Mel, the crowd was sparser than usual (as one might've expected) and the mood convivial.

Ms Lamé looked lovely as ever, in a white fascinator.

First act was Tim Spooner & Matthew Robins (featuring Gavin) - formerly known as The Society of Wonders, dramatic puppeteers supreme - who performed a very Tim Burtonesque little shadow psychodrama, Flyboy and the Haunted Snowman.

It must be said, the fellow manipulating the puppets (clad in a sort of Ashes To Ashes surfsuit of white funfur) was exceptionally easy on the eye.

The Society of Wonders has never disappointed. This show, in their new incarnation, was more contained than their Punch & Judy shows and also, somehow, oddly moving. I talked afterwards to Wee Lee (who later danced to, I think, Hounds of Love - it was Classic Duckie), who agreed that the show made him feel like he was five again. I know what he meant: there was a childlike, dreamlike quality to the plot and an emotionally engaging punch to the finale. Lovely.

It would've been hard to follow that. The second act was Marcus Reeves, who appeared onstage in a frankly terrifying Christmas tree outfit and sang a medley of festive tunes. I liked his substitution of Wham's Last Christmas, "this year, to save me from tears, I'll give it to someone ugly".

He chucked cotton wool snowballs and Roses chocolates into the audience. Very evocative but I ended up picking cotton woolly chocolate gunk off the soles of my shoes for the rest of the night.

It was a good night, though. Made me feel properly Christmassy.


Marcus Reeves said...

Thank-you for The Singing Christmas Tree's first review! Would you mind if I steal that rather fetching photo? (I can't work out how to send you a message on here, so if you could email me, that would be fab -

Happy New Year!


Pogonophile said...

Be my guest!

Marcus Reeves said...

do you have any more by any chance? i'm trying to get a pack together so i can get some more gigs next year and yours is the only decent shot i've seen so far!