Friday, March 21, 2008

How weird... another blog inspired by three events!

Since downloading Madonna's new single 4 MINUTES on Wednesday night it is currently up to 15 plays on my iPod. Again she has thrown down with the pop tarts who have the temerity to call themselves divas etc. An inspired Timbaland production, parping marching band horns, a crunching beat and more hooks than a Peter Pan convention.

She has generously given the chorus line to Justin Timberlake who shares the vocals. I was well pissed with him for making such a balls of her induction to the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame but he is cool on this. And of course like every great M track... all I am thinking is I can't WAIT to see her do this live!

Last night Owen and I joined the children, harassed parents, girls-on-a-night-out and gayers that constitute the audience of the all-conquering Sugababes at the Royal Albert Hall.
It was great, they sounded fantastic and all had their moments to shine - Keisha poised and controlled, Heidi beaming her smile to the highest reaches of the RAH and Amelle squeezing punters hands' at every moment. And the costumes.... they are bringing mini-crini back! We had ostrich feather ones, glitter-ball ones, red swag-curtain ones which were removed to reveal ones made of bubble-wrap plastic! For a ballad section we were treated to long robes with flowers blossoming from hems, sleeves and necklines... a possibility for cringe but they just about carried it off.
I was surprised there was so little talking to the audience but they had to get 20 songs done! We had them sultry, sexy, playful, rocking, moody and lovelorn. They swept us through 8 years of hits OVERLOAD, FREAK LIKE ME, ROUND ROUND, STRONGER, HOLE IN THE HEAD, TOO LOST IN YOU (magnificent), RED DRESS, UGLY, CHANGE, DENIAL, MY LOVE IS PINK and an excellent cover on En Vogue's underrated DON'T LET GO (LOVE).
The explosive encore was a double-whammy of PUSH THE BUTTON and of course ABOUT YOU NOW - explosive because we had flames shooting up behind the stage, fireworks bursting over the 'babes heads and gold streamers jettisoned over the front of the stage. The babes are girls on a mission... they are planning an album for the end of the year so maybe there will be another tour. I'm there!And finally a word on the passing of the great Paul Scofield.

His idiosyncratic stage career ranged from the greatest classical roles to a Jeffery Archer play. He is known for his dignified and humane Thomas More in Fred Zinnemann's film of A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS which won him an Academy Award but film never appealed to him and his screen appearances were rare events.

I saw him on stage four times, bringing life to the American import I'M NOT RAPPAPORT in 1986 and the afore-mentioned Jeffrey Archer EXCLUSIVE in 1989 which, even co-starring Eileen Atkins, I have managed to erase totally from my mind. Luckily the last two were more worthy of his talents.

In 1992 he dominated the Haymarket stage as Captain Shotover in Shaw's HEARTBREAK HOUSE with Vanessa Redgrave who also co-starred with him in 1996 for his last major stage role as Ibsen's JOHN GABRIEL BORKMAN directed by Richard Eyre which also starred Eileen Atkins. It was a towering performance - and not just because I was sitting a few rows from the stage.
He was majestic in a performance that I will remember for years to come. Living the final moments of Borkman's life he stood close to the edge of the stage for his last speech in which he invokes the spirits of the mountain:

"But I will whisper it to you here in the stillness of the night: I love you, as you lie there spellbound in the deeps and the darkness! I love you, unborn treasures, yearning for the light! I love you, with all your shining train of power and glory! I love you, love you, love you!"

and he did whisper it, out into the rapt stillness of the Lyttleton auditorium, as the audience held it's collective breath. Unforgettable.

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