I am at the scene of a crime …

The evidence:

criminal butter

The main suspect:

boots

Now tell me – does it look to you as if butter would melt in his mouth?

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Do you think, perhaps, that John Trevolta might be Cornish?

Well, he might …

That looks a lot like fudge to me.

(We’ve been amusing ourselves today attempting to recite lines from his films in our impeccable Cornish accents. This is what one is reduced to when it rains and rains and rains on holiday!)

Oof! I saw David Tennant’s tummy

I might as well get in with this quick before the reviews of Hamlet at the RSC come out and everyone starts talking about staging and interpretation and all that. I propose to stick with what’s really important. Namely, the cheap (or rather, not so cheap) thrills available for those lucky enough to get their mitts on a ticket.

David Tennant

First off, let me apologise profusely for not providing photographic tummy proof. Immediately before the performance started there was the usual sonorous announcement about turning off mobile phones, followed by a severe warning against taking photographs or filming. (Not that I would, anyway – after all, I was raised in the jungle by Culture Vultures.) In addition, I’d had an email from the RSC just a few days earlier, rather snitty in tone, advising that actors would only be signing official RSC programmes and merchandise and that anyone selling their tickets on Ebay would be hung, drawn and quartered – or words to that effect. You’ll just have to take my word for it.

Anyway, it’s a modern dress production, and all the better for it. In addition, Tennant’s delivery is so naturalistic and contemporary, the meaning of what he says is absolutely crystal clear for about 90 per cent of the play. There were moment when I felt he substituted animation for intensity, but overall I thought it was a great performance. He managed to make most of the jokes genuinely funny! No small achievement with Shakespeare. Interestingly, the big soliloquys went for almost nothing, being delivered without the huge “air quotes” they normally get, and woven seamlessly into the rest of the text. I thought this was a good thing but I’ll bet there are plenty of theatre buffs who’ll feel cheated.

Now – to the tummy. In jeans, t-shirt and bare feet, Tennant makes a believable 30 year old. He’s very thin so the jeans slip down a little and the t-shirt flaps around, as he dashes around the darkly mirrored stage. When it first appeared, there was an audible gasp from the front row ladies (who also leapt to their feet and screamed at the end when Tennant took his bow – I feared they might throw their undies … no warnings against that before the play started). By the end, I think we all felt we’d had our money’s worth – even those who’d paid squillions on Ebay, probably. 

The production – Out of 10, I’d give it an easy 11.

The tummy?  Ditto. Flat, well-muscled, pale as befits a Dane. He wears jeans very well. (Of course, all of this did nothing for me beyond the purely aesthetic – for reasons I’ll be explaining soon. Yes, it’s another theory. I’m afraid.)

I’m it …

The lovely Patroclus has tagged me for a meme. This is good because, to an extent, I seem to have mislaid my mojo. There are all sorts of reasons for this and I’m not too worried about it overall, but it’s still nice to have something to focus on. I’ve got another couple pending too – including one from Mr Locker – which I will get to presently (honest). In an ideal world, this present meme would involve making a podcast but I don’t have the first idea about how to do that (tbh, I’m not even sure I know what a podcast is), so you’ll have to make do with links to …

Anyway, the idea is to list seven songs I’m particularly into at the moment. The only problem has been paring down the list. I listen to music a big lot, and I’m very subject to earworms (please say you know what I mean by that). Like Patroclus, I will throw in – free of charge – some vacuous commentary. Don’t say I’m not good to you.

1) The Cure: Friday, I’m in Love

This is an acoustic version and very lovely too. I’m a big fan of deceptively simple jingly jangly pop and this hits the spot. Doesn’t the bass player (Simon Gallup?) look like David Tennant? My daughter nearly fainted when I played this for her. Anyway, I’m very interested by Robert Smith – he seems to have huge talent and integrity. And his hair is a bit like mine. Really!

2) Talking Heads: Listening Wind

I remember vividly the first time I heard this one. I was living in Paris at the time. I was at a friend’s appartment in Rue Amelot. It was very late. There was a bloke I was vaguely interested in there. Maybe I was a little bit drunk. The bass line – probably Tina Weymouth – is fantastic, don’t you think? I used to have it on vinyl but I recently replaced it with a CD from Tesco – yes, I know, I know. It has a slightly world music feel to it too – although world music hadn’t been invented back in those days. Y’know, if I could have studied anything at all, money (and practicality) no object, I think i’d have done ethno-musicology. Which sort of brings me to …

3) Tinariwen: Cler Achel

This is the song I’ve got on my Myspace profile – that’s how much I like it. I’ve managed to miss seeing them twice in the last couple of years, but I have high hopes for this summer! I can’t even remember where I first heard them, but there’s something about the instrumental part that reminds me of Fairport Convention! How weird is that? Ooh – that bloke in the middle there – that’s what my hair looks like today. Well, a cross between that and Robert Smith.

4) The Clash: Rock the Kasbah

Ludicrous video. Great song. It’s almost disco, isn’t it? This really dates me, of course – I don’t care. Listen to that bass line – so supple! Poor old Joe – a sad loss to British music. I saw them a couple of times – unforgettable. Is that how you spell Kasbah? Totally unrelated (but while I’m on the subject of Kasbahs), I went to Marrakech with my daughter lately – and Essaouira. It was wonderful.

5) Steve Reich: Music for 18 Musicians

Not a lot of people know this, but I originally studied music at university. I am, to all intents and purposes, the most tremendous geek. I’m very fond of minimalism, and Reich is one of my favourite composers. It was very difficult to find a clip that adequately gets over how fantastic this work is. This is made up of lots of little fragments but the whole piece is quite long and very intense. Try listening to the whole thing – really – it’s hypnotic and, I think, very uplifting.

6) The Kinks: Waterloo Sunset

Listen to those lyrics. Poetry, isn’t it? So tender and so Londonish. And Ray Davies has GOT to be one of the coolest men alive. I used to live in Highgate, and so did he. And I quite often used to see him walking around the village. And I’d go all wobbly and try not to look as if I was staring (which I was).

7) Matt Weddle: Hey Ya

Please listen to this one, even if you don’t bother with anything else. It’s like one of those optical illusions where one minute it looks like two faces and the next it looks like a vase. You think you know this song – the original version by Outkast is great – but this is like a completely different song. If you haven’t heard of them already, the band Obadiah Parker, of which Matt Weddle is a member, is really worth getting to know. The audioclip on their Myspace is better than that Youtube link, actually, but it doesn’t have the advantage of cutting between Weddle and Andre (Ice Cool) 3000. What’s going on with the timing here, btw? Is it an 11-bar phrase? Say of 2/4 bars? Curious.

Notable ommisions: B-52s: Roam (I’m going to see them soon); Stranglers: Duchess; Bob Dylan: Boots of Spanish Leather; Couperin: Les Barricades Mysterieuses; Palestrina: Missa Papae Marcelli … gosh, I could go on and on.

 

 

Fork ‘andles

Anyone unfortunate enough not to be British had better watch this clip of Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett before reading any further or none of this will make any sense at all (okay – even less than usual):

Right! Are we sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin….

A friend of mine makes a bit of extra dosh by letting out rooms to language students coming to learn to speak the Eeeeenglish in lovely Stratford on Avon. So, a while ago she had a Spanish chap come to stay and very nice he was too. I think what particularly endeared him was the fact that he came bearing gifts. It always works with me too. So, he presented her with a little package (about the size of a video) and said (now do his bit in your head in a reeeeeaaally strong Spanish accent, okay?)

Spanish chap: ‘I have gift for you. Eees traditional Espanish. Turrones. You know?’

My friend: ‘The Two Ronnies? Yes! Of course. I love them.’

SC: ‘Oh! You know turrones? Eees etypical in Espain. You like?’

MF: ‘No – they’re English. The Two Ronnies. Definitely English. They’re on telly at Christmas every year.’

SM: ‘Yes, ees good for Christmas. Ma … Eeenglish? No – I theenk ees turrones etypical Espanish. Eees very good.’

MF: ‘Yes! Very good. Very funny! But I’m amazed – you really have the Two Ronnies in  Spain at Christmas too? No way!’

SM: ‘Yes, turrones eees traditional in Espain for long time.

MF: Yeah – the Two Ronnies’ve been going for years! I had no idea they were popular in Spain though …

…. and so it went on.

How amazingly appropriate!

Now, just so we’re clear:

Turrones – tasty Spanish nougat full of almonds:

Two Ronnies – UK comedy duo famed for ingenious wordplay:

Newsflash! According to Ister, turrones tastes of earwax. That’s the turrones and NOT the Two Ronnies who, I’m sure, would have been delicious.