A Few Evenings during September 2008, not least 30 September 2008

That time of year, I suppose. A few evenings worth listing.

11 September 2008: Ivan Shakespeare Memorial Dinner – explained in the third entry of the link piece. Here is John random’s tombstone e-mail from that night:

Just like to extend a heartfelt thanks to all those who came to the 32nd Ivan Shakespeare Memorial Dinner – actually I don’t know if it is the 32nd but we’ve been doing an average of four a year since the year 2000, so it sounds plausible. Those of you who weren’t there, whether in Africa, America, Ireland or some oil-producing nation such as Harpenden you were all sadly missed, You missed a great quiz from Gerry, and the surprise (and welcome) re-appearance of John Cowen. Special guest Neil Watson brought a touch of class to the proceedings.

16 September 2008: Gresham College – one of Michael Mainelli’s very last lectures that “fed” The Price of Fish. This was at Barnard’s Inn Hall. Z/Yen will have sponsored drinks and some of us will have had some grub (almost certainly at Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese) afterwards.

23 September 2008: Bill Emmott’s Sir Thomas Gresham Docklands Lecture which was excellent. Followed by a drinks and then a round table discussion/meal at the Four Seasons Docklands.

26 September 2008: Kim, Micky and Charlie dinner, 7:00ish. Sounds like it must have been at Sandall Close; a trawl through Janie’s diary archive will confirm or deny at some stage.

30 September 2008: Stuart Rose lecture at the Royal Opera House. Can’t find an on-line reference but I do recall being there. Something about probity and stuff.


Creditors by August Strindberg in a new version by David Greig, Donmar Warehouse, 27 September 2008

Janie and I are both very partial to a bit of Strindberg.

Creditors is a top drawer Strindberg play and this was a top draw production of same at the Donmar.

I had seen a smaller scale production of this before – at The Gate back in the 1980s – I’ll review that too in the fullness of time. But this version of Creditors, in David Greig’s edgy hands, was even more gripping than I remembered the play.

Superb cast too – all three of them excellent.

Even the West End Whingers were on the case for this one and seemed broadly satisfied – click here.

An especially good night at the theatre.

The Girlfriend Experience, Royal Court Theatre Upstairs, 20 September 2008

We really liked this play. It was funny and interesting.

It’s one of those verbatim theatre jobbies. Alecky Blythe went round talking to prostitutes at “the parlour” and pulled together a play about them based on their own accounts.

Intriguingly, the cast listened to recordings as they delivered their lines, to add a particular type of authenticity to the verbatim method.

It worked for us, anyhow.

Perhaps the Royal Court are starting to put up archives going back this far, but for now this one is merely a stub – click here.

OfficialLondonTheatre.co.uk has more – click here.

Fretwork, Birds on Fire: Jewish music for viols, Wigmore Hall, 14 September 2008

Janie and I like a bit of viol music.

The Birds On Fire page of Fretwork’s own site – click here – sets out the whole concert and indeed details of the CD album they brought out in 2008, a few months before this performance.

Here are some reviews of the album from the Fretwork site.

The story of Jewish composers and musicians in the Tudor period is a fascinating one. In theory they were banned from England at that time. In practice, blind eyes were turned when the Tudor court wanted some of the best musicians in Europe to pop in.

In truth, the music was not, to our ears, the most pleasing Tudor period viol music we’d heard. Fretwork are and as always were top notch on this evening, but the modern Orlando Gough work inspired by the story and indeed some of the material, especially the songs, were not so much to our taste.

Still, it was beautiful and interesting and we were very glad we’d booked this concert.

Janie and I had booked the next day (Monday) off. My diary suggests that we simply used that day to sort out stuff and do our own thing. But whatever the plan, we do enjoy a Sunday evening concert that much more when we know we don’t have to work the next day.

Writing this Ogblog piece made me realise that I don’t have any Fretwork in my collection at all. I put that right, but not with Birds On Fire…

…I’ve ordered this one instead

Kicking A Dead Horse by Sam Shepard, Almeida Theatre, 7 September 2008

A rare visit to the theatre on a Sunday – rare time for a theatre show too; 18:00.

The Almeida had a short run of this short piece by Sam Shepard – click here for the Almeida resource on this production; yes, Almeida on-line stuff goes back this far!

This was a joint production with The Abbey Theatre in Dublin; hence the excellent Stephen Rea.

Our view; certainly not Shepard at his best but Stephen Rea would probably hold our attention while painting a ceiling.

Middlesex v Gloucestershire at Lord’s, Day 3, 5 September 2008

I believe this momentous day was my first ever match report for King Cricket.  At the time, I was still editing the Middlesex Till We Die (MTWD) website, so I also co-wrote a match report for that one.

I had been campaigning quite hard for some time for MTWD match reports to be impressionistic and alternative, rather than traditional narrative reports of the game.  In the early days of MTWD, providing narrative reports was a useful “free service” for fans as it wasn’t so easy to find match reports on-line.  But by 2008, there was little need or demand for an amateur version of rapid narrative reportage on-line, although several of the reporters seemed wedded to “ball-by-ball match reports” (as Barmy Kev tended to describe them).

Meanwhile, I’d discovered the King Cricket site and loved his match report rules: “If it’s a professional match, on no account mention the cricket itself. If it’s an amateur match, feel free to go into excruciating detail.”  However, King Cricket sought match reports as fillers to be used weeks or months after the event; yet would not (as a commercial site, could not) simply recycle material that had been published elsewhere first.

This pair of match reports is, therefore, probably the only example of me writing pretty much the same story in different words for both sites.  From then on, I continued with occasional pieces (as well as editing) with MTWD for another couple of seasons while writing wholly different occasional stuff for King Cricket.

Here is the King Cricket version of the story, which was published in October 2008.

Just in case anything ever happens to King Cricket, I have scraped the piece to Ogblog – only click the link below if the link above doesn’t work:

Middlesex v Gloucestershire County Championship match report

Here is the MTWD version of the story, co-“authored” with Barmy Kev, published that very evening, 5 September 2008 – click here.

Just in case anything ever happens to MTWD, I have scraped the piece to Ogblog – only click the link below if the link above doesn’t work:

Middlesex till we die – Kadeer Today, Gone Tomorrow, Day 3 Middx v Glos

If you really want to know what actually happened in the match (yes, there was sort-of a cricket match), here is a link to the on-line scorecard.

In King Cricket and MTWD match reports, Ged and Daisy are nicknames/noms de plume for me and Janie. Friends (such as Charley “The Gent” Malloy) are always referred to pseudonymously.   If my diary is to be believed, Charley was a substitute as my guest for that day, as the day is marked in my diary as a stumpfmerde, which means the original idea was to visit Lord’s that day with “Timothy Tiberelli”.  Something important must have come up for Timothy.

Dinner With John White at Hereford Road, Preceded and Followed by a spot of cricket at Lord’s, 3 September 2008, plus a snippet on 4 September 2008

Wednesday 3 September 2008

One of the regular/irregular meet ups between me and John White. John had not yet been to Lord’s to see proper (i.e. red ball, white clothing) cricket, nor had he yet done the pavilion thing.

As it was my turn to choose the eating venue, I hatched a plan for the meal to be at Hereford Road (which I was sure would be to John’s taste) and for both of us to finish work early for a change, starting our late afternoon at Lord’s. My e-mail to John a couple of days before:

We’re meeting early at Lord’s if you are still on for that – I have 4:30/4:45 in my diary.  I have booked Hereford Road for dinner – excellent restaurant between Lord’s and my place – owned and cheffed by the former chef from St John.

So John joined me at Lord’s for an hour or so of cricket and the informal tour of the pavilion, then the restaurant, both of which he seems to have enjoyed – John’s subsequent e-mail words:

As always a lovely evening.  It was very kind of you to let me into Lord’s.  Although nobody is really that interested I have been endlessly describing the various bars, characters and atmosphere of the place.  I don’t know if you won?  Orient managed a 2-0 win away at Walsall on Saturday if you’re interested.

The restaurant got and still gets good reviews:

As for the cricket, I did return the next day…

Thursday 4 September 2008

…but again only for the last couple of hours, primarily as a convivial meeting place with Steve Tasker to go through some UNISON business; probably thinking through project budgets for 2009. I’m sure we got to see a bit of cricket and enjoy a beer at the end of the day as well.

As for the Friday and the remainder of the match – I wrote that up at length at the time for both MTWD and King Cricket – all linked up and explained through the following Ogblog piece – click here. Rain-affected draw for those uninterested in clicking through to read the slapstick exploits of Ged and Charley “The Gent” Malloy, yet interested in an ancient match result.