Holiday Wishes

My my my, it’s certainly been a while. And what a while it’s been. Shows, gigs and whatnot galore, and now we get to settle down, maxin’ relaxin’ all cool (b-ball shooting outside of an educational institution optional). So before I launch into the inevitable winter festivity hogwash, a brief rundown of a couple of exciting things over the last term:

– Sax and the City, the UCLU Jazz Society Bloomsbury Theatre show back in November, was marvellous. Though not the sell-out spectacular we’d hoped for, the big band, jazz choir (the artist formerly known as vocal group), small groups and soloists all performed fantastically and had a great reception from the audience. From the screaming Gonna Fly Now (as recorded by Maynard Ferguson) to the more relaxed tunes like The Way You Look Tonight, to cheesy favourites like Soul Bossa Nova (from that one movie about that guy), it all looked and sounded tight as hell. And we even got the culmination of a year and a half’s worth of Anchorman jokes with a little rendition of Afternoon Delight. Groovy times.

– Anything Goes, this term’s musical, was simply sensational. Easily the best musical of which I’ve been a part, so kudos to UCLU Musical Theatre Society for that. And for their choice of the angel Gabriel too. I had a number of people tell me afterwards that it was West End standard, and a couple who even said it was better than the 2003 run – and that one had John Barrowman, so we must’ve been good.

– I stepped in for a recording with Down for the Count a month or two ago, and recently did another gig with them (at an RAF base of all places). The CD is sounding fab, so head on over to the website and order a copy or ten! Sadly it won’t be in time for Christmas, but hey, you don’t need an excuse like that to buy it right? Right.

So, before I depart to sleep soundly, eat too much and fret over an essay on the Satyricon (which is basically about sex), I wish you all happy holidays, a merry Winter-Solstice-Festival-Of-Your-Choosing and best wishes for 2011, which I hear is going to be a pretty sweet year all things considered, though sadly bereft of those novelty new year glasses it seems.

London, City of Dreams and Stuff

“How can you be bored in London? Go for a walk! There’s always something to do, you just have to look for it.”

So a friend of mine once chastised me when I complained of occasionally having nothing to do in my first year at UCL. I of course realised shortly afterwards that he was absolutely right, and took to taking the odd moonlit stroll through the city to see bits of it I hadn’t before and narrowly avoid getting mugged. I did a lot in my first two years of university – I took in places like the British Museum in my own time, took a boat trip down the Thames and discovered delightful little shops, cafes and pubs hidden away in plain sight.

So far this year, however, I’ve found myself too busy or too exhausted to entertain that particular fancy of mine, which is a shame. With the pressures of third year kicking in on top of running a society, I find myself with relatively little free time, and what little I do have I often prefer to spend resting my aching feet rather than sending them off to discover new places. Still, maybe all I needed was a little nudge to keep my head above water – I think I shall take a walk. Well…maybe tomorrow.

The Jazz Society held its great Garage Theatre Workshop show last week, Ray!: The Abridged Version. Billed as ‘reviv[ing] the music from the Oscar® winning film Ray! by cutting out all the boring bits like plot and dialogue’, it was certainly an entertaining three nights, so to those of you who didn’t come along, shame on you. Don’t worry though, there’s a chance to redeem yourself: our big Bloomsbury Theatre show, Sax and the City, is looming at the end of November. With tickets starting as low as £4, it’s a TV and film music-filled night not to be missed. Hope to see you there.