Friday, October 26, 2007


The rich as always breathe
the cleanest air up here where the sky
smiles on oaks and elms
greening Schwab Hill
as far as the finest walking boots
can take you.

Sylvan shrines to wayfarer
saints, lovers on benches
along blue-chicoried tracks,
recently liberated angels
fending off imaginary danger
in the country park
where the old man hires out his crates
of toys to the poorer
families up here on the bus
for a few Sunday hours closer to heaven

drably dressed, pushing their
secondhand pushchairs, taking in
the haze of the Danube far below:
a city forever recovering, a steady
optimism undampened even by
pools of sorrow down on Andrassy.

Pelotons of cyclists spin past
the electric gates of Hotel Normafa,
ten buses an hour ferry faces
up and down these soaring hills
until the sun peels away, dusk
lopes in like a bad dog
crossing the bridges that stitch
this city together.

Light bleeds fast
down these huge boulevards
but the ornate facades of Pest no longer
fear the night.

As taxis weave their diesel webs
over the river up into Buda
the road gets steeper
the granite less staunch
until the lights below are
glitter on a dressing room floor,
until the chic chalet-mansions of
Normafa serrate the hill’s edge.

Silence, balm: the stars kiss
the forest as it closes its last flowers
for another night while down by the river
a million tenants in 60s tenements
dare to dream the democratic dream.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Brave One

Jodie Foster's latest film has not been well attended locally until now but at last is starting to get good reviews in the serious press: I suspect it came out at the wrong time with reviewers concentrating on other more hyped productions. In fact, this a good film with plenty of twists and turns and a very credible plot. Foster is a very underrated actor and deserves a lot more column inches for this performance. Recommended.

Hovis remembered

Last night at The Phoenix saw a very special event: the premiere of Hovis in Wonderland a radio play by Dave Morgan based on the writing of the late local comedian and writer Hovis Presley with Nat Clare as the eponymous hero ably supported by other local poets and actors.

The audience clearly enjoyed the old Hovis humour and the open mic warm ups were also well-received. the whole thing reminded me a little of the Goon Show, particularly with the sound effects. I was there to provide some 'elevator music' as background in the bar, which is a very different thing from performing to a silent, captive audience but which still proved enjoyable. I hope this play gets another airing as it's a good night for the audience.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Another good George Clooney film

Michael Clayton

Yet another good one from Gorgeous George. Four star ratings from most of the critics and a very enjoyable film. Financed (produced) by the big wheels on the cast, this is a very competent film. Catch it this week or next at your local cinema.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

exchange theatre: Henry V

A very impressive Harry

Elliot Cowan is to be congratulated on an extremely real, credible Henry V: excellent diction, kingly bearing and presence, and in the lighter moments enough for us to be sure he is not a one trick pony. An outstanding performance.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Overdrive Success

OVERDRIVE 1 : Tuesday 2nd October 2007 at The Phoenix.

There were 20 performances in all:

2 classical pieces by a group from Chorley
3 spots of poetry accompanied by music
2 R&B / rock mixes on CD
2 keyboard-accompanied ballads
3 Nigerian songs
8 new songs accompanied by guitar(s)

Feedback (via anonymous forms) from musicians and audience was totally positive, people especially liking:

‘the bonhomie of the evening’
‘nice mix of material’
‘the diversity’
‘the variety’
‘the classical music group, James Hartnell, everything’ (whoever this was, your cheque’s in the post)
‘safe environment for new talent, appreciative audience, (I) like the environment of the Phoenix, well MC’d’
‘the atmosphere of support and acceptance, the facility to provide a stage for people who haven’t performed before’
‘originality, creative encouragement of event’
‘eclectic mix and interesting idea’
‘the variety of acts’
‘the atmosphere – relaxed and fun’

Participants were aged from about 10 yrs and up and included Amber Milton-White, Abi Idowu, 6 members of the Brett family, Luke Harrison, Mark Jones, Chris McWilliam, Dave Strickleton, Alan Gray, Bill Brierley, Don Parry and James Hartnell.

The next event, called cryptically OVERDRIVE 2 will take place on Tuesday 6th November(date to be confirmed) at The Phoenix starting at 7.30 pm. Details will be sent to those interested very soon. I hope you may be able to join us for OVERDRIVE 2.