Pub theatre

The Guardian recently ran an article about the resurgence of pub theatre, demonstrating that once again our author is well-ahead of the curve (in some areas, in others he can’t even find the curve and is uncertain whether one even exists).  I have been an habitué of pub theatres for more than 4 years now.  [Is it just me, or do any other (male or equivalent) readers feel cheated when typing (or writing) a French adjective formed from a past participle that they cannot correctly add the second ‘e’ for feminine agreement?]

What is not to love?  The title clearly illustrates the two key attributes for any potential visitor: there is a theatre “in” (or usually above) a pub!  Not only that, but it is usually a small, intimate theatre producing new writing and the pub is generally a good one with a fine range of well-kept cask ales.

The Guardian article included a production still (look at me, using industry jargon!) from the play that, in many ways, started it all.  It was a shot from Luke Owen‘s Unscorched which was the first time I visited the Finborough Theatre (a place where I am now often recognised by the team), was almost my first visit to a pub theatre and was the play which started my obsession with new writing in the theatre.  Since that day, my visits to the West End have declined to zero and my theatre-going has become increasingly dominated by new plays.  My attendance of the classics has become limited to those staged by the Nuffield Theatre – but a short walk or bus-ride from my door – or at the cinema via NT Live (similarly physically proximate).  This switch has also had the benefit of making my theatre-going budget stretch a lot further.

My visits to pub theatre – which are mostly in London (though I am tempted to try and set one up myself nearer to home) – have been somewhat restricted by the pain of getting to them from Southampton (and more significantly getting home again) by public transport.  They tend to be located away from the centre of London on underground lines not served from Waterloo.  However, on the Sunday before last I made a major transport breakthrough.  I discovered that, via the magic of the Overground, I can be delivered from Clapham Junction via a very frequent service to West Brompton in less than 10 minutes.  From there it is but a short walk to the Finborough.  This knocks 45-60 minutes off my previous route via Waterloo and the Jubilee and District Lines and saves me nearly a fiver on my train ticket!  This same little arc of the Overground also takes in Theatre 503 (another pub theatre) and the Bush Theatre (not in a pub, but still a small theatre producing new writing).  I also have the feeling that the Overground is largely unknown to tourists, which eliminates a whole range of frustrations which plague its subterranean sibling.  All hail the London Overground!  Your rolling stock was not named Capitalstar in vain!

Using this new knowledge, I found myself in the Finborough Arms enjoying a very fine pint of Luppol (not a new high-performance lubricant for your engine, but an unfiltered ale by Clouded Minds brewery) a mere 90 minutes after leaving Southampton Central.  I then enjoyed the drama of Late Company by the ridiculously young and talented Jordan Tannahill (he was 23 when he wrote it, and still hasn’t reached 30) another stunning Canadian play brought across the Atlantic by the Finborough team.  If the opportunity arises, go see Late Company – it is an uncomfortable experience at times, but is wonderful, thoughtful writing.  I then wended my way home via Theatre 503 and the excellent Sharp Teeth, starring inter alia The Greeners and Ben Norris.

Sharp Teeth is a cross-genre night taking in music and spoken word along the way which is usually resident in Bristol, but this was its first outing in London.  Bristol is, in theory, closer and easier to get to than London – but the operators of our rail companies find it inconceivable that the resident of a provisional UK city should wish to visit a nearby provincial city for an evening of fun.  Whether it be Salisbury, Bath, Chichester, Brighton or Bristol the last train back to Southampton is cunningly timed to ensure that any visit to the theatre (or similar cultural activity) will cause you to miss it.  Is ATOC in the pocket of big B&B?  Or is it just that the denizens of Southampton have a particularly lairy reputation?

Returning to Late Company, this is the fourth stunning play by a Canadian playwright I have seen in the last couple of years: two at the Finborough (the other being Proud by Michael Healey) and two at the Nuffield Theatre.  This latter pair were performed by the Nuffield Youth Theatre, Girls like that and Consensual, both written by Evan Placey.  These were both stunningly good productions but Consensual, in particular, never made you think about the word “youth” in “youth theatre”.  For my money (and as paying audience, it was my money), it could stand with any professional production I’ve seen in recent years.  The ambition of the NYT over recent years has been extraordinary.  I’d never been to youth theatre before I moved to Southampton and only went the first time as I had a free ticket and figured “how bad can it be?”.  I now book early for all their productions to make sure I get a seat: the performances are always worth seeing and they can tackle repertoire which the main theatre would struggle to programme economically.

I fear this post has wandered from its original theme of pub theatre, as many members of the NYT could not be legally served in a pub, but I like to feel there is a (tenuous) thread leading the reader through my rant: if not, can we agree to call it Joycean?  It is also becoming increasingly clear that if I am forced to flee this country as an economic migrant, Canada is looking an increasingly attractive option.  So I like to think we’ve all learned something today.

Mayday

Do not worry, I am not in immediate need of rescue – or at least no more so than usual.  I shall be discursing on the traditional holiday rather than the cry for help (or the deadly butterfly-toting Bond villain).  Wordpress does not like me using the word ‘discursing’, but it is a perfectly valid word, if archaic: so I shall raise a small number of fingers to ‘the man’ and continue.

People make a wide range of choices for their May Day celebrations.  The psychotic supreme leader or gerontocracy that traditionally run totalitarian states seem to prefer having a large proportion of their military forces paraded in front of them: usually sporting both silly hats and walks.  I know one chap who by 5am was not only up, but about and in town performing (I assume with other like-minded folk) in a bout of Morris dancing.  The lone Morris dancer is a very sad and lonely sight: even if there is no-one there to observe him.  Do his bells make a sound?

At 5am on May 1, I was still safely nestled neath my duvet: I may be a fool, but I’m an old fool and time in bed sleeping is rarely wasted or later regretted (which is more than can be said for many of a chap’s waking hours).  I did eventually stir and after a light luncheon took the train up to London to visit the Barbican Centre.  This is my fourth visit in the last 12 months or so, and for the first time managed to walk from Moorgate tube station to the Barbican and back (later) without going the wrong way or becoming hopelessly lost.  For my next trip, I think I can safely leave behind the reel of cotton and the 800g sliced loaf and rely on my own navigational ability to brave the heart of the labyrinth and then later emerge unscathed.  For any of you who were worrying. no man-bull hybrids were harmed in the making of this post.

I was visiting the Barbican Centre to listen to Philip Glass’ Music in Twelve Parts: a four hour extravaganza of musical minimalism suspended over 5.5 hours once the (3) intervals were included.  I have heard a small amount of Mr Glass’ percussion music in the past and some of his film soundtrack work, in particular to the film Koyaanisqatsi, but this was going to be something of a leap into the musical dark.  Still, I somewhat knew the chap organising and directing (from the keyboard) the gig (having twice shared a pint or two with him: which I think in many cultures would make us brothers) and follow the viola da gamba player on Twitter (surely, everyone must follow at least one viola da gamba player on Twitter, or how do they sleep at night?) so I figured it would be worth a punt.  Also, in purely economic terms, it was one of the cheapest concerts I’ve ever been to in terms of a pence per minute rate.

You will be pleased to know that my punt paid off handsomely: I had a glorious afternoon and evening.  It quickly became weirdly engrossing in a way that I imagine meditation or mindfulness is supposed to.  I felt oddly cocooned in music and it was slightly shocking once each segment came to an end and I was forced to face the real world again for the upcoming interval.  For perhaps obvious reasons, the piece is rarely played (despite being shorter and less stressful than most of Wagner’s output) and this was the first time it hadn’t been played by the Philip Glass Ensemble: so it was also  a fairly[sic] unique  – or at least once in a generation – experience.  I did find myself wondering how the musicians maintain their concentration and remember which ‘repeat’ they are in: I become confused/lost within even a couple of repeated phrases in a piece of music so would have been entirely at sea in the hypnotic soundscape of Philip Glass.

The intervals were also quite stressful as it was in these brief interludes that the audience had to attempt to refuel with the victuals needed to make it through the next three parts (of the twelve).  The Barbican did not make this easy of us: the Members’ Lounge was closed all day and the centre has few eateries.  I booked at table at one of these for the long interval (1 hour) only to be told when I arrived to eat that they had stopped serving food two hours before.  Not a welcome message I can tell you!  I had to make do with a merely adequate wrap and brownie combination from a snack bar in the basement.  The Barbican really isn’t very accommodating to the tapeworm-infested or merely hungry visitor: it has very limited options and going “off-site” to find and eat food in an interval of only an hour is quite a challenge.   It would really require a native guide and access to motorised transport.  In this respect it contrasts rather unfavourably with the Southbank Centre which has a huge range of dining options within a short walk and a vastly lower chance of becoming lost on the way.

Still, it did expunge some of the blot from its copybook in the short intervals.  The Jude’s brown butter pecan ice cream I had in interval one – continuing with the sense of adventure that characterised the day – was very tasty and the elderflower and ginger martini I had in interval three was divine (if rather too expensive for everyday – or even every year).

Overall, I had a brilliant time and must take my hat off (sadly left behind on the train on my way home, please don’t blame the martini) to James McVinnie for organising such a wonderful gig.  I eagerly await his next offering…

The King and I

Writers are often asked where their ideas come from.  Oddly, I have yet to be asked this particular question: I am forced to assume that my public persona is too forbidding and people are afraid to approach me to raise such an inquiry.

Extrapolating from my huge sample size of one (viz me), still more evidence than will be supporting most of the claims we’ll hear between now and early June, I would imagine that writers find this question almost impossible to answer.  I have no idea where my inspiration comes from or fails to come from (as the case may be).  In general, it comes from doing stuff and being out in the world, rather than staring into space in my tiny garret – but beyond that the affairs of the muse are subtle and thrillingly mysterious.

Last night I enjoyed a very entertaining evening of storytelling at the Art House.  This was far from my first experience of storytelling.  Many years ago, an unfortunate Argentine, who had the misfortune to look to me as his line manager, claimed I was unable to say anything without turning into a narrative: he probably had a point.  Back in the mists of time (ok the mid-nineties), I was an habitué of the Cumberland Arms in Byker to enjoy the regular storytelling evenings run by A Bit Craic.  On a couple of occasions, I even summoned up sufficient pluck to tell a story myself.

As well as the traditional elements of such an evening, the two storytellers last night (Jason Buck and Mike Rogers) filled in the space before the performance and during the intermission by playing a game of chess: well, after a fashion.  As I arrived, there were hints of Det sjunde inseglet, though it quickly became apparent that there would be more laughs on offer than are traditionally associated with the work of Ingmar Bergman (I can’t speak to his private life, which may have been a complete laugh riot).  

I think they started with a plan to play chess to the rules of Monopoly, but this quickly morphed under the influence of the audience.  Elements of Mornington Crescent, Connect Four and Play Your Cards Right soon arrived and then my surprisingly extensive knowledge of the back catalogue of the band Queen came to the fore: gained not through direct experience, but spending a lot of time in the podcast company of John Robins (and Elis James, Prods D and V).

It was at some point during this interplay between the audience, the storytellers, a chess board, the streets and stations of London et al that we we found ourselves led to Kennington Oval. From nowhere, my subconscious decided that I should sing this (out loud to the assembled minitude – like a multitude, only smaller) to the tune of Getting to Know You:

🎶 Kennington Oval

🎶 Kennington Ov-all about you etc.

[I’m afraid you’ll have to imagine me singing this with the look of a frock-begirt Deborah Kerr but the angelic voice of Marni Nixon.  Quite a stretch I fear, but at least I have discovered how to insert notes into a post: so that’s a major step forward for GofaDM!]

This is a terribly insidious earworm which I have now infected you with as well.  A trouble shared is a trouble doubled!  I fear none of you will be able to use the southern reaches of the Northern Line or the home of Surrey county cricket (the club with the fringe on top) without bringing to mind a little of Richard Rodgers work in the King and I.  Luckily for us, and unhappily for the estate of the late RR, there is no PRS to pay as long as the tune stays inside safely your head.

Oval

All together now: “Kennington Oval…”

 

 

The Uncarved Block

I know little about either Zen or motorcycle maintenance.  Though, if push came to shove, you’d probably prefer me to strip down your Harley than guide you on your way to enlightenment.  To me, Zen will always be the Liberator’s master computer voiced by the late Peter Tuddenham.  This probably indicates my spiritual poverty and certainly does explain why I still sometimes say “Confirmed” in a somewhat emotionless way.

So little do I know of Zen (the spiritual one) that I shall wilfully confusing it with Taoist philosophy in this post.  This will set it apart from the traditional western confusion of these concepts in that I shall be doing it in a state of decreased ignorance and with malice aforethought.  The one small fig leaf of intellectual integrity that I can offer for my approach is that Taoist philosophy provides some of the key underpinning for Zen Buddhism: well, that and the fact that this blog freely admits that it indulges in juxtaposition.

Taoists have the concept of the “uncarved” block as an idealised state for the mind, uncomplicated by experience.  My mind, on the other hand, has been subject to the attentions of obsessive whittlers for so long that I fear little remains but a pile of sawdust.  But, that’s entropy man!

Despite barely having placed my first step on the eight-fold path (does a right-angle count?), I have nevertheless been a living illustration of at least one Zen koan for the last few weeks.  Since injuring my wrist, it has been impossible to provide applause in the traditional way (for the hearing community, at least).  Striking my hands together to generate the sound of two hands clapping has been too painful to contemplate and so I have been forced to find my own solution to the Oriental riddle.  My answer to the sound of one hand clapping has been to press my right leg into service as a sound board and resonator: when struck by my right (undamaged) hand it simulates the concept of applause with a reasonable degree of fidelity.  I fear my solution to the age-old question would not pass muster and would illustrate once again the long journey ahead of me before I achieve Nirvana.  However, as it offered an effective, sonic alternative to more traditional applause, I stuck with it.

Yesterday, during an enjoyable afternoon of music at Dolfest (named for its location, the nearby Dolphin Inn) I briefly forgot my pain and applauded in the classic way (consumption of a few pints of  Spitfire Gold may have been implicated in this small act of forgetting).  There was no pain!  Even without the cushioning numbness of ethanol, I can now applaud pain-free!  My recovery is clearly proceeding apace, but those seeking self-awakening will have to look elsewhere for future inspiration.  Meanwhile, I shall return to whittling the sawdust of my mind into ever smaller particles.

 

Capital ambivalence

fear not, i shall not be continuing in the style of e e cummins or of archy (cockroach friend of mehitabel, the moth): i have no real objection to capitalisation of text.  THOUGH I PREFER TO AVOID SHOUTING!

This post will instead explore my ambivalence about visiting (or indeed residing) in the capital city of these diminished isles.

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Neither to scale nor an actual vista

Readers may wonder why I have included an extremely dodgy image of the London skyline, which at best bears a passing topological similarity to the actual city and suggests an entirely unrealistic calm and clarity to the River Thames.  Well, I am now using a WordPress feature whereby these posts automatically appear on my Facebook feed and have discovered that unless a post includes an image, my Facebook massive are exposed to a giant image of my crumbling visage: and nobody wants that…

On Easter Monday – a concept which Biblical scholars, theologians and those from outside the British Isles may find hard to understand – I went up to London after lunch for an afternoon and evening of “fun”.  This reminded me of both what I love and find really irritating about visiting the big smoke.

The inbound journey is generally fine as one is filled with hope and excitement for the activities to come.  This feeling survived reasonably well until I reached the British Museum.  New security arrangements mean a long queue to enter that august repository of stolen goods.  Once through the security cordon, the museum was heaving with other people – which makes me wonder just how good the security can have been.  I love the concept of other people, but the reality of them en masse and dawdling around does rather test this love.  I was at the BM to see the American Dream exhibition of 20th century prints.  This had much to enjoy and a fair chunk of works which struck me as a waste of materials: my taste in the visual arts definitely has limits, even if I’d be entirely unable to describe where they are.  I also strongly suspect that my taste in more modern art is an expanding (or at least morphing) envelope: today’s waste of wall space may be tomorrow’s masterpiece.  I think I’d feel cheated if I went to an exhibition and loved everything, there would be something important missing.

From the BM, I headed over to Islington to the Bill Murray (from one BM to another!  I don’t just through my time together you know): a pub which is now (mostly) a comedy venue.  It is still a small pub and offered a very potable pint of Marston’s 61 Deep – albeit at a price I would associate with drinking in Scandinavia (but that’s London for you).  I had not journeyed just to enjoy over-priced pale ale, but to see the comic stylings of young Ivo Graham.  Don’t tell the lad this, lest he lose the run of himself, but he was the “hook” on which the cultural coat of my day was hung.   He was very funny, even if I did form rather more of the act than I’d expected or than he had intended: I provided rather more filler to his work-in-progress hour than necessary.  I even had a brief chance to chat to him after the gig – before he had to race to Hatfield (not to the world-famous poly but to watch a netball match).  I am pleased to report he is as charming a chap in person as I had imagined having seen and heard him (from a distance – and in his professional capacity, I am not stalking the young lad) over the last 3.5 years.  As a further bonus, he provided an opportunity for me to use the phrase “vespine foe” in a tweeted reply later that evening as I sat on a bus passing St Paul’s: for which I remain in his debt.

I too had to leave the BM(2) reasonably promptly to head over to Dalston, for a quick bite of supper and a play at the Arcola.  I supped at Café Route which offered a splendid selection of vegetarian (and even vegan) friendly salads and small plates coupled with a huge range of cakes.  Reader, I rather over-indulged as not only were things very reasonably priced but the slices of cakes were pleasingly generous: consuming two might have been verging on gluttony.

Suitably stuffed, I then waddled the short distance to the Arcola Theatre to see The Plague, based on Albert Camus‘ 1947 novel.  Well, I do like to mix light and shade on an evening out.  The play was very well done and only mildly harrowing.  I’ve been meaning to read some Camus for years, and this was probably a good substitute and takes some of the pressure off me for a while.

The bus ride back to Waterloo was fun, traversing parts of London I’ve never visited and offering an excellent view of St Paul’s.  I always find that it is the journey home which is the key downside of going out in London.  If I go out in Southampton – which I do no more than five times in a typical week – when the fun comes to an end, it is a mere 10-15 minutes before I’m home enjoying a herbal tea before being tucked up in my trundle bed.  If I go out in London, there is 2-3 hours of post-fun time-wasting before I am reunited with my straw palliasse.  This is too long at my advanced age and it somehow takes some of the gilding off the earlier fun.  I think this is why I find myself going to London less and less often – though there is also the sheer number of reasons to stay in Southampton for my culture and the desire to support the local product.  Still, I fear unless there is significant progress on the transmat in the near future, my visits to the capital may remain a rare “treat”.

Fluff

Where does it come from?  Why is it almost, but not quite, always navy blue?

I fear this post may fall short in both the answer and originality departments (which continue to resist their long overdue, cost-saving merger), but there is a genuine puzzle at its heart.

My modestly-sized flat (or hutch, as one friend insists on describing it) has very pale beige carpets.  I would have chosen something a few shades darker, but when you’re buying second hand you have to take what you’re given.  What I have come to realise is that a large proportion of the workload on my vacuum cleaner is gathering up little pieces of generally dark blue fluff.  They appear (or breed) at an alarming rate, but where can they be coming from?

I am pretty sure that the human body (even mine) lacks the DNA to produce and shed its own fluff.  So either it is spontaneous generated – as folk once believed mice were – or it is being generated from the environment.  The primary fluff locus appears to be in my boudoir where I robe – and, even more excitingly (or maybe not) – dis-robe.  This would tend to implicate my vestments and the fact that many (though by no means all) are at the blue-black end of the colour spectrum might add some much needed corroboration.  Still, I will admit that my evidence is somewhat circumstantial and may not stand up in court.

Given the sheer quantity of fluff produced, I am forced to wonder if I am abnormally abrasive – in terms of my skin rather than personality (the latter may be true, but it seems unlikely to be causal in respect of my fluff mountain).  Some might blame my navel as a well-known repository for fluff (I mean in general, rather than my navel in particular), but this only yields an occasional harvest which I dispose of at the time (rather than casting to the floor in a fit of pique).

Given the volume, I could only blame moths if my wardrobe were playing host to Mothra (and her extended family).  However, despite the apparent high level of erosion my clothes remain pleasingly free of unintended holes.

None of these explanations explain why my non-navy cloth-based cladding seems immune from the effect and leaves no fluff-based trace on my floors.

It is all very perplexing…

Compressed music

I should make clear that I am not one of those people who bemoans the loss of vinyl, I’m more one of those astonished by its return.  To me, vinyl is like flared trousers, I am old enough to remember how dreadful it was the first time round and have no desire to relive that particular element of the past.  I willingly embraced the CD – though am less keen on the plastic cases they tend to come in.  Luckily, a fair proportion of my more recent CD acquisitions come in a much nicer cardboard alternative: it takes up less space, is much comfier in the hand and is probably better for the plant (or at least the main raw material for cardboard can be replenished more rapidly than it can for its plastic counterpart).  As a dweller in a small flat, I have also welcomed the digital download and its even more modest demands on my available physical storage space.  To the horror of musical purists, I then route my MP3 music via Bluetooth and a DAC to my hifi.  What an impoverished soundscape I must be supplying to my poor benighted ears.  I fear I can’t tell the difference: though I do revel in the absence of hiss and the immunity to scratches.  However, perhaps it is the losses occasioned by all this data compression that continues to drive my love for, and frequent attendance at, live music.

And so, as if by magical, we are delivered to the main topic of today’s thesis.  I have of late (well the last 6 months) attended a number of live performances in spaces that frankly struggled to contain the musical forces at play.  A number of these have taken place in the rather fine crop of craft ale bars that the Southampton area can boast in re-purposed commercial premises.  The Overdraft in Shirley – which as its name suggests is in an old bank – has wisely stuck to the single performer, usually wielding nothing larger than a guitar.  It is a lovely space and has an aesthetic that brings to mind how I imagine a similar venue would appear in the trendiest corner of Brooklyn.

The Butcher’s Hook, just over the Irwell in Bitterne, is somewhat smaller and sited in an old butchers – complete with much of its beautiful original tiling.  It was here that I went to the last Playlist gig.  This boasted Olivia Jaguers on a full-size concert harp, which I sat in very close proximity to.  Ambitious enough you might have thought, but the next act on was the local Gypsy jazz band the Manusa Project (very local, one third of the band lives directly above me and gave me lift home).  They include a full-sized double bass (and player) plus two guitarists – quite the squeeze with the harp and an audience.

I’m not sure what the Olaf’s Tun in Woolston used to be as its interior betrays fewer clues as to its past life.  It is a small space, but bravely invited the 6-piece folk and ceilidh band Monkey See, Monkey Do to perform (with smaller than usual toy monkey).  This was the tightest squeeze yet, with the bassist and one of the violinists having to move each time a member of the audience (or just bar patron) wished to micturate (or more).

I must admit I do love music in a tiny space: it does make the whole experience very personal and direct.  MSMD have also promised to bring some Welsh folk to their next gig as it was the only one of the home nations neglected at the Olaf’s Tun.

Gigs pushing the available space to the limit are not always in small craft ale bars.  As part of the fund-raising for Comic Relief, the Turner Sims concert hall staged an Orchestral Decathlon.  This was made up of ten well-known favourites from the orchestral canon – including five symphonies and two piano concerti – performed by the same orchestra in a single day.  As audience, we arrived a little before 2pm and escaped just before 10pm.  The day was divided into three “concerts” each with a normal 20 minute interval and a 45 minute gap between them.  The wise concert-goer bought a packed tea and other snacks: I am a wise concert-goer (in this respect, and probably very few others!).

Turner Sims seats around 400 people, I’d estimate, but doesn’t normal host anything larger than a chamber orchestra.  For the Decathlon they must have had an orchestra of around ninety which left the stage area pretty full.  For the piano concerti the stage was very full!  For Shostakovich’s second, I was sat in the middle of row B (row A being under the Steinway) and effectively listened to the piece from inside the piano which was quite an experience.  For Rachmaninov’s second, I was still in row B but a little further across – so could readily have helped out playing any high notes.  I could also see, though not entirely focus, on the music.  There were an awful lot of notes, but I did discover that I could have accurately page-turned the piece a good 75% of the time – probably more with my glasses.

My most recent musical experience in a small space was at Hundred Records in Romsey: a very fine and friendly record shop.  I was there for the launch of the latest EP by A Formal Horse, a local band I “discovered” at a recent Maple Leaf Session.  This was once again a tight squeeze, so much so that the drummer could only watch from the side-lines.  It was a real enjoyable experience, boosted I feel from the critical input from the guitarist’s very young daughter who I fear may not entirely approve of daddy’s musical direction.

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Two-thirds of A Formal Horse, in concert!

Others may prefer their music surrounded by mud and twenty thousand of their closest (and not recently washed) friends or professionally produced in a stadium with impressive (and expensive) staging and light show.  Given me the real up-close and personal performance, preferably slightly shambolic and in not quite enough space, every time.  If you can throw in a home-made raffle, forgotten until slightly too late (as was offered by A Formal Horse) then you will have a fan for life!