Sunday, 29 March 2015

Buffy Sainte-Marie at The Tabernacle, London

Buffy Sainte-Marie and her new band flew over from Australia to join Morrissey on his current UK tour and, on their night off, came to London for a one-off show at the Tabernacle. They must be well tired by now. I had to be there, obv.

The Tabernacle is a bit of an odd place to play but I suspect there wasn't much of a choice in venues since this was only booked about four weeks ago. I'd never been there before and it's sort of an old churchy place turned into an arts venue with the quaint thing of going up to a reception desk to show your tickets and then getting your hand stamped with ink so you can go in and out all night if you want to. The hall is upstairs with a raised balcony on three sides with pews to sit on, with the hall being standing, a glitter ball hanging from the ceiling and the ceiling held up with good old Victoria ironmongery. I quite liked it but, not being local, it was a bit of a pain to get to wandering round the residential streets of west London. I wonder what Buffy thought of the place?

This was all a bit exciting for Buffy fans, what with the announcement of touring with Morrissey a matter of weeks ago and then this gig and the news of Buffy's new album, 'Power In The Blood', due in May.  Buffy last played in London at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on the Southbank during the London  Olympics in 2012 (I was there, of course).

There was a sign on the door saying that filming would be going on and I suspect that's what slowed down the start of the gig, with the camera lad wandering round, checking cameras, getting set up to film and such like. I couldn't help but thinking, 'you've only had all day …' and then suddenly the band started to come on, a new bassist and guitarist, Michel still on drums and then on came Buffy in tight black jacket and trousers, beaded choker, wreathed in smiles and waving to the audience.

Then, without a word she slung her guitar and started picking the strings to open the show with her new version of 'It's My Way', a song first released in 1964. And it is powerful! The original is just her playing acoustic guitar, but this is her with a flight of guitars and drums and makes a mighty song to start with! And then we had the pounding opening to 'Cho Cho Fire' and we're off and running for the drum!

It was a great setlist and definitely at the 'rock' end of her work, full of guitars, drums and keyboards with the odd exception for some of her classics. The setlist was (not in the right order):

It's My Way (new version)
Cho Cho Fire
No No Keshagesh
Little Wheel Spin and Spin
Blue Sunday
Universal Soldier
Until It's Time For You To Go
I'm Gonna Be A Country Girl Again
Generation (new Version)
Darling Don't Cry
Up Where We Belong
Soldier Blue
Not The Lovin' Kind (new version)
Power In The Blood (new)
We Are Circling (new version)
Farm In The Middle of Nowhere (new)
Carry It On (new version)
Starwalker (encore)

Buffy and her band must've been dropping from jetlag and sheer tiredness but you'd never guess it. They were definitely 'up' and in very good form indeed. The sound was a bit muddy now and then but that's hardly surprising since they've come out of arenas to play the more bijou Tabernacle.

It was a great setlist and I must focus on the songs from the new album, 'Power In The Blood', since new Buffy songs are always worth listening to (and these in particular). These were:

'It's My Way' is the new version gradually introduces guitars and drums rather than Buffy's original acoustic version and it was a great opener, throwing down the towel to say this is me today, not 50 years ago! It's already available to download from iTunes as the lead song from 'Power'.

'Power In The Blood' is Buffy's re-worked version of the Alabama 3 song of the same name, a powerful and political rock song that she's made her own.

'We Are Circling' was introduced as a round-song sang by the acid-rainbow hippies on a hill outside San Francisco that she's written some new verses to and it sounded fantastic in it's mesmerising repetition. I've got the version Buffy recorded a few years ago with The Sadies but this version is so much better, pulling you in and making you part of the family.

'Farm In The Middle Of Nowhere' was introduced as 'true, sort of' and is a delightful and gentle song that had me smiling at the sheer simplicity of Buffy singing about living in the middle of nowhere with her goats. I loved it. Especially since someone in the audience asked her about her goats immediately before the song.

'Generation' is an old song from 'Sweet America' given a make-over and some slight word changes to make it a new song with soaring guitar and Buffy singing about wanting to dance with the Rosebud Sioux in the summer (don't we all?).

'Not The Lovin' Kind' is another old song (from 'Moonshot') and works incredibly well with the full band sound behind it, and then there's...

'Carry It On' which is another old song but you won't find it with that title in Buffy's catalogue. It's based on 'Look At The Facts' from 'Sweet America' but sounded so much more powerful played live. My first reaction was that, with a bit of judicial editing, Buffy's turned it into a rock anthem complete with a punch-the-air chorus - it was magnificent! I'm looking forward to hearing the recorded version of this when the new record comes out!

This was a most fabulous gig and I'm sort of thinking it's the best I've seen Buffy on stage. Part of that is the joy of the new (and re-recorded) songs but the energy coming off that stage was almost palpable. The reception of the old songs was great and there weren't even that many of Buffy's classics - songs were mostly from 'Running For The Drum' and 'Power In the Blood' and the set worked so well. It got the audience dancing and singing along and that's what you want, isn't it? It was also lovely to see the old freaks and hippies coming out to play, with lots of people in 'casuals' but also a surprising number of younger people as well, which is a good thing. Oh, and Cerys Matthews was in the audience too (I had to say hello on the way out). I didn't see any publicity for the gig at all so clearly word-of-mouth still works for Buffy!

As ever, I never take good photos of Buffy so I didn't take many at all but there are a few in this blog. They're all a bit serious looking but there were far more smiles than frowns. And I love the out-of-focus photo below since it shows the energy Buffy puts into her songs, head back and vocals forward!

Migweetch Buffy - until the next time!

'Inventing Impressionism' at the National Gallery

Last week we went to see the new exhibition at the National Gallery on the Impressionists. I'm not the biggest fan of the Impressionists - they've been far too ubiquitous and their paintings have found their way onto greetings cards and biscuit tins. I've walked quickly through the Impressionist galleries at the Musee D'Orsay in Paris because I've seen too many and felt like I was drowning in their paintings. They're everywhere.

And maybe that's why this exhibition is so good since there is no filler. It's themed around the collection of Paul Durand-Ruel, the art dealer who nearly bankrupted himself twice through his love of the paintings and support of the artists. All but one of the 85 paintings in the exhibition went through his hands at some point. He championed the new style of painting and almost single-handedly invented the idea of the solo exhibition. Holding exhibitions in London and New York took Impressionism international and eventually secured the funding they needed to keep painting and their reputations down the years.

The exhibition opens with two lovely paintings by Renoir of Durand-Ruel's children, sons sitting together and daughters sitting together, full of life and colour with their whole lives ahead of them. I liked the painting of the girls with the posy of flowers and bright hat, with the red flowers matching the red lining of the hat. They're having a chat and just look up to see themselves being painted. I wonder what they got up to in their later lives and whether they were happy?

I've never been that keen on Renoir before but I liked the paintings in this exhibition, not just the paintings of the Durand-Ruel's but there are three of his life sized 'dance' paintings in the exhibition as well. My favourite was 'Dance In The Country' if only because of the face of the young girl - she's clearly found the love of her life and the exuberance of the dance has taken her to another level. It's a lovely painting and made me smile.

Of course, the Impressionists are famed for their landscapes in which they painted light. There are paintings by Pissarro, Sisley, Monet and more, mainly set in spring and summer but also a few set in winter with snow on the ground and leaden skies. One of my favourites was 'Entrance to the Village of Voisin' by Pissarro with his classic tall thin trees casting shadows - this picture doesn't do it justice since to my eyes he was painting the light in, around and covering the landscape, rather than painting the landscape itself. It's quite a marvellous painting.

It was also lovely to see his small paintings of Sydenham and Upper Norwood from his years in and around London.

There are some gorgeous paintings my Monet, including five paintings from his 'Poplars' series, a beautiful painting of his garden with a courting couple in the background and this magical painting, 'Road at La Cavee, Pourville'. It's a lovely painting that draws you in as you gaze at it, wandering down a dusty path between two banks of grass and tiny flowers, down and round a hill towards the sea. But what is just round that corner? What surprise or adventure awaits the dreamer who just follows that path. I imagined a pirate ship sailing into view from behind the trees, coming to whisk me off an adventure on the high seas. It's a magical image that draws you in - I'd like to step into that painting and wander off down the road…

There are also paintings of everyday life and the everyday life of certain groups of people. We see Degas's racehorse paintings and the delightful 'Miss La La at the Cirque Fernando', swinging from a rope hanging from the ceiling. I like Miss La La for her athleticism, her bravery and her strong teeth. The painting is all about capturing movement, the feeling of her spinning around at the end of the rope and Degas has caught a split second of her act. Painted from below adds to the sense of height and danger and makes her an exotic character. Interestingly, we don't see her face. I wonder if he ever painted her with her face showing - I'm intrigued.

There's a lot to make you think in this exhibition and it seems to have been well thought out with text on the walls to give you an idea of what was going on and which exhibitions the paintings were part of. And slowly, the Impressionists started to become appreciated, welcomed and then lauded.

The final room includes the later paintings of some of the Impressionists and one that really grabbed my attention was 'Two Sisters (on the Terrace)' by Renoir - yes, another Renoir painting! It's the red hat that calls to me across the room, then the flowers on the little girl's hat and the flowers in the older sister's lap. They're a riot of dashes of colour brining fresh flowers to life against the greens in the background and the dark dress. I couldn't help but move over to that painting, by-passing some of the others to get lost in those impossible flowers. Nothing can be that colourful - I don't believe it but there they are, captured in paint forever. This picture doesn't do them justice at all - it's always so much better to see the real thing in front of you.

Also in that final room, on the wall beside the exit door is a quote from Paul Durand-Ruel from 1920: "At last the Impressionist masters triumphed… My madness had been wisdom". I like that quote. He honours the painters by calling them 'masters' and saying that they 'triumphed'. He also notes that his own judgement had been right all along.

This is a really good exhibition and is a must. If you visit only one exhibition in April go to this one. If you love the Impressionists you'll see new things to love and if you're ambivalent towards them, then this might make you think twice. Basing it around the life and collection of Paul Durand-Ruel is an inspired idea and it's great to see these wonderful paintings together in the same exhibition.

I'll leave you with 'The Artist's Garden in Argenteuil' by Monet. Let your eyes drink in those flowers and bushes and then wonder what that courting couple in the distance are talking about...

'Closer' at the Donmar Warehouse

'Closer' is a new play for me but it was performed at the National Theatre in the late '90s and was made into a film in the early 00's. It's a four-header with two men and two women in a Mobius strip of love and lust, changing partners and never quite making it last. It's a bit of an oddity really and I'm not sure why it's been put on other than maybe it's just time for a revival?

It's the tale of the interweaving relationships of Dan a writer, Larry a doctor, Anna a photographer and Alice a stripper, all terribly middle class people (including Alice). Dan fancies Alice but then wants Anna when she takes his photo for a book cover. He tricks Larry into meeting Anna and they move in together. Then Larry shags a prostitute in New York while Anna starts an affair with Dan and the relationship ends. Dan ends things with Larry and she goes back to stripping and starts a relationship with Larry. Then Anna and Larry get back together and … and … you get the picture.

None of the characters come across as particularly likeable other than Anna who at least seems to be honest with herself and with others. The two men seem to be perpetually trying to score points, to trick their lovers into revealing something or get something. Not nice at all and deliberately cruel.

It's not a 'nice' play by any means but it was incredibly intense with explosions of temper followed by slyness as the men try to get their way. Rufus Sewell was good as Larry and I liked Nancy Carroll as Anna - at times she seemed to be the only adult on the stage. I didn't get on with the two younger characters. It's not a pleasant but it is gripping.

'Man And Superman' at the National Theatre

How come I've managed to go all these years without seeing a George bernard Shaw play (with the exception of 'My Fair Lady' … ok, 'Pygmalion' if you insist) and then I see two in the space of two months? What's happening?

I saw 'Widower's Houses' at the bijou Orange Tree Theatre in January and then, a couple of weeks, ago, 'Man and Superman' at the National Theatre. There were decades in-between these plays and it shows in the writing. Well, in the sense that there are a lot more words in 'Man and Superman' than in the former. But both focus on social mores and what's right. And both feature rich people (were there really any other kind back then?).

There's all sorts thrown into the pot and left to simmer. It opens with death and its consequences, parental responsibilities, love and unrequited love, pregnancy outside wedlock, secret marriages, bandits in the mountains of Spain, the nature of heaven and hell… o yes, it's all in there! And some very long speeches. I mean *very* long speeches.

Ralph Fiennes heads up the cast as Jack Tanner, the independently wealthy radical who's in favour of anything the older generation disapproves. What I couldn't understand is why he played the role as Rigsby from 'Rising Damp' with his hands glued to his hips and legs astride.  As soon as he came on stage I was diverted by the Rigsby impression and thinking 'is it just me?' that sees this. What was that all about?

Nicholas Le Provost was quite fun as the blustering representative of authority and the older generation but I much preferred him in Hell as he tried to escape from Heaven because it was just too dull for words. I also liked Tim McMullan as the bandit chief and as the Devil in the Hell scene with Ralph Fiennes as Don Juan. That scene is far too long with some incredibly lengthy speeches (how do actors learn so many words?) but it worked for me with Don Juan eventually deciding to pay a visit to Heaven to see what it's like. The sparse set for the Hell scene made full use of the  video wall that's there during the whole play as it changed colour. It was quite mesmerising at times.

Would I go to see this play again? No. Am I pleased to have seen it? Yes. It's full of interweaving themes and thoughts that provoke thoughts, conjuring up images to dwell on but o my Lord it's too long. There's too much of it! But I've seen it now so don't need to read it. It does, however, make me a bit more interested in Mr Shaw. Maybe I should see another of his plays the next time one is produced?

Monday, 23 March 2015

I am angry! Poor 'mothers' of the world ...

This poor mother was so worried about her children that she had to switch on her phone at the climax of the play in the theatre tonight to see if there were any messages. I don't know why she felt the need to do it, maybe they were all in hospital dying of cancer or something, but she had to because she was a mother. Luckily there weren't any messages.  So why didn't she turn her fucking phone off straight away?

No, she left it on until I tapped her on her shoulder and whispered 'could you turn it off please' at which point she took her time switching it off.  No sense of urgency or sign of 'oh dear I shouldn't have done that'. At the climax of the play too, with the stage covered in blood and the last lines being said. One minute is all we needed to get to the end of one of the most intense plays I've seen in a long time.  No wonder we were intense at the end as well!

This is the poor mother - maybe she feels guilty for leaving her poor children at home (or in hospital) since she certainly showed no guilt for ruining the end of the play. Not a hint of an apology but the brass of 'I'm a mother and I'm allowed to check up on my children whenever I want'. 

After the clapping the couple of old grannies next to me (probably on a rare night out) tapped her shoulder and told her she'd ruined the play for them and that's where the passive-aggressive sob story came out about needing to check on her children.  If she'd said 'sorry, but …' then that would've been something and probably would've been the end of it but no, she went straight into justifications for her behaviour. One of her other excuses was that the people in front of her had switched on their phone too - I didn't notice that but where are we? The playground? One of the girls with her said it would've been more distracting if she'd stood up to walk out for messages.  You really felt the need to say that? Um, no it wouldn't actually, since she would've moved out of the way rather than sitting with the phone lit up like a Christmas Tree in her lap until I tapped her on the shoulder. Stupid people.

Take responsibility for your actions and don't be surprised when other people don't agree with you! 

Other people said well done for challenging this appalling behaviour and one couple waited at the end of the row to say that they'd had a woman eating from a box of maltesers behind them.  Why do theatres sell sweets that make a noise? Why don't ushers do their jobs anymore? This is clearly not acceptable but theatres do nothing. Why? Maybe theatres need a new announcement at the start of a play 'Please remember that you're not in your own living room - this is a shared experience and please treat your fellow audience members with the courtesy you'd expect for yourself.'

Why didn't Mr Delfont Mackintosh Theatres have a 'turn off your phone' message at the start of the play? Is it ok to get your phone out in their theatres? There were spaces in that play when you couldn't just hear a pin drop, you could hear people breathing. That's how tense it was. And then this selfish 'mother' turns on her phone….

When I got down to the front desk I really wanted to complain but I looked around and all I could see were young girls, all looking very junior and probably on their second jobs. That's a sweeping sexist and agist statement but I wanted to see an older authority figure (male or female, I'm not fussed) but there was no-one. What's the point of trying to explain my anger to a young woman who's just trying to earn her daily bread? So I didn't. 

And the really annoying thing is that the 'mother' probably thinks she's done nothing wrong and has been hard done by since other people weren't fully behind her role as a caring 'mother'.

Friday, 20 March 2015

The Great Solar Eclipse of 2015

Today was the big solar eclipse day which, for London, was meant to peak at 9:30am and we'd see 85% of an eclipse. The further north you went the greater the eclipse but I'm happy with 85% which would be suitably impressive for me. So up I get, not quite excited but looking forward to seeing the eclipse and I open the curtains…

The last solar eclipse I saw was in 1999 and it was in the afternoon of a weekday. I remember since a few of us left work and trooped into St James' Park to see it. I've also seen a lunar eclipse way back in February in, I think, 1992 in the night sky over Istanbul.

…Anyway, curtains pulled back and there was the greyest, cloud-infested sky you could hope to avoid on an eclipse day. O well, it might clear up just in time, I hoped. It was quite chilly this morning with breath clouding in the air and I saw the oddest formation of pidgeons on the Green beside the bus stop in the shape of an eclipsed sun, just a sliver showing so I took a photo. Maybe the pidgeons know something us mere humans don't?

Coming out of the tube at Pimlico at 9:30am and it was even gloomier and I noticed the street lights were still on. How odd. I was heading to a meeting on Horseferry Road so I walked along behind Tate Britain with a good view of the sky and, looking around, there was no sign of any gap in the cloud cover so I took a photo anyway with the mutant trees and Peabody housing blocks. That's the best I'll get, I thought, so wandered along to my meeting wondering at the temperature drop and the cold in the air.

Of course, by lunchtime, the clouds had gone and there's a lovely blue sky and warm sun. Typical, isn't it? 

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Buffy Sainte-Marie - 'Power In The Blood'

Today Buffy Sainte-Marie announced the arrival of her new album and 'Power In The Blood' will be available on 12 May. It's available to pre-order and if you go to iTunes you can even download the first track, her new version of 'It's My Way' and it's definitely worth listening to it. It's as different from the original version 50 years ago as you could imagine. And what a fab album cover!

There are 12 songs on the new album, mainly new songs but a few re-recorded 'old' songs. The track-listing is:

It's My Way
Power In The Blood
We Are Circling
Not The Lovin' Kind
Love Charms
Ke Sakihitin Awasis
Farm In The Middle Of Nowhere
Sing Our Own Song
Uranium War
Carry It On

I'm hoping I'll hear some of these new songs and new versions when Buffy tours in March. She's playing on Morrissey's arena tour around the UK but will steal away for one evening to play a solo gig at the Tabernacle in London and I will (of course) be there. I've seen Buffy's previous band a few times but I'm looking forward to seeing this new band but with Michel Bruyere still on drums and, I hope, powwow dancing.

I am very much looking forward to this album. 'Running For The Drum' was an out-of-the-blue joy but this is the follow-up to that album in a way you can't really say 'Drum' was a follow-up to 1992's 'Coincidence & Likely Stories'. Buffy's been on the road gigging and spreading the work about 'Running For The Drum' almost ceaselessly since it was released (other than looking after her goats, of course) so this new album has been recorded against a very different background. The almost abrasive beauty of the new 'It's My Way' tells me this will be a very different record.

I am also delighted that Buffy has chosen to re-record 'Generation', a very special song for me. I first heard it on a TV show about Buffy in about 1976 and I've remembered the chorus ever since:

      And we'll sing goodbye stars of Hitler
      And goodbye bankers trust
      Aquarius is coming
      And your son is one of us
      And me I don't want to go to the Moon
      I'm gonna leave that Moon alone
      I just want to dance with the Rosebud Sioux this summer….

Maybe one day I will dance with the Rosebud Sioux…?

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Cold Bloody Cold and a Little Island

It's been one of those long damp winters that were really neither one thing nor another. Here we are, half way through March and I'm on my third or fourth cold of the season while starting to collect spring daffodils. It hasn't been that cold in terms of the temperature and we've only had a couple of weeks of winter really, over late January and early February. And then I see this photo on Twitter this morning of snow in Northumberland. What's going on?

Down here in London I like going past St Leonard's churchyard that's been there for 1,000 years and see the purple crocuses emerge from the soil and the green leaves of daffodils starting to sprout. The trees are starting to produce little buds of new leaves and they're all about to explode into fresh, new green. Give it another few weeks and the trees will start greening and the blossom will start exploding. There's an old May tree in my garden that starts shooting out purple-red blossom in May - it does it every year like clockwork after most of the blossom on other trees has finished. That's because it's a native tree, not an import over the last few hundred years when botanists scoured the planet to bring back prizes. It's almost like it's saying to the newer breeds of trees - look at me, I know when it's safe to throw out the flowers.

We're in that awkward transition moment between seasons when it's never safe to assume one day will be the same as the next. Slightly too cold for a jacket and slightly too warm for a winter coat so what should we do? The same as every year and rough it.

I love winter and crisp mornings, seeing my breath mist the air in front of me, hats and scarfs and feeling the warmth when you step inside. Big boots to cope with slippy frost, ice and snow giving way to lighter shoes. Now that I've given up on snow I've started to look forward to spring and summer. To longer days and warmer sun, to gradually wearing less and being outdoors more, to strolling rather than walking briskly. All too soon we'll be revelling in the golden days of high summer and not believe that it will ever be different and then the seasons will change again.

I love the seasons we have in this country. That's partly why I don't think I could live anywhere else. They're not extreme but they're noticeable and every year is slightly different and that keeps us guessing. The first time I went to Sri Lanka and fell in love with the place I wondered if I could live there and decided I couldn't because I'd miss the seasons. I'd yearn for home. The lush greenery and beauty of Sri Lanka tugs at me and it's a place I hope to visit regularly but I don't think I could live there. Well, maybe for a year or two but then I'd have to come home. Isn't it odd that a few hundred square miles of land on the edge of the great Atlantic can mean so much? Can mean home? But this little island is home.

Come wind! Come storm! Come sun and lazy summer days. You all belong to me. But please get rid of this annoying cold! 

Sunday, 1 March 2015

'Beautiful - The Carole King Musical' at the Aldwych Theatre

The title, 'Beautiful - The Carole King Musical' at the Aldwych rather gives away what the show is about. I haven't seen any of the reviews but I guessed it would be her story from the late 50s and through the 60s up to 'Tapestry' and it was.

It's not solely the story of Carole and her husband and song-writing partner Gerry Goffin, there's also a generous nod towards their friends and songwriting rivals Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann. This brings in a wider range of flavours and sounds for the show since we hear many of their great songs as well.  It's also a rather funny show, surprisingly so really, with some lovely comic moments such as Neil Sedaka popping onto the edge of the stage a couple of times to sing snatches of 'Oh Carole'. That was great fun!

Say 'Carole King' and I suppose most people will think of the singer-songwriter years of 'Tapestry' and after and, although I know she wrote loads of hits in the first half of the 60s and was a Brill Building denizen, that part of her career always seems to be the second thought. At least it is for me so it was great to hear and see some of those hits performed. It's amazing how the tunes and words come flooding back from years ago.

There's a lovely sequence early on when she and Gerry have just written a song for the Shirelles and Carole promises it'll be fully orchestrated for recording the next morning. As Carole exits the stage she quips that she's off to the library to find a book on orchestration. And the Shirelle girls walk behind a small screen to emerge without losing a step in glamorous pink silk frocks ready for a full-on performance - the quickest change I've ever seen! That was great fun, with silver drapes appearing from nowhere. There's another very dramatic performance of the Drifters singing 'On Broadway'. Both were great sequences. The one with Little Eva was a bit silly when Gerry says 'C'mon Little Eva' to the babysitter to make sure we knew who she was but did they really call her 'Little Eva' in the house?

Of course, we also get songs from the four leads as well but these are less 'performancy' than the Shirelles and Drifters segments. Except for 'Pleasant Valley Sunday' with the whole stage suddenly going psychedelic in a totally unexpected way, particularly since I'd forgotten Goffen/King had written that one (one of my favourite songs by the Monkees). The stage really came alive for that song towards the end of the first half shortly before they split up when Carole finds out that Gerry is having another affair.

The second half is about Carole finding herself as a singer-songwriter, moving to California, recording 'Tapestry' and closes with her returning to New York for a triumphant show at Carnegie Hall. It's just as fast paced as the first half and we get songs shoe-horned in to help tell the story, such as 'You've Got A Friend' sung to her friends as Carole is clearing out her old office in the Brill Building before moving to California.

All in all it's great fun and the audience certainly loved it - they were, shall we say, of a certain age (i.e. older than me!) and quite probably bought the records when they came out. The standing ovation - 100% as far as I could see - was rather unexpected but seemed much appreciated by the actors on stage. When 'Tapestry' was released I was buying records by SLADE and T.Rex and Sweet, trying to buy platform boots and wanting a tank top. I succeeded.

Katie Brayben was good as Carole King (and has her look) but I have to say I preferred Lorna Want as Cynthia Weil, a far more feisty character with better clothes. I also liked the Shirelle girls and the Drifters boys - well done people!