E for Eliot
L for Lessing
J for James
King of Hearts
Directed by Philippe de Broca
HOME, 24 June 2018
The Great War and a French city under siege.
The Germans leave, the British forces are yet to arrive, so we have an interregnum period where the lunatics are let out of the asylum and the King of Hearts, Alan Bates’ bookish pigeon fancier, reigns. All is carnival: joy and pleasure and good manners, parties and games and salons.
It is a film with a feather-light touch; not a blunt anti-war message in sight. But the question is clear: who are the real lunatics?
In the final scene the nobles (lunatics) look down upon the world from their tower. Who would want to go out and actually live there? Best let their servants do the living for them. Whether this is integrity or bad faith – well, we could discuss that at length.
An intriguing film, full of vivacity, but curiously naive.
RNCM Session Orchestra
RNCM Theatre, 29 October 2016
There was a new wrinkle this time out, the evening beginning with a support act, a band called Wanderlust.
They had a bold and beautiful sound, a front-woman to match in the shape of a young woman named Eirianna.
Some twenty three songs were performed by the RNCM Session Orchestra when they got to the stage. They included a diverse range of classics, to illustrate: ‘Take Me to the River’ by Al Green, The Beatles’ ‘Blackbird’ and (the last song) ‘We Are Family’ by Sister Sledge. Hannah Corcoran played a wonderful flute solo on one song.
It wasn’t profound or life-changing, let’s be clear on that score; for that you could do worse than read Hannah Arendt’s ‘We Refugees’, an article first published in 1943. But the concert was very enjoyable and entertaining, which was enough.
Swinging at the Cotton Club
The Lowry, 15 June 2012
This was an assured, immensely entertaining show, full of undulating song and fantastic dance.
Most songs were jazz standards, with a few blues and show-tunes added to the mix. Some dances were lindy hop, others tap, and even the Charleston got a look in. Not a Sambola in sight, though. That dance craze has not yet caught on or been reprised, despite its recommendation by the blonde one (Greta Gerwig) in Damsels in Distress.
It was wonderful, and wholly unexpected, to see that Amy Roberts was one of the members of the Harry Strutters’ Hot Rhythm Orchestra. Just 18 months ago she was playing in the RNCM Big Band, where she gave Pete Long a run for his money on the clarinet. Now she’s playing professionally and is well on her way to making a mark.
The Confetti Maker
The Lowry, 11 February 2012
He creates fake snow-flakes, or are they granules of sunlight?
At the centre of this comedic work is a ‘little man’, a downtrodden character like the ones Norman Wisdom or Jerry Lewis used to specialise in playing, who assiduously cuts up paper to make confetti in some ‘70s-style factory. There are lashings of physical comedy, some dancing and juggling (‘the instant engendering form and form making the instant visible’ as a philosophical poet once put it) and a waxing of verbal wit, including a Shakespeare soliloquy.
This leaves out mention of the puppetry – and a sorry tale of love lost it is that’s told. But it is a lot to take in, my pretties, it’s quite a ride.
The show will appeal to children as well as grown-ups with child-like hearts. And those hearts will surely swell.
Amedei White Chocolate filled with Pistachios
Cocoa about 29%
It is impossible to eat white chocolate without thinking of the Milky Bar Kid.
That freckled, bespectacled boy in a cowboy getup was an unlikely hero, yet somehow he always managed to save the day. But was he the sheriff or merely a lone vigilante?
Just four cubes of chocolate – yes, that’s all – but what fine chocolate it is! There’s a luminous covering, a crescent encasing, of subtly creamy white chocolate, like fresh snow upon thatch. Newly fallen, virginal and pure, untrodden by bird or workman. Whilst the filling consists of minute grains of cane sugar and nut, golden fragments you might say, resting in a cocoa butter base. Perhaps it is the hint of vanilla that makes for the unique magic. Or it could be the variety of nuts that are embedded within: you’ll find almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts as well as the aforementioned pistachios. Maybe that’s the secret.
Anyway, whatever the reason, this chocolate bar inspires and invigorates as it gives pleasure. You’ll feel confident about beating the Milky Bar Kid to the draw, no worries at all, after downing as little as an eighth of it!
I enjoyed this excellent ‘latte bianco’ while seeing Justin Moorhouse in Two and Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Beauty and the Beast. It is available in the UK through King’s Fine Food, further details here.