March is nearly over and I find have completely failed to write about any of the recent cultural, culinary and societal diversions that have been pleasantly propelling me out of hibernation and into spring. So before another month goes by without a post, here is a whistle stop tour of the past month's activities.
Elaine Paige at the Congress Theatre, Eastbourne
This was always going to be more about comedy value than highbrow entertainment, but none of us were quite prepared for the pathos of EP's latest tour. As Natalie, Kim, Damien and I giggled, exchanging arched-eyebrowed glances, Ant sunk further into his seat as the diminutive diva insisted on flashing her stocking tops in a far too tight and far from flattering frock, whilst virtually dry humping her (much younger) male backing singer. I could have forgiven the inappropriate dress and lecherous granny behaviour if her singing had been on form, but unfortunately it was not. Apart from a couple of punchier tracks - one from Chess and 'I'm Still Here' from Follies - the vocals were disappointing. Sad, because EP could really belt it back in the day. Probably time to call it day and stick to Sunday afternoon radio instead.
Club Tokyo at the Towner Gallery, Eastbourne
At last, a club night for people like me - in Eastbourne. Brighton music promoters Melting Vinyl paired up with the Towner to put on a Japanese themed night, in honour of the Tomoaki Suzuki exhibition that was on at the time. It sounded like a promising collaboration, so Ant and I threw together what vaguely Japanese garb we could muster and went down to see what it was all about.We found an enthusiastic and friendly gathering of Eastbourne's alternative crowd - waifs and strays who presumably have nowhere else to go on a Saturday night and would normally be at dinner parties or over in Brighton. I was disappointed in the lack of interesting music on offer, but it was a very pleasant evening nonetheless. I hope to see more of the same coming up in the near future.
The Decemberists at the De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill
The night that Crabsinthe* was invented. But before that legendary moment was an equally legendary gig. See for yourself:
Kent Mini Break
A break from the 9-5 grind was needed, so we drove up to the Kent coast for a few days to explore bits we've never explored before, including Deal, Broadstairs, Sandwich, Ramsgate and Margate. The weather was miserably overcast the whole time, so we spent most of it seeking out places to stuff ourselves full of cake and other delectable treats. Foodie highlights included The Black Douglas and 81 Beach Street in Deal, Boho in Canterbury and the Winchelsea Farm Kitchen (in Sussex, not Kent). But the highlight of the trip was discovering the most unexpectedly alternative pub, The Blue Pigeons, in the tiny village of Worth where we were staying. Having popped in there for a pint while waiting for our B&B to open, we ended up going back for dinner and staying til closing, getting drunk with the locals - amongst whom was Sophie Parkin. If you're ever down that way, be sure to pay the place a visit - and tell the very glamorous rockabilly landlady that we said hello.
The Impellers at Coalition, Brighton
My big Brighton night out. Not my usual taste in music but a fun evening of drinking and bopping to funky tunes with a gang of my lovely colleagues.
The Unthanks at the De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill
And in a complete change of pace, the next night Ant and I went to see The Unthanks, though we very nearly didn't make it. Ant had been at a stag party the night before and could barely function, but he dragged himself along and was glad he did. It was a really sensational gig, that reduced an already fragile Ant to a gibbering, overawed wreck. This was the song that really did for him, though it's taken from a TV performance as no cameras were allowed at the De La Warr:
Twestival at the Smugglers Loft, Brighton
Somehow I managed to get myself involved in the last few weeks of organising this Twitter fundraising event, which despite a few technical hitches, went off brilliantly and made £3.5k for local charity, The Crew Club. If you don't already know what a Twestival is, or want to find out what happened at ours, my colleague Ben did a write up on our company blog. I also took a few photos, which should give you a flavour:
Spamalot at the Congress Theatre, EastbourneTwestival hangover in tow, I pootled down to meet Damien, Olly, Mum, Dad, Pete and Ali at the Buccaneer for a pre-theatre drink. The show was very appropriate hangover entertainment - not in the least bit challenging, just gently amusing. It's unashamedly cashing in on the Python legacy, but if you go in knowing that, you'll probably have a good time. As ever, Mum and I found ourselves laughing at bits that noone else did and as ever, I found myself turning round to tell someone off behind me. This time it was an annoying nerd who was quoting (and indeed misquoting) all the punchlines about 30 seconds before they were said on stage. I asked him if he knew the meaning of internal dialogue and that seemed to shut him up. My favourite bit of the show was the original songs, such as "This is the Song that Goes Like This" and "Whatever Happened to my Part?", both of which are particularly funny to those of us who have trundled our way though many a summer season and bad amdram production.
So that was just about as much excitement as I can handle in one month. I think I'll have a quiet night in tonight.
*Crabsinthe = a cocktail made from Crabbies alcoholic ginger beer and absinthe. Highly recommended, utterly dangerous.