freeline-24 - Page 63



Made In England
Kate Bush – as spellbinding as ever.
quirky show at the Royal Festival
Hall, called ‘Slava’s Snowshow’. From
the minute or so it was on the box I
was captivated, so immediately
booked a couple of tickets for me and
Lin, for just after Christmas. I had no
real idea what to expect but it turned
out to be a wonderful, if slightly
bizarre affair. Slava is an Eastern
European clown, and this show featured him with another half a dozen
clowns performing all manner of
strange and amusing scenes. It was
very winter-themed and also very
audience friendly, with the clowns
walking amongst the audience and, at
one point, ‘kidnapping’ a lady from
the audience. Some of the mime and
acting was very, very clever, if not just
a little sinister at times, but the finale
was worth the entrance fee alone. The
stage was transformed into a harsh
snowscape, and Slava came on, battling against the howling wind and
snow (in the shape of millions of small
pieces of paper dropped from the ceiling). The ‘snow’ whirled around the
auditorium to the rising strains of
‘Carmina Burana’ (the Old Spice
advert music). It was brilliantly rousing stuff and definitely brought a
lump to the throat. That was almost
the end, but after the
final bow, suddenly a
number of huge balloons, ten or twelve feet
across, were let loose
from the back of the
stage and proceeded to
be batted around by the
audience for the next ten
minutes or so. All in all
an incredibly enjoyable,
and quite different West
End show – one I would
recommend, but it finished the next day and, as this was
the first time it had returned to London for five years, it might not be
worth holding your breath for its
return.
On a snowy theme, still, I’d asked
for the new Kate Bush album, ‘Fifty
Words for Snow’, for Christmas. I’d
heard a track on the radio which
hooked me straight away so thought I
needed to expand my guitar-based
horizons a little. I must say, I’m not
unhappy with the result. She really is
different and the album certainly is
that, as well. Melancholy, haunting,
certainly surreal; it’s an album that
you really have to listen to, if you
know what I mean. The subject matter, as well, is just, well, out there! A
song about a snowflake. One about a
girl who falls in love with a snowman
(Misty). One about the Abominable
Snowman (Wild Man), and a lovely
duet with Elton John about a couple
who keep meeting each other
throughout time (Snowed in at
Wheeler Street). The title track is just
delicious, as Kate Bush counts from
one to fifty, whilst the beautifully
sonorous tones of Stephen Fry recite
the words (surely some of them are
made up). Throughout most of the
songs, instrumentation is kept to a
minimum of a piano (as the main
Stunning show, well worth a visit but you might have to wait a while.
Tom Petty and more at the Isle of
Wight – can’t wait.
theme), and the faintest of guitar and
drums, letting Kate’s voice breathe. It
won’t be everybody’s cup of tea, but if
you’re not averse to vocal-based
singer songwriters, then you will find
this quite spellbinding.
Afore I go, I must eulogise about
some of the wonderful stuff that has
been on the TV recently. Doctor Who
was so Christmassy I expected to see
James Stewart appear at some point.
The Brian Cox Lecture was simply
mind-blowing. If only I could understand more, but he puts it across so
passionately that it doesn’t really
matter. The new series of Sherlock
has tapped new heights and, like
Brian Cox, leaves you with your brain
in knots – but in a good way. Have
you seen Earthflight? Another incredible wildlife spectacular from the
Beeb, with ex-Doctor David Tennant
taking over the Attenborough role
with aplomb. The photography is,
once again, jaw-dropping, and the
shot of the great white leaving the
water with a seal between its teeth
was unbelievable. I’m sure there was
more, like Jeremy Wade’s ‘River Monsters’, but I’ll leave you to fathom it all
out.
Next month, who knows, I may be
talking about tickets to see Genesis,
Zeppelin and Floyd – aah, we can but
dream. Have a spiffing good year –
see ya. n
FREE LINE 63

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