Thursday, 21 April 2016

Adventures In Vinyl: Record Store Day 2016 In Newport

Supporting Newport - T Shirt
Saturday was World Record Store Day, so it was actually nice to get involved a bit by supporting a local charity here in Newport as well as adding a few extra finds to my vinyl collection and catching some live music too in the afternoon.

Raising money for local charities
Kriminal Records in Newport helped raise over a £1000 for local charity by donating vinyl.  There was lots of bargains to be found on this stall which was a very popular frequent in Newport's Indoor market on the day.

Record Store Day 2016 vinyl finds
My vinyl finds included The Hollies - I Can't Let Go, Tommy Steele - Half A Sixpence OST, Susan Maughan - Hey Look Me Over, The Goons - First Men On The Goon and Altered Images - Bring Me Closer (12" Single Picture disc)

Jack Perrett Performing Live

Newport City Radio were broadcasting live sets from outside the indoor market. Here's Jack Perrett performing a set featuring songs from his debut EP.

Diverse Music hosted The Darling Buds acoustic set
Diverse Music was the scene for a live set from legendary indie pop band The Darling Buds. I've been wanting to catch the band live for a very long time so it was great to catch them. Myson Jon kept me company and enjoyed the songs even if he felt the venue was a bit "squished".

Meeting Andrea from The Darling Buds
It was also really nice to have a brief chat with Andrea from The Darling Buds after the gig and she kindly signed my copy of the bands 1988 LP Pop Said (Crumbs! Is it really that long ago?)

Signed copy of Pop Said by The Darling Buds

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Producing Videos For Centrestage Cymru

The last few weeks have been really fun for me as I have been helping the local musical theatre group Centrestage Cymru produce some promotional items for their forthcoming presentation of Singin' In The Rain.

As I was recently taking some photographs of the company in costume for their Dancing Cavalier inserts for the show (recorded at Newport's Tredegar House), I hit on the idea of producing a promotional video for Singin' In The Rain.

Centrestage Cymru's Sharon Higgins kindly invited me along to a rehearsal a few weeks ago to record some sequences.

It was a fabulous to see the show start to come together and I was captivated by the professionalism and good spirits of the cast as they did their run through.

The ten days since then has seen me put together 8 one minute long (approx) promo videos. Its been a while since I've completed a video project like this, so its been a big thrill for me to be involved and I hope I've captured some of the vibrancy of Centrestage Cymru's spirit in the videos.

You can see my video interview with Jordan Archer who plays Don Lockwood above. There are further videos to view on the Centrestage Cymru Singin In The Rain playlist over on YouTube. The videos are also been featured on a daily countdown to Singin' In the Rain on the Entertainment South Wales blog.

You can book tickets for Singin' In The Rain which runs at Newport's Dolman Theatre from April 27-30 via The Dolman Theatre website.

Monday, 4 April 2016

Entertainment South Wales Top 5: April 4 2016

It was a busy few days between Wednesday and Thursday last week resulting in three reviews in less than 24 hours, Hetty Feather at Cardiff's New Theatre, Jem & Ella at Newport Riverfront and Only The Brave at Wales Millennium Centre. Items on Centrestage Cymru's forthcoming presentation of Singing In The Rain and RawFfest also cracked the Top 5 popular posts over at Entertainment South Wales.

1. On Stage: Jacqueline Wilson's Hetty Feather : My review of musical at Cardiff's New Theatre

2. On Stage: Jem & Ella : Run Ragged productions fabulous dance celebration of the the father/daughter relationship reviewed.

3. Centrestage Cymru Revisit Hollywood's Golden Era With Singing In The Rain: A preview of this fabulous show with on location pictures taken at Tredegar House, Newport.

4. On Stage: Only The Brave:
My review of the fabulous World War Two musical produced by Wales Millennium Centre.

5. Get Creative With RawFfest: A preview of RawFfest.

Friday, 1 April 2016

Centrestage Cymru Filming Singing In The Rain At Tredegar House

Michelle and Chloe in costume
I always get excited when Centrestage Cymru, Newport's leading musical theatre group prepare for their next show. Their next presentation, Singing In the Rain, is no exception. I was invited along to photograph the company filming the inserts to their forthcoming show at Tredegar House a few weeks ago.

Zoe and Jordan in costume
Despite the morning been quite cold everyone worked hard to achieve a finished result and as ever I was struck by the professionalism of the production crew and cast.

A portrait shot of Zoe and Jordan
You can read my article on Singing In The Rain over at Entertainment South Wales blog.

The Centrestage Cymru team on the steps of Tredegar House
Zoe and Jordan prepare for a take
More filming at Tredegar House
Jordan and Zoe go through a scene
Sharon goes through the script
The ladies film another sequence
Centrestage Cymru’s Singing in the Rain takes to the stage of The Dolman Theatre, from April 27-30. For booking details call 01633 263670 or visit

Remembering Ronnie Corbett

Watching UK television growing up in the 70s was a very different affair than today. There was no Sky TV or unlimited hours of stuff to trawl through, no Sky boxes, YouTube, DVD or indeed Video recorders. There were three channels, BBC1, BBC2 and ITV. Anyone born after 1985 probably can't imagine what that was like, and before you stop reading, it wasn't a bad thing!

Children's TV was usually slotted on for half an hour in the afternoon for pre-schools and a further hour and a half from around 4pm. As these programmes were aimed at various ages you soon found yourself watching a cross variety of programming from cartoons to Blue Peter. It didn't stop there however, I seem to recall sitting in front of the TV on dark evenings watching many light entertainment shows with my family. That mean't TV viewing was more of a family event something we all shared enjoyed and laughed together at.

Comedy series were always a favourite, Dad's Army, Morecambe and Wise and The Two Ronnies up there at the top. Even after my parents divorced and we went to live with my Grandfather, The Two Ronnies continued to be a favourite which broke the gaps of several generations.
On learning of Ronnie Corbett's death yesterday I tweeted: "RIP ‪#‎ronniecorbett‬ ‪#‎thetworonnies‬ last of the true comic legends"
I remember how sad I felt when I learned of Ronnie Barker's death 11 years ago, and how quickly that sadness evaporated into laughter as I remembered all the classic sketches he did with Ronnie Corbett as well as his appearances in Porridge and Open All Hours.

Similarly Ronnie Corbett's legacy has done the same, travelling to and from the theatre last night, my wife had Radio 5 Live on. The presenters were playing clips from classic Two Ronnies sketches and marveling at how well they transferred to audio and how they could play those but certainly couldn't do the same with Little Britain and Mrs Browns Boys.

Too right! Four Candles or Fork Handles is a masterclass on wordplay, delivery and timing with Ronnie Barker as the customer unsuspectingly winding up Ronnie Corbett's hardware shop proprietor.Visually its funny to see Corbett's exasperation with Barker as he misreads another item on his shopping list. Take the visuals away and that exasperation is still there.

Similarly with Mastermind, Ronnie Corbett takes the Mastermind chair and is subjected to Barker's Magnus Magnusson to answer the question before last.
BARKER: What is Bernard Manning famous for?
CORBETT: That is the question.
BARKER: Correct. Who is the current Archbishop of Canterbury?
CORBETT: He is a fat man who tells blue jokes.
Of course, that's only a snippet of dialogue, you can YouTube the sketch to see it all, in fact I challenge you to watch more of them, get the DVD's you'll laugh and laugh. The truth is The Two Ronnies are still funny 40 years on from their original broadcast. The alternative comedians of the early 80s were quick to dismiss The Two Ronnies humour as old hat and politically incorrect. Sadly it was those comedians (as good as many of us thought they were at the time), who didn't stay the course. That humour has evolved into something that can be no longer regarded as family entertainment.

Yes we'll miss Ronnie Corbett, as we miss Ronnie Barker, Eric and Ernie and all those others who made us laugh, but in the true spirit of genuine comedy, a comedy that can be aimed at the whole family (with the occasional joke aimed at the grown ups while the kids have something visual to laugh at is far from dead). Ronnie Corbett's work will continue to entertain longer than we'll ever imagine.

More posts on Ronnie Corbett:
Retro Books: The Two Ronnies - But First The News
Those Radio Times: The Ronnie Corbett Thing
Book Collection: Ronnie In The Chair
Those Radio Times: April 1971

March 2016, Instagram Vinyl Challenge

I did my first vinyl challenge for 2016 (based on suggested listening by dallasol) over on my @retrospaceandy Instagram account during March, I read the months criteria beforehand and sort of felt I could meet most of the categories and did. This particular month saw me delving more into the 45's which made a more varied selection. 
  1. EP: Frank Sinatra - The Lady Is A Tramp (Capitol Records, 1957)
  2. Trio: Bananarama - Aie A Mwana (London Records, 1981)
  3. Motown: The Temptations - In A Mellow Mood (Tamla Motown, 1967)
  4. Canadian: Bryan Adams - Run To You (A&M Records, 1984)
  5. Overplayed: Kylie Minogue - I Should Be So Lucky (PWL, 1987)
  6. Need a Better Copy: Herb Alpert - South Of The Border (Pye International, 1964)
  7. Song About An Animal: Tommy Steele - Little White Bull (Decca, 1959)
  8. Newest Discovery: Various albums featuring 1940s, 50s and 60s artists.
  9. Found After A Long Wait: Peter Sellers - The Songs Of Sellers (MFP, 1985) (and a tribute to George Martin)
  10. Replaced CD With Vinyl: Russ Conway - Pop-A-Conway (Columbia, 1965)
  11. Your Friends Don't Get It: Various - Happy Days Are Here Again (WRC, 1981)
  12. Favourite Double LP: Various - BBC 1922-72 (BBC Records, 1972)
  13. You Wish You Had Seen Live: The Beatles - Live At The Hollywood Bowl (MFP, 1984)
  14. Not Dylan, But Dylan Related: Julie Felix - The World Of Julie Felix (Decca, 1969), The Seekers - The Four And Only (MFP, 1969), The Byrds - Greatest Hits (CBS, 1986),  Manfred Mann - Semi Detached Surburban (EMI, 1979)
  15. From The Year You Were Born: Bobbie Gentry - Way Down South (MFP, 1968)
  16. I Don't Believe In Guilty Pleasure: Bing Crosby - I'll Sing You a Song Of The Islands (Coral, 1972)
  17. I'm Not Normally A Dancer But..: Tracey Ullman - Breakaway (Stiff Records, 1983)
  18. Your Parents Also Dig This: Geoff Love and His Orchestra - Big War Movies (MFP, 1971)
  19. Not Your Normal Style: Cover Albums by Anonymous Artists - Rock, Rock, Rock (MFP, 1968), Hits '67 (MFP, 1967), 12 Tops (Stereo Gold Award, 1974), Top Of The Pops (Hallmark, 1977)
  20. Vehicle On The Sleeve: Various Artists - Shut Down OST (Capitol Records, 1978)
  21. Red, White And Blue: Mary Hopkin - Knock, Knock, Who's There? (Apple, 1970)
  22. Sleeve Is A Painting: Winston Churchill - The Voice Of Winston Churchill (Decca, 1965)
  23. Singer/Songwriter: Elton John - Tumbleweed Connection (DJM, 1970)
  24. Columbia Records: Two singles from The Shadows - The Frightened City (Columbia Records, 1961), The War Lord (Columbia Records, 1965)
  25. From a Movie: Hugi Montenegro - The Good The Bad And The Ugly / For A Few Dollars More (Golden Grooves)
  26. First Dance: Paul McCartney - Coming Up (Parlophone, 1980)
  27. Heartbreak: Matt Monro - Heartbreakers - 20 Golden Greats (EMI,1980)
  28. New Wave: Kim Wilde - Kids In America (RAK, 1981)
  29. Local: Two Singles from The Darling Buds (Newport, South Wales) - Burst / Hit The Ground (Epic, 1991)
  30. 1987: George Harrison - Got My Mind Set On You (Dark Horse, 1987)
  31. Worst Record By Favourite Act: The Shadows -Themes From EastEnders & Howard's Way (Polydor, 1987)
I probably won't do a Vinyl Challenge for April, but I will post images of old and new vinyl from my collection as I quite enjoy the month end collage concept!


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