Monday, 26 March 2012

Minimal Extreme, Kids Comedy and Hunger

Another Friday night and another concert I can't persuade anyone that they'll enjoy. So off I trudge alone to the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow to see the latest instalment in the current "Minimal Extreme" programme. Minimalism in music seems to be quite a broad church going by the line up tonight, and although they put on three consecutive concerts tonight I could only make it to the middle one. It was hearing Steve Reich's Eight Lines performed live that drew me. I'm not really qualified to judge the abilities of classical musicians, but the performance of it by the London Sinfonietta was full of energy, pace and I listened to it with a smile on my face. Before that was Bang On A Can doing Louis Andriesen's Life, played as accompaniment to four short films made as part of the piece. The gentle music and films were quietly disquieting and enjoyable. The part which dragged for me was Bang On A Can doing Reich's 2x5, a piece for two quintets of two electric guitars, piano, electric bass guitar and drum kit played on this occasion live and on tape simultaneously. It had all the dull, relentless features of prog rock's self-indulgence, not helped by Mark Stewart on guitar looking like Tim Robbins's wanky character from High Fidelity.

The last piece was from the excellent London Sinfonietta again, doing Gavin Bryar's Jesus Blood Never Failed Me - gentle, simple and the quiet singing of the tramp left me fumbling for some Tom Waits on my iPhone to listen to on the way home. I'm looking forward to the next round of these concerts with Philip Glass performing in Glasgow.

Partick Thistle 0-1 Ross County
I shall now just pass over Saturday as I spent a very long 90 minutes of my life watching Ross County grind out another result, this time winning 1-0 at Firhill. I try to get my three kids interested in coming to see Partick Thistle more often, usually with blatant bribes of chocolate, but if they'd come to watch this performance it may have been a while before they came again. Such a contrast to the fight shown in recent weeks.

Hunger Games and Kids Comedy Club
Sunday morning it was easier to persuade people to come along with me, as me and my 12 year old headed to see The Hunger Games. This blockbuster has only been out for two days but the hottest March day in Scottish records and yet another Old Firm game on at another part of town meant that we had the whole cinema to ourselves. Very weird. The film itself has a good solid story, individual style and works well, although the schoolkids murdering each other sits oddly as a teen film storyline. I can see where it's heading though and I'm sure good will out, and I was helped by my son constantly telling me "In the book, what actually happens is..." which was one advantage of having our own private viewing. It has fairly accurately been described on twitter as "Battle Royale with Cheese", but I'd add in a bit of The Running Man and some Twilight romance too to give you the full picture.

The Stand Comedy Club in Glasgow is always a great night out, though it does take me a while to relax in there, trying to work out whether the comedians are going to be big on picking on the audience as I try to avoid eye contact with them. Monthly on a Sunday afternoon, and more often at present during the Comedy Festival, they do a kids comedy club, when some of their usual acts try to entertain largely 8-12 year olds. It is a good laugh for adults too and fascinating to watch the varying degrees of success or failure they have in adapting their stuff for an audience where you can't get laughs out of putting the punters down and swearing and 80's references has to be replaced by fart gags and more physical comedy. Once the kids get their confidence up, a talent for crowd control also comes in handy, which the compere today, Billy Kirkwood managed to pull off. Headline act today, Patrick Monahan, has also I guess spent enough time in the company of kids that he managed to pull off the balancing act. (If you are free on Wednesday can I urge you to go see Tony Law at The Stand, I've seen him before and he'll have you quite literally pishing yourself.)

Emerging from their basement into the late afternoon sun to see what carnage the Rangers and Celtic fans were wreaking on the city, things seemed remarkably calm. Perfect night for eating out in the back where last year at this time we were making snowmen.


  1. Now playing Jesus Blood Never Failed Me, not listened to it in a while. Prefer his Sinking of the Titanic, which reminds me of the mighty Nurse With Wound's Salt Marie Celeste, immense. That's my playlist for tonight sorted, while I have a few nips of Glen Mavis, it's always gonna be quality when its bottled and distilled in Scotland with an ML6 postcode. The mighty Gers triumph against all the odds.

  2. Enjoy the Glen Mavis, real Scotchland whisky. Halfway around the world and you're still keeping an eye out for the old firm nonsense - 2 bald men fighting over a comb, but bragging rights to Rangers I guess today. Usual calm atmosphere these matches generate here yesterday (not).

  3. On further exploration of my library, I came across Kuniko plays Reich, a hypnotic rhythmic take on him by a master Japanese percussionist on Linn Records. Worth checking out. Do you buy any stuff from Boomkat? good special offers at the moment with the Touch label, Biosphere, recommended. I am keeping an eye out mainly for the ongoing Gers soap opera, that seems to run and run. I had to listen to the game on Real radio, with Roughy and some other idiots I forget, commentating. Can't say I miss the nonsense after the games. Thankfully the whisky is finished and reverted back to Tiger beer.