I know I’ve been doing a lot of moaning on this here blog just lately, and I’m sorry about that. I attended quite a few things over the weekend, though, and enjoyed most of them. This post will therefore have a happier tone.
Thursday night (not really the weekend, I suppose, but I’m sure you’ll forgive me) saw me hurtling over to Kings Heath as fast as the buses would carry me after work, to see Efterklang at The Hare & Hounds. I wasn’t expecting a large crowd for this, but there turned out to be plenty in attendance for another Live Set of The Year Candidate. As with so many of the best bands they turned out to be very difficult to describe. They were lovely, and although I know a lot of people see ‘lovely’ as a weak adjective I personally have few higher compliments than to proclaim something as being a source of genuine loveliness. Sigur Ros seem like cheap comparison, but are somewhere – distantly, vaguely – in the right area. Solid, though, not fragile and floaty. I’m not making a lot of sense, am I? They play interesting, sprawling works, with developing themes and all sorts of different textures. And they wear bizarre trousers. If that’s not enough then I don’t know what is. Definitely a LSOTC, as I’ve said, and yet another band I need to get some recorded works by.
On the Friday night I went with The Parentals to go and see ‘A Christmas Carol’ at The Arena in Wolverhampton, courtesy of Oddsocks Productions. This has to be the thing I’ve seen the most versions of, between stage & screen (and the story itself, obviously). I’m happy to say, though, that this was one of the better – emphasising the silly comic bits and adding more of their own (I doubt Dickens would disapprove), but/and pricelessly funny. It really, really was. Musical interludes from the cast beforehand and during the intermission added an extra bit of niceness, the use of the scenery was ingenious, and unexpected bursts of actual acting took place at times too. It was fantastic all round, and I really hope to see some more Oddsocks plays at some point.
I haven’t completely lost my discriminatory faculties. Saturday night saw a trip to the Wolverhampton Road (that’s in Oldbury/Langley) Wing Wah, and it’s definitely gone downhill. It’s an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet place, for anyone who doesn’t know, but there seems to be less of a selection than there used to be (they’ve re-arranged it all, but it definitely looks like less), and it didn’t actually seem as nice as on previous occasions. More grease, less flavour. Oh well.
The Frankfurt Christmas Market was visited on Sunday afternoon, which was as lovely as I’ve found it in the past but far too busy. I find it very difficult to enjoy myself when somewhere that dense with people. A nice drink in Bacchus followed. I love that place, but felt sorry for the staff this time. They seemed a bit undermanned.
Finally, it was time for Pam Ayres’ do at The Town Hall. Blessedly, they seem to have rectified the signs (see here). I was surprised by the audience (old. And I’m not being mid-twenties-centric, either – a lot of people would view this as an old crowd), but also surprised by Pam’s act. Very funny (that wasn’t the surprise), consisting mostly of raconteurship/stand-up sort of stuff, into which she sprinkled a few of her poems. I enjoyed it even more than I expected to, which is always nice under any circumstance.
There you go, then. As ever, tonnes of interesting and fun things happen if you bother to look out for them.