Greater London has an ever-increasing number of excellent takeaway fish and chips shops. Takeaway was always part of their tradition. A teacher at Whitgift School – my immediate neighbour- said of me, you can take your Lancashire lad away from Lancashire, but you can’t take him away from his fish and chips. Fair enough. Three bus stops to my right or half an hour walk, is an outstanding Cypriot-managed chip shop. One bus stop to the left or a fifteen-minute walk is a chip shop run by people from Avelino (south of Naples) overjoyed to find a client who can chatter in their home dialect. Chippies chatter like barbers. It’s their lifeblood. And they want their clients to be happy. What’s not to be happy about this delectable food combination? To add to your pleasure – indeed, to define the pleasure – both these shops cook with rapeseed oil. Costs more says Avelino with a shrug, but clients like it and it’s fresh every day, but the increased trade means I haven’t had to pass the cost onto our buyers. So no nasty smell of overused cheap oil as you near these shops.
Hymns and Suchlike
Or Emblaze Vulnerable Across Your Chest
It’s astonishing how tunes of the past well up unsolicited in moments of quiet, such as the bad old songs of yesteryear or rumbustious hymn tunes. They invariably bring a smile on the face if not outright laughter. My own repertory is sometimes evoked from the Music Hall – thanks to my grandpa who used to sing these numbers under his breath continuously. School assembly hymns of course. Whoever sang Guide me O thou great Jehovah to the rousing tune of Cwm Rhondda will never forget it. No one gave much for the words, but John Hughes’s tune is indelibly memorised.
United Kingdom Mozart, Saint-Saëns, Ravel, Bizet: Sheku Kanneh-Mason (cello), London Mozart Players / Jaime Martín (conductor), Fairfield Halls, Croydon, 12.1.2020. (CC)
United Kingdom Cinderella (pantomime written for the stage by Will Brenton and directed by George Wood): Phoenix Concert Hall, Fairfield Halls, Croydon, 14.12.2019. (JB)
United Kingdom The Classic Thriller Theatre Company’s The Lady Vanishes (adapted by Antony Lampard and based on the film written by Sidney Gilliat and Frank Launder and directed by Alfred Hitchcock): Ashcroft Playhouse at Fairfield Halls, Croydon, 25.11.2019. (JB)
United Kingdom Verdi Requiem: Erica Eloff (soprano), Samantha Price (mezzo-soprano), Alberto Sousa (tenor), Nicholas Warden (bass), Croydon Philharmonic Choir, London Mozart Players / David Gibson (conductor). Phoenix Hall at Fairfield Halls, 26.10.2019. (JB)
United Kingdom William Brotherhood, Holst, John Rutter, Grieg, Gilbert and Sullivan, Henryk Wieniawski, Jack Oades: Various orchestras, ensembles and choruses of the three Whitgift Schools (Whitgift, Trinity and Oratory). Conductors: Ms Lorraine Temple, Mr Philip Winter, Mr James Griffith, Ms Liz Regan, Ms Charlotte Orr, Ms Rosanna Whitfield, Mr David Swinson (the designation Ms and Mr is used by the three schools and is followed here). Phoenix Hall at Fairfield Halls, Croydon, 16.10.2019. (JB)
United Kingdom Angela’s Ashes – The Musical (music and Lyrics by Adam Howell, book by Paul Hurt [based on a memoir of Frank McCourt]): Ensemble of Angela’s Ashes -The Musical and musicians / David Hayes (musical director). Ashcroft Playhouse, Fairfield Halls, Croydon, 5.10.2019. (JB)