Friday, September 25, 2009


We shelled out the XXX GBP per ticket to see the man at Royal Albert Hall. An interruption in his current Red Piano Tour, it was fundraiser for the Royal Academy of Music's Organ Fund. Not just any old organ, but a 14-tonne, Swiss-engineered monster that will cost £1.2million to install, a sizeable chunk of which will be met from the proceeds of this long, commanding and expensive performance.

Sir Elton John accepted the multiple standing ovations throughout the evening, sitting as a solitary figure on stage with only a black grand piano. Him wearing a black tuxedo and tails, with pink trimming. Understated but still Elton.

Elton John

He played for 2 hours and 45 minutes, apart from about an hour's worth of jammin' with the percussionist, Ray Cooper, it was all Sir Elton. He sang through the decades of his music, bringing back memories of time gone by. All performed without the aid of other instruments, sheet music, or lyric sheets. Just the man and his music.

To quote an overnight review: "It was a hardcore and highly impressive display of the piano man’s craft." Indeed.

Sure, it dates me but I loved it.

thanks, I guess

I had wondered where those Entertainment Weekly magazines had gone. Granted, they do arrive via 3rd class mail from the US to save on postage costs, so I am usually about 4-6 weeks behind. I can live with that.

Still, I had not see a magazine in quite a while, but had simply not found the time to check it the reason. Low and behold, 5 magazines each from different weeks, arrived in today's mail. Then, I remembered.

The UK has been hit almost every week with a Royal Mail strike...most of July, August and September. Not every home, in every part of the UK are affected at the same time but the strikes are intermitttemnt, lasting only 2-3 days at a time. They occur so frequently, the media has pretty much stopped covering the subject. Whenever I go 2-3 days without mail, I assume, "Yep, there must be a mail strike."

So, why the arrival of so many magazines all at one time. A rolling program of local postal strikes that began in July has turned worse with a union's call for a national walkout. The strikes over higher pay and job security have already caused a backlog of 20 million letters and parcels - about a quarter of the Royal Mail's daily volume. It is not presumed many of these will never be delivered.

It mostly affects second class mail, uishc as personal letters and magazines. Wonderful!

So before you lash out at the US Postal Service...don't. It could be worse.

Monday, September 21, 2009


As I posted photos to Flickr last night, I caught my second wind and decided to stay up late and watch a bit of the Emmys. Have I been gone too long from the US...or was it truly NOT funny!

Can you let me know?

finally...with a song in my heart

Well, it just took 6 years but I finally re-engaged in a community choir in London. Language as well as a host of other factors made it somewhat more challenging to participate in a local choir while living abroad. The UK has a long tradition of community choirs and so...will a little trepidation and my pencil in hand, I auditioned for and joined (on the same night) the Chiswick Community Chorale.

The good news is that it is a 90+ strong vocal group that enjoys singing classical music and it is literally in my backyard. We will have three concerts per year, with teh first one in early December when we perform in Hummel's Requiem and Handel's Te Deum.

So, if you happen to be over this way...drop in for a concert