L.M.A.O.( learning more about oneself) .My acronym of the weekend that didn’t pass me by
OMG! If I would have seen those three letters together more than a year or two ago i would have believed that the band Orchestral Manoeuvres had finally come out of the dark and into the garden singing “Enola Gay, you should have mowed the lawn yesterday.” So why did I find myself in Mobile Conversation World blurting it out in every message over the weekend. Well it was because of my sheer impatient stupor brought on not by a witches curse but by an incremental but overwhelming expasion of the mind.
My first cerebral episode took place in the gallery of the Playhouse watching Streetcar named Desire . I was transfixed watching the actress Amanda Drew as Blanche Dubois. I’ve had my fair share of being sucked into an outstanding movie performance before now but Ive never experienced anything to the point where I’ve been unable to function as typical Johny , yet to decompress within the still potent atmosphere of that which I had just been swimming in. I never thought it was at all possible to be this besotted by something of limited contrivance to the screen but there I was. Orchestral Manoeuvres on the Grass indeed.
Me and my fellow Champion Andrea were in total agreement over this and she was able to cast the voodoo spell aside well enough to catalogue an erudite account in a previous blog on this page. I on the other hand am still fantasising about saving Blanche Dubois and facilitating her reliance on a strangers kindness. My solice though is in the knowledge that both Andrea and I left a message of congratulations on a brilliant performance to be given to Amanda Drew ( as well as our ticket stubs for an autograph). My LMAO( see title) moment came when I had researched Amanda afterwards discovering amongst other things that she was known for playing a psychotic Dr(May Wright) in Eastenders. Not an Eastenders viewer so DLMAO but when I discovered she played the mother in the amusing Vicks First Defence advert nipping the childs supermarket tantrum in the bud by having one herself something profound occured to me.I wonder if those watching the advert would think the actress playing the mother would later be pulling off a performance worthy of an Olivier award?
Well as entertaining as the advert is, I know i wouldn’t have been expecting such a thing.Only for the mere fact that is doesn’t give us any obvious scope into Amandas extraordinay capabilities.That mode of thinking doesnt apply to me now and as such, constitutes my first learning experience of the weekend.
Sunday saw me reverting to type and plonking myself in a comfy corner of the Zanzibar club in Seel St at around 4.30 ready to witness all that its Sunday Sessions had to offer. The Host Dave Owen introduced the teatime til last bus proceedings with his usual Oswaldtwistle charismatic patter ( he tells me he’s lived here 11 years but never managed to shake off the accent). Like the “Learn to Swim” public information advert of my formative years, Meet Dave. He can do anything ; Play guitar real good, look cool without trying, write songs displaying his GSOH, did I say play guitar real good? Round about the time he was selling his wares on stage so to speak, a young girl meekly walked to the side of the stage area and opened up her guitar bag getting herself ready to be the first official turn of the early evening. No swagger in her jip. No ” Yeah look I’m getting my guitar. Hey I said LOOK!” there was non of that. A demeanour almost apologetic .Even after Daves enthusiatic introduction her first words to the crowd were something along the lines of ” I don’t know whether you’ll want to hear this after that ” and then the young girl Shannen Bamford played………………..Having gigged a bit in my time I know not to subscribe to the old adage of Those who look the part usually are the part and I’m sure we can all give our own examples of this. It’ makes it all the more refreshing to witness the other swing of the pendulum. Her stylishness was clearly evident and when she was on stage and in flight was a total commander flawless in execution and truthful in heart but it was totally without warning and all the more endearing for it. No Swagger.No Ego. No big talk and unfortunately because of the hectic running format, no encore. WTH! The evening continued with yet more abundant talent noteably the slick harmonic acoustic duo JUST BY CHANCE and the golden songsmith T.J. of T.J. AND MURPHY. I just sat there in a sated state similar to that of a few hours earlier when I’d finished a delicious Roast Dinner at Cafe Tabac .BBM (burst belt moment).
So travelling home that evening feeling weary from my death by satisfaction I became aware that a similar lesson had been learnt to that of the previous day and that if there’s anything this weekend has taught me in my endevour to become a worthy Cultural Champion it’s to expect the unexpected. Oh and when my daughter replies to my Why don’t you join me at the Zanzibar text message she doesn’t mean “Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark ” but “Out Meeting Danielle”
for Zanzibar club events information visit http://www.thezanzibarclub.co
for forthcoming productions at the playhouse visit http://www.everymanplayhouse.com/
for Austin the chefs Bionic food www.cafetabac.co.uk/