Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Like A Storm's first UK gig at the start of their European Tour

Like A Storm merchandise
* click on the images to enlarge them *

Sunday 15th March 2015 - Electric Ballroom, Camden, London:
It was so good to meet these guys - the biggest New Zealand rock band ever! And it was especially wonderful to see my nephew Zach Wood again. He's Like A Storm's drummer! He lives in LA so we don't get to see each other very often. It was the first time I've seen him perform and it was such a joy - I'm a very proud uncle! And it was such an amazing experience to see him signing autographs after the show! He's on his way to becoming a big rock star!

I really enjoyed Like A Storm's set, especially Love The Way You Hate Me. They are an exciting new band with lots of promise, clearly on their way to the big time!

The sound check
Harry and Zach... cousins


Harry being a model
Steve Wood, Chris Brooks, Harry Wood
Gemma's backstage pass on her er.... T-shirt
The audience is waiting to be let in
The billing (Like A Storm are opening for Black Veil Brides)
Like A Storm in concert
The crowd are loving it!

Zach with Riitta
Zach signing autographs
Zach being admired by the fans
Zach & Harry - they hadn't seen each other in years
Zach signing more autographs
Zach being adored by more fans
This guy asked for his arm to be signed by the band!
Like A Storm with friends and family

Monday, 16 March 2015

Steel Panther Headlines at Wembley Arena

Steel Panther at Wembley!
* click on the images to enlarge *

Saturday 14th March, Wembley Arena: The show was outrageous of course, and hilarious.

When we first saw what we thought was the band on stage, we were all collectively worried for a moment that all four members had shrunk! In fact, they had hired 4 "little people" (is that the politically correct term nowadays?) dressed up as Steel Panther! What a really funny prank and a highly original way to open the show. Roadies then chased them off stage but they came back on for the finale.

Satchel made me laugh so much! He is such a comedian! "You are definitely the best audience we've had all week."

During the encore, Steve (brother) went on stage to present the band with an award for the vast number of records they have sold (almost impossible to achieve nowadays).

I had a little chat with Stix the drummer afterwards. He remembered me from Download last summer!

Gemma's backstage pass on her er... dress
Gemma looking foxy just before Steel Panther came on stage
Steel Panther "little people" tribute band with Steel Panther
Steel Panther posing
I took this picture because I liked the lights
Satchel of Steel Panther making us laugh
Girls on stage!
Steve Wood (centre stage) presenting Steel Panther with their awards
The grand finale
Me with Michael Starr of Steel Panther last year at the Download Festival
The support bands were also great!

The Lounge Kittens
Skindred
Me with Benji Webbe of Skindred

Saturday, 14 March 2015

I finally make it onto the stage in Monty Python's Spamalot!

Me (the peasant) on stage clutching my tin of Spam, with King Arthur and a bunch of silly English Ker-nnnig-hts. I've wanted to do this for such a long time! 
Me on stage! What an experience! It was worth all the tea in China!

Seat Done, or rather D1
With Joe Pasquale - the longest serving King Arthur?
With Todd Carty - the longest serving Patsy?
Spamalot's run in Woking 2015
Gemma after the show being er, "Queen Arthur"?
Friday 13th March 2015: Monty Python's Spamalot, New Victoria Theatre, Woking:

I first saw Spamalot in January 2007: I loved it so much, I went again, and again, and again... last night was the 17th performance of Spamalot I've seen, and I'm going again next month when the show is in Southampton! I have a sneaking suspicion, that won't be my last time.... As far as I'm concerned, it's the funniest show ever! You can't keep me away - it's hilarious, whether you're a Monty Python fan or not!

I've seen the show so many times, I notice any changes they make to the script. Some of the changes since the last time I saw it (which was at the Playhouse Theatre, London) were:

  • "And I'm the Emperor of Norway; bugger off" has been replaced with "And I'm the Emperor of China; bugger off"
  • King Arthur no longer tells Patsy that those who see the Knights of Ni seldom live to tell the tale.  Consequently, Patsy no longer replies, "Oh great!"
  • There's a new country-by-country section (with each country indicated by flags)
  • Pointing at a bail of hay and shouting "Hey!" has been reinstated but not in the same way and not in the same place as it was before (which was during Sir Robin's song)
  • Talking of Robin's song, that has been completely updated. Out goes Jedward and in comes Michelle Obama and Ant & Dec. Out goes Boris Johnson and in comes Mary Berry. It's so up to the minute with current affairs because the lyrics now include Top Gear, and King Arthur made a joke about Jeremy Clarkson's latest shenanigans!
  • There's also a small tweak to the lyrics of Diva's Lament that concerns the artist formerly known as Cheryl Cole (but I won't ruin it for you).
  • The "peasant" that helps find the Holy Grail used to get rewarded with an "Arthur", but now, it's a tin of Spam.
So how come I ended up on stage, I hear you ask. It turns out I was sitting on the Holy Grail the whole time! Whichever unsuspecting soul sits in seat D1 ends up on stage! When Joe asked my name, for some reason I pronounced my surname a little like "Woood", so he took the piss out of me royally about that! (See what I did there?)

I found going on stage such a wonderful experience, which, thanks to Gemma, I can now, finally, tick off my bucket list. She's going on stage next time at Southampton! Watch this space :-)

Monday, 15 December 2014

My LA Trip

Somewhat later than intended, here is a selection and the sights and sounds of my trip to LA last September.

Click on the photo above for a slideshow of the trip
I visited West Hills, Calabasas, Hollywood Boulevard, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Sunset Boulevard, Beverly Hills, Malibu, the Griffith Observatory, Los Feliz and I saw Slash and Myles Kennedy in concert at the Roxy. I had a little chat with Gene Simmons and Nuno Bettencourt who were in the audience. That was quite a night!

I had a fantastic time and was royally looked after by my brother, sister in law and nephew (the up and coming rock drummer, Zach Wood, currently on tour with Like a Storm who are touring with Steel Panther).

I can really say I have now "done" Los Angeles.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Preview Screening of "Boom Bust Boom" - a documentary by Terry Jones and Theo Kocken


I got an invite to a preview screening of Terry Jones and Theo Kocken's documentary "Boom Bust Boom" last night.

What is Boom Bust Boom? From boombustclick.com:
Terry Jones presents Boom Bust Boom, a unique look at why crashes keep happening combining live action with animation, puppetry, song and experts to explain economics to everyone.
It's actually a very serious subject (financial collapse, why we never seem to learn from history and the shortcomings of traditional university economics education) told in a very silly way. So by definition then, it's Pythonesque... which figures. I learned last night that the documentary is part of a global campaign to change the way economics is taught, to help prevent crashes from recurring. A noble cause!

The screening was at the Warner Brother's De Lane Lea in Dean Street, London
Back in 2012, I helped promote Bill & Ben's "A Liar's Autobiography - The Untrue Story of Monty Python's Graham Chapman" as you can from my incessant stream of blog posts about it here.

Boom Bust Boom is another Bill & Ben creation, and last night was a mini Liar's reunion!

In addition to Bill Jones and Ben Timlett (obviously), there was André Jacquemin, Justin Weyers, Steven Lall, Jeff Simpson and Philip Bulcock, and others I've forgotten to mention.

Bill Jones and Ben Timlett introducing the film
My most memorable moments of last night were:
  • Bill & Ben's intro speech before the film started. I'm paraphrasing: "Usually at screenings like this, we'd be interested to hear what you think of the film... but since it's finished now, if you don't like it, you can fuck off."
  • Meeting Dr Alison Telfer (Terry Jones' ex - Bill's mum), getting a photo with her and hearing all about how she and Terry met and how they ended up living together (all thanks to Delia Smith!), and her memories of the Pythons writing the shows in her living room, of the TV show recordings, of the Holy Grail and Doune Castle, and Tunisia for the Life of Brian. I even sat next to her in the screening! What a lovely lady! I was so honoured to meet her. 
With Dr Alison Telfer