Great London Songs

4. Waterloo Sunset – Kinks

Released in 1967, based on memories of his time in St Thomas’ hospital when he was 13. It went to No.2 in the British charts and was their biggest hit. Rumors at the time that “Terry and Julie” were Terence Stamp and Julie London who were London’s hip celebrities at the time, but Ray Davies has denied this. It was never a hit in the US, but it is listed at No.14 in the Rolling Stone’s greatest songs of all time. There have been some great covers, including one by another brilliant London band, The Jam. Peter Gabriel also did a very good version.

Jazz Brunch at Ronnie Scott’s

Ronnie Scott’s has been at the heart of the London Jazz scene for over 60 years. It opened in 1959 and has hosted many of the world’s most famous musicians in that time and continues to do so now. During the week they host shows in the late afternoon and evening, staying open until 3am. However, on Sundays they have and afternoon session between noon and 4pm, they serve brunch, and they have a live band playing between 1pm and 3pm.

This session is usually relaxed swing, and they serve a lunch menu – what better way to spend a chilled Sunday afternoon. If you wish to eat there is an extra charge, but the food is good quality, and the service was fast and unobtrusive on the day we were there. Once you have bought your seat ticket there is no pressure to buy either food or alcohol, the waiters refill your glasses with still water through the show.

On the Sunday I went, the music was of the highest quality, a set of Wayne Shorter songs, from his time with the Miles Davis band. Every seat in the intimate venue has a good view of the stage and the sound quality is what you would expect from one of the most famous jazz clubs in the world. The décor is dark, and the lights are low, the whole place is geared to showing off the band on stage to their best effect.

The sunshine is a shock when you leave at 4pm but it is a very pleasant way to spend a Sunday afternoon!

20th Century Women (dir. Mike Mills) 2016

centurywomenposter

20th Century Women is an interesting dissertation on motherhood – from the point of view of a son.

It is thoughtful and thought provoking. It has three strong female characters all of them well rounded and likeable. All three of them are excellently played and I am surprised that none of them were nominated for an Academy Award. The male characters on the other hand are less fully built and a little more caricatured.

I enjoyed the direction of the movie, Mike Mills made the narrative almost unimportant compared to the development of the characters, but completed their arc by giving a short profile of each character as they were introduced and a short synopsis of their life after the movie at the conclusion. I found this satisfying.

The Soundtrack is an odd, but not unpleasant, combination of new wave, punk and easy listening. It has been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, and, you never know, it could win. The screenplay is funny. I liked this film, it passed two hours very pleasantly. I suspect though, that in 5 years time, it’s one of those movies that I will sit on front of, on Netflix, and say “Oh yes, I’ve seen this, and I think it was good!”

 

 

Rising Stars at 229 The Venue, London

Saint Agnes

Rising Stars is a showcase for up and coming music artists. The events are organised by Time Out and take place in famous venues around London.

On May 17th at 229 The Venue, Great Portland Street, the bands I saw were: Emily Capell, David Stewart, Saint Agnes and Jackaman.

Emily Capell is a singer/songwriter with a good voice, witty songs and a good stage presence. Her songs are poppy and catchy and have a nice sing-along feel to them.

David Stewart has a really strong voice, writes clever (sometimes harsh) lyrics and has great delivery. He exudes confidence and appears very relaxed on stage.

Saint Agnes are a prog rock, riff heavy band. Their songs were fantastic, great vocals, good harmonies. Their guitar riffs were excellent. They were visually interesting and really got the crowd moving. They got the best reaction of the night and I will definitely go to see them again.

Jackaman are an Indie rock outfit fronted by Lynne Jackaman who used to front St. Jude. They are on the rockier side of Indie and their songs and vocals are strong. Very enjoyable.

Rising Stars nights happen around London about 6 or 7 times a year. They are not expensive to get into and from what I have seen the music is always high quality. It is a great way of getting to see new live bands and a very good value night out.

The photo is of the band Saint Agnes

Recommended.