Thursday, 22 September 2011

... been to Spain, part 1: Tomatina or bust!

Spain! What comes to mind when you think of the place? Burnt-orange villains in villas on the Costa del Crime? The oeuvre of Almodovar? Teens off their tits in idyllic Ibiza? For some the name conjures the interwar Spain of Hemingway and Orwell, a place of parched soil and fertile passions, bullfights and hard-drinking expats: for others, package holidays and Benidorm, girlfights and, well, hard-drinking expats.

"Sand in the goddam ribbon again ..."
I say I've never been to Spain, but this is something of a lie. I have been to Spain before, once, as a small child in the 1980s: an inexplicable family holiday to the La Manga golf resort in Murcia (inexplicable because none of my family plays golf, or ever has). However, as my principal memories of that holiday are thinking a Kawasaki was a kind of camera and losing to a four-year-old in the Fancy Dress competition, I reckon I was justified in thinking that now I'm of a legal age to drink, fornicate and generally open myself to everything Spain has to offer, it was time to visit again: La Tomatina called ...

Monday, 12 September 2011

... seen "South Pacific"

Though a rabid lover of musicals in general, I’m not especially a Rodgers & Hammerstein fan – Oklahoma sends me to sleep, The King and I is way too long, and even The Sound of Music doesn’t thrill me much – but I had never seen South Pacific, and given the hit-strewn score and fascinating subject matter, not to mention the clutch of Tony Awards won by this production, I was hoping to have my mind changed by my night at the Barbican ...

Samantha Womack and Alex Ferns camp it up, island-style.