Sunday, 17 June 2018

Sunday Summary | Fortnightly Focus

Dear FOQ

This fortnightly focus is on ...

Things I've done over the last two weeks that have involved me interacting with other humans and not hacking them off too much if I can help it.

Or, to truncate for bite-size social media friendliness, Social Shenanigans.


You know I love a good shenanigan.

Please, pull up a chair, pour a glass of wine/brew a nice cuppa tea and join me on a journey through my last fourteen days of trying to behave like a normal person.

With mixed results.


This fortnight, I have been mostly ...

Performing in the Voicerox concert 🎤🎶


So, it came, the big day.


{Let it never be said that I underpack
for an occasion.}
After months and months of rehearsing, lyric-learning, move-perfecting and stress-managing, we assembled at the Harlequin Theatre, Redhill, for the first Voicerox concert in three years.

{An Alun Prepares ... | click to view a blurry
Mr Edwards}

And in spite of a rather let's say tense tech rehearsal (so much mic feedback, so much), and the subsequent non-workiness of one of our key mics, I like to think that when that curtain went up later that night, we:



With massive thanks to my 'fan-base': Ma and Pa QB, Natalie, Paul, Jan and Judi for coming to support me. Us. Because it's not all about me. Obvs.

{Bestie tries to get a cheeky selfie with Pa ...}

{... whose photobomb game is much stronger
than his selfie game}

I shan't annotate all of the photographs that follow, just a couple (because my wit only extends so far). All taken by Anthony Gould-Davies.

{Left, spot Ma QB and Natalie hunting for their seats ...}
A lot of 'vanity cropping' has taken place, by the way.

Next time we do one of these events, I'm going on a diet. For about three years prior. 🍩




{Marvellous Mel, our Choir Director}

If you weren't there (and if you weren't there why not?!), our set list looked a little bit like this:

SET ONE

BUTTERCUP MEDLEY | VOICEROX CHOIR 

KISS ON MY LIST | VOICEROX CHOIR

PURE & SIMPLE | VOICEROX CHOIR

NEVER KNEW LOVE LIKE THIS BEFORE | ÅSE GREENACRE

RADIO | VOICEROX SOPRANOS {Complete with Silent Mike ...}


{We're basically singing into the ether here
but we look like we're making noise so that's good.}

FLYING HIGH | BECKY MCGOWAN

FOOL IF YOU THINK IT’S OVER | VOICEROX LOW ALTOS

SINGIN’ THE BLUES | DAVID TEASDALE {Complete with whistling! We love DT}

JAR OF HEARTS | VOICEROX A CAPPELLA SINGERS



MUSIC TO WATCH GIRLS BY | VOICEROX CHOIR

THE WHO MEDLEY | VOICEROX CHOIR



SET TWO

COPACABANA | VOICEROX CHOIR {especially for you, Jos}


BREAKING UP IS HARD TO DO | VOICEROX CHOIR

PERHAPS, PERHAPS, PERHAPS | DIANE ELLIS

GOLDEN SLUMBERS | VOICEROX CHOIR

BE MY BABY | VOICEROX HIGH ALTOS {special mentions to my Lovelies, Jess and Charlie who absolutely rocked their parts}


HUMAN | PETE JOHNSON

LULLABY OF BIRDLAND | CAROLINE HOSKING

VOGUE | DESKETTES/DESKIVO {with special mentions to my wondrous fellow Deskpeople below: Charlie, Michelle, Jenny, Alun and Wendy}

{Spot the Deskettes}




FAITH [Stevie Wonder and Ariana Grande] | VOICEROX CHOIR

THE DOO WA DIDDY SURPRISE | VOICEROX MEN {Show-stealers, all}


TRAGEDY | VOICEROX CHOIR



IF I CAN DREAM | VOICEROX CHOIR

{That moment when Diane truly did not expect the confetti cannon ...}

What I should have done is match up photographs for every song on the set list.

...




Sozza.

It's all about me.

Breakfast at Tiffany's the Jack Fairman 🥓

The following morning we were all up bright and early (too bright! too early) and I even took a rail replacement bus to Horley to meet up for what is now tradition: the post-show Spoons breakfast, during which we ate all the things, drank all the coffee and speculated on exactly how fabulous we'd been the night before (with apologies to all those present – Steve, Marie, Marc, Isla, Mimi and Al – who hadn't been on stage with us and as ever were exceptionally tolerant of all of us being a tiny bit emosh about the whole thing).

(Holy cow, that was a long sentence.)

Charlie, Jenny, Jess and I wore our 'uniform':

{Photo by Skye}

and we even took the opportunity of all being together for a spot o' Vogue-ing:

{Photo by "Bisto"}
Nowhere I'd rather be on a slightly wobbly Sunday morning!


Big breakfast shout outs to: Marc, Jess, Jenny, Al*, Alun, Skye, Charlie*, Mimi, Isla, Steve "Bisto" and Marie.

One of these things is not like the others ... 🤣🤣🤣
Er, thanks, Alun!

(*Extra shout-out to Charlie and Al, who invited me out for dinner at the Toby Carvery in the evening. Two engagements with my Lovelies in one day?! Don't mind if I do.)

Two nights later we assembled (in part) for ...

Voicerox post-concert/"end of term" Drinks 🍷🎶

... at the Venture Inn, Rahgate.

It was a huge turn-out (slightly more than the 40 people I'd booked the space for but ya never can tell) and we even managed a cheeky flashmob moment to the amusement (probably) of the other patrons who I'm sure have never heard Neil Sedaka's Breaking Up is Hard to Do performed with such ... finesse.

And volume.

Mel, we can only apologise for this rendition.

(We were having fun though.)


I love these wonderful humans.

Even the naughty ones.

... The shots that follow are not of the best quality, I know (unlike the company, obviously ❤️): turns out pink gin (and tonic) with raspberries is possibly my new favourite drink after wine (especially an Aussie Shiraz or a Merlot, or a Spanish Rioja), and Archers and lemonade. And a WooWoo cocktail.

{Turning my back on a fine bevy of gentlemen to focus solely on my gin.
Photo by Jess}

Just putting that out there.

{Me and my bayootiful Jessie J | Notice how we co-ordinated our red/black black/red outfits? #synced
| Photo by Jess' Marc} 
{These chaps though! Wonderful.}



{Charlie uses her wiles on Alun to persuade him to get the men to flash ...
mob.}

{My Lovelies}

{💗}
(Georgina, did you spy a Catlady in the background ... ?)

It's not quite sunk in how long it will be before we get to be with these Lovelies en masse again ...

The following night, I indulged in another spectacular of fabulous music, moves and company when I headed uptown to see:

Strictly Ballroom



I'll be honest: I was very cynical about this new stage production.

I love the film.

Love it.

To the point whereby it's not a New Year's Eve unless Ma QB and I have watched the DVD over a game of UNO.

So yes, I had reservations about the live performance matching up to the film.

Unfounded, my friends. Utterly unfounded.

It was absolutely bl00dy brilliant.

The energy ... the uncanny resemblance of some of the performers to the screen counterparts (and the dubious resemblance of Barry Fife to a certain PUSA) ... and the rather wonderful addition of an MC, played, and sung, fantastically, by Will Young: it was like watching a Will Young concert inserted neatly into a stage performance. In a good way.

I even got a bit misty-eyed during Time After Time, and it's hard to be unmoved when Doug Hastings starts clapping into the silence towards the end, and everyone in the audience is compelled to join in to get the dance back up and running.

Nearly all of the elements of the film that I love, including the fiesta scene where Scott and Fran's father Rrrrrrrrico (he wore a diamond; he was escorted to his chair // he saw Lola dancing there) are bonding over their paso dobles (show! show!), were there.

Including the nuance and sheer brilliance that is this man:


(There will only ever be one Scott Hastings, though: Paul Mercurio kind of owned that role and will probably never be matched.)


There are No! New! Scotts!

Big Ballroom Shout-Outs to: Ma QB, Cousin Jo and Auntie June; and workmates Inger, Megan, Ollie and Caroline, all of whom got relocated to the front of the auditorium where Megan was coerced into 'hiding' Will Young.

And to finish off an insanely busy week, I have also been ...

Walking with Cousin Jo 👣

With less than two months to go now until the Wye Valley Challenge, Jo and I decided to tackle a good 25k stretch of the North Downs Way, from Guildford to Dorking.


Now, bearing in mind I'd fastidiously plotted the route to match the required training distance, it was therefore something of an idiotic oversight that I actually forgot to send myself said route for us to walk to:



so when we got to Guildford we were finding our way to the starting point by sheer instinct (and Google Maps).

And common sense.

Jo's, not mine. Obvs.

But with that in mind, we managed to walk our route almost faultlessly after that, in spite of the North Downs Way signs not being as prominent or prolific as I remember them being some three years hence.

Harrumph.

I say almost ... We lost the NDW shortly after lunch at Newlands Corner. This may have been the fault of the Maverick app which is far from accurate, it appears (again, this was not the case three years ago).

Or it may have been the fault of Surrey Harwood who was insistent that the path back onto the NDW led off the back of Newlands Corner.

Now I'm not so sure. (Sorry, Jo.)

Eh well.

{Starting out ...}




{Love this tiny stone bridge and steps! | Guildford}

{Bridge Over the River Wey}

{Jo, being photobombed by DofE teenagers}

{Chantry Wood and scenery}

{Panorama with added Harwood}

{St Martha's on the Hill, Chilworth}






{Heading for Newlands Corner ... eventually}

{Ermahgerd! Ferxglerves!}

{Blatchford Down}

{Hiking Harwood} 
{Hiking Harwoods | Cracking woods, Gromit!}


{Pillbox}

{Hiking Harwood II}


{St Barnabas, Ranmore}

{Homeward-bound Harwoods}

We cut our route short around Denbies Vineyard as it would have led us up the wrong end of the London Road. As it happens, we made it back to Dorking Deepdene a minute too late to catch a train, and had to hole up in the Lincoln Stinkin' Arms outside Dorking's main station with a cheap but tasty wine and a pint of water until the next train.

Stiff and tired, we nevertheless dragged ourselves back out for dinner and drinkies at Home Cottage.



Because we're Harwoods and we're Hardcore.

We clocked up those 25k in just under six hours, which was as I'd hoped and predicted. With adequate socks/painkillers/rest stops/energy tablet intake, I reckon we'll manage the 55k in between 12–14 hours if the weather is favourable.

If you feel compelled to sponsor me (and by extension Jo as well), kindly follow this link to my sponsorship page. I'm still a little off my full target but with two months to go, that's opportunity enough to raise the whole whack.

I hope.

Thank you!

---

Well, that's all the shenanigans I can cover off for the time being.

Please join me again in a fortnight when I shall pluck a theme out of thin air and write thee some nonsense pertaining to said theme.

qb xx