Category: General

Plays Live, Peter Gabriel – AOTM January 2020

Father, if you are reading this, you win again. I was introduced to Peter Gabriel Plays Live during my most recent trip up North. When I browsed the record stores at Tynemouth Market the morning after, and happened upon this record, I must admit I believed in fate. This, from the former frontman of Genesis, is a masterwork in entertainment. Playing with Tony Levin (bass, stick, backing vocals), Jerry Marotta (drums, vocals), David Rhodes (guitar, vocals), and Larry Fast (keyboards), Gabriel manages to reproduced beautiful and unique versions of the studio originals, spread across his six previous albums. Most...

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Birmingham Oratory – Catholic Gem, Edgbaston

Would you believe me if I told you there is a Romanesque church, dome and all, in the middle of Birmingham? No? You’d be right. But there is one in Five Ways/Edgbaston. The Birmingham Oratory was built between 1907-1910 in honour of Cardinal, now Saint, John Henry Newman, the founder of the English Oratory in 1849. The Birmingham Oratory is a Catholic religious community of priests and brothers of the Congregation of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri, and was their first house in England. Saint Philip had the gift of healing, returning many sick people to health.  He...

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Reservoir Cafe – Economical Lunch, Edgbaston Reservoir Birmingham

Let’s be honest here – this is not the most glamorous cafe, best placed or best kept cafe in Birmingham. However, and this cannot be said for many establishments, it is down to Earth. While other restaurants plaster the walls garish colours and throw avocados at you as if you were trying to pole-vault the Welsh border, Reservoir Cafe remains originally humble. In the dejection of this forgotten corner of Edgbaston, Reservoir Cafe stands as a bastion of common sense and straightforward food. My colleagues and I had the chance to go for our yearly bi-annual Wellbeing Committee Walking...

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Highlights from the Ferens – Central Art Gallery, Hull

Despite stubborn popular opinion, Hull has a lot to recommend it. There are an array of theatres, marvellous cultural sites as well as it being the home of formerly alive poet Philip Larkin. But at the heart of Hull is also the Ferens Art Gallery. This is home to some impressive paintings and some nauseating modern art. Below are my highlights from this gallery. Philipe de Champaigne – The Annunciation ca. 1644 This picture was painted for the private chapel of Queen Anne of Austria (1601–1666), the widowed wife of Louis XIII. The chapel, a small oval room in...

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Nanette – Comedy at its Finest

Nanette is at its core a discourse on comedy. That is not to say it is an academic manual, but more a careful dissection of the art form. Beginning as a traditional comedy show, Hannah Gadsby tells tale of her youth as a queer person in Tasmania, a country where homosexuality was illegal until 1997. Even then, the decriminalising only passed the Tasmania Legislative Council by one vote. Gadsby jokes that this is far too recent. She is right. As the show wears on, we are privy to Gadsby’s signature dry self depreciation which made her a star in...

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