Music and laughter in London!

Afrocubism is a show I’d been waiting for ages to see. This combination of Cuban and Malian music was the original concept by Nick Gold that became the Buena Vista Social Club, just half the idea, because the Malian musicians couldn’t get visas to travel. I love that record so was very excited to the full line up at last although time has taken away most of the Cubans and Eliades Ochoa is the key survivor of the original line up. He was joined with the cream of Malian music: Bassekou Kouyate, Kasse Mady Diabate and Toumani Diabate. They won a Songlines award which was presented by Carlos Acosta, the ballet dancer, a fellow Cuban It was a brilliant evening of music and made me wonder what would have happened if those visas had come through!
Photos are: Royal Albert Hall, the band, Eliades Ochoa, Cuban trumpeters and Carlos with the band.

Sometimes in London you can stumble across music without any plan or expectation. Last week I found myself with a spare hour before it was time to meet up with friends for a theatre trip. I was on the South Bank and it was about to rain so I dipped into the Royal Festival Hall to revisit the Festival of Britain 1951 exhibition. I heard some music and it turned out to be an indoor busking session (they’d moved in due to the rain) and I was lucky enough to see She Keeps Bees followed by the excellent Guillemots. They played for about half an hour, it was free and there was a good, very appreciative crowd. A great. unexpected treat!


Comedy is very popular in London and any night you can find great comedians all over town. June and July are especially good times as many of the top performers are trying out new material for the annual Edinburgh Fringe Comedy Festival. One recent Friday night we booked in to see a comedy gala in aid of Anno’s Africa a development charity and great cause. They lined up a great evening of laughs from the following: Daniel Kitson (host), Stewart Lee, Simon Munnery, Jenny Eclair, Simon Amstell and Miles Jupp – to name just my favourites. To top this fun evening off there was a raffle with the prizes awarded by Hayley Mills and my friend won a golfing trip to Ireland (with me of course!).


Photos are Hayley, Stewart Lee, Simon A, Jenny, Miles, Simon M


Bye for now, Sue



Busy week in London town!

So much to tell you about this week that I’m going have to keep 2 things til next week or this’ll go on for far too long. So next week you’ll get a day out in Cambridge and a London walk as bonus items!


This week started with a visit to the Royal Festival Hall on the South Bank to see a friend sing in the Bach choir in a wonderfully powerful performance of Verdi’s Requiem. We had Prince Edward in attendance as he is a patron of the music school who were also on stage. Here are 2 photos – one of the outside and one of the musicians’ final bow to a madly clapping audience and you can see just how many people were taking part in this magnificent piece.



Wednesday saw the lowest tide in the Thames for 5 years so I joined over 60 other volunteers at Hammersmith Bridge to collect rubbish for a couple of hours. It was a great thing to do as I hate to see the Thames with litter in it but was surprised to find how much cloth rubbish there was, I guess the plastic floats off to sea but I dug out 4 bin bags full of the stuff! It was fine but very cold and I needed a huge hot coffee to get myself warm afterward. Hopefully the Thames is just a little cleaner now. Here’s a photo of the gang hard at work…



The following day I was outdoors again (with more cold weather clothing on!) on a photography course at the London Wetlands Centre to try to improve my wildlife snapping skills. The centre is an amazing place as it’s within sight of London but is a great place for a whole range of birds to live or pass through these former reservoir waters. I took some good and some dreadful shots so here’s just a few of the better ones – I just couldn’t cut it down to less than 7 – sorry! Our teacher was Iain Green who is well known for his books of tiger photos from India, so our targets on this course were somewhat easier to find!

A big treat on Sunday evening was the chance to see Ngugi wa Thiong’o who is an internationally renowned Kenyan author. He was reading from his new book Dreams in a time of War, and being interviewed. He shared stories of his life and childhood and his fascinating views about the importance of indigenous languages over colonial languages. And here he is….



Phew – I’m off to enjoy this week which includes a trip out to Durham and some good London stuff too.
Bye for now,