All 5 entries tagged London
November 28, 2006
Between all the queueing, there was some gospel.
Ever been to what used to be Soul Nation? It was a bit like that inside, but then not as sweaty. And not as smoky. And not as aggressive. Basically a massive Christian dancehall party. Well. And with gospel songs. The DJ and compere played the impatient crowd (having paid 30 quid and already waiting 2 hours for the main act) just about right, having them sing one of the most uplifting and groovy gospel songs (In the sanctuary, by Kurt Carr) as one massive gospel choir. The support didn’t do too bad either, though apart from an great upcoming voice (Roger Samuels) lacked in quality what it had in energy.
Then there was Kirk.
Kirk Franklin is probably the most successful gospel artist alive. Not related to Aretha as far as I know, and mainly working behind the scenes and letting his lyrics and choir do the work for him. He has worked with many famous artists such as Stevie Wonder, Mary J Blige, R Kelly, and U2’s Bono. Anyway, if you’re interested I’m sure you can find out all the good bad and ugly about this man. Or if you’re more interested in what he does, here’s a clip of one of his most accessible stuff.
I’m actually not sure how to review what happened between Kirk entering the stage, and us breathing fresh air. Not having had any proper food all day nor having had much sleep this weekend kind of put me in some standby mode to begin with. I remember grooving lots and thunder clapping Bajan style and holding hands with random people and having a group hug with more random people and holding A Lovely Day for lots of beats over and over again and freaking out another random person for coming in with the Melodies from Heaven harmony. And I remember trying to take a photo with Ali’s phone but being so not with it that once I was happy with the everchanging composition I realized I had my thumb on the wrong button. And I remember the pianist singing in the singing contest whilst no one was paying attention. Even he could sing. And I remember miming the piano bit and Kirk jumping into the crowd and everyone singing bye bye bye bye bye, bye bye bye bye bye bye bye etcetera. It was great. Wish you were there. Low battery now though.
November 27, 2006
Once in a while I listen to Premier – a Christian radio station that plays some good funky gospel between 11pm-1am. It was there I found out about Israel Houghton playing London. It was there I found out Kirk Franklin was playing London. It was Thursday night when I found out. The concert was last night. Maybe not exactly impulsive, it was one of the crazier things we’ve done in the house.
Spent the weekend with Rev in Olton, Birmingham, doing the usual: singing songs (quite a lot actually, for a weekend away), sleeping and freezing on church floors. I taught a song I wasn’t too sure about, but everyone loved it, though according to Ali it might be because of my chicken on drugs performance, or my face lighting up whenever the tenors (i.e. Jonny and two girls) came in with their harmony.
Got back 1pm on Sunday, ready to leave for Hammersmith, London, 2.30pm. I cheered when tomtom said we would take the M40, but then it guided us along the M4 for some reason as well, where we spent the larger part of our journey down. Through some miracle we managed to find a parking space a 5 minute walk away from Hammersmith Palais, yet we could practically join the queue there. The doors were bound to open 6.30pm, but that’s about the time we joined the queue. That is, the queue to pick up our tickets. Which we didn’t get till 8pm.
We queued a lot actually. To get to Hammersmith, there was only one exit lane which was crammed. The fact that some thought they were too good to queue and do some last minute merging didn’t help. Similar problem in the ticket queue. So what do you do? It seems like most people just hope someone else says something about it. I thought I’d use my Dutchness and loudly proclaim my dilemma with people jumping queues. At least the people behind us knew we were on their side, so helped them stay ahead of the sneaks.
On the way back, tomtom had the great idea of sending us up the M1. She forgot there were roadworks. Even beyond tired, Ali used mathematical wit and picked the outside lane. Indeed, it was the fastest. Mainly because eventually all 3 lanes were supposed to merge on the inside lane. It was worth it though. We saw 3 Noonoos and a man with a fire spitting machine.
June 28, 2006
April 25, 2006
- Live in London
Methodist Central Hall, Westminster. Capacity of a couple of thousand. As beautiful from the inside as the outside. Spot the 5 white people in the queue. No strip searching. No bag searching. No limits on photography (just a "no flash please"), just a small one on illegal recordings:
If you're caught making a sound or video recording of the concert, your camera will be confiscated. Hold on. No, you can keep your camera. We will confiscate your tape and use it for our radio shows!
As we enter, the Hill City Mass Choir are singing a couple of well known worship songs with a gospel flavour. Despite a low early attendance – Ali worries as there is no one sitting in front of us, prompting her cause for concern being picked out to give her testimony on stage and talk about "christians" again – the choir give their everything and set the enthusiastic mood for the rest of the night. Turns out this was only their warmup…
Then we're urged to silence even as people are still coming in, as upcoming hot UK gospel artists Four Kornerz are about to perform. As we're all in a good mood and they're dressed with style, we give them a big cheer and enjoy their gig. Imagine Outkast singing about their love for God instead of you and your girl in your caddy, and you get the idea. The balance wasn't quite right yet (as with Outkast, I could hardly understand the lyrics), but the musicians were great, and yes, the dress sense was
The compere of the night was Muyiwa of Premier Christian Radio – if you're interested in gospel or any chilled RnB soul music (that sings about a slightly different kind of love than Usher) then it's a good listen from 11pm onwards. He also performed with his backing singers to keep us entertained, but they lacked the energy of the previous two acts. They had humour though. HCMC came back for a few more songs now with the whole audience joining in – the night was organised by House on the Rock for their 10th anniversary, and both the choir and most of the audience were members. We were more than happy to be part of their celebrations!
It's Israel's first performance in the UK (save the one in Birmingham the night before) and he must have been well surprised to get so much enthousiasm from the audience (congregation?). The opening act was a seemingly endless medley of his "greatest hits", his funkiest songs and just one big happy feast of recognition and praise and dance. Let's just say I was happy I brought a bottle of water!
For Nikki: I recognized Another Level; Who Is Like The Lord; Trading My Sorrows; Again I Say Rejoice; New Season; and highlight All Around.
And then I lost track of what happened. It involved lots of amazing solo performances of both band and singers. Whereas I'd expected a few more people, Israel worked with only one singer per part(!) but all so competent that the four of them sounded like 5 million Rev choirs together. After all the hype and funk and dance and oh yes gospel – cue Lord You Are Good – the reflective moment couldn't have come at a better time.
So yes, suddenly Mr Houghton was left on stage by himself (though not after the synth dude helped him sort out his keyboard) to tell us the story of his life. Cue lots of borderline cheesy humour – but who cares? we're having a great time! Also cue lots of audience cheering for recognizing themselves and a rendition of One Love as his Jamaican heritage is being welcomed by the island descendants in the audience.
Eventually, he got to his point and the second half of the concert. Again, my mind wandered off (in the first half it was just me being delirious with all the excitement, this time it was just taking the chance for contemplation) so I'm gonna guess and say Israel was going through some psalms and spontaneous worship. All by himself. By the time I woke up from my deep thoughts, the rest had rejoined him on stage for the finale.
I should say grand finale. I just checked with Ali and Rich and indeed Friend of God was the song to start the dance towards the end. By this time Israel's guitar was working properly as well, and he got to showcase another talent whilst the crew lead us through song. But the London talent got a shot as well, when during Alpha and Omega the band went mute and the hall was filled by the chanting and worship of 3,000 great singers at the height of their worship feast. Now there must have been 2 or 3 more songs here including an encore (after the audience kept on repeating their ooh-ooh-oohs for one song) but the final showpiece of gospel extravaganza was Not Forgotten – some kind of Arabic melody and breakbeat mixture, aka Ali's favourite song.
It's hard to compare a gospel concert to any other, and even within its own genre, this concert was unique. I've seen LCGC (London Community Gospel Choir) perform twice, and they're always engaging, and quality. But in this case I felt part of the concert. The concert was great because I was there (if that makes sense at all?) and took part.
Okay I'll try and explain. I've had the same feeling after seeing Lauryn Hill live ages ago at Pinkpop Festival; Manu Chao 4 years ago at Lowlands Festival (Me Gustas Tu had just been a big hit in the Netherlands); Basement Jaxx last year at the Carling Academy. These artists, and Israel last weekend, seem to welcome you to their ground, their home, and ask you to join in and party with them. I think Lauryn Hill only sang one of her own songs – the rest was just a big DJ hip hop music battle – yet I wasn't disappointed. Israel cut quite a few of his songs short, but I didn't care because it was my party too.
For the untrained spirits or souls there might have been too much worship and praise in this concert. Actually, it was just one massive praise and worship session! But that's what gospel stands for, so it's what you would expect from such an event. Even so, there was so much musical talent and so much energy from both the stage and the audience that there should have been enough to enjoy as long as you accept being welcome.
March 23, 2006
Someone got a bit annoyed by the stupid Tubthumping entry being at the top of my blog for the past 2 weeks. Hence this.
Saturday 4 March
We had a concert with Revelation. It was beyond amazing! We had some great new talent singing solos, and none of the conductors ever stopped smiling. I even managed to keep the speeding up potential at bay in Khumbaya! I actually only sang for half the concert, as a poor diet didn't give me enough energy to blast throughout the performance. As a result, the encore turned into a comedy act, where I was supposed to get the audience to make some noise, with hardly any more than radio scatter of a voice myself. Ah well – that's what makes it all the more fun! Hopefully the CD will come out soon…
Sunday 5 March
My culinary skills have extended and now cover french toast. No single bit of egg shell in the mixture! I yet haven't managed to expand on the meal like I've done with pancakes [cheese and sugar and syrup. Try it!] but I think Nikki, Jenni, Hayley, and Mike enjoyed their breakfast regardless.
Monday 6 March
Honestly, I've no clue what I did this day. It's too long ago to care. I must have done some bit of supervision, and I probably watched Smallville. It might have been this day that I finally got my first remotely useful results out of the C++ model I've been working on this term.
Tuesday 7 March
Revelation cabaret. After 2 years of preparation [I'm sure we discussed it in our first year here] Marta and I finally performed our Dutch-Italian combo of Vivere/Zonder Jou. I almost lost track as people started laughing, convinced they laughed coz I had to sing so low [hadn't really prepared and didn't feel like singing a few As and Bs that night] and forgetting that maybe people here aren't used to hearing me speak Dutch.
Wednesday 8 - Friday 10 March
Again temporary memory loss. Though I know most of this time was dedicated to supervision marking. The powers that be had decided to give the first year one massive assignment to hand in on Thursday. They forgot that I actually have a life and don't like being forced to mark work within 24 hours. Yet, I prevailed, and even took time to meet up with the supervisees to hand back their work and have them hear the verdict through me, rather than some website or their tutor.
I just realize I also discussed the mild successes of the model with my own supervisor, which left me with quite some work to do for the next week. See further on.
Friday 10 March - Sunday 12 March
Pre-WiM. That means before WiM - or before Week in March which is actually a week in April. Plus a day. Yes TP, I almost literally stole your joke.
Anyway – WiM is a Revelation event in the Easter hols where the choirs in the UK come together to rehearse songs from scratch to perform in a concert at the end of the week. It's always great fun, and I've met some great friends in previous years! This year, I'm Arts Director, which sounds really posh, but in Rev leadership means making sure people are happy, so I ended up bringing my team members cups of tea and bags of crisps.
Monday 13 - Friday 17 March
Warwick Turbulence Symposium
_Environmental Turbulence: from Clouds through the Ocean_
Spent the Monday attending 2 out of 4 talks. I was still exhausted from the weekend, and so many thoughts and ideas were running through my head, that all I could focus on was the bright window above the poorly lit presentation screen. I did eventually get my C++ program to work on the maths computers as well [Borland apparently has an immune system that lets poor code stay where it is - after changing it for g++ the code is much faster already!].
Trouble on Tuesday, however. Missed the bus, with the next one not arriving for a lovely 50 minutes – as a result, I missed two extremely relevant talks. Thanks TWM. You have actually inspired me to buy a bike. Better not try and run me over next term! That afternoon, I found out that to get the right distribution over time, I'm going to need to track 1,000,000 bubbles. To track 10,000 bubbles for a second currently already takes quite a few minutes. Lovely – TBC.
Wednesday and Thursday I made some important baby's first steps in my degree. First, I went up to a speaker after his talk to ask him about one of his experiments. He seemed to be in a hurry though, so couldn't get a lot out of him. Next, I went up to someone I'd met in the December conference, and ended up chatting to him for the whole next hour. We discussed: air bubbles, rain drops, collision efficiency, granular motion, sand dunes, PSV Eindhoven, Zenit St Petersburg, Abramovich, Hiddink, Israel and Palestine. In that order. Then Peter came in and we discussed bubbles some more. We're afraid that merging bubbles is not the kind of phenomenon that is useful for further research, but we'll have to see.
We also discussed the C++ model some more, and Peter tried to convince me to learn yet another language, but I'm quite happy being a sheep and use a language everyone uses. Like English. Then he tried to convince me to change one of my algorithm into a big tree and spent an hour explaining it to me. Then we realized it wouldn't be useful since the bubbles rise at different speeds and the tree would have to be cut down and grown each time which probably wouldn't give us any advantage when trying to track 1,000,000 bubbles.
The final step was that I actually asked a question in a seminar! Big deal, you might say. Pot you! Ali would say. It was a talk by someone from Southampton whose articles I'd been reading last year – mainly concerning phytoplankton and turbulence, something I hope to be researching at some point in life – and he obviously didn't have time to discuss every little bit, but I thought he left out something really important. And I even linked my question to another question! If only I'd have worn my name tag.
The Friday was a bit of a let down. I think I went to the most interesting talk of the day [at least most relevant to me] and I spent some more time talking to Peter about bubbles. We decided we could study bubbles merging in sparkling water or whatever soft drink you like, but we'd need all of you to start pouring your drinks into the ocean now if this were ever to be important in air-sea gas exchange.
Friday 17 March - Tuesday 21 March
After two exhausting weeks [yes, I've got bad stamina. And no, this is all relative, of course I know 99% of the world population has got far bigger problems than I do, and don't get a lie in] I thought it to be time for a holiday, and arranged a weekend of fun in London.
Actually, it was Pat's birthday [St Patrick's Day] party on Saturday and he suggested a long time ago I should stay till Monday for London Revelation's rehearsal. I thought I'd add Friday in to work on a song for Rev with Dan, and meet up with Frank as well while there. And so we proceed.
Euston -> Euston [it was too busy Friday 7pm] -> Euston Square -> Moorgate -> Tooting Bec: Dan's house -> Camden Town: Underground. Good night out. Though all 5 layers I decided to wear smelled of smoke afterwards. Night bus back was ok until some guy thought I was someone else, namely someone that gets all the girls he wants [spot the sad false assumption] and gets his beep beeped [or smurf smurfed] whenever, wherever. But no. Then he sat down. And 5 minutes later started muttering obscenities in my general direction. So Dan suggested we sit downstairs.
Didn't get anywhere arranging the song on Saturday. Spent two hours deciding what key to put it in, then thought it best to keep it as it was. It needs some serious work to make it vaguely interesting for the choir though… Went to some burger place with the best burgers within some radius which couldn't have been too far, because despite the obvious quality ingredients, I usually enjoy a Big Mac more than the overdone piece of carbon I got on my plate. Ah well. No tube stations this day. Pat's party was amazing – possibly the best party I've been to. Lots of drunkenness with lots of things that could have ended badly, but in the end were just really funny. Despite earlier statements that no one would sleep in the dance floor room, 7 of us did, and we thought we were ok the next morning, until we found out in the hall way that an alcohol percentage below 70% in the air was possible.
Sunday got more tube action again: Clapham South -> Tooting Bec: Dan's house to do nothing, really -> Bank -> Aldgate East where I met Frank despite his phone being stolen and mine out of battery. Had a lovely alternative roast and listened to Charlotte Church and saw his fun loving housemates again. Chats involved lots of Dutch speaking and future foreseeing. No night time bus this time, just the tube back to Pat's.
Monday involved me and Pat going to Brixton, testing if it really is as exciting and interesting as the buzz makes us think. But no. It's just Coventry's Indoor Market. But then outdoors. And with lots of Afro-Caribean music and rhythm. And more smell of wee. But we did walk down Electric Avenue. And I did buy a gospel CD. And a kitchen sink drain thing that stops the rice from going down. I also got shouted at by some Jamaican "asking" me if I was with de Bri'ish or de Irish man – at this point I realized that maybe I should leave my bright green coat at home next time, as it seems to be giving me the wrong kind of attention. No one got hurt, however, so we went -> Green Park -> Leicester Square to see the Photographer's Gallery which was a tad bit dull but had good lemon cake and then we went to try and find Fopp in Covent Garden but it wasn't there. Instead, we got lost in the Seven Dials and found Fopp. Then we had to help Pete and his brother [or Richard and his brother] but they didn't understand my directions:
Cross the road at the station, then take a left into Short Street [actually called Short Gardens or something] then there's a map, or you end up at a roundabout thing where you'll take the road at 1 o'clock, at the end of which you'll find Fopp.
Apparently analogue clocks don't help in directions. Bought Innervisions [it's good!] and went to a restaurant where they served rijsttafel and I got excited. It's Dutch. No more boring stuff happened and then there was Rev!
Silly enough, there's no official Revelation rock-gospel choir in London [bar Royal Holloway - which is a lifelong journey away from the city], and they're trying to change it. The choir needs to be affiliated to a university to be an official part of Rev, but in London, it needs at least 20 students from 4 different colleges to sign a form if it is to be a student society. Sigh. But the workshop was good. Learned a new song and some interesting approaches to old Rev songs. Plus, it was good to sing with Dan, Pat, Pete, Kate, and Jenni again.
So we went back on the tube, making the Northern line my most visited tube line. Must have spent 0,0001% of my life on that line now! Tuesday, it was time to say goodbye with one more trip on the Northern line to Moorgate to have lunch with Dan, Pat and Kate where Kate demonstrated the goodness of work for a charity organisation: casual dress.
And then I went back to Cov and then I suddenly had lots of emails that were of no interest to me and then I went to the pub and then I slept and then I downloaded lots of research articles and then I arranged more of the song and now I finally finished this entry.
He's a man
With a plan
Got a counterfeit dollar in his hand
He's Misstra Know-It-All