Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas Card 2010

I have every reason to feel aggrieved by the weather. I had plans for this weekend. Plans which involved other parts of the country. Plans which were scuppered by the snow which fell for most of yesterday and made setting out in the car seem more dangerous than climbing Everest. Oh well.

Birmingham has had a make over to match scenes from the Christmas cards propped up indoors. Well it would match, if the post office were delivering Christmas cards to prop up, or indeed anything at all at the moment.

Let's focus on the positives. I had a wonderful walk through the park this morning and found these snowflakes iced onto the railings surrounding the frozen lake. There was the vandalistic thrill of ploughing a calf-deep path through pristine snow along an alternative route to that normally marked by asphalt. But for the crunch of my boots imprinting the pattern of their tread into soft powder, all was quiet. Infrequently worn clothes came into their own.

Tomorrow the snow will be compacted, icy, slushy and grey. More people will decide they have to dig their cars out from under the frozen candlewick bedspreads the weather has draped on them. The transport chaos whinging will become seriously boring and the snow will have outstayed its welcome. Today though, just for a short while, this corner of Birmingham was a winter wonderland. Happy Christmas.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Postcard from the stage

Birmingham's Symphony Hall has perfect acoustics. This means it's a fantastic venue for classical music. It doesn't mean pop music should not be heard there; although the plush auditorium can have a restraining influence on the crowd.

The last time I saw Chris Difford, he was playing an intimate gig in an organic garden centre/cafe. So to find him reunited with Squeeze in grand surroundings was quite a contrast. In a good way. All the classics (my photo captured Difford and Tilbrook during the nostalgia of 'Pulling Mussels from the Shell') and a few new songs made for a great gig. There's been yet another change to the line up and the fantastic Steve Nieve on keyboards, for me, stole the show.

The popularity of the old songs is testament to the quality of the songwriting. Living up to the reputation of Symphony Hall was testament to the musical talent on stage. Good things come out of Greenwich...