Thursday, 26 October 2017

Essex and drugs and rock'n'roll

Enjoyed seeing the Ian Dury musical Reasons to be Cheerful at the Theatre Royal in Stratford. Based on the songs of Mr Dury, who was from Essex in case you couldn’t tell, the musical is based on the story of a group of fans in Southend trying to get tickets for Dury’s gig at the Hammersmith Odeon. Paul Sirrett’s script has Essex mentions aplenty, with a neon Billericay sign on stage, a memorable performance of Billericay Dickie and scenes on the A13 and Thorpe Bay beach. Dury contracted polio after swimming at Southend swimming baths and performed with a withered left arm; he would have been proud of the way the show gives roles to actors who are one-amed, deaf and in a wheelchair. Hence their emotive performance of Dury’s empowering anti-charity ode to disability, Spasticus Autisticus. Having the lyrics dislayed above the stage also allows us to remember just what a great wordsmith Dury was. It’s a riotously entertaining romp back to the punk era. As Ian himself might have said: “Oi! Oi!”

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Homage to Canvey Island

The Essex Liberation Front has finally happened. Never mind Catalonia. There's a big piece in the Guardian about the Canvey Island Independence Party. Angered by plans for more housing, Canvey Island is seeking to escape the yoke of Benfleet, Thundersley and Hadleigh and establish a council that is separate from the mainland borough of Castle Point. At this rate of Essex separatism there could soon be one almighty struggle over the jam fields of Tiptree. Click on the link to read.