Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Concert: Jean Paul Samputu

Tonight, I was with TunedIn London at Sands Films again, with Jean Paul Samputu, a Rwandan singer songwriter. Advertised via the World Music Meetup. Always a venue I try to get to, and although I hadn't heard of him, I liked what I heard on YouTube.

Heh. Y'know how I was looking forward to a nice, long sleep last night..? Sometimes I feel as though I'll never sleep again. I was fast asleep at 5am when that blasted fire alarm went off.. again. Dressed groggily, and out I went into the cold - at least it wasn't raining. Three fire engines this time - and they let us back in at about 5.25. Except.. some idiot had ripped the electronic lock off the door to my corridor. So we couldn't get in. Engineers were called - doesn't mean they arrived, of course. Finally, after about half an hour of waiting around, someone did a reccie, and coming back, asked whether anyone there had a room that overlooked the overhang. Two had. Were their windows open? Yes, a little. Right! he said. He'd found an open window on this side of the door - so what they had to do was climb out, make their way along the overhang, and climb in their own windows, letting us in the door from the other side.

And that, at nearly 6am, is what they did! I did sleep after that, but fitfully - plays havoc with your nerves, this sort of thing, you know! So I spent the day yawning. Happily, the second of our back-to-back meetings finished early, and I headed off a bit earlier than the last time I had to make my way to Rotherhithe. And both my buses arrived at the stops as I did - although I damn near fell asleep on the first one, only waking when it lurched around a corner.

Wouldn't you know it, on the evening I got away early, the second bus flew through to Rotherhithe! Traffic had been so bad last time I'd had to get out and walk - no, on this occasion, I was in plenty of time. Was quickly introduced to someone whom, it turned out, I'd met in Film Nite! Lordy, that was a while ago.. Was helpfully given a flier for Tuned In London's season by the organiser's little daughter - she seems to be developing quite a flair for the theatre! I can just see her on stage before many more years..

Jean Paul started by speaking to us, in what the organiser remarked was a rather soft voice. Yes, as he said, it gets louder when he's singing.. and to prove the point, he gave us a couple of hours of delightful, multilingual music - just one man and his guitar. I tell you though, he really got into his stride in the second half, where nothing would do him but to get us up and dancing! Had there been more space, he might have succeeded. His success might have been limited, but undaunted, he started to dance himself. With a rather wicked sense of humour, he promised to bring a cow next time - this bargain being made with an old friend of his. Yes, he said, and he'd bring dancers, and a percussionist, and a guitarist so he could spend his time dancing! And what a fantastic atmosphere it was, people dancing, and him cavorting with a guitar and a smile..

Singing, dancing, music and making jokes - that's not all he's about, and we were greatly moved by his sad tale of losing his family in the Rwandan genocide. Determined not to be defined by revenge, he has participated in a forgiveness ceremony, and now makes this his campaign. And you know, he's impossible to argue with! With that big smile, that sunny disposition - perhaps the only thing he couldn't persuade us to do - was dance. ;-) As someone explained to me at the interval, we were lucky to catch him in the country - he's much in demand by the UN, and jets to places all around the world to perform.

We also learned that the evening's photographer, who has a home in Morocco, has made it her mission to help the sterilisation of cats there, to prevent strays. We got links, as follows..

Bus home again, but this time, the Banqueting House wasn't lit as I passed, unlike Monday. Bummer.

Tomorrow, Let's Do This is at another classical concert - this time, at Morley College, for a Beethoven piano recital. Passed it this evening on the bus, so I now know where it is. Cool - I love Beethoven, but don't hear him enough. 

On Friday, the Crick Crack Club is back at Rich Mix, where Ben Haggerty, one of the co-founders of the club, is retelling the story of Frankenstein. Suitably spooky in this spookiest of months.. and I can think of no better performer to set the scene!

On Saturday, Spooky London Pubs is off to a "Pre-Hallowe'en" Psychic Fair at the King and Queen pub, just down the road from me. Free entry - well, I couldn't say no to that! Can always leave if it's not interesting. That's in the afternoon - that evening, I'm off to Oslo. The play, not the city! (Despite all my Scandic jaunts of late!) Taking place in the Harold Pinter Theatre, it tells the story of the Oslo peace accords. Has rave reviews. Cheapest tickets were with Amazon Tickets.

On Sunday, I'm with Walking in London (a Funzing group) for Southwark's Saucy Secrets.. Hope I can make this one in time!

On Monday, back with the Crick Crack Club - at Soho Theatre this time, with Nell Phoenix telling us all about Tricksterland: a favourite theme of hers!

On Tuesday, the London European Club (first time in ages!) - we're off to the Barbican for a dance production by the Michael Clark Company.

Next Wednesday, Walking Victorian London is doing a walk called Alexander Pope's The Dunciad.

On the 26th, Up in the Cheap Seats is off to Albion, at the Almeida. Then I'm back to Ireland for the weekend again - hopefully, by that stage they'll have cleared the roads following Storm Ophelia.

On the 30th, I finally get to see Apologia, at Trafalgar Studios - London Dramatic Arts was going to this a while ago, but it was far too expensive on that occasion. Well, that's what you get for having Stockard Channing and Laura Carmichael in it! Amazon Tickets again.

And finally, I'm hoping for a nicely scary Hallowe'en.. when I heard that they were doing the first-ever stage production of The Exorcist - and what's more, it's on in the Phoenix Theatre, right behind the office.. well, that was fate, wasn't it?! I jumped to get a ticket for that, as soon as they went on sale - after all, Hallowe'en has to be its most popular night!

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