Rochester

Don't be the unobservant view-blocking butterball

by The What's On blog, with Chris Price Saturday, November 24 2012

One of the wonderful perks about my job is I get to see amazing acts all over Kent.

So imagine the fury of going to see the great John Cooper Clarke, only to not be able to see or hear him because of inconsiderate others.

Of course, as is often the case when I am a little bit cross, I exaggerate a little. The headline act at Rochester's Royal Function Rooms, who could easily be described as the five Ps - perfect punk performance poet pioneer - John Cooper Clarke was absolutely class.

I would have enjoyed hearing his unsurpassed grasp of the English language more on Friday, November 23, if my view had not been obstructed by various boozed-up, non-spacially-aware punters.

Arriving at the gig reasonably early, I managed to bag a decent table to watch JCC and his supports, Chatham poet Wolf Howard and Mancunian Mike Garry. 

Perhaps I'm uninitiated in the etiquette of poetry gigs but I couldn't help feeling narked when boozers filed out of the bar and stood directly in front of my table, without so much as a look of apology. Their rear-ends were literally touching the front end of my table and they just looked directly at the stage, as if I wasn't there.

Not wanting to cause a scene, I decided to crick my neck and look round these impetuous loafers. As one act finished, they waddled back to the bar, only to take up their concealing position when the next arrived, as oblivious as before.

Then, just as I settled into my uncomfortable posture, came the drunken cat calls of a group of women standing behind me, equidistant to my view-blocking compadres.

"Give me strength," I thought as they woooooooooooo-ed less than a foot from my right ear at the end of every poem, muttering "exactly" and "yeah" at each of JCC's comical assertions in what he called "the adverts" in between readings.

Then, imagine the emotional contradiction I felt when the oblivious lump in front of me spontaneously developed recognition of other human beings aside from the one on stage, looking round at the tipsy plonker behind me to deliver a scowl which thankfully shut her up and put the rest of us out of our misery. 

Perhaps I am being a bit of a stiff on account of being the designated driver for the night. JCC poetry readings are not debates on late-Rennaissance verse by any stretch. The night was raucous and all the better for it.

All I ask is that people don't enjoy a show at the expense of others. Don't be the unobservant view-blocking butterball or the loud, tiddly dipstick. 

Otherwise someone will end up tainting your night in the same way one day in the future.

Tags:
Categories: Books | Celebrities | Entertainment | General | Humour | Rochester

When the Olympic dart strikes through the heart

by The What's On blog, with Chris Price Thursday, July 26 2012

I thought I’d been there, done it, and bought the t-shirt.

My Olympic Torch Relay party at my flat on Friday went without a hitch as the flame which began burning on Mount Olympus passed through Gravesend on its way to the London 2012 Games.

A dozen or so cups of tea were made for family and friends, who piled in to my flat at the normally highly unsociable hour of 9am, ready to claim our spot on Saddington Street in plenty of time, to see the procession pass in and out of the Gurdwara.

We got two bites of the cherry and barely had to walk any distance at all to see such a momentous occasion in British sporting history.

Job done I thought. I’d taken a couple of pictures, waved and cheered like I was at a football match (everyone was doing it so I felt ok) and even seen the torch bearer trip on a sleeping policeman – although thankfully he had kept his balance.

Yet none of that compared to the excitement when Julia Chilcott from Maidstone came into the office for an interview with my colleagues at kmfm about her torch bearing experience.

Julia carried the flame into Leeds Castle and lit the cauldron at the end of Thursday’s run from Deal to the county town.

She walked in almost hugging the golden beacon and its appearance quickly gained more attention than when a newborn baby is brought into the office.

I’d tried to play it cool and watch from afar as colleagues gathered around the torch but before I knew it, I was up there like a wide-eyed schoolboy asking for my picture to be taken with the little piece of history.

As with every torchbearer I’ve met or read about, Julia was delighted to tell everyone her story and more than willing for everyone to get their moment with her treasured possession.

More than seeing the flame, more than cheering and even more than my faultless Olympic Torch Relay party (honest!), this was the moment when the cupid of the Olympic Games drew his arrow and fired it straight through my heart.

There’s a magic to how the torch relay brought everyone in the county together and how it has demonstrated so simply the power of sport.

Boy I cannot wait for the Games now.

  • For daily updates on what is going on at the Olympic Park, follow our man Alex Hoad’s blog. He will be following Kent athletes’ performances throughout the Games. You can follow him on Twitter @KentOnline2012.

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The Opening Ceremony on Friday, July 27 will be too big to watch in your normal, comfy armchair in your uninspiring living room (oh, that’s just me then.)

A large open-air screen will be at Rochester Castle Gardens showing the event live from the Olympic Stadium for free.

A similar big screen will show the ceremony at Gravesend Community Square. Then after watching the spectacular coordinated by film director Danny Boyle – the man behind Slumdog Millionaire – party into the night at a silent disco on the upper Community Square. Tickets are £8 from the Woodville on 01474 337774.

The ceremony will also be shown on the big screen in Dover’s Market Square from 9pm for free, with a Zumbathon getting the atmosphere going from 7pm to 8pm.

Tags:
Categories: Entertainment | Gravesend | kmfm | Media | Medway | Olympics | Rochester | Sport | TV

The Deccas have been decked

by The What's On blog, with Chris Price Wednesday, June 29 2011

It is with great sadness that I heard the news of the disbanding of Medway band The Deccas.

The foursome were one of the first Kent bands who let me in to their little world as a features reporter for What's On.

Chatting to them at their practice sessions at Def Studios in Chatham's Historic Dockyard, I was struck by the way the produced tight, typically Medway-Mod recordings.

Their only album Ways To The Sun was typical of the spiky power pop that has gripped the Medway scene for God knows how long. Short, sharp tunes with a good hook.

Never afraid of admitting they were hoping to "make it" they had that pure quality - not found in nearly enough bands - of just being four good mates.

In an email Twydall-born singer-songwriter and guitarist Wes Wren, Gillingham guitarist Phil Crane, Rochester bassist Dave Sawicki and Rainham drummer Tony Hetherington announced: "It is with heavy hearts that The Deccas are saddened to say that they are no more.

"After four and a half years, over 120 gigs, four CDs and six different members and numerous Subways the time seems right to stop."

For nostalgic Medway-scene followers, the good news is that the band will finish their latest EP and put it out on a limited run for free.

Until then, we mourn you The Deccas. Is it too late to reconsider?

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For anyone who wondered why I suddenly stopped tweeting when I was at Hyde Park for the Kings of Leon concert last Wendesday, it is because the whole thing was too awesome to take my eyes off.

Great support shows from Mona, White Lies and Paul Weller capped off by a stonker of a set by perhaps the biggest band on the planet right now.

I was so impressed that I am heading back to Hyde Park tomorrow to see Arcade Fire, with support from The Vaccines, Beirut and Mumford and Sons.

Then Kent's festival season kicks off with the Hop Farm Music Festival at Paddock Wood the next day and Lounge On The Farm at Canterbury's Merton Farm the following weekend.

If the updates slow down, it is because I've developed a very serious case of tweeters finger.

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If you fancy getting your music, latest gig or theatre production reviewed on this blog or inside the KM Group's What's On magazine, drop me an email at cprice@thekmgroup.co.uk.

You can also follow me on Twitter @TheChrisPrice and follow What's On @kmwhatson. Join us on Facebook by liking www.facebook.com/kmwhatson

Tags:
Categories: Chatham | Entertainment | Gillingham | Historic Dockyard Chatham | Medway | Rainham | Rochester

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