Monthly Archives: January 2018

Fair Fairweather

Eight years isn’t too late to review a concert, is it?

Daughter says it isn’t, but she seems to have forgotten the whole evening, which is surprising for someone who remembers everything, especially when I don’t.

So, Dennis Locorriere came to the Lowry back in 2010 (although the rate at which he tours, I’m sure he’s been back several times since). I’d been looking forward to it, as the time I saw him before that, was one of those magical evenings. But this time – eight years ago – he half lost his shine.

Though that’s not what I want to tell you about.

Dennis had someone there to play first, and I hate that! This was someone I’d never heard of; Andy Fairweather Low. Yes, I realise I was unusual in this. But anyway. There was Andy, looking like a middle-aged bank manager, singing unexpected songs in a most unexpected voice. I hoped he wouldn’t take too long over it.

But you just never know when you’ll fall in love, do you? No, not that way. Just the music.

By the second song I was enjoying this bank manager in his brown suit. I was more than pleased that he sang for about 45 minutes, which is a thought that would have shocked me when he started.

In the interval before Dennis came on, I rushed out to beat the queue to buy Andy’s CDs and have them signed. I was second, but had the bad luck to be second after a really big fan. But that was enlightening in itself, as I realised some people had actually come to hear Andy, rather than Dennis. So I listened in on the conversation, and eventually got my CDs signed, and went back in.

That’s when I experienced a certain level of disappointment. But I have already written about that here, and been told off by a fan, so there’s no need to go into that again.

I have listened a lot to Andy Fairweather Low since then, always enjoying his singing. I have also, slightly fruitlessly, looked online every now and then in the hopes he’d be coming to a stage near me, but somehow the time or the place never seemed right.

(In my current situation, I can heartily recommend coming to the Stirling Albert Halls. If they’re good enough for Jimmy Osmond…)

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But what about the dead marine?

Gibbs, Gibbs, you’ve lost your sense of proportion here. There is hardly ever anything more important than a dead marine. You need to find out who killed him or her, and get justice.

But no, once we knew who had done the killing this week, however un-intentional, it seemed to get lost in the general cuteness of how to achieve a happy end for all. Apart from our dead marine.

So yes, it was a sweet – if not necessarily terribly realistic – ending.

The mix of two pairs of misbehaving teenage girls was a clever one, though, and kept us guessing a while.

And this was surely another new Kayla Vance?

Abby vs Gibbs

It’s amazing how little you see, unless you know to look. After what I discovered yesterday, I’ve spent the morning on some NCIS-based research. It’s anything but complete, and I admit I don’t have access to any official facts, but when a Facebook friend posted a photo of a couple of US magazines to illustrate a point he wanted to make about something totally unrelated, my eyes were drawn to another magazine on the edge of the picture, which prompted me to do a search on the words on the cover of whatever the magazine might be: ‘Harmon drove Perrette off show.’

Magazine cover

I’m one of the last people I know who would write publicly about something based on gossip, which might very well be just that. But, for once I am tempted to believe there is some truth in what I accidentally came across.

OK, maybe Pauley Perrette didn’t decide to leave NCIS at the end of season 15 because Mark Harmon insists on bringing his pitbull Dave to work with him, or that she’s scared of the dog. What seems clear after more looking into things is that a year before her announcement, Dave took a bite out of someone on the NCIS set. All sources at the time (October 2016) claim Dave has not been back.

But there’s a reason for Pauley’s decision to leave. I’d been intending to speculate a little on this, since short of her being ill, I didn’t have her down as a quitter. She has always seemed to be someone who might well be the last one standing, in fact.

Maybe Dave is now back. Maybe not. Perhaps Pauley complained about him and met only hostility. Maybe she is angry at this. Maybe Mark Harmon is angry about Dave-related issues, or about something entirely different.

Because there has to be a reason why – just like the gossip magazine claimed – Gibbs and Abby are not filmed together in season 15.

All right, a few episodes is not proof of anything, and I can’t believe I never noticed that one is not there if the other is; that there are no more kisses for Abby when she’s done well. Other people visit her in her lab. The one time I found them talking to each other, it was over the phone.

I don’t know. But it makes the public comments from Mark about her departure sound rather hollow. If the set is still really like one big happy family, there would be no need to keep the two in separate rooms.

What’s more, it makes it harder watching older – and happier – episodes, as I found when I happened to catch the beginning of season three last night.

Not just a pretty face

It’s amazing how coming face-to-face with someone off television makes you feel as if you’re meeting an old friend. And in this instance I don’t mean in the street, but seeing them on a different television screen. Like the Christmas University Challenge.

Now, I do know a few people who’ve been on the ‘celebrity’ teams anyway. But then the other day, Daughter and I were taken aback to find Bishop’s screen ex-husband (the snake..!) Jake on one of the Cambridge teams, as himself; Jamie Bamber.

We did always like Jake on NCIS. At least until he cheated on Bishop and had to be escorted off the premises by Gibbs.

Anyway, it was nice to see him again, and even nicer to find he’s a knowledgeable and intelligent man. Somehow you suspect actors and musicians of being a bit substandard in a general educational way. Here I have to say that without Jamie his team would have done a lot worse.

In the semi-finals they were up against an Oxford team, on which we were very happy to find Frank Cottrell Boyce, and happier still to hear him describe himself as a children’s author (and not the man responsible for having the Queen fling herself out of a helicopter in the company of James Bond). Frank is a very educated and intelligent man, and more than a credit to his team.

There have also been a few musicians this year, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised by what they know.

And then you tend to be equally surprised by how little some others know. But as Jeremy Paxman says, they did not have to do this.

My feeling is that more women would make for better teams. And more authors, preferably children’s authors. I can provide a list of suggestions, should the BBC require help.