Jools Holland & His Orchestra at Portsmouth Guildhall


Or rather Jools Holland and His Rhythm & Blues Orchestra to give the correct name.

On Saturday 21st December Jools and the team took Portsmouth by storm. The review by Portsmouth News writer Rachel Jones does not convey the excitement, the energy and the sheer power of the show.

“A fanfare of trumpets heralded the arrival of Jools Holland”

But that’s where any ceremony ended because an evening with Jools and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra is a laid-back affair.

I agree that group may appear laid-back but that is because they are all extremely talented musicians. They are comfortable with their instruments and they are comfortable with their fellow orchestra members. Always in control but not so rigid that they can’t have fun with the music and each other.

The fanfare paved the way for Jools to turn on the Boogie-Woogie piano playing for which he is renowned. As always the opening number set the standard for the rest of the evening, got our feet tapping and our hands clapping. And then the brass section came in full tilt and blew us all away.

This was the third time I have been to see Jools and each time the effect of the opening number reminds me of that Maxell Tape advert, the one where the guy is pressed into the back of his armchair by the sound coming from his Hi Fi.

Once started the pressure is maintained. Sure the pace slows a little from time to time but the entertainment level and the quality of the music and the musicians remains at the very highest levels. This is demonstrated throughout the show as each individual musician takes centre stage to solo on their chosen instrument. Even the backing singers step into the spotlight to take the lead. This all serves to keep the show simmering along nicely.

However, the heat really turns up when the power house that is  Ruby Turner takes to the stage. Ruby is the resident “guest star” and boy has she got a voice. She wrings every ounce of emotion out of every word and note. Ruby was definitely cooking with gas on Saturday night.

Jools likes to bring other guest stars to his shows. Saturday was no different. In the past we have been treated to performances by Lulu and Marc Almond, both superb vocalists. On this occasion it was former Spice Girl Melanie C.  who performed a mix of songs, her own and covers. As on previous occasions taking a well known singer out of their usual context shows what talent they truly have. Mel C. was no exception and showed that she was up to performing familiar songs supported by Jools and the team. Strutting from side to side of the stage she had both the audience and the orchestra in the palm of her hands.

Sadly the show came to an end, but not until Jools and the orchestra returned for an encore and finished with the entire audience on their feet.

I left Portsmouth Guildhall with my feet and hands buzzing. The ultimate sign of a great show.

Review: Jools Holland & His Orchestra at Portsmouth Guildhall – Portsmouth News.

Michael Schumacher


44 year old Michael Schumacher, multiple Formula 1 World Champion, is in a critical condition after suffering a severe head injury in a fall while skiing at a French resort yesterday.

I am hoping for a positive outcome and my thoughts are with his family at this time.

http://news.sky.com/story/1188296/schumacher-fighting-for-his-life-say-doctors

How The Wind Does Howl


Currently experiencing our third bout of heavy wind and rains in as many weeks.

The BBC show a forecast for wind speeds of around 20 mph but I am guessing, judging on the Beaufort Wind Force Scale descriptions, that it is quite a bit higher.

I am glad that I don’t have to venture outside today. Thinking of my neighbour who may well be very busy clearing fallen trees and other debris from our local roads.

Tickets Please


Exclusive: Bus is just the ticket for traffic cops | AOL Cars UK.

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Blackball Media

It seems that  all’s “fare” in the war on the UKs motorists. Earlier in the year we had HGVs being used to catch delinquent truck drivers. Now Hampshire police are using a bus to give them a height advantage to see what motorists are up to.

Wet and Windy UK


rainJust like many others, I’m sure, I’ve been listening to the wind for several hours. Apparently Lee on the Solent has been experiencing 60 mph winds and that is only a couple of miles away. Sometimes it sounds like an express train passing through a station at speed. The 80 foot high Beech Tree at the front of the house is perhaps the most vocal although the wall of smaller trees to the back are competing well. It’s as well that it is dark outside as I would probably become rather anxious if I could actually see the trees moving in the wind.

The gutters are also making quite a bit of noise.Or, rather, the water spilling out of them is. Forming an impromptu waterfall and pool by the lounge window.

Well I’m heading to bed now. Keeping my fingers crossed that the dawn is going to reveal any damage.

Good Night and Good Luck to the rest of my fellow UK residents.

Can’t Get Any Work Done – Damn You RP


First they play Loreena McKennitt’s “Kecharitomene”, Now they hit me with Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir”. Sounds that are so evocative of far away places.

Damn you Radio Paradise, I can’t get any work done while you are playing such quality tunes.