Neil Finn – What a show!

Just back from  seeing Neil perform at the Colston Hall in Bristol (and an overnight stay at the Novotel in the city centre).

Such a fabulous show. People love Neil as well as loving his music, so there is always a great, friendly atmosphere at his concerts. He is such a generous performer, who loves interacting with the audience, and overall it feels as though you are getting together with your mates for the best party ever. It’s probably all the better if you know his work in Split Enz, Crowded House and other collaborations, so you can join in with the sing-along bits, but the man is so brilliant that it would take a very miserable concert-goer not to have a whale of a time.  Fantastic to end the show with a sing along (that’s where knowing the greatest hits helps), so we can all say “I’ve sung with Neil Finn!”.  Catch the tour if you can. That’s all I can say.

While I’ve lived in the area for a while, I have to admit that this was my first visit to the Colston Hall, and I really enjoyed it. It’s easy to get to, has a good selection of bars, and plenty of space in the stylish atrium. There was a free performance for a local musician in the atrium before the main performance too, so the whole experience felt like great value.  Nice to to meet my brother and sister-in-law who had bought tickets independently from us and ended up in the same row, just a handful of seats apart.

I must just mention the Shakespeare Tavern in Prince Street too. We’ve been there a few times now when we’ve been in town and it’s a lovely pub. Good food, great beer and a good central location. Check it out next time you are in town. Handy for Queen’s Square, the Old City and Harbourside, so it fitted in well during our afternoon stroll around, doing a bit of shopping and a bit of sight-seeing. We always come across buildings we’ve never seen before and examples of fantastic architecture. Just fabulous.

We chose to go by bus, to be as green as we could, but I can see why people use cars. The journey there from Clevedon was quite quick on Saturday on the X6, but coming home this morning we had to use the X8, and it is such a long way round, looping through Nailsea about three times before nipping into Clevedon. A hour plus to go ten miles!  Here’s to the time we have a quick bus seven days a week.

I feel that you deserve a picture, but I don’t have one at hand of Bristol, so here’s a view of Hill Road in Clevedon instead! Oh – and thanks to my lovely daughter, Louise, who gave me the tickets for my birthday.

Hill Road

Why don’t we ever plan our own funeral?

twilight australina trees

I don’t want to bring you down, or be macabre or anything.  I only ask because when my father died recently, we realised that no-one in the family really knew what sort of a funeral he wanted. We were pretty sure he wanted a Christian service, but that was it. When my brother in law died a few years ago, it was even harder to say as we were pretty sure he didn’t want a religious ceremony, but had no idea what he did want.

Now, the obvious answers to the question I posed at the top are:

  • I don’t want to think about it
  • I don’t care – you can do what you like when I’m gone

but I think these are both the wrong way to be thinking.

If you have cared about how you have lived your life, I think you should care about how the ending of your life is marked. What are your religious or philosophical beliefs? I know I want my funeral to be as green as possible, for example, and that I don’t want people being sad for me, or spending a fortune.

If you love the people you are leaving behind you should care too. Help them out by telling them what you’d like, what sort of music or readings you want, what sort of a celebration. They’ll be missing you already, and upset, with a load of arrangements to make, so you can take some of those difficult decisions off their hands.

I’m definitely living life to the full and I am not intending to be leaving this life any time soon. Health and happiness is what I’m pursuing. However, I am going make sure my nearest and dearest know what I’d like, and I’ll suggest the music too. I quite fancy Morecambe and Wise “Bring me sunshine” as everyone leaves the service, but maybe that needs a little more thinking through …

By the way, dad’s funeral was great.  Lovely personal words from two of my brothers, nice classical music, a couple of hymns and a lovely atmosphere. Great to see family I haven’t see for years too.

Catch it if you can – pop-up theatre in Clevedon

Clevedon from Poet's walk

What a nice morning: we popped into Clevedon, and joined the queue to see the Theatre Orchard production of The Devil and the Shopkeeper in a disused shop on Queen’s Square.

I had heard about the production through Twitter – having been sceptical, I am becoming convinced of the value of following local organisations to find out what’s on – and as I’m always keen to see local live performances I was determined to see one of the shows.  Everything was great, from the cheery, chatty queue waiting to get in, the equally cheery and chatty theatre people handing out flyers, the novelty of the setting, the skill and humour in the writing, music and performing. I won’t give away the plot – just go and see it yourself if you can! The mixed age audience all seemed to love it, and the applause was long and warm and donations were willingly given at the end.

If you are local and catch this blog today (Saturday 22 March) there’s still time for you to catch the 3.00 pm performance, otherwise they are back next Saturday 29 March at 11 am and 1 and 3 pm.  The show lasts less than half an hour, but packs a lot of entertainment into that.  Which leaves time to shop, have a coffee, or stroll along the sea front.

Well done to all involved – including the sponsors – for bringing such accessible and worthwhile theatre into the community.  I’ll defintely be keeping in touch with The Theatre Orchard to make sure I catch future productions in the area, and I’d recommend that you do too.