Daily Archives: Sunday, 16th Dec 2007

Robin Hood – Treasure of the Nation

This week’s fun began with a load of mercenaries being brought in by Guy. And odd bunch of extras, at least one of whom seems not to have removed all of his Orc make-up from when he was in The Lord of the Rings. Naturally, they have to be housed somewhere, so the Sheriff orders the village of Locksley to me emptied, with the people scattered to other villages or left to live rough in the forest. Naturally, the wagon with all their food just happened to be at the back, and was easily captured by Robin and his gang, who took all the goods to their previously unknown secret food store (not to be confused with their secret camp).

While Robin and the gang are unloading the food, they’re joined by Legrand, a messenger from the King. He’s got half of a message and a Latin phrase, which Djaq helpfully translates to “Treasure of the Nation”. The other half of the message is with a man called Paxton, and the King needs Robin to get it all together by midsummer’s day, which is very soon.

While Robin’s distracted with that, Alan has led Guy to the food store, and they’ve taken it all back to feed the hungry mercenaries. Marian tells Robin what’s going on, but he believes a mission for the king is more important than all that tedious “feeding the poor” stuff, leaving her to do the old Night Watchman routine.

Robin, Legrand and the gang find Paxton and his message, which when combined with the first part and subjected to a little heat reveals instructions to go to a conveniently close stone circle. From there, an arrow shot in the right direction leads them to an underground chamber which appears to have wandered in from an Indiana Jones movie. After some comedy involving Legrand (who is rather large) trying to open a stone door, Little John presses the concealed switch which makes it open. And then there’s more fun involving the sun coming in at precisely the right angle to illuminate a small bowl of water, which lights up an eye, which leads them to another map. Did I mention Indiana Jones? Anyway, while they’re looking at the map, and just manage to work out that it shows Kirklees Abbey, the Sheriff, having been led there by the traitorous Paxton, thanks them for telling him what he wants to know and removes the prop from the door, sealing the gang into the chamber.

Back at Locksley, the Night Watchman manages to get caught by Guy. They fight, and just for once, Guy manages to win and rips off the mask. He’s a wee bit upset when he sees that his foe is in fact the woman he loves, and he wanders off for a bit. When he returns he tells her that he’s not happy and that she now means nothing to him, and off they go to the castle.

Back in the cavern, after Legrand fails, Little John manages to open the door and everyone escapes. But John needs a little help from Legrand to get clear of the door, from which point they become friends, after trying to put each other down previously. By this time, they’ve worked out that the Sheriff is going to the wrong church, and head for the right one. Of course, also by this time, the Sheriff has got to the Abbey and realised that he needs to be somewhere else…

The gang find the church, and the Treasure of the Nation, which turns out to be King Richard’s mother, Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine. The gang’s mission is to get her out of the country and the clutches of her son John. The usual chasing and fighting stuff follows, lightened by Eleanor flirting outrageously with Little John (or Big Ben as she prefers to call him). Legrand is killed by the Sheriff, but everyone else gets away, and the Queen gets away.

Back at the castle, Guy makes it clear that Marian will be executed as soon as the Sheriff gets back. And when the Sheriff, who is in a bad mood already, what with losing Eleanor and all that, does come back, he’s looking forward to seeing the Night Watchman hang. Of course, he doesn’t know that the Night Watchman is Marian, so he’s the only one who’s really surprised to see that the Night Watchman has escaped. As Marian is standing in front of him at the time, it’s obviously not her, but someone in the mask and cloak outfit is at the top of the castle shooting arrows. A half-hearted chase follows, but naturally the Night Watchman escapes to fight another day, as does Marian. It turns out that the fake watchman was Alan, and that Guy set the whole thing up to save Marian again.

Guy tells Marian that she really must stop the whole Night Watchman thing now, and she seems much happier to see the better side of Guy coming to the fore again.

All very silly, especially the Indiana Jones bits, but good fun and I’m actually looking forward to where they’re going to take the series next. Well, I know they’re all going to head off to see King Richard who’s a bit busy with his Crusade, but I mean more specifically than that. Good fun.

Weight Report – 16 December 2007

Hmmmm. OK, this is probably a temporary wossname, possibly caused by me not actually eating that much yesterday, but today’s weight is nicely down on yesterday’s and is a new low for this period of weight loss. Yay, etc! :bouncy:

Icicle Works – Carling Academy Newcastle 15 December 2007

I’ve been known to talk about the great Ian McNabb before, as regular readers and anyone who gets close enough to listen to me will know. I’ve been a fan since, oooh, well it must have been the first time I heard Love is a Wonderful Colour which must have been in 1983 or thereabouts, and I followed the Icicle Works[1] and Ian’s subsequent solo albums. He’s one of the few artists whose CDs I buy unheard as a matter of general principle. And that includes the one or two that could only be bought by sending a cheque to the man himself. Anyway, I’ve been buying his music for many years, and I keep coming back and listening to those songs again and again.

Icicle Works

Icicle Works

But what with one thing and another, I’d never actually seen him live. Partly because he doesn’t come here very often, but mostly because I’m really good at not getting round to things[2]. But back in August, I was alerted to the fact that the reformed Icicle Works were playing at the Newcastle Carling Academy. The friend[3] who alerted me offered to come along, so I bought a couple of tickets.

And so last night, we went to the Academy. Given my usual level of not getting round to things, this was the first time I’d been there. Well, that’s not quite true. Some time around 1982 or 1983 I did apply for a job there when it was the Gala Bingo Hall. I didn’t get the job, but never mind. The show was in the small Academy2 room at the top of the building – a bar, some tables with stools around the sides and a standing area. And a really small stage remarkably close to the audience. A moderate crowd turned up – the place was far from packed, but there were plenty of people to make enough noise to make Ian feel welcome. There was no support act for this show – I believe Amsterdam were along for part of the tour, but for some reason they didn’t come to Newcastle.

Anyway, Ian and the band (consisting of a drummer, a crazy keyboard player and Roy Corkhill[4] on bass) came on. Ian started with a song by a lesser Liverpool band – You’ve got to hide your love away, and then blasted through a set dominated by classic Icicle Works songs. Too may to mention in full, but highlights for me were When it all comes down, What she did to my mind and Evangeline, which included a lot of audience participartion. :grin:

Also in the set were a couple of McNabb solo numbers – the gloriously autobiographical Fire inside my soul, which Aaron admitted to having heard before and the more recent and quite lovely Before all of this.

Throughout the show, Ian seemed to be having a good time and, not to put too fine a point on it, rocked. There was some moderate chat about being pleased to be in Newcastle after a long time, and using the rather more northerly location of Newcastle than Liverpool as a hook to introduce Up here in the north of England. He also mentioned that he wasn’t all that happy with the Carling venues the band had been touring, and that he wouldn’t be playing them again.

After all of that, there was time for a crowd-pleasing, sing-along encore featuring the frankly quite wonderful Hollow horse, the excellent Birds fly (whisper to a scream), and finally the song that got me into this in the first place, Love is a wonderful colour.

A great show by a great artist, with most of the audience clearly being long-time, appreciative fans. After the show, Ian came out to sign things, shake hands and hug anyone who’d hung around, which made the perfect end to a great night. I bought a DVD which features live footage and promo videos, and which is nicely signed by the man himself. I’ll be watching that later.

[1] A glorious band whose commercial success never matched up to the quality of the songs, the singer and the music, but such is often the case
[2] As regular readers will know :laugh:
[3] Hi Aaron :wave:
[4] Roy was in the “final” version of the Icicle Works for the last album