Wednesday 28 April 2010

Music, music, music ...

Recently, I’ve been pre-occupied with the planning of my new record (yes, the new record that I seem to have been planning/stalling for two years!) We have finally decided on the final recording schedule, the producer, musicians, the studio and the city in which we will record. I think I even have a title, which is strangely always the most difficult decision… And though I’m no Lady Gaga I must admit a lot of my thinking has drifted to what I will wear in the studio. I want to look the part! One of my favourite photos of a musician and how he is dressed is this famous image of Sviatoslav Richter… it looks like he’s been styled by Margaret Howell ! Will it be wide legged trousers for me? All this crucial thinking explains why my blog has been rather distracted. I will redeem myself this week by choosing a charming but super cheesy wake up song and a TT test subject whose jokes are famous for being cheesy but with one of the warmest voices on radio it just makes him even more appealing : ) lotsoflove tt

Tuesday 20 April 2010

Judee Sill: Jesus was a Cross Maker

My wake up song this week is a song I first heard a couple of years ago and found so original that I played it obsessively. The song ‘Jesus was a Cross Maker’ by the brilliant but troubled songwriter Judee Sill still fascinates me - it’s meaning is so elusive. Incidentally, her 1971 eponymous album, on which this song first appeared, is also lovely; I don’t fully understand the songs on that either, but what a gorgeous acoustic guitar sound! Hope you enjoy, lots of love tt.

Friday 16 April 2010

Podcast 12

Podcast 12 has been added !! If you haven't already just sign up to the mailing list to gain access to the Attic to listen to the podcast. Hope you enjoy, lot's of love, tt

Sunday 11 April 2010

Hair !

I saw the musical 'Hair ' yesterday afternoon [link]. The plot is not so complex, what is really emotive is the show's innocence and idealism. The cast were great and the balance between the voices and the band unusually good. And, of course, with the last song ' Let the Sunshine In' even I get teary-eyed ! Love, tt.

Friday 9 April 2010

Ramon Tikaram / Actor

My very lovely big brother Ramon takes this week’s TT Test. As an actor he has had a varied career playing everyone from Gaddafi in the ENO’s production of Gaddafi: The Opera, Judas in ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’, Ferdy in ‘This Life’ and even a stint in ‘EastEnders’. I really enjoyed seeing him recently in ‘The Great Game ‘, an impressive production at the Tricycle Theatre featuring twelve half hour plays about Afghanistan. And I’m also thankful he's taken the time to answer the tt test! What is your wake up song at the moment? Long gone are the days when I could wake up to a song and feel energized... long, long gone. I now confine my musical appreciation to the early evening. Basically, every couple of months, for the last eight years, my very good friend Dai Bradley (Billy Caspar from the film "Kes"), has sent me a C.D. It is always from the ECM/ Keith Jarrett/ Ralph Towner/ Jan Garbarek/ Gary Peacock range and always hits the spot. There is, however, one uber-recording that I always return to in times of stress: - Yusef Lateef's interpretation of "The Love Theme From Spartacus" ~ if God has a wake up song, this is it. Which work of art or single event has most influenced you in your 
 chosen profession? I don't believe in single events, epiphanies or sudden metamorphosis. I do believe in the cumulative effect of many experiences whether it is a terrible stage performance, a conversation with a great actor or my eldest son telling me what he thinks of an audition piece. They all add up. There are, however, a few salient moments along the way. Mr Quale giving me the role of Jonah at primary school made me realize what a good skive drama was. Brando's performance in "On The Waterfront" made me want to be an actor for real. Lothaire Bluteau's incredible performance in that play we went to see (‘Being at Home with Claude’-tt ! ) forced me to understand just how far an actor has to go to provide the truth. And finally, Peter O'Toole's attitude to work on set showed me just how simple this business really is. In fact it caused me to come up with a mantra - 'don't think, just do'. If you could travel back in time, which period would you most like to visit and why? If I could travel back in time (a concept which you know flies against every known physical reality) it would be as a student at Oxford in 1960. Open top Morris Minor, picnics in the country, be-bop, quantum cosmology, the space programme, a working National Health Service, an energetic nation looking forward to seismic cultural change, the Footlights, West Ham at the top of their game, the absence of mobile phones and personal computers, and a regulated domestic financial structure. Tell me this wasn't a great time to live. I love eating out and discovering new restaurants, can you please recommend one to me? Recently I have discovered The Compasses Inn [link] (Chicklade, Wiltshire) a 14th century thatched free house with a wonderfully rustic (authentic) interior and a beautiful garden. They serve great game and fresh country produce and they do it with flair and imagination. It has a warm, family run feeling so you're not hemmed in by pomp and ceremony. Moreover the sticky toffee pudding is ethereal. What is the best advice you ever been given relating to your 
professional/ creative life? There are a lot of tips flying around the business of acting. The ones I've found most useful are: 1) When in front of camera and talking to an off-camera actor, always focus on the eye nearest the camera. 2) When on stage and suffering from a lack of moisture in the mouth and throat bite the inside of your cheek; within seconds extra saliva will be produced. 3) Less is more. 4) Don't think, just do. BONUS QUESTION: I know you are a big fan of jazz funk PLEASE explain your enthusiasm for this music to me : ) ? I love jazz. I love funk. What wouldn't I love about jazz funk? Although a fuller answer would be... Jazz funk is just another side to jazz, you know, like traditional, swing, be-bop, Latin etc. All these sub-genres have improvisational virtuosity at their centre. You can change time signature and even substitute electric for acoustic instrumentation but essentially the sub-genres of jazz share the same qualities: melody, melody deformation and a rhythm section that can opt out of the narrative at any point. Funk, on the other hand, is based on a fat backbeat, a binary rhythm that relies heavily on the use of drums and bass and is very spare in its use of other instruments as embellishment. The adoption of funk as the preferred backdrop by certain jazz purists at the end of the 1960's and throughout the 1970's (Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis, Freddie Hubbard, Donald Byrd and Grover Washington Junior) encapsulates what is now termed jazz funk. Have a listen to these guys - you may well love jazz funk too.

Sunday 4 April 2010

Georgie Fame: Perfect

My wake-up song this week is 'Peaceful' performed by Georgie Fame. I first heard this song a few months ago and was immediately charmed by it's breeziness & warmth. I hope you enjoy it too ! I know I've been a bit quiet lately but I hope to have some exciting news to share with you soon !! Happy Easter ! Lots of love tt