Personally speaking...

Since I last wrote in June I had my first real break in Brussels to see my nephew for a couple of days. The weather was perfect and their ‘Grand Place’ has the most stunning architecture dating back to the 13th century. From there I flew to Brazil for 10 days off exploring lovely places like Paraty and Petropolis, both utterly charming. I spent a bit more time in Rio on this trip and found the Cariocas as kind as ever and the city itself safe and friendly. My Portuguese though, is still rubbish. Last Sunday happened to be Brazilian Day in London which we celebrated at Burgess Park, the site of Europe’s largest Latin American music festival. We’ve been busy working with our all female violin act String Idols on their new brand show. Together with my partner Mark we have been choreographing, sourcing costumes and jewellery, photographing, scripting and everything needed to produce the show. It’s been hard work but a lot of fun.

Watching John Wilson’s BBC Prom at the Royal Albert Hall was thrilling - the highlight for me was Seth MacFarlaine of Family Guy fame singing and dancing his way around the MGM Classics. Joyous. I had lunch with David Jacobs on Friday and talk of the Prom prompted a good laugh reminiscing about our own version of Well Did You Ever from the Legend of Sinatra tour a few years ago. David was on great form, as usual. I still think his Sunday night show is the best thing on the radio.

It was very sad indeed to hear that Radio 2’s Malcolm Laycock has broadcast the last of his big band programmes. Malcolm is a wonderful broadcaster and great supporter of the music we all love so much. I do hope he will return to the airwaves very soon.

Some of the shows we’ve caught in the last few weeks include Alison Jiear at Pizza on the Park (my first time and she was so, so good. Refreshing to see someone with such personally and voice captivate a packed room like that), Pricilla Queen of the Desert (brilliant fun - a rare occasion when a West End musical is worth the top price ticket charge), War Horse (theatre at it’s best - forgive the cliche, but the puppets really have to be seen to be believed - breathtaking), and the musical theatre satire Forbidden Broadway (hilarious). On Monday we see Marvin Hamlisch and Maria Freedman in the intimacy of Pizza Express on Dean Street.

I’ve got a few private parties to sing at and a a short trip to Portugal before starting a 6 week run on the cruises. Feel free to comment on any of these stories on the website. Just click on the section title to go right there.