Mr Tony Christie

Posted: December 13, 2011 in Uncategorized

TONY Christie showed a Villa Marina audience the way to Amarillo on Friday 18th November on a tour celebrating 50 accomplished years in music.

Our Tony Christie barnburner started, appropriately enough, with a young Manx talent. There’s nothing more absorbing than an enchanting local warm-up act.

Joey Wylde began with his own songs, bringing them to life on his guitar with a brew of tuneful energy and his strapping stage presence.

Maintaining an unwinding ease to his performance, Joey played a set that was soothing, intelligently built and eclectic. He set the ambiance by singing songs from his own back catalogue and audience thrillers like ‘Fame’ and ‘Brown Eyed Girl’.

I thought that the 15-minute interval before Tony Christie arrived on stage was worryingly deflating. Many audience members appeared to lose zest after enjoying a steadily livening preparation. I was proven wrong as soon as the clean-cut, flawlessly voiced, electric entertainer took to the stage.

There was a loud applause, followed by a gush of excitement and whooping as Tony joined his band of the saxophone, trumpet, acoustic, electric and bass guitar players, drummer, his piano and keyboard magician and vocalists.

Dancing around the stage like a well-oiled modern dancer, Tony’s ‘Made in Sheffield’ Elvis inspired hip movements were granted the thumbs up my accompanying Grandmother.

His showmanship was perfection itself, feel-good entertainment that encouraged a preconceived audience involvement. Tony is a hands-on professional entertainer, well versed in all music styles and eras.

His new musical direction was exciting and skillful. Working with tracks from his latest album ‘Now’s the Time’, Tony wowed the Manx audience with brilliant new editions of old Motown, Country and Blues tracks from the greats like Smokey Robinson and Jerry Jeff Walker.

The experience that Tony brings to the stage is invaluable, the new influences he now works with would surprise and stun many a young audience into submission.

After a delightful set, Tony saved the most popular for last with ‘Is This the Way to Amarillo’. After less than a millisecond, a stampede of walk-to-the-dance-floor dancers joined him by the stage for a little arm-waving, side-to-side swaying and say-cheese smiles.

Meeting him with my star-struck Grandmother afterwards, he presented me with a final quote before his red-eye flight to Birmingham the following morning, he said; “I thoroughly enjoyed tonight! It was great to be back on the Isle of Man, it’s been 6 years! It won’t be that long again.”

The show was followed by music from DJs Chris Williams and Dave Cretney until 2am.

For me, the night was unexpectedly enjoyable, I hope to see him on the Island again soon.


The Gondoliers

Posted: October 26, 2011 in Uncategorized


The story has beguiled audiences for over a century.  The Venetian gondoliers who became the revolutionary, republican Kings of Barataria.

The Gondoliers is the twelfth collaboration between Gilbert and Sullivan, following the successes of The Yeomen of the Guard in 1888.

The operetta embarks upon a characteristically comic use of a disjunction between appearances and reality.

Its design is of humble gondoliers becoming absolute monarchs, appearing to ridicule the concept of monarchy.  To all intents and purposes, it is frequently seen as one of Gilbert’s comical chronicle librettos, written about the time and its ‘indispensible’ class distinctions.

Over time, The Gondoliers has been played by a horde of the most proficient, accomplished and celebrated of international artists.

The Manx Gilbert & Sullivan Society’s Val Cowley skillfully directed a stylish 1920s themed adaption.  Timothy Markham and dexterous virtuoso Niall Howell Evans were well cast as the waggish Marco and Giuseppe Palmieri.

Though the rest of the cast was both capable and engaging, the presiding repartee in this adaption of the vintage operatic comedy was the tongue-in-cheek performance by both the Duke and Duchess of Plaza Toro (thespians Geoff Collier and Denise Groenewald).

Andrew Williamson’s Don Alhambra and Sarah Elder’s Casilda were witty, tenacious and fervor filled, adding gusto to the play with each respective stage appearance.

Though the performance was extraordinary in part, it seemed a little uncomfortable in its time zone. It was an unusual though popular choice to make, but I felt that the point of it could have been better conveyed.

For me, the pinnacle of the night came from a man sitting directly to my right.  When the orchestra began, he nodded his head to every stroke of the bass. As the staging progressed, he knew every word, note in each tune and piece of dialogue.

I was impatient to speak with him at the interval, he told me that he had attended many adaptions of the operetta in his lifetime. He was both moved and delighted by The Manx Gilbert & Sullivan Society and reworking of the production.

Manx resident, Mr Charles Whener said: “I have seen several performances of The Gondoliers. Geoff is a sensational performer with a real stage presence.“

It is another job well done for the Manx Gilbert & Sullivan Society. I wish them well with their upcoming production of The Mikado, to be staged in 2012.

Artist Faye Halsall: A Review

Posted: September 21, 2011 in Uncategorized


She calls it CasaBlanca.  It has a kaleidoscopic, rich, spirited and vivacious quality reading full of vim and vigor that wildly records a dreamy and abstract reality.

Faye Halsall is a dynamic Manx Artist, born and bred in Douglas.  Faye’s talent lies safely in watercolours, but her work with oil pastels has created pieces of art beyond the barriers of colour vibrancy and vivacity.

Her striking images on canvas are fiery and effervescent.  The beautiful, bold imperfect perfections in her artistic style host a captivating and lively energy.  That demanding exuberance would stop the most traditional art lover in his accustomed tracks.

Faye’s playful and spirited pieces are true visually buoyant conceptualisations of her zestful and passionate personality.

This artist seems to have a love of visually rewriting the laws of physics and biology in her visualisations of people, flowers and cityscapes.  Changing Mother Nature’s pallet on a whim to support still frame snippets of her harlequin mind.

In her recently sold ‘Flutterbys’, Faye shows her skills at their most brilliant and bold.  ‘Flutterbys’ depicts vividly arresting colours, patterns and fiery shapes in greens, gold, reds, blues, creams and pinks, swirling, launching and flowering across the canvas with purposeful collusion.

‘Flutterbys’ looks like a metaphysical dream, with what seems to be the shape of a human in awe or shock at a surrounding pandemonium of colour.

Faye’s ‘Fuchsia’ offers something different, a remarkable flower and bud, showering the page with a fiercely hot red against tranquil greens and blues.  Uncharacteristically, Faye’s hyperbolical understanding of this natural juxtaposition harmonises to create a bewitching and beguiling piece of art.

Faye is currently a member of the Isle of Man Arts Society and a contributor to joint & group exhibitions both on and off Island.  Her unique artistic style is a treasure to behold, I look forward to seeing her solo show toward the end of the year.

Here, on the Isle of Man, we have artists waiting to be heard, ideas waiting for a chance to detonate, we have talented, experienced amateur and professional avant-garde artists with the gusto and creative genius to produce inspirational work.

Check out Faye Halsall’s full collection at:

The Summer Mixtape

Posted: August 5, 2011 in Uncategorized

Come On in My Kitchen – Robert Johnson
I’m So Free – Lou Reed
Sovay – Andrew Bird
Screwing Yer Courage – Team Dresch
The Magic Number – De La Soul
Sublime – Santeria
Mincer Ray – Guided By Voices
Cinderella’s Big Story – Sonic Youth
Let’s Run – Le Tigre
The Moneyground – The Kinks
Without Caffeine – Candy Hearts
Lilac Wine – Jeff Buckley
Get Away – Yuck
Superstar – Sonic Youth
A Well Respected Man – The Kinks
I’m Sticking With You – The Velvet Underground
All the Things You Are – Ella Fitzgerald
Sailors – Morton Valence
Smooth Criminal – Michael Jackson
Dearest – Buddy Holly
Dream a Little Dream of Me – Louis Armstrong
Chandelier – Morton Valence

The ‘Unkept’ poster

Posted: August 5, 2011 in Uncategorized

Unkept: A secret film by Emily Cook and Reel Vision Film Solutions

Emily’s Unkept

Posted: August 5, 2011 in Uncategorized

A man, well dressed, sporting a casual charm and graceful masculinity reveals a secret fear of the chicken. How peculiar.

Unkept is an Isle of Man film, made by the Island’s own Emily Cook, Director of Reel Vision Film Solutions.

From visualisation, to the big screen, Unkept took 5 months to produce. Emily had to manage 44+ unpaid actors, each with 5 minutes of camera time.

The annals of filmmaking are crowded with stories about people who manage to make films against all odds, labouring onerously to produce motion pictures without money, shooting permits or the proper professional equipment.

Emily both produced and directed this film with £200, her public relation’s skill set, MHK Quintin Gill’s office, her own equipment and help from fellow film associates.

After hearing the theme of this film, I wanted to cringe, as per any natural reaction to hearing the private thoughts of an anonymous individual. However, appropriately enough, words fail. Here I am, face-to-face with a film that really does deserve a remarkable amount of credit.

I will advise not reading any reviews, but, if you’re curious about the film, you can certainly read beyond this point. I will try my best not to spoil it.

Unkept is essentially about people, a catalogue of faces, telling a secret owned by another. A surreal film, no doubt the rationale behind commissioning the famed Island artist Juan Moore to create a piece for the DVD cover.

Unkept is an oddly comic journey though human process. Though melancholy in places, it is expressive of compassion and reality. There is something fresh about it, the director can be seen as a gatekeeper, venting and channeling her inquisitiveness for the human condition, psychology and faith through the filming of everyday people with a magical twist.

You have to watch and study the faces, the actors don’t overdo it, we are given just enough, the right expressions from actors with an ability to convey emotion through movement as well as their short script.

The habitual human cognition of keeping secrets is exposed as a failure in Unkept, many of the guilty admissions are quite ordinary, thereby, undermining the very nature of the ‘secret’ itself. This film gifts its audience with a comfort, in knowing that we share the weakest of human flaws, insecurity.

Whilst watching Unkept, I could feel from the top of my head, through the stomach and down to my toes that common human comprehension and recollection, we have all been afraid of being judged on personal ideology and opinion.

The style of this project is unique, though its setting is admittedly flawed. There seems to be nothing more than a white background accompanying the actors. This we can forgive, as there is a kind of homeliness to the flow of the film and the actors really are delightful.

Everyone’s experience of a film like this differs, I watched the film with with Ludovico Einaudi’s ‘I Giorni’ playing in my head. I felt that a soundtrack playing quietly in the background may have enhanced the experience for me, but many may have found a distraction in it.

Here, in the Isle of Man, we have artists waiting to be heard, ideas waiting for a chance to detonate, we have talented, experienced amateur and professional innovative film makers with the gusto and initiative to produce excellent work.

Emily Cook is one such a film maker, by day she is heads-up an Isle of Man film production company, alongside that, she plays a notable role in the MannInShorts Film Making Scheme, funded by the Isle of Man Film Commission.

By Night, Emily Cook is sat with her editing suite, working on another of her avant-garde conceptualisations, she is, like many other Island film architects, passion personified.

Unkept was fairly successful, drawing a sizable crowd when exhibited at Port Erin Arts Centre.  If you wish to open your mind to something new, or merely satisfy your curiosity, buy the DVD from Reel Vision at;

BBC: Teen Drinking Post-Edit