Category Archives: music

A Gig

We’ve had a couple of impromptu nights out this week.

On Thursday, on a whim, we went to a music gig. Local music shop Music’s Not Dead promoted their first show at the old Bexhill West Station. Part of the station is now an antique shop and café, Eras of Style.

The gig itself was played outdoors on the platform beneath the fantastic iron and glass canopy. The headline act was Jane Bartholomew with support from Dollboy.

The sunset supplied the light show and the seagulls came up with aerial choreography and backing vocals. The idiosyncratic setting was packed with people enjoying themselves.

It’s a great initiative. There’s a second gig on 19th July. Tickets from Music’s Not Dead, Eras of Style cafe and the c-side cafe.

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>Bank Holiday stuff

>Friday night and it was off to the Prom #56 at The Albert Hall. The ascent to picture rail level seemed to help the deafness that has blighted me this week and with 20 minutes to go I got some hearing back – Yay! I still struggled to remain focussed though – I find music difficult. There’s a quote attributed to Sir Thomas Beecham along the lines of “The English don’t understand music. They just like the noise it makes”. I relate to this.

The fourth movement of the Bruckner was worth the wait though.

Sunday was the Westerley CC 25m TT at Marlow (H25/2). I had high hopes for this, having gone under a couple of weeks ago on the same course. In between times I had put in a heavy (by my standards) training block and had followed this with an easy week. However, the legs and the head weren’t there and I rode poorly – not really trying, which is not the right attitude. I ended up with a 1:03:52, finishing towards the end of the field.

Race stats: Time: 1:03:52 (23.49mph). First 12.5 miles: 32:35, last 12.5 miles: 31:15. Top speed: 37.2mph. Slowest mile (9): 3:12 (18.75mph), fastest mile (1): 1:52 (32.14mph). Average HR: 156bpm, maximum HR: 166bpm. Average cadence: 74rpm. 45th of 64 finishers. Winner: Adam Topham (High Wycombe CC) 51:57


In the afternoon we went to see The Illusionist directed by Sylvain Chomet – very enjoyable.

This morning I rode the second Westerley CC event of the Bank Holiday: a 10m TT on the H10/22 from Marlow. What a cold day! Most of the climbing on this course is on the way to the turn, so the return should be fast. This morning, however, there was a headwind back and I managed to come home slower! A better, more aggressive ride though.

Race stats: Time: 24:46 (24.23mph). First 5 miles: 12:07, second 5 miles: 12:37. Top speed: 33.5mph. Slowest mile (3): 2:57 (20.34mph), fastest mile (5): 2:05 (28.80mph). Average HR: 162bpm, maximum HR: 165bpm. 18th of 36 finishers. Ave. cadence: 76rpm. Winner: Peter Weir (Maidenhead and Dist CC) 21:22

>Imperial Winter Series, race 1. And a concert.

>The Hillingdon Winter Series has begun again. My aim was to stick with the 4th categories as long as possible. I was not positive about this in the days leading up to the race.

Since October my training has been desultory at best. Looking back I think that I got a bit down about it all. Some people don’t train well if they’re not racing.

On Friday I put away the Winter bike and did a few test laps on the Allez. The result of this test were what left me doubtful about Saturday.

Race day was cold, with a headwind up the Telegraph straight. The field sizes were surprisingly big – eighty lined up for the fourths. The first mistake then was lining up at the back of the field. I was never going to see the front of the race.

I surprised myself by keeping with the group and keeping my heart rate under control. The only worries were the moving time bombs (riders who twitch to one side or the other, or who hit the anchors without warning). After a while you could see where the problems lay, but I seemed to be drawn to dodgy back wheels like a magnet.

There were a few crashes. I got gapped when a collision on the right led to the bunch sweeping left and almost putting me on the grass. The heart rate hit 168 (95%) as I chased to get back on. Five laps later and there was a crash right in front of me approaching the finish. The almost dead stop meant a hard acceleration and chase, but this time the gap grew. My heart rate hit 173 as I chased for a mile, but they got away. A group of six of us then got together and raced the last three laps to the finish. I came a fighting sixth in the group sprint for 55th out of 58 finishers. The winner was Harry Littlechild of the Dynamo.

Stats: 19 miles in 48:30 – average 23.5mph – max 30.1mph – AHR 152bpm – MHR 173bpm.

So, off the back again. But I felt good. Next time I need to be working higher up the bunch – in front of some of the crashes. My recovery from intense efforts is poor, so more short intervals on the turbo or on the circuit.

A fine day was topped off with a concert at the QEH. P had heard Julie Fowlis singing one song on a CD and, on the strength of that, signed us up to go and see John McCusker‘s Under One Sky project. It was a great night out. I especially enjoyed John Tams, but the whole ensemble was excellent. It was not the sort of thing we would normally do, and all the better for that.

Photographs from the excellent London Cyclesport galleries.

>Stuff Happens

>Kind of Dark has been in rehearsal the last couple of days. Suzanne Bell is directing Mark Arends and Raquel Cassidy. Amazingly, it goes live on Sunday at 5pm and 8pm. The other writers in the show are Glyn Cannon, Stephen Sharkey, Nancy Harris and Frederic Blanchette translated by Christopher Campbell. There’s a full running order at www.miniaturists.co.uk. Book tickets (£9 / £7 concessions) at arcolatheatre.com or on 0207 503 1646.

I’ve been working on a schools project in Tottenham for a couple of months and selected plays are being presented at a show at The Arts Theatre in about ten days time. It’s been a great project. The pupils have written a wide range of really theatrical pieces. I’m looking forward to the show to see what the other schools have created as well.

My Birkbeck students have also delivered their plays. Two good, strong groups. A couple of weeks of tutorials and then I’m done for the term.

The radio play is in The Radio Times, but they’ve spelt my name wrong – ‘Goodman’ rather than ‘Woodman’. It’s right in the online version. I’ve been sent a copy of the final edit and I think it’s really wonderful – the disparate strands edit together beatifully and Soweto’s music really works. Wednesday, 2:15pm.

>A Dream

>I had a dream … I’ve been piling on the weight since the move to London and it’s been worrying me. Anyway – this dream. I dreamt I woke up and looked in the mirror and I was wearing this really heavy hat – a two stone hat! I hadn’t realised that I’d been wearing this hat for so long. I took it off and I didn’t have a weight problem any more. I thought ‘I should write a diet book’. Then I woke up for real, went to the mirror and …

Last Monday I hauled my fat arse up to Birmingham to talk about the radio play. The meeting was in a converted letter box overlooking the beautiful River Birm. I met Soweto Kinch who is going to be composing special music for the play – cool!

Since then I’ve been engaged in displacement activity. And trying on different hats.