A Weekend Diary

…words and images from England's green and pleasant land…

Erhu busking, HMS Warrior, the London Jazz Festival, and Albert Road, Southsea

Gerrard Street is the main street in London’s Chinatown, bustling with tourists and visitors most weekends of the year, so this solitary erhu player, photographed on Sunday afternoon of last week in Gerrard Street, is somewhat untypical, but here he is anyway, one of the very few erhu buskers on the streets of London…

Busking with an erhu, in Gerrard Street, Chinatown, London...

Busking with an erhu, in Gerrard Street, Chinatown, London…

On Tuesday afternoon, I was down at Portsmouth Hard, supping a pint in The Lady Hamilton pub (where incidentally, I chanced upon Adam Ant in the bar around three years ago; he was staying in bed and breakfast there at the time) as I awaited a coach to London’s Victoria Coach station at half-four. Following is a photo of HMS Warrior I took that afternoon; it’s a ship that I never tire of looking at…

HMS Warrior, the world's first ironclad warship, 1860, at Portsmouth Hard

HMS Warrior, the world’s first ironclad warship, 1860, at Portsmouth Hard

The trip to London was to take me to a gig in the Purcell Room on South Bank, part of the London Jazz Festival this year, and specifically to a concert by Christine Tobin, singing The Songs of Leonard Cohen. I very rarely buy jazz records, but I’ve seen a lot of live jazz in London over the years, including a few years ago, gigs by both Christine Tobin and Huw Warren, who accompanied her on accordion (and piano) on Tuesday evening.

First up on Tuesday night in the Purcell Room though, as support act, was the Georgia Mancio Trio, who performed half a-dozen songs, including a version of David Bowie’s ‘Life on Mars’, sung with a Brazilian Portuguese lyric…and there was also a song by Simon and Garfunkel ;)…

Georgia Mancio Trio, with Gareth Lockrane on flute, and Geoff Gascoyne on bass

Georgia Mancio Trio, with Gareth Lockrane on flute, and Geoff Gascoyne on bass

Christine Tobin’s set consisted almost entirely of covers of Leonard Cohen’s songs, material for an album she’s releasing next spring called ‘A Thousand Kisses Deep’. (The only exception to Cohen songs on Tuesday was a John Martyn song from the 1970s, ‘Go Down Easy’ which she did as an encore). It was interesting though to hear Leonard Cohen’s songs interpreted in a jazz context, and the highlight of the evening for me was her take on ‘Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye’ from Cohen’s 1967 album ‘The Songs of Leonard Cohen’.

Christine Tobin, in monochrome

Christine Tobin, in monochrome

Christine Tobin, in glorious redheaded colour

Christine Tobin, in glorious redheaded colour

I got back to Portsmouth around midnight that evening (having endured the dubious pleasure of some inebriated teens or twenty-somethings, misbehaving on the homebound train, but mercifully they got out at Woking) and I took the following day off, to accompany my partner to couple of meetings she had in Portsmouth and Southsea that day. All the following photos were taken in Albert Road, Southsea on that Wednesday…

Indepedent Republic of Albert Road (Southsea)

Indepedent Republic of Albert Road (Southsea)

'Bored of Southsea' is a shop on the other side of the street....

‘Bored of Southsea’ is a shop on the other side of the street….

A row of shops on the south side of Albert Road

A row of shops on the south side of Albert Road

Above 'The Vaults' pub, on the north side of Albert Road

Above ‘The Vaults’ pub, on the north side of Albert Road

SoundZ record shop, on the south side of the street

SoundZ record shop, on the south side of the street

One of several different Albert Road banners in the street...

One of several different Albert Road banners in the street…

The western end of Albert Road...

The western end of Albert Road…

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