Sunday, 15 May 2016

Life On Mars?

Last week I found myself London-bound courtesy Virgin's rather fabulous (to me, anyway) express service.  It seemed like only a few days earlier that I'd visited the capitol to attend Torture Garden, but this was going to be a very different trip.

A friend had been given two theatre tickets for her birthday, and as poor hubby was called in to work and couldn't go, I took the lovely offer of accompanying her - a two-day break in London is never easy to turn down at the best of times.  Plus, there was the added lure of those theatre tickets...

We arrived in the city and made our way to the hotel near Euston.  After dropping our bags we still had time for a shopping stroll down Oxford Street.  It must be one of the busiest streets in the world, though, and it's hard to keep sane when you are jostled constantly.  Nevertheless, some lovely browsing in the Selfridges lingerie department was a fabulous way to unwind, even if some of the lingerie on sale was as expensive as a long weekend in Berlin.

After Selfridges and the throng of Oxford Street we headed down Bond Street and through Mayfair, taking in the unique atmosphere of the city.  Once we found our way back to Regent Street there was the small matter of a detour.  Turning left down a small road off Regent Street, we walked along the short cul-de-sac of Heddon Street. We weren't expecting to find any special markings and had assumed we would have to do our own detective work, but to our delight a plaque stood proudly on the wall proclaiming this unassuming spot to have a unique place in rock history.

There among the scaffolding, lay this...

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Heddon Street, London
Yes, we found our way to the location for the iconic photo of David Bowie for the cover of his seminal album, The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars.  The short, smart, dead-end street, now with it's restaurants and offices, looks little like the shabby and downbeat scene on the album (pedestrian-only, now, too, so no cars), but that certain magic still pervades.

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - David Bowie, Heddon Street, London
David Bowie was a thread running through my life, his music playing in every soundtrack of every important time in my formative years, but more importantly always seemed to say 'it's OK to be different, you don't have to be one of the herd', and the ultimate space alien-rock star alter-ego Ziggy Stardust carried those statements like a banner, calling to arms all the disaffected and the disenfranchised.

Oh no love! you're not alone
No matter what or who you've been
No matter when or where you've seen
All the knives seem to lacerate your brain
I've had my share, I'll help you with the pain
You're not alone

Just turn on with me and you're not alone
Rock 'n' Roll Suicide, David Bowie

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - me, Heddon Street, London
 We stayed for a few photos, and by the time we left groups of people were waiting patiently to stand in the legendary spot, including a large burly builder who said as we passed, "Hope these lot aren't going to be too long, I've walked across town in my lunch hour to get a photo!"

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - me, Heddon Street, London
 We found our way back to our hotel, and had a relaxing late afternoon before getting ready for the theatre.  We set off in good time, arriving at the Dominion Theatre to see Jeff Wayne's stage version of The War Of The Worlds.  Yes, another album from my youth, and I was intrigued to see how it would work as a stage production.

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - War Of the Worlds, Dominion Theatre
Inside, the Dominion Theatre was absolutely stunning.  The lovely, deep red opulent seats were fabulously comfortable, and our positions in the circle seats offered great views of the stage and stunning building.

The stage itself was a steam-punk's dream, all glowering menacing red with assorted cogs and mechanical symbols decorating the stage.

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - War Of the Worlds, Dominion Theatre

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - War Of the Worlds, Dominion Theatre
Soon the lights dimmed, and the deep voice of Liam Neeson rumbled across the theatre... "No one would have believed, in the last years of the nineteenth century that human affairs were being watched from the timeless worlds of space. No one could have dreamed that we were being scrutinized, as someone with a microscope studies creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. Few men even considered the possibility of life on other planets and yet, across the gulf of space, minds immeasurably superior to ours regarded this Earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely, they drew their plans against us."  A blaze of light from the stage, and a colossal fanfare from the assorted musicians... "Da-da-daaa...!"

That initial rendition of 'The Eve Of War' was mesmerising, kick-starting the rollercoaster of the show.  With a cast featuring Jimmy Nail, Michael Praed, David Essex and a hologram Liam Neeson, the show has some top theatre performers, and Heidi Range (former Sugarbabes - not my kind of music) and Daniel Beddingfield showed they could actually sing brilliantly, too.  I thought it was a thrilling show.  As with the album, I prefer the first half of the production, but I still remained engrossed all the way through.

Did I get a photo of the actual on-stage action?  No, I was too busy enjoying it.  I was also pleased not to see the depressing blue lights from mobile phones in the audience, too, something that is becoming endemic of our times - one of the reasons I have given up attending the cinema.

It was a fabulous night, though, and we had good memories to share on our journey back to the North West the following day.

Forward then, to this weekend, and another trip - once again heading back in time to the Victorian era that is Liversedge in West Yorkshire (only kidding, Liversedgians, calm down!) to visit one of my favourite fetish shops, Cathouse Clothing.  Earlier in the year I had asked them to make a special outfit ready for my visit to Essen, but unfortunately the material, which comes all the way from Russia, was delayed.  It meant that I only got the call last week that it was ready for collection.  As always with these special one-off creations, I was over-joyed.  It also meant that on Saturday evening I was heading over the the Northern Quarter in Manchester to have a couple of snaps taken of my new outfit.

Of course, the Northern Quarter was bustling and busy, with it's numerous bars and restaurants drawing visitors to the area.  That meant it wasn't the best time or place to try and get some photos in a rather eye-catching outfit, but I thought "Fuck it, do it anyway!" 

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Cathouse Clothing latex outfit, and Bowie again
 It wasn't long - about 30 seconds after stepping from the car, in fact - that groups of guys began asking for photos, most of whom it seemed had never seen a latex outfit before.  I got a few photos of my own, thankfully, including one for this week's Picture Of The Week, and soon decided it was time to leave before more people arrived.  Which brings us back nicely to the start of the post with Mr Bowie and Life On Mars... It's the freakiest show, indeed.

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