Yes, Hastings Battleaxe has had a busy couple of days, mostly doing cultural things. On Friday night we went down to the Stables Theatre to see ‘Bookoo Phish’, a two-hander about scamming. Our friend Jill’s son was playing one of the two roles. Excellent. On Saturday I helped out with a Craft Fair for the Friends Of Conquest Hospital at Brede Village Hall, then went on to an 80th Birthday party, then in the evening we went to The Hastings Piano Competition’s Prize Winners Concert at the White Rock Theatre. Fabulous.
First, the play at the Stables. Jill’s son James Crouch is a professionally trained (he graduated from drama school in 2020) and highly skilled actor, as is his fellow cast member, Rachel McCarron. Philosopher commented that we are so used to seeing Stables plays performed by amateurs, it is a nice change to see professionals who know their stuff. Don’t get me wrong, many of the Stables productions are excellent, but they do sometimes lack a certain edge…
The actual play, by Michael Punter, is very short, and is about an on-line scammer who finds himself stuck with an ‘old lady’ who does everything possible to delay/put the scammer off his track. Turns out of course, that the lady is not what she seems – she is a ‘scam-baiter’ with a touch of witchiness about her. JIll had her whole family there, and is clearly very proud of James – and rightly so. Battleaxe found the play particularly amusing because occasionally I try to do a bit of the same thing with scammers – particularly those who want you to turn your computer on and give them access to it. I pretend to take absolutely ages going upstairs, then forget how to turn it on etc etc… I shall get more inventive from now on.
We met our neighbours Linda and Kelvin there, which was good.
Here are a couple of pictures, including an illicitly shot one of James, photographed illicitly in mid-performance. How often Battleaxe puts herself at risk for her art…
Next day, Saturday, I’m up and out and off to Brede. Readers will remember that I stopped being a Trustee of the Conquest Friends in January 2023? A decision that I don’t at all regret, by the way. Apparently the Trustees had an away-day the week before. If I’d been part of that I would have been totally stressing myself out about having to do stuff on governance or something equally disagreeable. And they wouldn’t have liked it anyway. Anyway, less of that. I had promised Angie from the Friends that I would still help her with community-type business. Also, my friends Jan and Jacky were doing a Hastings Ore WI stall, and before I left the Friends I had roped in the Brede WI to do the catering. So had to go really.
I spent most of my time collecting a large sum of money in a collecting bucket. Not sure how helpful it was for the stall-holders – people come to those events with a limited amount of money – particularly these days – and I had sucked a lot of people’s cash into my bucket before they had even looked round… But the event was very busy. There is a lot of goodwill for the Friends – people putting in £10 notes and telling me how much the Conquest Hospital had helped them – it is quite touching. I said to Angie I might even sign on as a Friends volunteer – am happy to help as long as I have no responsibility whatsoever. But we’ll see how things go over the next few months…
Then, remember we took our friend Jean for tea at the Grand Hotel in Eastbourne for her 80th birthday? (See last post). Well, her birthday season is not yet over – on Saturday her family threw a surprise party for her, and some of us were invited. It was round at her daughter Dawn’s house.
Then, in the evening, out to the White Rock, for the HIPCC Gala concert with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra – the Hastings Big Musical night of the Year, I guess. It felt a bit strange for us because the two young pianists, Shunta Morimoto and Mariamna Sherling, were prize-winners from the 2022 Competition. Poor Philosopher fell so dreadfully ill on the very day we were helping with one of the early stage sessions for the competition, and then he was in hospital for the actual finals nights. (See this post). So we didn’t get to see Shunta and Mariamna win their prizes.It reminded me how glad I am that Philosopher got through it all, and is restored.
Shunta was only 17 when he won the competition, and is massively talented. His last night’s performance of the Beethoven 4th Piano Concerto (which I love anyway) was totally outstanding and magical. It was hard to imagine that the second big act of the night, Marianma playing Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini, could measure up – but it did. She was electrifying. A wonderful concert, probably the best I’ve been to in Hastings. Needless to say, being the music event of the year meant that the theatre was absolutely packed – including considerable numbers of people we knew, which is always good fun.
The two of them did an encore together, which was very sweet – a little piece for two people on a piano.Don’t know what it was. Here they are taking their bows together at the end. Much well-deserved applause.
Interestingly, the concert was recorded for broadcast by Classic FM – the first time such a thing has happened in Hastings for absolutely years. Here is an article about it from Hastings On-line Times.
A busy few days Steph.