Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Symphonica - Official Statement: George Michael is improving

After what feels like weeks of worry about George Michael his doctors put out a statement today. The news is good, he is "improving steadily". Praise be to God.

Here is the statement in full:

Professors Gottfried Locker and Christoph Zielinski would like to make a statement regarding George Michael.

Further to our previous statement Mr. Michael is being treated here for pneumonia and nothing else.

The latest development in Mr. Michael's case - which has evolved from a severe pneumococcal infection - necessitated intensive care due to its severity and extension. We are happy to announce that Mr Michael is improving steadily with an impressive regression of pneumonic symptoms and follows a steady rate of improvement as hoped.

There are no other health issues with regards to the patient other than the underlying pneumonic disorder, and no further measures had to be taken.

Mr. Michael is receiving precisely the same treatment as any ordinary patient in Austria would receive at the hospital for this disease.

As we said previously, complete rest and peace and quiet are mandatory.

We wish to make it clear that we are putting this statement out and there will be no further comment.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Symphonica - A prayer for George Michael

It's been a horrible, scary week. Today is Saturday and George Michael was supposed to fly into Cardiff today, to take his Symphonica Tour back to the UK. Instead he's in a hospital in Vienna with severe pneumonia. He's been in Vienna since Monday, when he was supposed to do a show there. But a few hours before showtime he got so unwell that a doctor was called and the show was popstponed. Over the next few days he got so ill he ended up in the ICU of the Viennese hospital.

I just hate to think of George being so desperately ill in a place so far from his beloved London. I'm sure he's getting the best possible care though, nobody in Vienna wants bad things to happen to George on their watch. And according to the official statement he's responding to treatment and slowly improving and of course that's the most important thing.

Everybody is praying for George

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Tiramisu and other guilty pleasures

This is an old piece, about George Michael and favourite TV show The Nanny. It was written in 2006 when George Michael was still in a relationship with Kenny Goss. I really miss Kenny, he and George made such a beautiful couple. I was a hardcore George and Kenny 'shipper and googling for news or pics of them certainly was a guilty pleasure of mine.

Last night Maria and I were rewatching George Michael: A different story. It’s a great documentary by the way. [The Guardian got it right, it is a warts'n'all hagiography.] George discusses at length the highs and lows of his life and there are lots of both.
There is also quite a bit of Kenny Goss, George’s gorgeous partner. George tells us that he wasn’t sure that Kenny was gay before he asked him out and that he still wasn’t sure on the first dinnerdate. He then all but winks at the camera and reveals that "the second night I became very sure that [Kenny] was gay". Heh.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

A Flawless Wedding

This is the last of the blog posts of the blog I started a week before my wedding. I didn't keep a copy of the other posts, which I kinda regret now. I remember blogging the night before our wedding, all nervous and happy. And I posted a very short post on the morning of the wedding, just before the make-up girl came to work her magic on us!

I still love our wedding rings!
Only six days to go till "I do". Maria and I are getting more nervous by the day. It’s a big thing for both us. If you’re gay getting married is like the ultimate coming out and it turns out it’s not for the faint of heart. Only yesterday we were telling each other if we’d known what we were getting ourselves into we might at least have reconsidered or just been too terrified to go through with it.

Monday, 21 November 2011

My first girl crush

This is the second blog post I wrote for my short-lived pre-wedding blog a couple of years ago. As you can see George Michael was on my mind, as was my personal journey into all things gay! Oh and I've since changed my mind about Careless Whisper, hearing it live and singing along with George at all those 25Live concerts made me love it much, much more than A Different Corner!

Our small wedding bouquet!

It’s now only seven days till I get married to Maria, the love of my life. It’s a scary thought. Of course I love her dearly, but forever is a long time. On the other hand I can’t wait to officially be her spouse instead of the hated 'girlfriend'. Girlfriend is such a safe word, and it makes it easy for everyone to pretend you’re best friends of highschool age instead of adult life partners.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

About me (2005 version)

Here is my very first blogpost of a few years ago. I wrote it for a short-lived blog that I started a few days before my marriage. It's pretty weird to see both how little and how much I've changed.

My wife and I got married in 2005

My name is Ada, short for Adaobi. I’m a black woman, I'm 38 years old and in 8 days I’m going to be legally married to my girlfriend of 10 years Maria. So I’m a lesbian and I could be living in the Netherlands or Belgium as these are the only two countries in the world right now where same-sex couples can legally marry. Thank God it’s the Netherlands, I like it here!

Friday, 18 November 2011

Why I love George Michael (2010 version)

This is an old piece about George Michael I found recently on my computer. It was written in 2010, a few months before George found himself on his own road to Damascus - otherwise known as the night he crashed his car into a Snappy Snaps store.

I’m a longtime George Michael fan. I love him, love his music. Admitting this fact is a bit like coming out, though. Sometimes you get the response you don’t want: "George Michael? Oh, isn’t he the guy who's always getting arrested for having sex in a public toilet of for using loads of drugs?" Um, not really. Or, at least he’s much, much more than that.

But yeah, he sometimes does stuff he really shouldn’t and gets arrested. And some arrests are easier to take than others. I actually giggled over the LA public toilet incident. Good for him for finding a big, flashy way of coming out. George is always one for a big entrance, be it opening that hidden door in his 25Live stage or opening the door of his very own glass closet. And let’s not forget this particular arrest was the inspiration for Outside. Both song and video are excellent. To say nothing about that smoking hot cop uniform he wore on the 25Live Tour. So in my book that one counts as a "good" arrest.

Finding a treasure at the back of your closet.

Yesterday evening I got busy with the computer equivalent of cleaning out my closet. I was  looking for a pdf-file on how to write a book proposal. Yes, like countless others who write for a hobby I want to write a book. With real people in it!
But where to start? Then I remembered that I once downloaded a instruction how to write a book proposal. I did a quick search in 'My Documents' and came up empty. Note to self: when downloading important stuff it's generally best to change the file name into something searchable. A filename like WritingABookProposal won't cut it!

So there I was looking through all my files when I came upon some old stuff I wrote for my first blog. Once upon a time I had a blog for about 10 minutes. I was blogging in the days before my wedding, as it was a very stressful time and writing usually helps me clear my mind. Blogging wasn't quite as easy then as it is now with, so it wasn't right for me. Yet!

Reading some of the old stuff helped me escape out of the dark hell hole I've been in these last few days. My inner critic, that nasty inner voice we all have, was making life difficult for me with sweet nothings like: "You're a loser and a waste of space. You can't do anything right. You can't write. You bring nothing good to this world". And so on. Thank God this time the voice stopped just short of telling me no-one would even notice if I was gone, let alone miss me. No wonder I was feeling quite depressed.

I'm so glad I kept some of the stuff I wrote earlier because I can see now I've come quite a long way. And also because it tells me that I've always wanted to write. It's what keeps me sane. But most of all I was happy because I actually liked most of what I wrote back then! So there, inner critic!

So for the next few day I'll be blogging some fun old stuff. Next up: an ode to George Michael I wrote in 2010, a few months before the infamous Snappy Snaps incident.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Time to grieve

You can't outrun grief. I should know, because I tried. God, how I tried.

When your life seems to much to bear, everywhere else seems a better place to be. Out of your body, out of your mind. I've never taken illegal drugs of any kind; I'm prone to depression so it would be stupid and dangerous to mess around with drugs. But I understand the urge to do drugs very well. When you're suffering, any escape out of the pain, even a chemical one, sounds like a great idea.

But it's not. If you want to be connected to your future, you can't cut the line to your past, no matter how painful the past may be. Besides, running away from pain doesn't make it go away. It's still there, biding its time, waiting for you.
It also has this annoying tendency to slip through your defences and knock you out when you least expect it. Found that out the hard way! Trouble with venue-security at the Symphonica concerts touched at some old stuff and I cried for days on end, heartbroken.

But overall I had so much fun following the Symphonica Tour around! I loved seeing George Michael and all the Symphonica musicians up close so many times. It was great too meet a lot of new GM-friends in the venues and on-line. And I discovered I liked Twitter after all, as it's such an easy way of connecting with other people. Just perfect for someone as shy as I am.

But now it's time to stop running away. It's finally time to grieve.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Symphonica - Dutch Review Oberhausen (Nov. 9)

This is the Dutch review for the Symphonica show in Oberhausen on November 9. The English review is over here.

Vijf jaar geleden zag ik in Oberhausen mijn eerste 25Live concert en ik was blij met alles, de zaal, mijn plekje, het optreden van George. Vanavond hadden wij kaartjes voor rij 2, rechter buitenkant middenblok en toch maar twee stoelen verwijderd van het krukje van George. Ik was superblij met onze plekjes.

Going To A Town: such a gem of a song!

Friday, 11 November 2011

Symphonica - Gig Report Oberhausen November 9

So there I was, back in the König Pilsner Arena in Oberhausen where, a little over five years ago, I first saw and heard George Michael live. I'll never forget the moment when I first heard that beautiful voice coming at us over the sound system.We couldn't see him yet, only hear him; singing Waiting, such an appropriate choice. The red line on the videostage pulsated, that beautiful voice of his floated through the venue and then, to our utter amazement a door in the middle of the videostage opened and there he was. It was really him, clad in that wonderful sparkling black Armani suit, singing live! My wife and I got to our feet without even noticing it, tears in our eyes.

That night was truly unforgettable! This night, although very, very good, wasn't quite of that high calibre. Vocally though George was absolutely amazing! I still don't know what that yellow/orange stuff is that he keeps drinking all through the shows, but it works wonders. The days of the colds are definitely behind him, and his voice now consistently sounds great. A couple of weeks ago George tweeted about being able to "relax into the songs" and it's true, when you look at him giving this incredible performance it  looks so effortless. But surely it can't be, can it?

George in Oberhausen: " What's the use of pressing palms"

One sentence review: Oberhausen - A beautiful voice on display

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Symphonica - Dutch Review Royal Opera House Nov. 6

This is the Dutch review for November 6. The English review is over here.

George in een tuxedo

Royal Albert Hall blijft mijn lievelings-arena, hoe mooi de Royal Opera House ook is. De overeenkomsten tussen beide zalen zijn groot (allebei in de tijd van Queen Victoria gebouwd), de verschillen ook. Wat ons opviel is dat zodra je de Albert Hall binnenstapt je het gevoel krijgt terug in de tijd te stappen. Zelfs in de hal van de box-office zie je het beroemde rode pluche en de box office medewerkers zitten achter een ouderwetse balie van hout. Als je de ultra-moderne wit marmeren hal van de Opera House binnenloopt, heb je helemaal niet het gevoel dat je je in een oud gebouw bevind, eerlijk gezegd lijkt het nog het meest op de hal van een museum van moderne kunst.

De houding van de Royal Opera House is dan weer wel heel ouderwets. Waar ze in de Royal Albert Hall zich nergens (meer) te goed meer voor voelen (tennis, schaatsshows, films, ze vertonen het daar allemaal), kreeg je bij ROH het gevoel dat een popconcert toch net iets te ordinair voor hen was. Ze hebben wel popconcerten zo af en toe hoor, we zagen er nog een oude ROH poster van - of all people - Rufus Wainwright hangen, maar waarschijnlijk met frisse tegenzin. Terwijl meerdere personeelsleden van de Albert Hall mij toevertrouwden zelf ook kaartjes te hebben gekocht voor George!

Monday, 7 November 2011

Symphonica - Gig Report Royal Opera House November 6

This was always going to be a special night. A Symphonica concert for charity in the beautiful and venerable Royal Opera House! A mix of hardcore fans from all over the world, London-based fans and your usual Opera House crowd would be a sight to see. Plus George Michael and everybody working for Symphonica appearing before us in a tuxedo or beautiful dress. What's not to like?

But I had no idea it was going to be this great. It was an incredible night and I felt so lucky to be in the audience. For the longest time I wasn't sure if I should go  to this one, (the black-tie dress code scared me senseless) but I am so glad that in the end I got up the nerve to go in my nicest clothes. Two weeks ago I picked up my tickets at the box office and when I asked some more questions about the dress code the man handed me my tickets and said to me: "Just dress up and have fun!" I took his advice, relaxed about the dress-code and had indeed lots of fun.

George singing Cowboys and Angels: no sunglasses!
One sentence review: A truly magical night in the Royal Opera House

This is the English review, a link for Dutch review will be here when it is ready. You could always check for more updates on twitter (dutch_ada).

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Symphonica - Dutch Review for Dublin November 3

This is the Dutch review for November 3, the English review is here.

Ik weet nog goed dat we allemaal in het stof van de snelweg in de rij zaten bij dat kleine knusse The Point. En hoe slecht the Point bereikbaar was met het OV. 's Ochtends dropte de bus mij midden in het havengebied, en op mijn vraag welke kant ik in vredesnaam op moest maakte de buschauffeur een vaag armgebaar en reed laconiek weg.
Na de show zou er nog één bus gaan terug naar de stad. Dat was in ieder geval de theorie, in de praktijk was er in geen velden of wegen een bus te bekennen. Dat werd dus lopen, niet echt lekker als je een hele dag in de rij gestaan en aan het hek gehangen hebt.

Dat was toen! Inmiddels is Dublin een prachtig modern tramlijn netwerk rijker en blijkt The Point plotseling prima ontsloten. Na afloop van de show loop je relaxed naar de tramhalte naast The Point. Binnen 10 minuten stond ik op het busstation, op 5 minuten lopen van mijn B&B. Wat een verschil met 2007.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Symphonica - Gig Report Dublin November 3

The last time I went to the O2 Arena in Dublin was a little over 4 years ago; it was still a relatively small venue called The Point then. Saskia, a very nice Dutch George Michael fan, and I arrived at The Point at 5 AM. No, that's not a typo (I wish!), we really got there that early to bag ourselves of a front row spot. And would you believe it, we weren't even the first in line! GM-fans are nothing if not dedicated!
Having gotten to bed around 1 AM earlier the same night, after the first of George's two shows in Dublin, we were both knackered! Somewhere out there is a pic of Saskia and me, sitting in the queue and sleeping the sleep of the exhausted George Michael fan. But in the end it was all worth it because we got what we wanted: front row, right in front of the autocue. One of the best nights I had in 3 years of 25Live.

The Point turned red for George
For tonight I bought myself a front row spot, no queueing necessary, and thank heavens for that. The Point is now the O2 and completely changed inside and out. It's even more beautiful and even though some 6.000 seats were added it's still an intimate venue. I love The Point, definitely one of my favourite venues! Love the staff there as well, everyone is very friendly. And they are very safety-conscious, which I think is admirable! An example: we were all guided through a maze of crowd barriers to the Luas (Dublin tram) back to the city centre. No fuss, no pushing, staff on hand to guide us in the right direction and answer questions. Very well organised!

One sentence review: Dublin: George & crowd have a blast at Dublin: round two.

If you want to read the Dutch review, a link for that will appear here when it's ready. In the meantime you could check for updates on twitter (dutch_ada).

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Symphonica - Dutch review for RAH I, II and III

This is the Dutch review for all the 3 Royal Albert Hall shows. If you want to read the English reviews and recaplets, look here.

Het eerste Londen avontuur zit er op! Het was een enorm drukke week, met heel veel indrukken, met een matige George, een zieke George en twee keer een uitzinnig blije George! Maarmet  vooral, die fantastische, geweldig mooie Royal Albert Hall. Ik dacht al dat het bijzonder zou zijn om in die zaal te zitten, maar het was zelfs nog mooier dan ik me had voorgesteld. In één woord: schitterend!
Heel, heel erg jammer dat ik geen "Symphonica in a box" heb mogen meemaken omdat George die dag ziek was en het optreden niet doorging. We zullen wel zien of het gaat lukken om dat concert later nog in te halen, ik hoop het van harte. Voorlopig zijn mijn kaartjes héél goed opgeborgen, want een box in de Royal Albert Hall, dat lijkt me nu een feest.

Bev en het Nederlandse twitterteam hebben iedereen fantastisch op de hoogte gehouden omtrent de feiten over de concerten. Omdat zo zoetjes aan dus wel bekend is wat George zong, wat hij zei en hoe blij hij was om weer thuis te zijn beperk ik mij hier tot een aantal indrukken van de afgelopen week. Het zijn drie reviews in één dus het is een wat langer stuk geworden dan normaal.

Symphonica - Recaplet RAH III October 29

Records are made to be broken, and besides, second place is nice as well. Sniff. So the Dutch crowds no longer hold the titel of very best audience of the Symphonica Tour, the last audience of the Royal Albert Hall dates beat us fair and square. Well, it was to be expected. 

Saturday was such a fun night. George told us early on that he'd do his best to surpass Friday night's fun "because it was Saturday". Right! Good reason. But I have to admit he was right, Saturday was even better than Friday night. Everyone was having the time of their life.
I took a few pics of the backing vocalists and I'm not kidding - on every single pic there's this big, happy grin on their faces. I love how much they love the show, and George!

I saw mr. Lipmann sr. and mr. David Austin sitting just in front of me, with the sound people. And let me tell you, David has aged incredibly well, he was always quietly handsome but he's just  gorgeous now. It was so fun watching them chatting now and again. And here's a bit of gossip: the noise of the crowd was so loud that David put his fingers in his ears now and again, maybe he'd forgotten his earplugs. I giggled when I saw him cover his ears during John And Elvis Are Dead! Co-writer or not, it was just too much noise.

The manufacturer of the sound consoles boasts about the 'small footprint' of all that equipment that is needed to give us that famous George Michael sound. But let me tell you, that sound controlbox is huge! Room for lots of people. In the left part of the box, just in front of me there was all this equipment for lights and sound, one or two people at the controls, mr Lippman senior, mr. Austin ánd two or three other people. The right part was also quite full. There was more than enough room for the big camera that films George al the time and the guy who does the filming. Somewhere over there was the official blogger, Bev.

One sentence review:  Everybody has the time of their life!

This is the English recaplet, you can find the link for a longer Dutch review for all nights at RAH here