Home porn to music
I have been as overwhelmed by the number as I have been overawed by the generosity and ingenuity of those who have been sharing their musical creativity online to keep the rest of us engaged and the money pouring in for good causes.
Of course it isn't purely altruistic. Keeping busy is a welcome distraction, a professional necessity and it stays your hand from reaching for the remote before breakfast / chocolate before lunch / wine before the sun is over the yardarm [delete as appropriate].
For me, the entertainment has come not just from the clever spoofs, thoughtful covers or, dare I admit it, the emotion-wobbling anthems, but because I get to glimpse inside people's homes.
Some of us do food porn, well, I do home porn. Yes, I like seeing the inside of where people live. I'm not sure how it started, or even why it started, but unlike porn-porn, it is an entirely innocuous and un-exploitative indulgence, so where's the harm to home porn with musical accompaniment?
Like any other stage set, before the music starts, pre-performance checks have taken place: cushions have been plumped, books have been tidied and curtain-jumper colour clashes have been avoided.
But there's no schadenfreude in spotting an interior design malfunction.
The pleasure in spotting a dust-outlined rectangle on the wall where a picture used to hang isn't to be had in sniggering at it; it is in the way that our homes reveal something about our shared humanness, in the same fashion that the unexpected beige-ness landscaping a colourful personality reminds us that we all show a selected side of ourselves whilst actually being as composite as a cubist portrait.
So, to all those who have been practising their craft and letting me glimpse their wall art, I say a huge thank you, otherwise it's happy listening!
- Stay At Home with Crazy Coqs shares a sketch or song every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 7PM. Being a woman of a certain age—and size—I especially liked Westdal & Hayward's take on fitness regimes to the tunes from The Sound of Music, and the Bounder & Cad version of Verdi's aria "La Donne E Mobile", "Woman and her Mobile".
- Stilgoe in the Shed is a half-hour show from Joe Stilgoe's very posh shed. It's on at 1 o'clock Monday to Friday and 8 o'clock on Saturdays, no show on Sundays. On Fridays, it is a requests show for children, with Monday being reserved for musicals and mash-ups on Wednesday. Back episodes of In The Shed are also available.
- First Elaine Paige challenged the cast of Olivier Award-winning Showstopper! The Improvised Musical to write and record a song in the style of West Side Story in 24 hours. The result is the hilarious “Don’t Go Out”. Next up, Ramin Karimloo challenged the team to write a song about home schooling in the style of School of Rock. The result is the equally funny "Daddy’s Your Teacher Now!".
- Musical theatre actor Tom Milner has got together with band members from the recently finished tour of American Idiot Nick Kent, Chris George and Rob Wicks to create a cover version of Green Day’s "Wake me up When September Ends" with their own lyrics singing the praises of the NHS.
- Friday saw the release of “We’ll Meet Again” as sung by a constellation of West End stars including Sharon D Clarke, Louise Dearman, Kerry Ellis, Shaun Escoffery, Maria Friedman, Hannah Waddingham and Michael Xavier. This anthem of optimism is topped and tailed by Dame Vera herself and has a sixteen-strong choir provided by Capital Voices; the team behind it are Ferris and Milnes joined by Tom Large.
- "Do You Hear The People Sing?" from Les Misérables has been recorded by more than 70 West End performers. You may recognise some of the faces—though perhaps not the cute dog—and enjoy a lump in the throat moment remembering that "even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise". Viewers are invited to donate to charity Acting For Others which supports theatre workers or to support NHS workers and volunteers.
If you didn’t spot them before, you may want to catch Barb Jungr with The Fourth Choir, a group of LGBT+ singers, perform her new song "In My Troubled Days", or if Strauss is your thing, the recording by 40 isolated members of the orchestra of Opera North.
Stanley Kubric and his film 2001: A Space Odyssey did for the opening of Strauss’s Also Sprach Zarathustra what football did for Puccini's opera Turandot and "Nessun Dorma", but 2020 An Isolation Odyssey, as it has been dubbed, is both classy and has a cute dog.
And finally as a 'bonus track', I offer you Ferris and Milnes's 33 Sondheim Songs in 5 minutes which was shared with me by a friend and fellow Sondheim fan. I had seen it before but if there was ever a time to be reminded of the fun things in life, this is it.
As mentioned, many of the teams behind this digital content hope to raise money in support of arts, or artist support charities or the NHS. These are uncertain times for everyone, so please give if you can to either the nominated charity or a charity of your own choosing.