Now, the first two events seem to have been organised by the same guy - I've seen that before, when people want to advertise something more widely. I know London for a Tenner or Less is a group designed to publicise Funzing; they have far too many events every day (many simultaneous) to be a regular Meetup group, and I see the same things advertised on Funzing: and, on occasion, on Funzing's other Meetup group (that I know of), London Speaks Sessions.
Here's a fun fact; of the two Funzing events that I attended in the last two days, both of which I booked as a result of seeing them on Meetup, and which I confirmed on Meetup.. as soon as they were over, they completely vanished from their respective Meetup groups' pages. Fair enough, you might think - they were over, no need to keep them there. Except.. all groups keep a record of their past events, and these are no exception. Plus, London for a Tenner or Less also advertised Wednesday's event, which I went to, and confirmed, with London Speaks Sessions. But it's no longer displayed in London Speaks Sessions.. still there in London for a Tenner or Less, though! http://www.meetup.com/London-for-a-Tenner-or-Less/events/231221773/
So, as soon as I go to a Funzing event (advertised in Meetup), it gets deleted from the Meetup group's page. Am I paranoid? Would you blame me..? And would someone tell me what on earth they think they're doing..? I'm not dreaming, BTW, they both are Funzing; I got the following Facebook notification tonight:
In future, I'll be taking screenshots of any events I book with them. Assuming they don't boot me out of the groups before I can book any more.. I can only assume they don't want the Meetup groups to be openly associated with Funzing, Meetup being (nominally) a not-for-profit organisation, and Funzing a paid events site (mostly). Ah well..
It was nice to be going to something fairly close to home - it was only afterwards, though, that I realised I could have driven; I've driven through Hammersmith Broadway before, I could manage again (even though it nearly gave me a heart attack). What the hey, less hassle to take public transport - and I was back early enough to take the 295 bus straight there. Got off at the bus station, followed my nose, and accidentally came out the right exit for Beadon Road (the one after King Street). First right onto Hammersmith Grove and keep walking - The Grove bar and restaurant is on the left.
I've been to a good few events in pubs now, and they tend to take place either upstairs or downstairs, rather than in the main seating area. I remembered something in one of the non-Funzing groups about meeting upstairs, so when I found the stairs, up I went, and found the room with no difficulty. Tiny function room they have!! They barely fitted two rows of chairs in front of the mic, with a couple of sofas and tables to the side. A Meetup sign slumped on one of the tables - I didn't really fancy joining the group there, two of whom were having a discussion about comedy, another of whom was having a nap on the sofa. (Actually, they all turned out to be comedians - I don't think there was much actual Meetup activity.) Instead, I picked a chair (second row, natch) and, finding out they'd be starting late, and with the upstairs bar stocked but unstaffed (as usual), went back down for a drink - reasonably priced, and served by a chap who assured me they'd be starting "any second".
Yeah, right. To be fair, they were waiting for more of an audience - I think I was only the third audience member to arrive. The place did pretty much fill, eventually. And the guy I recognised from both non-Funzing groups filled the role of mc, regaling us with jokes that left us begging for the scheduled comedians! The first half comprised five acts, none of whom I'd ever heard of. Decent enough, some definitely better than others - notable for me during this section was a Welsh-Iranian guy called Darius, whose surname I didn't get - the mc could have done with saying their names more clearly.
An interval before John Hastings came on - he'd hung around with the others for a while before the start. I got myself another glass of wine, and settled in. And he entertained us royally for another 45 minutes or so, all on his own - practicing new material for the Edinburgh Festival, you see. He explained to us at the beginning that he was going to tell us a long story. And while it might not be funny, he could at least guarantee that it would be long..
It was very, very funny. He's as good live as online. And it occurred to me that it didn't matter at all whether you paid attention - or whether you came in to the story late; you'd still find it funny. No context required. He's a brilliant storyteller - highly recommended, check him out if you get a chance.
On the way home, I noted all the parking spaces - not a bad road for parking, this one. And arriving back at the bus station, I searched in vain for Stop M, which Google Maps had told me to get the bus back from, but whose location I hadn't checked. Well, I followed the route back, and found it on Fulham Palace Road. Which was funny, as I'd have expected a stop in the station, which would have been closer. Sure enough, what I should have been looking for was Stop C..
Speaking of value, on Wednesday I'm headed to the National, to see a reading of Stuff Happens, with Bill Nighy. Also in the room will be London Dramatic Arts, who are charging £2.50 more than the standard £10 for this production. It's been a while since I went with them - and at this rate, it'll be a while longer! Anyway, I've booked a seat upstairs, where hopefully I'll avoid them. (Pure badness of me to book at all, I know, but it sounds good.)
In complete contrast, I'm with the Man with the Hat on Thursday and Friday. Thursday is back to the Globe (whoopee!) for a performance of Macbeth that didn't get a great review in the Metro. What the hey, I don't pay much attention to those - and it'll be a great night anyway - great venue, great group. And on Friday, he's taking us back to the Royal Opera House, for Il Trovatore.