Monday, 27 November 2017

Musical: Follies

Today, I was headed to see Follies at the National - one that London Dramatic Arts (LDAM) went to a while ago, expensively. What with their ticket prices, and other things getting in the way, I really don't know when I'll be with them again. Mind you, it's not like the ticket I eventually got was cheap - but it was at least under £50.

Walking distance from the office - but I got caught up with a small drama at work, and there was a deadline, and I was slightly delayed in leaving. So, rather than be tight for time by walking, I took the Tube. On which I split my time between reading about the Royal Engagement in the paper, and eavesdropping on conversations about it around me! Stupidly though, I stayed on until Waterloo, whereas I'd  have been quicker getting off at Embankment and walking across the bridge.

So I had the usual panic at the theatre - took the lift up, dashed for the ticket office and gave my name. Wouldn't you know it, they'd only just printed out that very ticket, and the lady had it in her hands! Since we were now on the dot of start time, they didn't bother asking me for id. A helpful usher directed me to the Circle, where the guy on the door reassured me that I'd made it in time! Only just.. and with a central seat, I had a half a row of people to disturb on my way in. Ah well, I was seated by the time they started - probably five minutes late, as usual.

This is real, old-time razzmatazz! The story revolves around a reunion party, 30 years after the final performance of the Weismann Follies. The central set frequently revolves to show us front, and back of stage - the story is, the theatre is about to be demolished, and the set is scruffy enough to match that idea, with tattered seats and piles of junk scattered about. Wonderfully elegant ladies glide around in old-fashioned costumes, as the older people arrive to reminisce. It duly becomes apparent that the ladies in old-time costume are the former selves of some of the older characters, as they hover in the background whenever their older selves take the stage.

There is a plot - but that's not why we're really there. The joy of this show is in the musical numbers, wonderfully composed by Stephen Sondheim, and delivered in belting performances by Imelda Staunton, among others. One of the absolute highlights was the duet of the oldest performer alongside her "younger self" - not sure who they were. Stunning! And the production.. an American-sounding woman coming down the stairs behind me said it as well as I can: she just exclaimed to her companion, "The singing! The costumes! The sets!" Yes, all of the above. In fact, it really takes off towards the end, when they just concentrate on straightforward musical numbers.

Definitely one of the best shows in town at the moment, it makes you nostalgic for that style of theatre. Runs until the 3rd of January - now sold out, apart from day tickets, returns, and Friday rushes. Seriously, do whatever you can to get a ticket - it's phenomenal.. Standing ovation at the end was well deserved.

And back through more sparkly lights:



Tomorrow, back with Let's Do This! (LDT) at a place called The Fiddler's Elbow, for a Blues Club & Jam. Be good to see them again!

On Wednesday, the Crick Crack Club has their long-awaited 30th birthday party at Rich Mix. Finally advertised by their Meetup group, I see, months after tickets went on sale. A friend is going to this, and Helen is thinking about it. Oh, and the crazy lady is supposed to be going - may she not dare to cross my path! I'm perfectly capable of throwing a drink over her. If the need arises.

On Thursday, LDT is off to.. Saint George and the Dragon, at the National! Now, when this was advertised, I remembered having booked it already. Checked, and discovered that was during my week in Stockholm - so I was happy to book it again. Completely forgot, of course, that I was already booked for another date, with Up in the Cheap Seats. But then, of course, I couldn't go to that either.. third time lucky, I hope! Mind you, consensus seems to be that it drags - never mind. Then I'm back to Ireland again.

On the 4th, I'm finally seeing Heisenberg: the Uncertainty Principle, at Wyndham's Theatre. Another that LDAM saw before I have, and another I rescheduled - this from the 16th October, when I was with Up in the Cheap Seats. Another nominal fee to change. And they posted me physical tickets - how retro!

On the 5th, my annual trip to La Soirée! "Posh new venue", as they say - they're now in the Aldwych Theatre. Cheapest tickets at Amazon tickets - you save on the booking fee. I see they're another one to have a family-friendly version - La Petite Soirée!

The 6th sees our office Christmas party! Mercifully, I've just found out it's not black tie this year - don't have to buy a new outfit, then! It's at Bounce - a pub with ping pong tables, wouldya believe?! We have a private room, with three such tables and a karaoke machine. I foresee a noisy night..!

I can't stay long though - have to be at Stansted at 6 in the morning of the 7th, for a trip to Nuremberg Christmas market with London European Club! We'll also be doing some travelling in the area. Helen liked the sound of it, and is coming too. We'll have a ball! I just bought Lonely Planet's chapter on Bavaria, downloaded it, and have shared it with her - isn't it handy how you can buy individual chapters? Mercifully, although the crazy woman was supposed to go on this, she's pulled out. So, the plan is to stay in the new place, the night before..

Back late on the 10th, and on the 11th - having taken the day off work (I'll be exhausted) - I'm off to the Barbershop Chronicles. At the National.

On the 12th, I've just booked a Funzing talk - Interviews With a Serial Killer, courtesy of London Speaks Sessions and LDN Talks @ Night. For which, with their new loyalty scheme, I earned £10 credit! Not so shabby..

On the 13th, my last visit of the year to Sands Films - finally advertised on Meetup, through the World Music MeetupTunedIn London has a concert by Plastikes Karekles, a Greek group.

On the 14th, my friends who came to Soho a while ago are headed to Wilton's Music Hall, for something called The Box of Delights. And for once, I'm letting them decide for me, and am going myself too.

On the 15th, my final trip of the year to the Crick Crack Club - Jan Blake is performing Masters of Hex at the British Library. Along with Ben Haggerty and TUUP. Same friend going with me as on the 29th, and Helen too - and the same lunatic. Well, after the nasty things she had to say about me, I'll be surprised if she dares to approach me at all. Next day, I'm back to Ireland for Christmas.

Flying back to London on the 2nd of January, and on the 3rd I've booked to see Stewart Lee at Leicester Square Theatre. Determinedly not in the front two rows - not for a comedy show!

On the 4th of January, I'm back with Up in the Cheap Seats (Happy New Year to them!), who are off to see Hanna, at the Arcola.

On the 5th of January, I thought Time Out threw me a curiously interesting event - so I'm going on this Space Descent VR experience, at the Science Museum. I'll have to leave work early for it - there are timed slots, and it consists of wearing goggles, and living the experience of a descent to earth, with the astronaut Tim Peake narrating in your ears.

On the 6th of January, Crick Crack is back! Happy New Year to them too. The story of When Time Began is being told at King's Place. Creation myths. And wouldn't you know it, we're being treated to a host of performers - the husband and wife team, Emily and Nick Hennessy, and co-founder of the club, the amazing Ben Haggerty. Accompaniment provided by the wonderful musician, Sheema Mukherjee.

On the 7th of January, another Happy new Year - this time to LDT, who are off to an art exhibition. Gilbert & George: the Beard Pictures and their Fuckosophy. Sorry, but that is the title. Showing at the White Cube Gallery. Honestly, but for the group that's hosting, I wouldn't bother..

And finally, more art on the 8th of January, which I'll probably enjoy more. I'm taking the day off to go see Reflections at the National Gallery - an exhibition of Pre-Raphaelites, which, with a free day, I can peruse at my leisure. As inspired by a walk by the excellent London Literary Walks - roll on the summer, and a return of those!

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Play: Young Marx

Tonight, back with Up in the Cheap Seats - this time at the newly opened Bridge Theatre, for their first show, Young Marx. Delighted to make this - I had booked it for the 20th October, then the Crick Crack Club got in the way, as they often do! The theatre charged me a nominal fee to change it to this date. So this was to be the first play I'd have gone to in a while! Not to mention the first social event I'd have been at in a week - I do lament the sad loss of the Man with the Hat, and ever will; frankly, he was Meetup for me, and it'll never be the same without him.

It didn't start well. No e-ticket for Young Marx in my inbox. I emailed - no response. So I phoned the box office - after six minutes (at 7p per minute, plus network rate), they answered, and helpfully resent my e-ticket. Immediately after which, someone replied to my email (were they all just back from lunch?) - resending the confirmation mail, but not the ticket. Now, my office printer is still playing up, so I then asked whether it'd be ok on my phone. Yep, no problem..

I took the bus(es). From where I am now, the fastest way was to change buses, which is what I did - next time I'm due here, I'll be in the new office (and flat!), and it'll be easier. As it was, it was a damn cold wait at the bus stops, let me tell you! Anyway, my route took me over Tower Bridge, and as we crossed I could see the theatre, just to the side and down by the water. And it was quite easy to get to - they even have a map, as you approach around the corner!

What a gorgeous view it has - perfect location for a theatre, really.



A branch of The Ivy on the corner looked appealing - might check it out sometime; you never know, it might be easier to get into than the one in the West End! But for now, I hastened into the theatre, and a crowded foyer bar. It was easy enough to find our group though, who were clustered around a pillar to the left of a flight of stairs leading down. Well, when I say clustered - it was hard, in that space, to gather together, and we formed into little individual groups all night. Had we wished to be sociable, I think we would have done well to try to find a less crowded pub nearby - although there was such a large group of us, that would have been tricky.

There was no point even trying to get a drink, really - besides, it wouldn't have been comfortable to have one, standing as we were. So, we just stood and chatted until the bell was rung, and in we went. Those stairs down lead to the stalls and Gallery 1 - doors at the end of the foyer lead to the upper galleries, one on each side. And that's where I was. As we passed through into the corridors to our seats - gosh, I fancy I could still smell the newness! In the auditorium, comfy seats are, in the galleries, angled towards the stage, and I had a decent view:



Someone from work apparently wanted to see this, and I can happily recommend it. It's a damn clever production! That large box-like structure on stage revolves, so interior and exterior scenes can be represented alternately, and bits of it open out to show other backdrops. And the writing is hilarious - at least at the start of this description of Marx's life, during the years when he was living just down the road from me, in Dean Street. Gets more serious later, as the harsh realities of life get in the way, and they start to think about the politics of revolution. Some knowing gags in there too - one where Marx remarks that the proletariat of Russia had better never get their hands on his works; goodness knows what'd happen if that lot got a glimmer of hope! Another has him cautioning his little daughter about getting too excited over Christmas - why, he thought it was being completely taken over by commercialism, and one day he could foresee not a day, but a whole week of festivities as a result..! Got a big laugh, that one.

Runs until the end of the year. Well, I'm afraid I was starving throughout.. trays of madeleines lined the bar at the interval, but it seems they had to be prebooked, so I did without. With no plans to drink afterwards, before long, out we went into the cold.


I had an unconscionably long wait for the bus - whatever route I took involved me going south and catching a bus going north again. In the end, it took me nearly two hours to get home! Looking forward to having an easier trip the next time I'm here, as I say. Well, at least the last section of my journey took me the full length of Regent Street, where my favourite light display lives!


Well, I had internet issues at home, so left the blog for that night. Yesterday was busy with work, and I was too tired last night, hence the delay. Now back in Ireland for the weekend again - where it's even colder!

On Monday, I'm headed to see Follies at the National - one that London Dramatic Arts (LDAM) went to a while ago, expensively. What with their ticket prices, and other things getting in the way, I really don't know when I'll be with them again..

On Tuesday, back with Let's Do This! (LDT) at a place called The Fiddler's Elbow, for a Blues Club & Jam. Be good to see them again!

On Wednesday, the Crick Crack Club has their long-awaited 30th birthday party at Rich Mix. Finally advertised by their Meetup group, I see, months after tickets went on sale. A friend is going to this, and Helen is thinking about it. Oh, and the crazy lady is supposed to be going - may she not dare to cross my path! I'm perfectly capable of throwing a drink over her. If the need arises.

On Thursday, LDT is off to.. Saint George and the Dragon, at the National! Now, when this was advertised, I remembered having booked it already. Checked, and discovered that was during my week in Stockholm - so I was happy to book it again. Completely forgot, of course, that I was already booked for another date, with Up in the Cheap Seats. But then, of course, I couldn't go to that either.. third time lucky, I hope! Mind you, consensus seems to be that it drags - never mind. Then I'm back to Ireland again.

On the 4th, I'm finally seeing Heisenberg: the Uncertainty Principle, at Wyndham's Theatre. Another that LDAM saw before I have, and another I rescheduled - this from the 16th October, when I was with Up in the Cheap Seats. Another nominal fee to change. And they posted me physical tickets - how retro!

On the 5th, my annual trip to La Soirée! "Posh new venue", as they say - they're now in the Aldwych Theatre. Cheapest tickets at Amazon tickets - you save on the booking fee. I see they're another one to have a family-friendly version - La Petite Soirée!

The 6th sees our office Christmas party! Mercifully, I've just found out it's not black tie this year - don't have to buy a new outfit, then! It's at Bounce - a pub with ping pong tables, wouldya believe?! We have a private room, with three such tables and a karaoke machine. I foresee a noisy night..!

I can't stay long though - have to be at Stansted at 6 in the morning of the 7th, for a trip to Nuremberg Christmas market with London European Club! We'll also be doing some travelling in the area. Helen liked the sound of it, and is coming too. We'll have a ball! I just bought Lonely Planet's chapter on Bavaria, downloaded it, and have shared it with her - isn't it handy how you can buy individual chapters? Mercifully, although the crazy woman was supposed to go on this, she's pulled out. So, the plan is to stay in the new place, the night before..

Back late on the 10th, and on the 11th - having taken the day off work (I'll be exhausted) - I'm off to the Barbershop Chronicles. At the National.

On the 12th, I've just booked a Funzing talk - Interviews With a Serial Killer, courtesy of London Speaks Sessions and LDN Talks @ Night. For which, with their new loyalty scheme, I earned £10 credit! Not so shabby..

On the 13th, my last visit of the year to Sands Films - finally advertised on Meetup, through the World Music MeetupTunedIn London has a concert by Plastikes Karekles, a Greek group.

On the 14th, my friends who came to Soho a while ago are headed to Wilton's Music Hall, for something called The Box of Delights. And for once, I'm letting them decide for me, and am going myself too.

On the 15th, my final trip of the year to the Crick Crack Club - Jan Blake is performing Masters of Hex at the British Library. Along with Ben Haggerty and TUUP. Same friend going with me as on the 29th, and Helen too - and the same lunatic. Well, after the nasty things she had to say about me, I'll be surprised if she dares to approach me at all. Next day, I'm back to Ireland for Christmas.

Flying back to London on the 2nd of January, and on the 3rd I've booked to see Stewart Lee at Leicester Square Theatre. Determinedly not in the front two rows - not for a comedy show!

On the 4th of January, I'm back with Up in the Cheap Seats (Happy New Year to them!), who are off to see Hanna, at the Arcola.

On the 5th of January, I thought Time Out threw me a curiously interesting event - so I'm going on this Space Descent VR experience, at the Science Museum. I'll have to leave work early for it - there are timed slots, and it consists of wearing goggles, and living the experience of a descent to earth, with the astronaut Tim Peake narrating in your ears.

On the 6th of January, Crick Crack is back! Happy New Year to them too. The story of When Time Began is being told at King's Place. Creation myths. And wouldn't you know it, we're being treated to a host of performers - the husband and wife team, Emily and Nick Hennessy, and co-founder of the club, the amazing Ben Haggerty. Accompaniment provided by the wonderful musician, Sheema Mukherjee.

On the 7th of January, another Happy new Year - this time to LDT, who are off to an art exhibition. Gilbert & George: the Beard Pictures and their Fuckosophy. Sorry, but that is the title. Showing at the White Cube Gallery. Honestly, but for the group that's hosting, I wouldn't bother..

And finally, more art on the 8th of January, which I'll probably enjoy more. I'm taking the day off to go see Reflections at the National Gallery - an exhibition of Pre-Raphaelites, which, with a free day, I can peruse at my leisure. As inspired by a walk by the excellent London Literary Walks - roll on the summer, and a return of those!

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Alternative Christmas Lights Tour

Tonight, more Christmas walking with Walking in London, this time with Katie of Look Up London, and her Alternative Christmas Lights Tour. Best discount I could get was the standard 10%, using "crazy_fun". Delighted to give her the business, and it promised to be fun! It was supposed to rain, but not until later - clouds had been lowering ominously all day.

I knew I wouldn't have much time to spare, but I should make it to Bond Street Tube in time. I'd looked it up on Streetview. Although I'd left early, what with having to weave through all the crowds, both on Charing Cross Road and on Oxford Street, I just made the entrance on time. Now, I know what Katie looks like - but nowhere could I see her. Took me five damn minutes to get the Funzing page to load on my phone, so I could get her number (yes, I could've done this in advance), whereupon I texted her. Turns out there are two Oxford Street entrances, and they were at the other.. my bad. Anyway, when I did make my way to them, she offered me a mince pie. (I hate mince pies, so demurred. Unfortunately, she was as bad as Mrs. Doyle in this respect, and I had to demur several times throughout the night.)

Well done Katie, you did it again! I've seen most of these before, but never quite in this light. We got a lecture on Selfridges..


..and saw gorgeous Christmas lights.. (more photos here..)


But what made the walk unique was the history she enlightened us about! Some I knew - but she had quirky stories about several of the shops that I'd never known. For example, have you ever noticed the Egyptian bust over the door of Sotheby's? Did you know it's actually the real thing? Someone bought it and never claimed it, so they stuck it over the door! It's made of basalt, so is quite robust against the elements.


Speaking of elements, we were buffetted by strong winds around every corner, and were delighted when she took us to a "traditional" English pub, halfway through - the Coach & Horses apparently started life in the 1770s, but what you see now is more 1930s. We weren't complaining - it was gorgeous, and she treated us to a drink.


After a chat there, we somewhat reluctantly went back out into the elements. Still, there was more to come - seems the Queen was born just down the road. No plaque to commemorate it. Anyway, we passed through everybody's favourite Christmas lights district - New Bond Street, with its gorgeously bedecked jewellers!



And so, as on Monday, we finished in Carnaby Street, and bad the lassie farewell. Really hope to be on one of hers again - quite unique tours, and she has a great personality! Well worth the price.

Tomorrow, back with Up in the Cheap Seats - this time at the newly opened Bridge Theatre, for their first show, Young Marx. Delighted to make this - I had booked it for the 20th October, then the Crick Crack Club got in the way, as they often do! The theatre charged me a nominal fee to change it to this date. So this'll now be the first play I'll have gone to in a while! And then it's back to Ireland for the weekend again.

On Monday, I'm headed to see Follies at the National - one that London Dramatic Arts (LDAM) went to a while ago, expensively. What with their ticket prices, and other things getting in the way, I really don't know when I'll be with them again..

On Tuesday, back with Let's Do This! (LDT) at a place called The Fiddler's Elbow, for a Blues Club & Jam. Be good to see them again!

Next Wednesday, the Crick Crack Club has their long-awaited 30th birthday party at Rich Mix. Finally advertised by their Meetup group, I see, months after tickets went on sale. A friend is going to this, and Helen is thinking about it. Oh, and the crazy lady is supposed to be going - may she not dare to cross my path! I'm perfectly capable of throwing a drink over her. If the need arises.

On the 30th, LDT is off to.. Saint George and the Dragon, at the National! Now, when this was advertised, I remembered having booked it already. Checked, and discovered that was during my week in Stockholm - so I was happy to book it again. Completely forgot, of course, that I was already booked for recently, with Up in the Cheap Seats. But then, of course, I couldn't go to that either.. third time lucky, I hope! Mind you, consensus seems to be that it drags - never mind. Then I'm back to Ireland again.

On the 4th, I'm finally seeing Heisenberg: the Uncertainty Principle, at Wyndham's Theatre. Another that LDAM saw before I have, and another I rescheduled - this from the 16th October, when I was with Up in the Cheap Seats. Another nominal fee to change. And they posted me physical tickets - how retro!

On the 5th, my annual trip to La Soirée! "Posh new venue", as they say - they're now in the Aldwych Theatre. Cheapest tickets at Amazon tickets - you save on the booking fee.

The 6th sees our office Christmas party! Mercifully, I've just found out it's not black tie this year - don't have to buy a new outfit, then! It's at Bounce - a pub with ping pong tables, wouldya believe?! We have a private room, with three such tables and a karaoke machine. I foresee a noisy night..!

I can't stay long though - have to be at Stansted at 6 in the morning of the 7th, for a trip to Nuremberg Christmas market with London European Club! We'll also be doing some travelling in the area. Helen liked the sound of it, and my other friend who's coming to the storytelling is coming too. We'll have a ball! I just bought Lonely Planet's chapter on Bavaria, downloaded it, and have shared it with them - isn't it handy how you can buy individual chapters? Mercifully, although the crazy woman was supposed to go on this, she's pulled out. So, the plan is to stay in the new place, the night before..

Back late on the 10th, and on the 11th - having taken the day off work (I'll be exhausted) - I'm off to the Barbershop Chronicles. At the National.

On the 12th, I've just booked a Funzing talk - Interviews With a Serial Killer, courtesy of London Speaks Sessions and LDN Talks @ Night. For which, with their new loyalty scheme, I earned £10 credit! Not so shabby..

On the 13th, my last visit of the year to Sands Films - finally advertised on Meetup, through the World Music MeetupTunedIn London has a concert by Plastikes Karekles, a Greek group.

On the 14th, my friends who came to Soho last week are headed to Wilton's Music Hall, for something called The Box of Delights. And for once, I'm letting them decide for me, and am going myself too.

On the 15th, my final trip of the year to the Crick Crack Club - Jan Blake is performing Masters of Hex at the British Library. Along with Ben Haggerty and TUUP. Same friend going with me as on the 29th, and Helen too - and the same lunatic. Well, after the nasty things she had to say about me, I'll be surprised if she dares to approach me at all. Next day, I'm back to Ireland for Christmas.

Flying back to London on the 2nd of January, and on the 3rd I've booked to see Stewart Lee at Leicester Square Theatre. Determinedly not in the front two rows - not for a comedy show!

On the 4th of January, I'm back with Up in the Cheap Seats (Happy New Year to them!), who are off to see Hanna, at the Arcola.

On the 5th of January, I thought Time Out threw me a curiously interesting event - so I'm going on this Space Descent VR experience, at the Science Museum. I'll have to leave work early for it - there are timed slots, and it consists of wearing goggles, and living the experience of a descent to earth, with the astronaut Tim Peake narrating in your ears.

On the 6th of January, Crick Crack is back! Happy New Year to them too. The story of When Time Began is being told at King's Place. Creation myths. And wouldn't you know it, we're being treated to a host of performers - the husband and wife team, Emily and Nick Hennessy, and co-founder of the club, the amazing Ben Haggerty. Accompaniment provided by the wonderful musician, Sheema Mukherjee.

On the 7th of January, another Happy new Year - this time to LDT, who are off to an art exhibition. Gilbert & George: the Beard Pictures and their Fuckosophy. Sorry, but that is the title. Showing at the White Cube Gallery. Honestly, but for the group that's hosting, I wouldn't bother..

And finally, more art on the 8th of January, which I'll probably enjoy more. I'm taking the day off to go see Reflections at the National Gallery - an exhibition of Pre-Raphaelites, which, with a free day, I can peruse at my leisure. As inspired by a walk by the excellent London Literary Walks - roll on the summer, and a return of those!

Cirque Berserk & Restaurant: Busaba

Last night, Christmas really got going, with my annual pilgrimage to Cirque Berserk at Winter Wonderland! Whee.. Mind you, it was a 'mare trying to find the ticket; despite promising to mail me the receipt, they never did: but for safety, I'd saved the pdf of the ticket to my computer, so could print that. Well, get someone else to print it for me - printer still won't print pdfs.

Unfortunately, no-one from the office came with me. I'd have asked the visitors, but one was meeting a friend and the other needed to go souvenir-shopping, which isn't really the thing at Winter Wonderland. Never mind, off I set on my own! Discovered I could walk it in about half an hour - and that was absolutely the best way to see the lights and imbibe the Christmas spirit. Got cash on the way as well - not everyone there takes card.

Now, the website had said that I'd get fast-track entry with an attraction ticket - I said it to the person shepherding the queue at the entrance, because I was quite short of time, and she directed me up to the exit and said to go in there. Eh, not quite - seems there's a separate entry track beside the exit lane, and the guy was quite ticked off that I hadn't used it. Never mind, when he spotted me he checked my bag and in I went. So much for the "interactive" map on the site, though - Google Maps couldn't keep up, and put me in completely the wrong place, so I ended up going up the wrong laneway and was damn near late! Just as well I knew what the tent looks like, from last year..



More photos and videos here. They checked my ticket, and in I panted. Open seating, and although the ringside row was gone, I nabbed a seat in the second row, centre section. The tiered section behind me was almost full, but on this Tuesday early-evening showing, most of the rest was empty.

Now, this show is quite dark - they have a tamer version that runs in the daytime, in case the kiddies might get scared at this one: although kids are allowed at the evening shows, too. Photos and videos permitted, no flash of course. Very Mad Max-ish theme, with the costumes all raggedy, leather featuring heavily, and of course motorbikes. Of the non-bike acts, there were people working with hoops, jugglers, an aerialist that drew screams from what sounded like teenage girls, somewhere in the tiered seating. One interesting twist was two girls, working in tandem on a hoop suspended from the high wire. And a short person acted as a clown. But what everyone was waiting for were the bikes.

Bike on a high wire - that's new!


I did wonder when they started doing something with the globe without bringing it out to the centre of the ring - but it turned out that was just a teaser, since they've obviously figured out that's what everyone wants to see! And it was with some fanfare that they did so..


If you thought that four bikes zipping around inside were bad enough - try five! Truly awesome, well worth the price. 45 minutes well spent, as ever.

And so out into Winter Wonderland proper.


Got an XXL burger from a very nice German couple - she was taking orders and managing the till, he would cook. Sadly, I don't think he had a word of English, so there was no point in objecting as he oh-so-carefully positioned two slices of tomato and three of cucumber in my burger! No, I just purloined one of the forks they were giving out for chips, and ate my burger by the nearby bins, picking the offending articles out as I went. Well, I was fed, at least - and I do have to compliment management on the profusion of bins. I was looking for a stall that'd sell me hot chocolate with a shot in it, but blast it, gave up in the end and had a very creditable non-alcoholic one. After which, of course, in rapid succession, I spotted two that would have added a shot. You're looking for the stalls that sell Galaxy hot chocolate, FYI!

Presents obtained for three people from the market, and I considered it an evening well spent! Just some spatters of unpredicted rain got in the way. And so I walked home, which was a bit of a trek, but did give me a great view of the lights!


Lunch today was out, in honour of the last day of one of our visitors - one of them flew today, this one's going tomorrow. Someone suggested Busaba, which he described as Asian fusion. Nah, not really - it's Thai. We were seated around one half of a large square table, on upholstered benches. Minimalist decor, dark wood, with large, bamboo-style lamps over the tables. Anyway, glad to see pad thai on the menu, which I ordered - the rest had curries. If I were to have this here again, I think I'd douse it in some soy sauce - it was a teensy bit bland. The prawn crackers, I found heavier and stronger tasting than the ones I'm used to from Chinese restaurants. But we were sufficiently fed.

On Wednesday, more Christmas walking with Walking in London, this time with Katie of Look Up London, and her Alternative Christmas Lights Tour. Delighted to give her the business, and it should be fun! It is supposed to rain, but not until later - clouds have been lowering ominously al day.

Tomorrow, back with Up in the Cheap Seats - this time at the newly opened Bridge Theatre, for their first show, Young Marx. Delighted to make this - I had booked it for the 20th October, then the Crick Crack Club got in the way, as they often do! The theatre charged me a nominal fee to change it to this date. So this'll now be the first play I'll have gone to in a while! And then it's back to Ireland for the weekend again.

On Monday, I'm headed to see Follies at the National - one that London Dramatic Arts (LDAM) went to a while ago, expensively. What with their ticket prices, and other things getting in the way, I really don't know when I'll be with them again..

On Tuesday, back with Let's Do This! (LDT) at a place called The Fiddler's Elbow, for a Blues Club & Jam. Be good to see them again!

Next Wednesday, the Crick Crack Club has their long-awaited 30th birthday party at Rich Mix. Finally advertised by their Meetup group, I see, months after tickets went on sale. A friend is going to this, and Helen is thinking about it. Oh, and the crazy lady is supposed to be going - may she not dare to cross my path! I'm perfectly capable of throwing a drink over her. If the need arises.

On the 30th, LDT is off to.. Saint George and the Dragon, at the National! Now, when this was advertised, I remembered having booked it already. Checked, and discovered that was during my week in Stockholm - so I was happy to book it again. Completely forgot, of course, that I was already booked for recently, with Up in the Cheap Seats. But then, of course, I couldn't go to that either.. third time lucky, I hope! Mind you, consensus seems to be that it drags - never mind. Then I'm back to Ireland again.

On the 4th, I'm finally seeing Heisenberg: the Uncertainty Principle, at Wyndham's Theatre. Another that LDAM saw before I have, and another I rescheduled - this from the 16th October, when I was with Up in the Cheap Seats. Another nominal fee to change. And they posted me physical tickets - how retro!

On the 5th, my annual trip to La Soirée! "Posh new venue", as they say - they're now in the Aldwych Theatre. Cheapest tickets at Amazon tickets - you save on the booking fee.

The 6th sees our office Christmas party! Mercifully, I've just found out it's not black tie this year - don't have to buy a new outfit, then! It's at Bounce - a pub with ping pong tables, wouldya believe?! We have a private room, with three such tables and a karaoke machine. I foresee a noisy night..!

I can't stay long though - have to be at Stansted at 6 in the morning of the 7th, for a trip to Nuremberg Christmas market with London European Club! We'll also be doing some travelling in the area. Helen liked the sound of it, and my other friend who's coming to the storytelling is coming too. We'll have a ball! I just bought Lonely Planet's chapter on Bavaria, downloaded it, and have shared it with them - isn't it handy how you can buy individual chapters? Mercifully, although the crazy woman was supposed to go on this, she's pulled out. So, the plan is to stay in the new place, the night before..

Back late on the 10th, and on the 11th - having taken the day off work (I'll be exhausted) - I'm off to the Barbershop Chronicles. At the National.

On the 12th, I've just booked a Funzing talk - Interviews With a Serial Killer, courtesy of London Speaks Sessions and LDN Talks @ Night. For which, with their new loyalty scheme, I earned £10 credit! Not so shabby..

On the 13th, my last visit of the year to Sands Films - finally advertised on Meetup, through the World Music MeetupTunedIn London has a concert by Plastikes Karekles, a Greek group.

On the 14th, my friends who came to Soho last week are headed to Wilton's Music Hall, for something called The Box of Delights. And for once, I'm letting them decide for me, and am going myself too.

On the 15th, my final trip of the year to the Crick Crack Club - Jan Blake is performing Masters of Hex at the British Library. Along with Ben Haggerty and TUUP. Same friend going with me as on the 29th, and Helen too - and the same lunatic. Well, after the nasty things she had to say about me, I'll be surprised if she dares to approach me at all. Next day, I'm back to Ireland for Christmas.

Flying back to London on the 2nd of January, and on the 3rd I've booked to see Stewart Lee at Leicester Square Theatre. Determinedly not in the front two rows - not for a comedy show!

On the 4th of January, I'm back with Up in the Cheap Seats (Happy New Year to them!), who are off to see Hanna, at the Arcola.

On the 5th of January, I thought Time Out threw me a curiously interesting event - so I'm going on this Space Descent VR experience, at the Science Museum. I'll have to leave work early for it - there are timed slots, and it consists of wearing goggles, and living the experience of a descent to earth, with the astronaut Tim Peake narrating in your ears.

On the 6th of January, Crick Crack is back! Happy New Year to them too. The story of When Time Began is being told at King's Place. Creation myths. And wouldn't you know it, we're being treated to a host of performers - the husband and wife team, Emily and Nick Hennessy, and co-founder of the club, the amazing Ben Haggerty. Accompaniment provided by the wonderful musician, Sheema Mukherjee.

On the 7th of January, another Happy new Year - this time to LDT, who are off to an art exhibition. Gilbert & George: the Beard Pictures and their Fuckosophy. Sorry, but that is the title. Showing at the White Cube Gallery. Honestly, but for the group that's hosting, I wouldn't bother..

And finally, more art on the 8th of January, which I'll probably enjoy more. I'm taking the day off to go see Reflections at the National Gallery - an exhibition of Pre-Raphaelites, which, with a free day, I can peruse at my leisure. As inspired by a walk by the excellent London Literary Walks - roll on the summer, and a return of those!

Monday, 20 November 2017

Pub: The Spice of Life and Restaurant: Masala Zone

Tonight, I was to be off to This Beautiful Future, at the Yard Theatre. And then it turned out that a couple of guys from the North American training team in our company are visiting the office for a couple of days! Team dinner. Well hey, I wasn't that pushed about the play anyway. Not everything I book for is a must-see.

So - when everyone had completed their office commitments - off we went, to The Spice of Life, purely because it's so close. Ah, I do love these nights when it's all on the company.. we had a couple of drinks there (one courtesy of my generous co-worker), and then had to decide what to eat. With three in the group of Indian (well, Desi) origin, it wasn't hard - and one recommended Masala Zone, and duly led us there.



Quite a walk to get there, but I'd have to say it was worth it. They managed to seat five of us without issue - we had starters, which were quite yummy, although the American did exclaim at the revelation that we only got one samosa for £6! O well. And I, as usual, had the butter chicken - which was lovely. And some of the best peshwari naan I've had! I'd be back here. Had a carafe of wine, mind you, which after all the wine I'd had in the pub was a bit much. Ah well now, if you can't indulge yourself every now and again..

And on the way home, we had some Christmas lights..!


Tomorrow, Christmas really gets going, with my annual pilgrimage to Cirque Berserk at Winter Wonderland! Whee..

On Wednesday, back with Walking in London, this time with Katie of Look Up London, and her Alternative Christmas Lights Tour. Delighted to give her the business, and it should be fun!

On Thursday, back with Up in the Cheap Seats - this time at the newly opened Bridge Theatre, for their first show, Young Marx. Delighted to make this - I had booked it for the 20th October, then the Crick Crack Club got in the way, as they often do! The theatre charged me a nominal fee to change it to this date. So this'll now be the first play I'll have gone to in a while! And then it's back to Ireland for the weekend again.

Next Monday, I'm headed to see Follies at the National - one that London Dramatic Arts (LDAM) went to a while ago, expensively. What with their ticket prices, and other things getting in the way, I really don't know when I'll be with them again..

On the 28th, back with Let's Do This! (LDT) at a place called The Fiddler's Elbow, for a Blues Club & Jam. Be good to see them again!

On the 29th, the Crick Crack Club has their long-awaited 30th birthday party at Rich Mix. Finally advertised by their Meetup group, I see, months after tickets went on sale. A friend is going to this, and Helen is thinking about it. Oh, and the crazy lady is supposed to be going - may she not dare to cross my path! I'm perfectly capable of throwing a drink over her. If the need arises.

On the 30th, LDT is off to.. Saint George and the Dragon, at the National! Now, when this was advertised, I remembered having booked it already. Checked, and discovered that was during my week in Stockholm - so I was happy to book it again. Completely forgot, of course, that I was already booked for recently, with Up in the Cheap Seats. But then, of course, I couldn't go to that either.. third time lucky, I hope! Mind you, consensus seems to be that it drags - never mind. Then I'm back to Ireland again.

On the 4th, I'm finally seeing Heisenberg: the Uncertainty Principle, at Wyndham's Theatre. Another that LDAM saw before I have, and another I rescheduled - this from the 16th October, when I was with Up in the Cheap Seats. Another nominal fee to change. And they posted me physical tickets - how retro!

On the 5th, my annual trip to La Soirée! "Posh new venue", as they say - they're now in the Aldwych Theatre. Cheapest tickets at Amazon tickets - you save on the booking fee.

The 6th sees our office Christmas party! Mercifully, I've just found out it's not black tie this year - don't have to buy a new outfit, then! It's at Bounce - a pub with ping pong tables, wouldya believe?! We have a private room, with three such tables and a karaoke machine. I foresee a noisy night..!

I can't stay long though - have to be at Stansted at 6 in the morning of the 7th, for a trip to Nuremberg Christmas market with London European Club! We'll also be doing some travelling in the area. Helen liked the sound of it, and my other friend who's coming to the storytelling is coming too. We'll have a ball! I just bought Lonely Planet's chapter on Bavaria, downloaded it, and have shared it with them - isn't it handy how you can buy individual chapters? Mercifully, although the crazy woman was supposed to go on this, she's pulled out. So, the plan is to stay in the new place, the night before..

Back late on the 10th, and on the 11th - having taken the day off work (I'll be exhausted) - I'm off to the Barbershop Chronicles. At the National.

On the 12th, I've just booked a Funzing talk - Interviews With a Serial Killer, courtesy of London Speaks Sessions and LDN Talks @ Night. For which, with their new loyalty scheme, I earned £10 credit! Not so shabby..

On the 13th, my last visit of the year to Sands Films - finally advertised on Meetup, through the World Music MeetupTunedIn London has a concert by Plastikes Karekles, a Greek group.

On the 14th, my friends who came to Soho on Monday are headed to Wilton's Music Hall, for something called The Box of Delights. And for once, I'm letting them decide for me, and am going myself too.

On the 15th, my final trip of the year to the Crick Crack Club - Jan Blake is performing Masters of Hex at the British Library. Along with Ben Haggerty and TUUP. Same friend going with me as on the 29th, and Helen too - and the same lunatic. Well, after the nasty things she had to say about me, I'll be surprised if she dares to approach me at all. Next day, I'm back to Ireland for Christmas.

Flying back to London on the 2nd of January, and on the 3rd I've booked to see Stewart Lee at Leicester Square Theatre. Determinedly not in the front two rows - not for a comedy show!

On the 4th of January, I'm back with Up in the Cheap Seats (Happy New Year to them!), who are off to see Hanna, at the Arcola.

On the 5th of January, I thought Time Out threw me a curiously interesting event - so I'm going on this Space Descent VR experience, at the Science Museum. I'll have to leave work early for it - there are timed slots, and it consists of wearing goggles, and living the experience of a descent to earth, with the astronaut Tim Peake narrating in your ears.

On the 6th of January, Crick Crack is back! Happy New Year to them too. The story of When Time Began is being told at King's Place. Creation myths. And wouldn't you know it, we're being treated to a host of performers - the husband and wife team, Emily and Nick Hennessy, and co-founder of the club, the amazing Ben Haggerty. Accompaniment provided by the wonderful musician, Sheema Mukherjee.

On the 7th of January, another Happy new Year - this time to LDT, who are off to an art exhibition. Gilbert & George: the Beard Pictures and their Fuckosophy. Sorry, but that is the title. Showing at the White Cube Gallery. Honestly, but for the group that's hosting, I wouldn't bother..

And finally, more art on the 8th of January, which I'll probably enjoy more. I'm taking the day off to go see Reflections at the National Gallery - an exhibition of Pre-Raphaelites, which, with a free day, I can peruse at my leisure. As inspired by a walk by the excellent London Literary Walks - roll on the summer, and a return of those!