Wednesday, 13 April 2011
Ah, music. It makes the world go round. Or am I getting confused with money? Either way, I like my music, to the point that I think I would give up my sight before my hearing if I had to make the choice, purely so that I could continue to appreciate its mood enhancing melodies. Naturally living in London gives me a wide variety of music at my finger tips. When I lived south of the river I made regular pilgrimages to the Brixton Academy alongside less frequent outings to the Hammersmith Apollo and Wembley. Friends have introduced me to many a smaller venue too, from the basements of pubs to cool Blues bars. The Charlotte Street Blues Bar was one of my favourites – okay, so the music wasn’t exactly cutting edge, but the cocktails were. Sazerac, anyone? I was gutted to hear that it has closed down. One of the most memorable weekends of my youth (don’t mock!) was when I headed west to the infamous Glastonbury. I had an amazing time, the combination of music, sunshine (yes, really!) and beer ticking all my boxes. Although I haven’t been to many music festivals since, I am hoping to re-create that Glasto vibe when I go to see the Kings of Leon at Hyde Park in June. And I have just bought tickets to go and see Seasick Steve and the Electric Ballroom too – the only act that has enticed Him Indoors to anything resembling a gig since I have met him. Again, with the help of a Whiskey Sour or two I am hoping to be transported to my happy place, ideally without the intervention of a paramedic. On Monday night I went to a gig that was a complete freebie. With free food. And drink, for that matter. The venue? The O2. The act? Oh, a little known Australian singer…called Kylie. Yes, you read that right – a good friend of mine works for one of the companies that sponsors the arena and managed to land two tickets in their VIP box. Needless to say, I didn’t turn him down when he offered to take me along. Okay, so I’m not exactly a huge Kylie fan, but I appreciate a nice bit of pop as much as the next person. And, let me tell you, she didn’t disappoint – and neither did her rather tasty male dancers. I think I could get used to the Grecian God look. Especially after a couple of free Hoegaardens. Needless to say, a good night was had by all. It started off with a nice bit of shopping (I am now the proud owner of the Campest Teacup Ever – and for the bargainous price of £5!) and a couple of beers in the VIP lounge where we enjoyed superiorly comfortable chairs. Well oiled, we wandered over to our box to be greeted by a rather charming young man who took our jackets and poured us another beer. After filling our faces (the bagels were particularly good!) we settled down to an excellent show. There was something for everyone (and every sexual persuasion) and Miss Minogue did not disappoint, singing a wide range of her ditties from the late eighties to present day. And, it has to be said, she sang them exceptionally well. What was a real pleasure was to see a world famous musician who seemed genuinely chuffed at her crowds’ appreciation and humbled by her own popularity. I wish I could say the same for lesser established stars I have seen perform live, mentioning no names of course (meat dress, anyone?). I won’t go into anymore details – I wouldn’t want to spoil if for anyone, or bore anyone who isn’t a music fan for that matter. But it just goes to show that, in London, you don’t have to spend a huge amount of money to have a great time. You just have to know people in high places. Or, in my case, an electrician.