Wednesday, 1 June 2011

giggles, gigs and... gravestones

Ah, London. It has something for everyone. Or something for every mood, for that matter. Whether you feel like a good giggle, chilling out to the Blues or a mooch around one of London’s most atmospheric sites, it always manages to hit the spot.
However, don’t expect London to deliver its delights without a few setbacks. Oh, no. London is a feisty one at the best of times, and although it is full of delights, it often tests its inhabitants and visitors alike, offering its very best only to those who show real endurance. Something that I feel I possess. As for Him Indoors? Well, that’s another story.
Last week was a busy week. Being a sucker for a good night out, I had booked us tickets for a freebie at BBC television studios and a gig at the Electric Ballroom in Camden. Teamed with a Bank Holiday, I couldn’t resist but squeeze in a day out at the weekend too. Sadly, though, our escapades didn’t go without a hitch.
Last Monday, after a trip to Nando's for some Peri Peri chicken, Him Indoors and I headed over to the White City to indulge in a bit of audience participation with Claudia Winkleman in her new show, King Of. We got there nice and early and joined the queue. Him Indoors started to get twitchy within five minutes. He doesn’t do queues, you see. I guess it didn’t help when I volunteered information to an assistant about his experience of scuba diving. They were looking for people to talk to Claudia about under water creatures. On the telly. Funnily enough, he wasn’t impressed by my blabbering. Oops.
In the studio we ended up near the front due to my disclosure. The show was a real hoot – Claudia and her guests ad libbed about their favourite biscuits, dance moves and things to sit on for a good two hours. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Sadly, Him Indoors didn’t get to share his love of Sea Cucumbers with the nation, but he still managed to get the hump about having to clap too much. I tell you, there is no pleasing some people.
Then, on Thursday, we headed to Camden Town to see the mighty Seasick Steve. I had treated us for Him Indoor's Birthday, but yet again, the evening failed to hit the spot.
I met Him Indoors in Strada on Parkway. Admittedly I was a little damp after an afternoon of heavy showers. Him Indoors was soaked from the waist down. Unfortunately his cagoule was only effective to a point, and that point happened to hover just above his crotch. Oh dear. Doubled with the restaurant’s news that their pizza oven had broken, the evening did not get off to a good start. Fortunately, after a long wait, our favourite Blues singer saved the day and our evening ended on a high, despite some complaints on the bus home about ringing ears. Close, but no cigar.
Finally, this Monday, I felt it was time for us to indulge in some culture. Him Indoors suggested Highgate Cemetery – I had been banging on about visiting the resting place of some of London’s most celebrated since reading Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger. It was a fascinating afternoon and my camera hardly took a break. But, again, Him Indoors had cause for complaint. You see, the cemetery is at the bottom of a hill that we had to walk down to get to – and walk up to get back to the bus stop. Needless to say, I was less than popular by the time we got to Tesco Metro to pick up our dinner.
The moral of the story? Well, if you want to enjoy London’s offerings, whether you want a giggle, a gig or some gothic gravestones, you have to take the rough with the smooth. The capital’s culture may be on your doorstep, but sometimes you have to compromise your comfort to get to appreciate its crown jewels. So put on your walking boots and your waterproofs and get ready to work for your recreation. Because London can be more than a little bit difficult when it wants to be. But that is part of its charm.

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