Sunday, 29 September 2013

Lovely Autumn, Lovely London

I survived another birthday!  My boobs appear to be in much the same place as before I hit 47 and I havn't lost my faculties overnight so all is good with the world.

In commiserating said birthday, Mum came up to the smoke to take me out.  My birthday, my choice apparently.  She survived my choice/s like a martyr.  First stop was The Clash Pop Up exhibition in Berwick Street.  The whole of London must surely have checked it out by now.  If not, why not?  Oh it's closed!!  Lunch at the lovely Wahaca in Wardour Street where I forced spicy foods & cactus things on Mum.  I like Wahaca a lot - it's a bit manic in there but the food is great and pretty cheap for central London. 

After lunch, we dropped in at the Carnaby Echoes Exhibition in Fouberts Place.  Lots of lovely pics & interesting films about Soho.  I only saw about half of it I'm sure but I'll return and watch the rest.  Coffee in Bar Italia?  Oh if you must.  Photographers Gallery after a cappuccino break, for the Mass Observation exhibition (which Mum knew all about but I hadn't heard of before), and finishing up in Pattisserie Valerie...for birthday cake you understand.  T'was a lovely day.  Thanks Mum x

Sunday saw the long awaited Modcast/Acid Jazz Rare Mod Boat Party.  Lifejackets & sea legs sorted, we left from Festival Pier at 2pm for a fun-packed day cruising the Thames and back.  This must have been one of the highlights of the year & I'm still laughing about it now - from the slightly choppy river moments to a drink flying out the window, to DC Carver being bothered by everyone (bar me) on that darn boat!  Lovely to see Mr Piller looking so well, and lovely to run into old Blow Up regulars.  We laughed, we danced to some fantastic music, and we planned getting tickets the second they're released, when it's time for the next one in May.  Well done Modcast crew.  A memorable Sunday afternoon.

It appears to have been a busy old time since I last wrote this.  Pah to old age I say!!!!

Back to The Golden Bee on Wednesday for Mr Hallam's belated birthday shindig and the launch of the Countdown book "From Ronnies to Ravers - Personal Situations in London Clubland".  The Golden Bee is always enjoyable.....despite extortionate drinks and a happy hour that finishes at silly o'clock.  Great tunes from Norman Jay & Gary Crowley as ever.  Thanks on this occasion goes to Tim for buying us 2 (yes 2) bottles of champagne on work expenses and hello to Rob who I hadn't seen in 27 years!!!!!

Bear with me Frock Fans....I've nearly finished!!!!  A lovely sunny Saturday yesterday and lunch with a visiting swedish friend at the Mediterranean Cafe' in Berwick Street.  I have no idea why this place isn't constantly packed.  Their lunchtime 3 courses for £9.95 is a great deal and everything I've had there has been delicious (and I've been there a LOT!).  To the French House for a cheeky glass of rose' afterwards.  Now THIS is the real London readers....and this is MY London.  I'll be having none of this silly Oxford Street stuff thank you.  Finishing up the night with a bottle of rose' and a good friend, and now Sunday is here again.

I'll leave it there now as I'm sure you all need to get back to Dog the Bounty Hunter (or something).  I'm now a professional comper so need to get back on the case.  See you in October! xx

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Nearly very old.....

It's my birthday on Thursday.  I'm scared.  On Thursday, everything will go south, and I'll probably need to pop down to the chemist to stock up on Tena Lady.  Oh well, onwards & least I still have my hair.

Anyways.....what's been happening?

Last weekend, a couple of us had a pre-birthday night out, beginning with Joes in Chalk Farm.  I really do like this place.  It's a bit rough around the edges, they're not great at opening on time and you have a few randoms in there, but the music is good and the cocktails even better.  Happy Hour is every day from 5 til 7 cocktail fans....go and fill your boots.  To Soho next, for dinner at Pollo.  I do wish they had never "refurbished" the place and got rid of the lovely plastic booth seats that had been there since way back when, but needs must I guess and nothing lasts forever, especially with Soho rents.  Pollo is a favourite with a lot of people.  Don't expect cordon bleu but do expect huge portions at low prices & wine in plastic cups.  Cath's tip of the day:  Don't order garlic bread as a starter unless you're not intending to eat anything else - it's the size of a large pizza, and more.  The night ended in Trishas.  The place was empty when we arrived which meant we got to have a nice chat with Trisha herself - a lady full of stories.  A black & white 60s photo of her is on the wall & very lovely it is too.  A typical night was had at Trishas really & tonight's characters included a pretty gay hungarian boy (whose "friend" proceeded to have a domestic with him as he was ignored for us, 3 ladies of a certain age, old enough to be his mother, and straight!), a man from the Cotswolds, wearing a mankini & on his stag night, and Paul who had been to our club the month previous.  You never know who you're going to see in Trishas but if you're annoying and likely to offend me in any way whatsoever, please don't try and find it eh?

Wednesday saw a night out at Proud Gallery in Camden, for the "For You I Was a Flame" exhibition. A preview of previously unseen photos of Amy Winehouse, celebrating what would have been her 30th birthday this week.  Particularly worth a mention were a set by Dean Chalkley, who a lot of you know.  Beautiful photos.  Her family & friends should be very proud.  Great dj set by Carl Barat (ex of The Libertines).  Dear Carl Barat - if you happen to read this, please come and dj at our club.  Thanks.  This blog wouldn't be me unless I mentioned we went for cocktails before the Amy preview.....Fifty Five Bar in Camden, we love you & your 2 for 1 before 8pm offer.  Espresso Martinis, Lemon Meringue Martinis, and Apple & Blackberry Mojitos.  That'll do nicely thanks.

T'was a rainy old Saturday in London but off we went to the MODern History SE1 day down in Lower Marsh Waterloo.  Lunch first in Maries where I was disgusted to see a cuppa had gone up to 70p or the like - shocking inflation!  (She says sarcastically).  Lovely Maries, where you can get a 3 course meal of "proper grub" or thai food should you so wish, for less than a tenner.  Scoot The Thames preceded the day down in SE1 and despite the weather, I guess around 60 scooters turned up there.  Gone are my days of taking photos of scooters.  I miss my Lambretta.  I miss my Vespa.  Please buy me one someone - one I will ride just around Crouch End and no further as London traffic would terrify the life out of me.  Had a nice time catching up with folk, particularly the lovely "What the Butler Wore" ladies in their fab new premises.  Sad that the old-fashioned food stalls didn't happen, nor the 60s shop fronts, but I enjoyed the djs, wearing my previously unworn brown shoes (!!!!) and listening to some good tunes.  Hopefully next year will be sunnier which will make a world of difference.

With that, I'm off to start the countdown to old age....see you on the other side x

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Some sunshine, some seaside, some mods.....

A pinch & a punch for the first day of the month.....and all that jazz.

Ah....September......the month when Autumn starts (I do love a cardie!), I have a birthday, there are mod boats to go on, cocktails to be drunk (again), Amy Winehouse to be remembered, and vintage shenanigans to go to.

August was an enforced quiet month after a week in Stockholm.  Needs must.  Dear Catastrophe Waitress continues to get better & better (in our minds anyway!) and we must nearly be a year old now mustn't we Darren?

Trying not to repeat my blog from this time last year regarding the Brighton August Bank Holiday mod weekender.......however, apologies if my grumbles are much the same!!!!

This year meant a longer than usual visit to the seaside....a mix of dentist stuff (big yawn), visiting folk and cat-sitting.  I got lucky with an empty flat for the weekend.  Perfect!

Day 1 (Friday) - Dental hell, followed by drinking smoothies through a straw down the Laines with the ladies......followed by drinking prosecco through a straw outside The Dorset.  I realise that if you sit outside The Dorset for long enough, you see everyone you know/knew ever!  Pretty sure I saw my once Pop Klubb colleague from Newcastle too.  Brighton is a small town.  Plenty of people start to arrive for the weekender on Friday...and plenty of lucky devils it seems had booked The Grand for the duration too.  Oh to be flush.

Day 2 (Saturday) - Vintage market in the Western Front, and coffee at a new place to me - The Marwood Coffee Shop (  Very "me" - vintage furniture, relaxed atmosphere, good cakes.  'nuff said.  Saturday afternoon is always an afternoon outside The Volks on the seafront, where everyone congregates, has their photos taken (whether they like it or not), listens to very young bands, who are no doubt trying to following in The Strypes' footsteps, and dodges the showers under dome umbrellas!  If the whole weekend just consisted of sitting outside the Volks, I'd be a happy woman.

Unfortunately, as the sun the idiots come out.  After last years' Saturday night of plastic white boots, overweight middle-aged blokes on speed, and general annoyances, I probably shouldn't have risked it again.  Still, I never learn!  I feel for my dj friends who have to put up with the randoms asking for The Snake every 5 mins, people falling on top of their decks and generally being a right pain in the posterior.  This year we had to contend with "John Travolta baldy bloke on Class A drugs, getting more frantic as the night went on", Zumba class women taking up the whole dancefloor, a BIZARRE group of people in parkas, Nirvana patches & totally inappropriate clothing (my theory being that they were a coach party who got lost on the way to Wookey Hole).  I'm sure there were more but that's enough for a grumpy old woman like me.  Can we have a door policy next year please Modesty???  ;)

Day 3 (Sunday) - Sunday lunch with the ladies at The Dorset (yep, I know....might as well move in or get some kind of advertising commission here) then down to The Volks for the scooter cruise etc.  One of these days I will take a helmet and will get a lift.  I'm fussy mind though lift-offerers....if you're lacking in hair in the right place or your stomach is hanging over your trousers, I'd have to turn you down...sorry and all that.  Oh, and none of those new-fangled "pretend" scooters thanks.  Just remembered, my moan of the afternoon actually - someone wearing a "Mrs Paul Weller" t-shirt.  Yep, you love.

We headed down to the beach later that evening, to watch a preview of the new Small Faces musical - All or Nothing.  Now, I really don't know how to write about this without upsetting people who may see it but truth has to be told I say.  I don't know the people who were involved in the production personally but I know lots of you do.  This is not just my personal opinion - this is the opinion of lots of other folk too, lots of other folk who are too embarrassed to tell you what it was REALLY like!

Where do we start?  Well, there was the annoying compere bloke whose other job was obviously at Butlins, trying to get the audience to chant "We are the Mods" and failing.  If the sound had gone off at this point, the crowd would have been more than happy.  Then there were the horrific so called "60s styled" women in bad wigs, dancing like idiots, in fancy dress clothes.  Why oh why didn't you just use people that were REALLY into it, really loved the music, really loved The Small Faces? Arrggghhhh.  The script was all over the place....didn't know what the hell was going on from one moment to the next as the sound was tripping out.....all night.  Danny Dyer reading from a piece of paper, looking uninterested himself, The Small Fakers looking uninterested, the random actors probably wishing they'd taken that part in Hollyoaks after all.  Now I know that some of the well-known actors had done this as a favour to the producer but they must be cringing!  Excuses of only 4 days rehearsal and the sound problems "not being their fault" are really not good enough.

This was your chance to preview your show to people who are passionate about the era, passionate about the Small Faces.....unfortunately many, many people walked out that evening....we probably should have followed.  Mr Marriott - I hope you weren't watching down on Brighton beach that night.

As much as I might moan about lots of people that frequent the Brighton weekender every August, if I missed it, I'd hate it.  15 years or so of going and not missing one.  I still love you Brighton, and love my friends even more......but if you could stop any idiots at the station gates next year, I'd appreciate it.

Yours, grumpy of Crouch End x