Next time I intimate I might be going to London, do me a favour? Remind me to avoid Luton Airport at all cost. I mean, it's alright for coming in, but it's murder using it to get out again. The check-in queues are miles long, the security checks queues twice that, and the staff are a bunch of complete and utter tossers. And why is it always me that has to be picked out and frisked, even when I'm wearing a frigging see-through top (or almost) and it's plain to see that I haven't hidden any contraband around my person? Of course, they confiscated my nail clippers and deodorant again -- bloody wankers. Such a contrast to my recent experience at JFK, where my fellow travellers were allowed to take their 2-litre bottles of Coca Cola through and onto the plane, to the not inconsiderable dismay of the stewardesses on board.
I got to London and King's Cross halfway through the morning and soon realised I'd made the wrong choice as far as my outfit was concerned; yes, it was rainy but it wasn't cold and I was soon feeling pretty uncomfortably hot in my woolly jumper and great big raincoat, so after having treated myself to a full English breakfast, I headed for Oxford St and spent half the afternoon shopping for gigwear (and that's how I came to be wearing that sheer top I mentioned at the airport the next day). The day flew by and I hardly had time to check into my hotel and freshen up before I had to go out again to meet up with anonypooh
, her husband, and miss_fairfax
outside Baker St tube station. We spent a pleasant hour getting (re)acquainted in a pub nearby, and then headed to The Spice Cellar in Dorset Sq for the evening's entertainment. It's a small, intimate venue and our first impression was of a congenial atmosphere...in which we were, sadly, proven wrong during the second act's time on stage.
The first act had been by a young man called Sam Isaac, who was alright. The second act was a New York lady desperately trying to make herself out to be the new Joan Baez, and who didn't go down very well at our table (at which we had, by now, been joined by miss_fairfax
's boyfriend Nick). However, although her music wasn't to our taste, we were mindful of the fact that others in the audience were listening attentively and we were therefore careful to keep our voices down while continuing with our conversation, and were having quite a good time -- until suddenly the owner appeared at our table and with barely concealed hostility asked me (and the rest of us by extension) if we were alright or whether he needed to call us an ambulance (WTF? I'm still puzzling over that one); then sat down at the head of our table and kept giving us filthy warning looks if we so much as stirred in our seats -- and I was squirming a bit as I needed to go to the toilet. I asked Jules where it was. "Pass David, turn left", she said, and so it turned out.
He was standing at the back of the audience, and I could't have slipped past him if I'd tried, because as soon as he saw me, he gave me a big smile and a hug, and thanked me for coming all this way to see him. It never fails to amaze me how these musicians always seem to remember everyone who's ever been to their shows, and can recall little things like where they're from, too. It fair warms the cockles of the heart, I can tell you!
The girl up on stage finally sang her last dirge and as soon as she'd finished, several of the punters lay into us with 'if you don't like the music or know how to behave, don't come here'-s, but Mr. Jay deftly defused the situation by agreeing pleasantly with everything they said, leaving them with nothing more to add...but the sudden air of hostility had cast a pall over the evening and I'm sure we would have left if David hadn't been on next.
The owner introduced him as a singer-songwriter from New Jersey, back by popular demand, and couldn't resist another menacing look at our party as he exhorted everyone to 'show respect to the artist', after which David set him straight and told him he was from New York, actually; then launched into his usual banter and an immaculate performance of all our favourites - I almost forgave him for still not having finished with his final touches to the new album, which he had better bring with him next time, 'in the fall' (this means October).
We talked a little bit with David after the show, but the owner was still in high dudgeon and reiterating how our uninterested demeanour during the second set had been 'disruptive and disrespectful', so we made a solemn promise to ourselves never to go back there again, as it's clearly full of the worst kind of musical snobs. Let's hope David doesn't include it in his autumn tour.
The next morning dawned sunny and bright, and I suddenly had this idea that I wanted to do something touristy, which I never normally do when I'm in London. On a whim, I decided I was going to spend the morning at the Tower. In the end, I spent the morning and half the afternoon there...I certainly got my £16 entrance fee out of it!
I joined one of the Yeoman Warder guided tours, gawped at the ravens, looked at the Crown Jewels, climbed countless spiral staircases, had tea and scones for lunch, made a circuit of the walls, and watched some reenactments; then belatedly remembered I had a camera on my mobile, and snapped a few pictures.( the Tower of London, the Gherkin, and Tower Bridge )
Then I had an early supper of fish and chips, and went home.