Monday, 19 December 2016

This Weekend in London

This weekend we saw Adam & Joe's nostalgia-trip multimedia show at the BFI Southbank. It was fantastic. Jonathan Ross was there and walked very close to me. Jo (Dowding, not Cornish) sat next to Shaun of the Dead director Edgar Wright. I was polite and didn't ask her to switch seats. We didn't realise who this bearded man beside Jo was until Joe (Cornish, not Dowding) asked from the stage "is our mate Edgar here?" and their mate Edgar put his hand up.

In any case, the haphazard show included various bits of animation, with the creators in attendance, as well as a bit of karaoke performed by Adam Buxton. Clips from the pair's Channel 4 programme, as well as even older content, were screened too. An homage to Adam's father, Bad Dad, who passed away earlier this year, was not only hilarious but very moving. The atmosphere was a bit like a university reunion. There was a "remember that time we stayed up all night eating cheese?" vibe and I would pay to go again.

BBC 6Music era Adam & Joe
We also went to the Union Chapel, where we saw Sheffield's scruffy pop duo Slow Club. They were supported by Auld, a young British singer-songwriter who played unaccompanied, but used guitar, keys and beats at once, using pedals and loops. Slow Club were mesmerising and the Union Chapel is a brilliant venue in which to see a band. No alcohol is allowed inside the church, but there's a kiosk serving teas and coffees, as well as tea cakes and snacks like crisps and nuts. Usherettes wander up and down selling ice-creams.

The interior of the building is a stunning space. I especially enjoyed the stainglass windows, ornate ceiling and, of course the neon reindeer. Slow Club played songs singularly and together, with some fantastic vocal flourishes, before coming back at the end for a self-conscious Christmas encore that included an unplugged singalong. All in all it was a touching scene, especially the contrast of Rebecca Taylor's soaring, operatic vocals and the funny, down-to-earth comments she makes between songs.

Islington's Union Chapel
Sheffield's Slow Club

Finally, since Jo and I wanted to go to the cinema and It's a Wonderful Life and Muppet Christmas Carol were sold out and, I discovered with only mild surprise, Jo had never seen Die Hard, we went to see Bruce Willis on the big screen at the Prince Charles off Leicester Square. The big-letter message outside the building was "Merry Christmas, ya filthy animal".

It was a very entertaining way to round off the weekend. If you wanted a drink during the screening, fine German beers and cocktails were on offer. Within the Prince Charles's unusual auditorium the crowd cheered and quoted along with the yippee-ky-aying action.

"You've never seen Die Hard?"
Of course, regardless of any comedians, bands or films we saw, the best part of the weekend was meeting up with friends and family. It was an absolute pleasure to see Richard, Nia and (London's happiest, most well-behaved baby) Arienwen for dinner at the Latchmere pub in Battersea and to wander around John Soane's House with Jo's old friend Philip.

good food and ales at this pub, which is also home to a theatre
the visitor attendants at John Soane's House are extremely well-informed and chatty - also, one of them, who had an encyclopedic knowledge of Masonic/Bedlam-related facts, was wearing a fine pair of spats

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