Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have been pretty busy with loads of fun stuff going on. A couple of weeks ago I made my maiden visit to the Cabaret Theatre at the Hippodrome in London to see a Blues Brothers Show. I was pretty impressed to be honest.
You have to go through the casino to get to the theatre. So the house rules are, that you have to check in any coats and bags in to their cloak room. Which to my surprise and delight was free. We had booked what they said were standing tickets. But that turned out to mean we were by the stage in an area where they had tables and booths. They put us in a booth just to the left side of the stage. Which was perfect. We had a great view and there was nobody around us.
It was table service, so they had waiters to take your drinks and food orders. I had not eaten, so I thought I would try one of the Blues Brother themed dishes they had on the menu. I had the Jake & Elwood classic burger. Which to be fair was reasonably priced and actually very tasty. So while you are enjoying your food and drink the actual show takes place on the stage.
It was a recognised and established Blues Brothers tribute show featuring a great live band, with excellent backing singers and the two stars who did sound and look just like Jake and Elwood with brilliant voices. They also put in quite a few nods to the film. Plus there was quite a bit of humour in the show. All done in a fun and professional way.
I went with two mates who had really gone for it and had turned up dressed as the Blues Brothers themselves. Fair play to them they both really looked the part. There was a great moment when the performing Blues Brothers were waiting off stage near us, while the rest of the cast were doing a song that they were not involved in. As they were there Elwood clocked my friends and gave them a smile and a thumps up.
It was a ninety minute show with a quick a ten minute interval. They as you would expect did all the big songs associated with this story. By the end everybody was up on their feet dancing and singing along. It was an excellent evening and all finished by around nine thirty.
It was the first time that I had been in the establishment. I have to say I was very impressed, it was all nicely run and the staff were great. I would happily go back and see something else there. I believe this Blues Brothers show that I saw is there until the end of August.
When I was working at Ivel fm in Yeovil I interviewed a guy who was in a Blues Brother’s tribute act, as they were coming to play at the Octagon theatre in the town. He looked exactly like Jake. He had even changed his name by deed poll. Plus on his passport had got special dispensation from the Foreign Office to wear his dark glasses in his passport photograph, wearing that iconic suit and wearing the hat. It really was total dedication to the cause. Although I do believe, that he was not on the run from the police or anything.
I went out for a few drinks after work in London the other Friday. It was the perfect storm. As a few friends actually all happened to be finishing around the same time on the same day, which is pretty rare to say the least. We just visited a few of the near by pubs before heading off to see another friend of ours who was Djing at a bar not to far away. It was an eighties themed night. So when we arrived we found the bar staff dressed as a Ghostbuster, a member of Kiss and a character from Fame. Beer costs and we had to start paying.
We were chatting in between him selecting and playing songs. While talking all over the intro’s to the songs and hitting the vocals. Which weirdly is something that pretty much always seems to happen, if you have at least two radio presenters and music in the same place. It was quite a decent and busy bar. I had been there a few times before but only during the day, so it was nice to see it full of people for a change. Another friend also popped in for a quick beer, so it was good to see and catch up with him to. A nice sociable evening with good company and decent music. Always a good way to kick off the weekend.
My cousin moved to the Richmond area about a year ago now. And last Saturday I finally got round to visiting him. Something we have been trying to organise for ages. In this hectic world we live in, it can be really hard to find a suitable date when two different people have nothing in the diary. But at last we managed it.
I have not been there for years. But it is a lovely area. We were hoping for a nice sunny evening, so we could have some drinks by the river but it was actually hammering it down with rain. After a cup of tea and an initial chat at his flat. We headed out and found a couple of really nice pubs in the centre of town.
Then we thought we better get some food. So we ended up in Nando’s. Which I guess you could argue, depending on what you order is potentially one of the more healthy fast food style options. The service in there was super quick to be fair. From there despite the weather we did go and have a drink in one of the pubs on the river. Which I can imagine would be lovely on a warm hot evening but not as good in the rain. So we stayed inside.
There was a section cordoned off for a private party. We noticed that everybody was pushed back against the wall all facing the same way. It was at that point we worked out it must be a surprise party, but it did look really odd seeing them all like that. I was relieved for them as much as anything when the birthday girl arrived. Meaning they could then mingle and use the other half of the room as well.
We then decided to head to Putney to try out a bar that my cousin had heard was good and wanted to try out. We decided to get a taxi there, but only ended up finding one on the wrong side of the Richmond one way system. Which meant the journey took longer and cost us a bit more than we were planning.
It was five pounds on the door to get in, once we had paid the money the bouncer then told us there was a private party there, so only half of the place was open. It was not that busy, so we ended up having just one quick drink there before moving on. So the money to time ratio for this particular excursion, did not make particularly pleasant reading.
We both came to the conclusion that we fancied some live music, so we hopped in another cab and set off for Road House in Covent Garden. I actually got asked for ID on the way in, which I must admit has not happened for a very long time. Took me ages to find my driving licence and I am pretty sure I had not been asked to produce it for at least twenty years.
Once we got in we caught the last fifteen minutes of the band’s first set, luckily they were coming back on later to do another hour or that would have been a little disappointing. It was a fun night having a few drinks including a rather nice Passion Fruit based Cocktail and hearing some live music. The band were pretty good, as you would hope for a Central London Venue.
They played a lot of guitar based classics by the likes of Oasis, Kings of Leon, Greenday and Bon Jovi. They made the effort to present themselves well and to look the part. The lead singer was even wearing a leather jacket. Which in a room that warm, was at best a very bold move.
The band played till around two and then it was a DJ till the place closed. It was a fun big night out in London, which I had not done for a while. I am hoping not to leave it so long before seeing my cousin again, as I really do want to re-discover Richmond on a nice sunny afternoon and sample a few of the pubs on the river.
Last weekend I managed to catch up with two of my best mates and their families at one of their houses. It was really nice to see them all together in the same place. It is quite scary how quick their children seem to grow up. Obviously I only see them periodically but the changes that seem to take place between the times I do see them, are huge.
It was nice to see the children all playing together. And really nice to have a chat to the adults and catch up on what is happening in their worlds. I am not sure if there is a better way of spending a Sunday afternoon than simply having tea and biscuits with close mates.
I am really in to Horse Racing and I would one day possibly like to own or at least have a share in a race horse. I tend to go to Windsor Races quite a lot, as that is one of the nearest courses to where I live. Recently through their website they ran a charity competition raising money for the Thames Valley Air Ambulance on behalf of one of the racing teams.
Basically for a donation to the charity you could then suggest a name for a new two year old horse that the connections have just acquired. If that name was selected you would get a five percent share in the horse for two years. Which would mean you would be able to attend at least one race meeting as an owner. Which for a fan of the sport like me would be amazing. Sadly for me I was not successful but the important thing is a lot of money was raised for a brilliant and essential charity.
As ever it has been another couple of fun weeks in the world of radio. I was leaving work the other day when I walked past Michael Gove. I also spotted Vince Cable across the office. Plus I got to do a show with the brilliant and lovely Chris Mason, which was great fun.
On the train in the other day was none other that the travel expert Simon Calder. Although that does not top my best ever train spot on that journey, which was the actor Robert Lindsay. Or even the time that Gabby Logan sat next to me on the way in to London. I clearly did not make that much of an impression, as she did not recognise me when we shared a lift at Broadcasting House a lot later on. But that is show business!
Have fun and we will catch up again in a couple of weeks. Cheers Neil