I love living in London, I know I say it a lot but I really do. There is always something going on and I am always finding new things, hidden gems. It’s so hard to be bored in this fabulous city… well until you run out of money and then have to spend the week before pay-day being a hermit….doh!
Last week was particularly busy with numerous cultural engagements on the cards, I have truly been emersing myself in this delightfully cultural city!
First off the week started with a fabulous play called Birdland, I am not going to attempt to review, that is far beyond my skill but I very much enjoyed it. The play stars Andrew Scott, for those Sherlock fans out there, he is the one who plays Moriarty. Andrew Scott was superb, that is a man who pulls off crazy far too convincingly! The play is on at the Royal Court, which I have never been to until now and as theatres go it’s so very cute. Wait, can you describe theatres as cute?! oh well! Its bar and restaurant, I have frequented before and very much recommend for a drink or dinner either pre theatre or just whenever. Its a great location next to Sloane Square tube station so perfect for a stop if you happen to find yourself shopping on the Kings Road.
Then from new play to a very old building. That old building being Wilton’s Music Hall. Wilton’s is a recent revelation to me thanks to a friend. It’s the worlds oldest surviving music hall and its a very cool place to hang out. Located down a side street between Wapping and Whitechapel and can be found by looking for a big wooden door set in a peeling wall. The cocktail bar upstairs is the oldest part of the music hall dating back to around 1725 and was originally a public house. Its striped down appearance just emphasises the age and uniqueness of the venue, and yes being in East London its a wee bit hipster but once you are inside you just don’t care because whether you are there for a drink, a gig or swing dance its welcoming and has a fine array of drinks behind the bar, this being another reason it gets my approval, its stocks The Kernal Bewery! Hurrah!
Now the reason on this occasion for me being at Wilton’s was to the fabulous Kelis play! I know, it seems like an odd venue choice for a huge star like Kelis to play but as a venue it worked. The gig was part of her new album launch. Being in the old music hall, with its stage you are never far from the star of the show, this was one of the best and most intimate musical performances I have ever been to. The music was awesome, we danced all night with our Kernal Pale Ale in hand and left singing all the way to the tube. Wilton’s has very quickly become a firm favourite and I only hope more artists decide to play there. This is why I love London, because international performers come to visit, they love the unique locations that are on offer and places like Wilton’s really offer amazing atmosphere. Its a winner for both performer and audience.
The next day signaled my second gig of the week, this time something complete different, a charity gig by a band called Mullit! Now I had never heard of Mullit before and being a non skier it’s no surprise, but this is a band who play ski resorts and are a big hit amongst the ski community. My friend went to a charity gig they played last year and asked if a few of us wanted to go along again this time around. The selling point was they were playing a pub in Putney so very easy to get home from…… yes I know lazy but the route home always needs to be considered!
Now, its less the gig but more the venue that makes this a love London moment. Dont get me wrong, from the moment we walked into that back room we didn’t stop dancing, the music they were playing was awesome, you knew every song and it was like being back at some University Union night! Brilliant! But its the fact that we are blessed with, one so many fun pubs and secondly that so many pubs offer so many various forms of entertainment from pub quizzes to gigs by random bands. Now the Half Moon pub where we saw Mullit was also where we went to see…. wait for it …. Chesney Hawkes… yes you heard me, the one and only Chesney Hawkes. Pubs like the Half Moon try to distinguish themselves as a place to go not just for a pint but fun and it makes them more appealing. Now don’t get me wrong I know it’s not the only pub that has people playing music, and I know this is something pubs all around the country do, but for me the abundance of choice of live music is why I love London. There is always something going on be it a Tuesday night or a Friday night!
I know I am being very insular and London-centric but sometimes I am just because I love where I live so much and even with all my travels I always want to come home. I imagine living in other cities, and I would probably have a fabulous time living in my second ( Rome) and third ( Berlin) favourite cities but at the end of the day I am always going to want to come back to good old Londinium, its panoramic views when you cross a river, the lush green spaces, the shopping, the eating and the drinking! I know people who have lived in this city and not taken full advantage of it, they don’t explore, they don’t experience and its a waste. It’s possible to spend a lot or a little in this city and that is what is so great, we are spoilt for choice.
……….. right, ramble about my adventures in London over…. well until next time….. I want to inspire you to get out and explore, be it in London or where ever you are, take full advantage of everything you home city or town has to offer!