Kim & DJ, Theme Traders 20th Anniversary Party, The Stadium, 29 May 2010

This was a really good party.

Not quite as good as the Kim and Janie one in 2016 – click here – but still really good. Same holiday weekend; just six years earlier.

Could it really have been 20 years? Yes of course it could, but still it sounds ridiculous when I say it.

Anyway, all of the usual suspects were there – DJ’s friends, Kim & Micky’s friends…which of course meant lots of our (Janie’s and my) friends.

There was a special guest appearance by neighbour Ken Livingstone, with whom I chatted idly for a while. Also the local mayor was there.

Never ones to miss out on a promotional opportunity., I discover that Theme Traders made a promotional video of that party, in which, if you look carefully, you can spot both me and Janie, more than once…

…which provides evidence that we were really there…

…and will aid our memories of the event, which was one of those hard to forget (because it was so spectacular) yet hard to remember (because we were enjoying ourselves so much) evenings.

The Bikini Beach Band were the headline act and jolly good they were too, as always.

England v Bangladesh Day 2, Lord’s, 28 May 2010

A day at Lord’s with Charles “Charley The Bent Malloy” Bartlett, Mark “Uncail Marcas” Yeandle and a final hurrah with Paul Deacon before he abandoned us all for the Great White North.

You’ll have to take my word for it that Mark Yeandle is there between me and Paul.

Photos lifted from Facebook with implicit permission from Paul Deacon.  Paul took lots of photos that day, which Facebookers can see by clicking here.

Looks as though I am polishing off one of my smoked salmon bagels when that photo was taken, presumably by an amiable neighbour.

Mark Yeandle, despite hiding between me and Paul in the photo, made a momentous contribution to the day (and to the picture, if you look closely at Chas’s right hand) in the form of a monster ration of his local, outstandingly good Frittenden strawberries, picked specially for the occasion. By my reckoning, that particular day was “peak strawberry” day – the very best ones ever…or I should say to date (writing in late 2017).

England were doing rather well

Very much a batting day, was Day 2, although we got to see some (mainly tail-end) wickets too.

By the end of the day England were working hard in the field to little avail.

We had superb weather for a May test match and I recall a very pleasant day in every respect. We were lucky – the next day the weather was less than special and there was very little cricket.

Here is a link to the scorecard for the match. England prevailed in the end; but the end wasn’t until the Monday.

Paul’s next visit to Lord’s, I think, was more than seven years later with family in tow – click here.

Pergolesi And Vivaldi, Florilegium, Wigmore Hall, 23 May 2010

A simply delightful concert at the Wigmore Hall. Mostly Pergolesi with a bit of Vivaldi thrown in for good measure.

Janie is especially partial to the Pergolesi Stabat Mater. His less well-known Salve Regina and the instrumental pieces were beautiful. In fact the whole concert was utter tonic for our ears.

Florilegium always look as though they enjoy playing together…for all we know they might be masters of deception on stage and like a nest of vipers in the green room…but we suspect that they are as they seem – a serene, coherent unit.

They were promoting their Pergolesi CD at that time and nearly coaxed me into buying yet another disc, but I do already have a couple of complete Pergolesi Stabat Mater recordings.

Here is a very interesting promotional sample from YouTube, with some of the performers explaining the music:

Oh what the heck, that Pergolesi album of theirs is only £8 as an MP3 download and those other Pergolesi pieces were stunningly beautiful. As I write in November 2017, down it all comes like magic through the ether to my computer!

Basquiat Strings & Olivia Chaney, Purcell Room, Southbank Centre, 22 May 2010

We really liked this concert.

We didn’t know either of the acts before we booked; it just sounded interesting and was.

The Basquiat Strings is a string jazz ensemble, basically. Olivia Chaney is a very talented folk singer, who went very well with the strings.

Here is a link to the only write up of the gig I could find.

I have scraped that review to Ogblog just in case – here.

We were really impressed with Olivia Chaney, who confessed to being relatively inexperienced as a concert performer in 2010. I’m glad, writing in 2017, that it seems to be going well for her at this stage – click here.

Canary by Jonathan Harvey, Hampstead Theatre, 21 May 2010

Well, by this time the Ed Hall era had started at Hampstead Theatre, but this one didn’t really work for us.

It felt to us like an “everything including the kitchen sink” gay saga. Angels in America without the sparkling wit, The Normal Heart without the heart-wrenching pathos. It spanned the decades from 1962 (a fine year IMHO) to the present day.

We really wanted to like it. We didn’t really dislike it. It just didn’t grip and/or move us.

Good troupe from the Liverpool Everyman – it was a shame really.

Here is a search term – click here – that finds you all the reviews and resources available back then.

There’s a YouTube trailer/interview with the playwright for this one:

We no doubt went to Harry Morgans for some comfort food before the show.

Spring Storm by Tennessee Williams, Cottesloe Theatre, 15 May 2010

We’d been on a relatively poor run at the theatre for six months. This was more like it!

This production of an early Tennessee Williams was twinned with a production of an early Eugene O’Neil, Beyond The Horizon, which we went to see a few weeks later – click here.

Janie and I are partial to a bit of Tennessee Williams. While this early play is not one of his great plays, it shows all the signs of an emerging great playwright and was a thoroughly enjoyable evening at the theatre.

A very strong cast and production from a regional source; the Royal & Derngate Northampton.

The critics loved it; this search term – click here – will find you the reviews and stuff; mostly for both but some for this play specifically.

We probably got some food from Shanghai Knightsbridge, “May’s”, afterwards. Either that or shawarmas.

A Business Trip To Manchester Including A King Cricket Report On The ICC World T20 Semi-Final and Dinner At Obsidian Restaurant With Ashley, 13 May 2010

Sometimes my King Cricket reports can work like super diary notes. This one, from May 2010, is a good example, as I write in August 2017.

It seems that I was on business in Manchester and had arranged to meet Ashley at a posh new restaurant, Obsidian, now defunct. Jay Rayner stuck the boot into the place a few weeks after our visit – here.

I recall cunningly arranging a slightly later than usual meet time with Ashley so I could see the denouement of the World T20 Semi-Final between Sri Lanka and England.

I wrote it all up on King Cricket – here.

If anything ever happens to King Cricket, the piece is scraped to here.

Everything you might want to geek about the cricket match can be found on Cricinfo – here.

I recall a very convivial evening with Ashley after the match. The restaurant seemed quite good, but I seem to remember that Ashley had a fist full of vouchers, which enabled us to try the place at modest prices. We concluded that the meal had been good value for us, but that the place would not pass the Manchester “value/how much?” test once at menu prices.

Ashley might recall more about that evening; if he does, no doubt he’ll chime in Ogblog-like.

Samba Drumming – Z/Yen Team Event, St Helen’s Place, 11 May 2010

Z/Yen team events on the whole tended to be sports-oriented affairs. Cricket, tennis, horse racing…sometimes watching, sometimes playing, sometimes both.

Becky Dawson, our resident musician-cum-administrator, suggested that something musical as an activity event would make a welcome change. We agreed, suggesting that if she organised it, we’d do it.

So, presumably through her musical connections, Becky found us the Inspire Works people – click here for their website – and suggested Samba Drumming as something that would be fun and manageable for us.

Some seemed to take to the big drums…
…better than others!

There was a Now & Z/Yen Blog piece about it at the time – click here for that piece on the Z/Yen site

…or here for a scrape of the piece in case the Z/Yen site piece moves.

I recall personally getting on better with the shakers than the big drums

I also recall that everyone had a really good time, both while drumming and with the celebratory drinks that followed.

There are quite a few more pictures, all thanks to Monique Gore if I recall correctly, which are available through the Flickr album link below:

Samba Drumming 001


Polar Bears by Mark Haddon, Donmar Warehouse, 8 May 2010

By the time this play was announced, I had read and thoroughly enjoyed The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightime.

So Mark Haddon’s name was a big draw for me.

The Curious Incident centres around autism, whereas Polar Bears centres around bipolar disorder.

Polar Bears was fabulous cast (Richard Coyle and Jodhi May in particular), beautifully produced, etc., but by gosh was it depressing and predictable to watch the inevitable tragedy unfold.

It is a short play – “just as well”, I recall Janie and I agreeing – I also recall us agreeing that we were pleased to have seen it but couldn’t exactly recommend it.

This search term – click here – will lead you to reviews and stuff.

It didn’t put me off from booking the dramatisation of The Curious Incident a couple of years later, thank goodness – click here for my notes on that evening – which was cracking theatre – perhaps thanks to Simon Stephens combining with Mark Haddon that time.

But unfortunately Polar Bears was a continuation of a somewhat lacklustre six months of theatre for us at that time.

Dinner At Le Café du Marché With Michael Mainelli & Jeremy Smith, 6 May 2010

We arranged a dinner at Le Café du Marché to celebrate the third anniversary of the sale of Jeremy’s bit of the Z/Yen business to Aon.

We had some e-mail bants about the arrangements; Jeremy to me:

Cafe du Marche booked for 3 at 7:00pm on Thursday 6th May in name of Jeremy Smith…

…me to Jeremy in reply to the calendar invitation inferring that the dinner would start at 19:00 and end at 19:30…

…I’ve accepted your calendar invite only tentatively, as it seems like a lot of effort for a 30 minute chomp!!…

…Jeremy in response…

…OK OK – I’ve changed it  (well the location to a kebab shop – rather than the length)

Fortunately that last bit wasn’t true – Le Café du Marché was and I think still is a very fine restaurant in Smithfeld.

We had a very good meal and it was nice to catch up with Jeremy. At the time of writing (November 2017) we still catch up periodically, although not usually in quite such high-falutin’ locations.