I think I have explained the background to Ivan Shakespeare memorial dinners sufficiently elsewhere – e.g. click here and look at the second of the three events.
I’m pretty sure we were still going to the now defunct Café Rouge in Maida Vale the previous autumn and I missed the 2014 Christmas bash, which had been a bit shambolic by all accounts, ending up in Pizza Express Charlotte Street.
This February evening was therefore my one and only visit to that Pizza Express.
My post evening note to John Random was the following:
Good to see you and the gang last night.
Many thanks for that wonderful-looking bottle of wine. Extremely generous of you and quite unnecessary.
Janie and I will save it for a special occasion and enjoy it then…unless the Bulgarian merlot runs out and we need an emergency bottle in a hurry.
With very best wishes
It reminds me that there was another curiosity about the John Random/Rohan Candappa evening a couple of weeks before – click here.
John, knowing little about wine, grabbed a rather long-in-the-tooth bottle of Bulgarian Merlot from his home and brought it for that 5 February evening at my house. We all agreed that the bottle was undrinkable and offered the bottle’s contents to the kitchen sink drain gods.
Being John, he wrote me an own-liver-eating e-mail the next day, also agonising about the fact that he didn’t know that my mum had recently died until some way into the evening.
I responded, amongst other stuff 6 February, specifically on the Bulgarian Merlot:
It was good to see you and do stop fretting about the wine. But on that note, I do recommend the film Sideways, if you haven’t seen it, a very funny sort of road movie about an introverted wine snob on a California wine tour with his extrovert actor mate. The wine snob has an irrational thing against the Merlot grape, btw, which happens to have been the grape variety in your Bulgarian curiosity.
So, again being John, he brought me a rather splendid bottle of wine when we met at the Pizza Express for the Ivan Shakespeare 19 February.
The only other matters of note, which emerge from John’s post evening messages, are:
- Gerry did the quiz;
- John approved of Pizza Express, but the venue did get moved the next time. That might have been down to Tottenham Court Road Central Line closure more than the venue itself;
- We all recorded birthday messages for Laurie, John and Jenny’s son, just ahead of his 15th birthday, which Laurie apparently appreciated very much.
Always good fun, Ivan Shakespeare Memorial Dinners.