Seaxe Club AGM and Forum, Middlesex Room, Lord’s, 30 March 2015

I really like the Seaxe Club annual gathering pre season, as I explained in my 2016 piece – click here for that 2016 piece.

The 2015 gathering was to be the last Seaxe Club AGM and forum in the old Middlesex Room, although little did we know it then.

Mike O’Farrell, now Chairman of Middlesex at the time of writing (January 2017), became Chairman of the Seaxe Club that night, taking over from David Killick. The AGM element of the evening is not the most enticing but, but the committee keep it relatively short and painless, so the conviviality and forum take centre stage for most of the evening.

The following is a link to Seaxe Club news from that summer, which includes a review of the AGM and forum, so I don’t have to repeat all that. Alan Ashton and Elaine Knight have done a grand job.

Seaxe News Summer 2015

As always it was a very convivial evening with excellent panelists; the youngster Nick Gubbins in particular speaking eloquently and with humour. Andy Mitchell and Tim Murtagh were both also extremely good.

The Seaxe Club, in particular this annual event, is one of the best kept secrets in Middlesex, indeed perhaps all of English cricket. Except it isn’t a secret. It is a shame more people don’t come along.

The next day, I returned to Medlar, scene of a recent “crime” – click here – on this occasion for lunch with Stephen to thank him for proposing me for MCC membership, as my yellow card membership had just come through.  That brought Q1 of 2015 to a very satisfactory end.

Deposit by Matt Hartley, Hampstead Theatre Downstairs, 27 March 2015

This was a good play, very well acted and produced. Another feather in the cap of the Hampstead Theatre Downstairs.

Housing crisis again, but this time two couples decide to live on top of one another for a short while to save enough for the deposits that will progress both couples to the dream of their own home.

There were some plausibility issues with the economics of this scenario, especially in London. “Do the math” as our US cousins might put it.

Still, it was good thought-provoking stuff.

Janie liked it less than I did, but she was in the process of coming down with something, to such an extent that we ended up having to cancel our dinner with Gary and Margaret the next day – a very rare level of poorliness for Janie.

Excellent resource about this play/production on the Hampstead website – click here.

No formal reviews but lots of comments, mostly very positive, on the site.

Preceded by nosh at Harry Morgan, although I seem to recall Janie eating little because she was already feeling less than special in herself.

After Z/Yen Board Meeting Lunchtime Concert, City of London Sinfonia, St Andrew Holborn, 25 March 2015

We probably should have a corporate rule that every board meeting should conclude with a lunchtime concert.

But in reality this sort of thing is a rare treat for us…but treat this was indeed.

Michael had spotted this one, no doubt through some aldermanic connection, so not only did we get to listen to the delicious music but we got to eat some of the delicious food for honoured guests afterwards and network a while.

I like Handel’s concerto grossi and we got two of them in this concert. The sandwich filling was some Arvo Pärt of the listenable variety.

It was all very pleasant indeed.

Play Mas by Mustapha Matura, Orange Tree Theatre, 21 March 2015

Fascinating play, this, about Trinidad in the early post-independence days. It weaves in the tense racial politics of that time and place; an element of sexual politics too I suppose. Quite shocking as the potential horror of this type of power politics plays out, through mock violence to the inevitable ultra-violence.

The play was written back in the 1970’s, but seemed very modern still. Indeed, writing nearly two years later (January 2017) thinking again about the power and politics material from this play rings those alarm bells in my head even louder than they are currently ringing without help.

Not an easy play but very well produced, directed and acted at the Orange Tree. Janie and I were really taken with this one; a further sign that the new Paul Miller regime was prepared to do innovative and varied work.

Good Orange Tree resources on-line, sparing me a lot of effort – click here.

It got universally good reviews, which it deserved, so the comments shown on-line pretty much sum it up and you could doubtless track down some full reviews from those leads if you wish.

Janie and I enjoyed some Spanish food at Don Fernando after theatre, as is our Orange Tree habit, making the whole evening a great success.



La Nuova Musica, St John’s Smith Square, 20 March 2015

This was a lovely concert at St John’s Smith Square, on a Friday evening. Just what the doctor ordered.

SJSS is a good setting for all manner of music, but especially sacred music like Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater could have been written for the place.

Janie is especially partial to a bit of Stabat Mater of the Pergolesi variety, which is probably why we booked this one. That and the fact that it was on a Friday evening, a favourite slot of ours for some truly relaxing music.

This concert was a great way to start the weekend after a busy week.

Nash Ensemble: Ravel, Falla and Martín, Wigmore Hall, 14 March 2015

This was a very relaxing Sunday evening concert.

We hadn’t been to one of these before, but it seems there is a mini tradition of the Nash Ensemble doing concerts jointly with the flamenco guitarist Juan Martín.

I vaguely recall that we had been due to see Juan Martín on a previous occasion, but the  concert had to be cancelled for some reason.

Anyway, this concert was an unusual mix of Ravel, Falla and Martín’s own guitar works.

Perhaps foolishly, I had assumed when I booked it that we’d see Juan Martín perform with the orchestra in the Ravel and Falla, but that’s not the deal with these gigs. The Nash Ensemble and the other soloist, Bernarda Fink performed the first half of the concert (the Ravel and the Falla), then Juan Martín played the second half solo.

Click here for the Wigmore Hall listing for the concert, which tells you everything else you need to know.

Lovely concert it was, lovely.

Lunch At Harry Morgan With Richard Goatley, Dinner At Medlar With John White, 12 March 2015

Everything I said in my 5 February 2015 piece about lunch with Richard Goatley at Harry Morgan – click here – is true…

…except for one thing…

…it didn’t happen on 5 February. It happened on 12 March 2015 instead. Richard had to cancel 5 February at the last minute; so last minute that I didn’t even get around to scribbling out the appointment in my physical diary. We rescheduled for 12 March.

Which explains why I had a partial memory of eating and chatting with Richard outside at Harry’s and then thought, “no, not possible in February”. But it was possible with terrace heaters in March. I also remember Vedad, a friend from Bodyworkswest, discovering me and Richard there on St John’s Wood High Street during that lunch.

My e-mail trail has helped me to establish the above and the arrangements for dinner.

I think I should also report that the e-mail trail provides some evidence that I actually did some work on 5 February and 12 March, I didn’t just have lunch and dinner and stuff. But Ogblog’s not for work stuff, unless it is “work life” stuff.

So, John White e-mailed on the Tuesday to say:

I have booked Medlar on the King’s Road for dinner at 7.00 p.m. on Thursday.  I hope you approve.  Lets meet up beforehand for an aperitif.

I replied:

Tremendous choice, well done.  Not tried Medlar but am very much looking forward to trying it with you.

Given that we are going the very end of the world for dinner, I suggest a pre-dinner drink at The Henry Root from c18:15:

Here’s a pound.

So that’s what we did.

I like the Henry Root; a good casual place for any time of day. Friendly staff and friendly people in it.

A short wander across Chelsea to Medlar, which I thought was a truly excellent restaurant. Helpful staff, high falutin’-looking clientele, but not to the level where you feel intimidated. I liked it so much that I went again a few weeks later, for lunch with Stephen Barry.

John and I spent quite a lot of the evening talking about my plans to reshape my working life, a change which, I suppose, has played a major part in my development of Ogblog. I’m pretty sure we talked about plenty of John’s stuff and many other things too, but I do especially remember the Henry Root part of the evening being mostly, if not all about me.

I did think about making that line one of the strap lines for this site, btw.

Ogblog: It IS all about me.

Except that I’m not really aiming for such extreme self-centredness – hence my desire to widen the blog out to friends and family; not least encouraging comments.

Anyway, that evening at Medlar with John was all about great food and good conversation. A good one for sure from my point of view. John might remember it differently and in any case might choose to add a comment or two.

Dinner With Jilly Black At Barshu, 11 March 2015

After Jilly’s super party back in January – reported here – I wanted an opportunity to return her hospitality and also to catch up properly; it’s never sensibly possible to do that with the host of a party at the party itself.

So we arranged to meet for dinner a few weeks later, settling on Barshu.  Jilly’s always liked my taste in oriental food and I thought top notch Sichuan food might be novel to Jilly and make a change for me.

Jilly left it a bit late to respond to a few choices I put to her:

You’ve guessed correctly. I think I’d prefer Chinatown rather than City, and the Sichuan does sound intriguing, but if it’s that good, I understand that it may be already booked.

It wasn’t already booked so I booked it.

The e-mail trail also informs me that Jilly was running a little late:

If you get this message, forgive me, I’ll be a little late. Running time of No 55 somewhat/entirely misjudged…?

I like the penguin.

I think I got some reading done while waiting and I don’t remember waiting all that long.

We talked about all sorts of things, but of course a major topic was the parent situation; all past tense in my case, some past and much still tense in Jilly’s.

The evening flew by, like it does, very pleasurably. The food was excellent; it always is in Barshu.

Jilly and I agreed it had been too long since we last had a meal and a chat. We agreed not to leave it so long again next time; which we won’t, but still we’ve left it longer than we’d ideally have liked. That’s what grown-up life does to us all.


Stevie by Hugh Whitemore, Hampstead Theatre, 6 March 2015

We rather liked this one. Not as much as the critics, who mostly lapped it up, but we did enjoy the play.

It’s about the poet Stevie Smith and of course Zoë Wannamaker is a superb actress; indeed all three of the cast were.

It’s a bit twee; both the setting (but then Stevie Smith did live a twee suburban life in Palmers Green) and also the play, which is a little old-fashioned in style. It reminded me of the sort of play that did well in the Hampstead Theatre’s portacabin glory days, back in the eighties and nineties.

Excellent Hampstead on-line resource saves me most of the trouble – click here – reviews too but of course only those effusive ones.

I think we were still going to Harry Morgan pre-theatre back then; the Friday evening Hampstead theatre gig worked that way most times.