Saturday, 7 September 2013

Porn songs and ice cream

It's been a glorious day spent in the company of the lovely Hilary with a series of other great friends making cameos throughout.

We started on Upper Street with brunch at Fredericks, a restaurant which was very much the focus of Islington-based New Labour activity after the 1997 election. 

Stephen Twigg and I went to all sorts of bizarre fundraising dinners there. They'd sit us on a table with all the other crazy arty party faithful types; Sir Ian McKellen, Tony Robinson, Cindy off of Eastenders. I spent many a decadent drunken night in that establishment! 

Those who know me particularly well will know that I once wrote the soundtrack to an adult movie. For obvious reasons it's nothing like my other music; more Ibiza trance than Introit, but I did the job without hiding behind a pseudonym, so careful where you look when you're popping into one of those backstreet shops in Soho! It's an awful film. Something about football. All the actors were supremely ugly and it was made in an era when there were serious restrictions on the British adult entertainment industry. The majority of hanky-panky was censored and I'm sad to admit that I didn't get to see the film before writing the music. Just as well really. Everyone in it looked like they were having an awful time! 

Anyway, I was offered the job at a New Labour fundraising event at Fredericks... See, there was a point to that tangent! 

Our brunch companions were Nathan, Julie Clare and Jess Mog, who was a student at the music school in Northampton and therefore  someone I've known for about 25 years. Anthony from the choir popped by and filled us in on the ups and downs of his eventful summer. Anthony is without a doubt the most optimistic of all my friends. I always feel so jaded and cynical when he sails through a room and always say goodbye promising to be more positive.

The knitters in our company (Nathan, Julie and Jess) went off to Loop in Camden Passage to sit in an upstairs room pouring over shelves of beautiful artisan yarn whilst knitting. I think they call it a "stitch and bitch" session.

Hils and I walked in ever-widening circles and ended up on a bench on the canal towpath behind Noel Road, where playwright, Joe Orton was murdered in the late 60s. It's also the street where my dear friend, Ellie once lived. I told Hilary about the towpath summer parties that the residents of the street whose homes backed onto the canal used to have. Ellie once described them to me and the image has never left my mind. I drank tea and recorded the sound of a barge coming through the tunnel to add to my collection of atmospheric noises. 

We had lunch in a Thai restaurant. I wasn't hungry, but it was fabulous to sit out on the pavement whilst the sun glared down on us. 

Julie and Nathan left, and Hilary and I embarked on a Samuel Pepys-style epic walk, all the way from Angel to Covent Garden, where I bought my brother his birthday present, and then down to the South Bank via Hungerford Bridge. Hilary bought an ice cream from the farmers' market and we spent a good hour ambling around in what has to be one of the coolest parts of town. I always feel so proud to be a Londoner when I'm on the South Bank. At the moment they've got an orchard of apple, plum and God knows what else trees down there in giant pots. Some of them are absolutely laden with fruit. There are flower beds and herb gardens all over the place, and the bees were going insane! 

From the Southbank we walked all the way to Victoria via Vauxhall, stopping for some time to marvel at the glorious sight of the sun setting behind the Houses of Parliament. Sometimes nature is capable of such extraordinary displays that I find myself wondering why more people don't believe in magic!

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