Saturday, 19 September 2015

Kinky Boots

We had a very short lie-in this morning, which was like heaven for two incredibly tired men who'd been sitting in London Gateway service station until significantly past midnight the night before.

We jumped in a car at 11am and took ourselves off to Pinner via a Jewish bakery on the fringes of Hampstead Garden Suburb, where we bought croissants, and a post office in Stanmore, where I sent a thank you note to Tilly Trout for recording her glorious bespoke bed time story.

We were in Pinner to see Nathan's father, wicked step mother and step sister and family. We had a fabulous lunch of quiche, hummus, figs, dates, bread, cheese and olives. My mother would call it a cold collation. A fancy gastro pub might have labelled it Mediterranean Meze (which they might have spelt with a double z!)

It was lovely to see them all. David and Liz had recently been to see Banksy's Dismal-Land in Weston Super-Mare, which sounds quite a hoot. It's being billed by organisers as the "most disappointing theme park" in the world. They showed us the pictures, and it seems it's a typically Banksyesque series of witty, grotesque and deeply political pieces of art on a much larger scale than I'd imagined. Of course it's a huge hit, but we're told it will have to close at the end of the month due to some pointless wrangling by the town council. I don't understand why, if something is bringing a huge influx of tourism into a troubled seaside town, people aren't literally fighting to keep it going.

We came back home and immediately set off into Central London. Actually, that's a lie. I sat down and did three quarters of an hour on Brass whilst Nathan mended the kitchen drawer.

It was my brother's birthday on Thursday and we were celebrating with a trip to the theatre. I feel very blessed at the moment. We're going to see all sorts of live theatrical experiences. Six, I think, already this month.

Before the show we went to Salieri on the Strand for a few bowls of slightly over-priced pasta. I was fairly horrified to discover that the restaurant's Prix Fixe didn't have a vegetarian option. You might expect that sort of footle from a snotty French restaurant, but Italian food ought to be inherently full of vegetarian options. The limitations in the menu were, however, more than made up for by the most eccentric waiter I think I've ever been served by. When he initially came over, he was surly and taciturn in a way which managed to be inexplicably charming. When he came back with a bottle of wine for the drinkers present, he decided to make a little joke about the cost of the bottle. I personally didn't get the joke but it was obviously one he found hugely amusing because he burst into peels of the oddest laughter I think I've ever heard. It was a bit like a goose honking and a little like lorry reversing. It was ferociously loud and all "sung" to the word "hee." I couldn't tell if it was an inward sound. It silenced the room and all the other diners turned around to look. When it started I actually thought he was having a seizure. As it developed (I'm not joking when I say it lasted 45 seconds) I started to feel a mixture of embarrassment, amusement, joy and deep concern. It was a truly magical moment.

The show we went to see was Kinky Boots, which has just descended on the West End. It was a lovely musical: Feel-good, beautifully-performed, charmingly-predictable and largely well-written. The show is set in Northampton and I'm pleased to report that at least some attempt had been made to feature the accent. It is, I believe, the most difficult British accent to perfect, largely because it's distinctive, yet quite subtle, and very rarely heard. All of the cast attempted the accent but few got close. Jamie Baughan, who played Don, felt authentic enough, but placed his accent a little further up the M1 in Leicester, but it was the mightily talented, Amy Lennox who came the closest to my ears.

The rest of the cast pretty much universally got the distinctive long "a" twang wrong, with Killian Donnolly actually pronouncing a Northern version of the vowel, but hats off to them for saying "goo" instead of "go." That was proper moosik to my ears!

The only other caveat was that I felt the music didn't quite hit the mark. I wanted slightly less mush and a little more melody and drama, although there were some absolutely stonking numbers which got the audience whooping like wild cats.

All in all, it's a great night out and I hope it runs for a good long while. Go and see.

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