London, Viva Forever, Hardrock Calling, Gay Pride…
It’s hard for me to articulate my feelings about London. Suffice to say, it’s a passion and I love going down there. If I am honest, I perhaps love it too much. It’s a place where you can leave reality behind, close the door on your life and enter a different world.
A place where you can be anybody you want to be, or just disappear. The vibrancy, the sights, the sounds and there is always something different. There is always something going on or a street you have never seen before and each trip becomes an adventure.
I have very different experiences, a family trip will bring one kind of adventure, a couple trip another, then of course the mystical and all too seldom solo trip. This time round was couple focused and the first stop was Viva Forever.
I am sure I am not the only bloke in the world who would be sceptical at spending a night surrounded by the music of the Spice Girls. To be fair, I wasn’t overly enthused at the prospect, but as someone who has grown to love musicals for what they are – a decent night out – I went with an open mind.
It was the second to last night of its run in Piccadilly and packed with 95% drunken young women, 4% gay men and us! I hadn’t looked up anything about the show, but was pleasantly surprised to find it was more a comedy than either a serious play or a homage to the Spices.
Yeah – the acting could have been better and the script was a tad predicable, but it was an enjoyable romp, made more interesting by the actions of the crowd and those trying to control them. Clearly most women were fans of the music and at points in the show, they became part of a massive choir.
You would expect that to be accepted, but the ushers went out of their way to try stop people singing – quite bonkers and quite an impossible task. Still, by the time the encore came round, everyone was up singing and dancing with a really good vibe and I found myself quite swept away.
It was another added to the Forty for Forty quest and this trip I managed two of them. The second part of that came the next day at Hardrock Calling. The last time I had been to one of these, it was held in Hyde Park, however, some bright spark decided to hold this one in Strafford near the new Olympic stadium.
That meant a trek of a tube trip and then a near 30 minute walk from the tube to the venue in baking afternoon sunshine. Still, these were tickets for free via the Sun newspaper, so we couldn’t grumble too much.
By the time we arrived, the Klaxons had just taken to the smaller stage – it was under cover and quickly had a “mosh pit” feel. Beer thrown, hot and sweaty drunken bodies clambering all over each other and a sound system so loud it threatened to bust the ear drums – great fun!
However it was cut short by the realisation that Paul Weller had taken to the main stage. So a quick dash across to the open air stage area was needed and after fighting through the crowds for a decent view, we watched Weller strut his stuff.
His older songs got the crowd going, but his new stuff missed the mark for an audience ready and primed to rock for Kasabian. I have to admit that I know little of their music, but wow, they really put on a show and had the crowd in the palm of their hands – a great stage and light show too. I will certainly try see them again in an arena on their next tour.
It was back into London later on and a during midnight solo walk through Soho I found myself in the midst of the Gay Pride party. Totally unexpected and it was amazing, so much love on the streets, some literally – such a good vibe as the traffic was kept from the roads and people just danced and got drunk all over the place.
I have to admit, I had a permanent smile on my face as I wandered round – felt a bit like a voyeur watching this different world, but loved it all the same. This particular trip to London was over far too soon and before I knew it, reality dawned.
Still, not for long as July brings 2 more trips, one with young Ollie on Friday and then a family trip later in the month. Who knows what these will bring – but am excited at the prospect! So more Forty for Forty ticked off the list and more added – Kurt Vile and Tom Odell added for later this year – both very different and am looking forward to very much.
So this ramble needs a tune and Weller will feature on another ramble this week, so am closing this one with Kasabian (yes, I couldn’t bring myself to choose Spice Girls) – this one really got the crowd going – “Days are forgotten”.