Thursday, 15 October 2009

When The Girl went to London

I have a friend from uni who lives down in London and I got a random e-mail from her a few weeks ago asking what I was up to on 14th October.

The reason?

She had secured tickets for David Gest...My Life! A Musical Concert Extravaganza. Did I want to go?

How could I refuse?

So off I toddled off yesterday afternoon to London. It doesn’t take that long to get to London from Hull you know and if you’re lucky you can get on a Hull Trains train which will get you there in 2.5 hours. Impressive non?! Anyway. I got to London with a fast beating heart, full of excitement and a touch of anxiety.

Why the touch of anxiety I hear you ask?

This was going to be the very first time I had navigated the London Underground all by myself.

I know. How have I got to 26 and not done this?! I have been on the Tube before but I’ve always been in the hands of someone more capable who has taken charge and swept me on to the right platform. And it just scares me a little bit, it all looks very complicated and everything is made all the more stressful by the fact that everyone on the Tube rushes. Why do they rush so much in London? What is the hurry?

I had to believe in myself though. And I was secure in the knowledge that I only had to catch one train on one line, no pesky changes. I could do this. I took a deep breath and plunged in.

And it was quite uneventful really.

I arrived at Hammersmith station 20 or so minutes later in one piece.

And christened myself the Tube Champion.

I discovered that you have to ignore the rushing people and take things at your own pace. It’s all too easy to get swept up with them and you start to feel your heart pounding. The trick is to let them rush by you, let them get on with their busy busy London lives. I’m from Hull baby – I walk to a different beat!

We walked in to Hammersmith Apollo unsure of what we were walking in to. Neither of us had really looked up what this Musical Concert Extravaganza was about so we weren’t sure what to expect.

To say we were blown away was something of an understatement.

Turns out it was a soul concert. And not just any kind of soul concert. A soul legends concert. David Gest was basically there as a compere and would come out and introduce an act and then they’d come on, sing a couple of their hits, then more David Gest, then more soul, then more David Gest, lather, rinse, repeat.

At the beginning I was a little lost. I can’t confess to being a massive soul fan so a lot of the time I was clapping without really understanding who I was clapping and whooping at. However I did recognise some of the songs and as the show went on I began to recognise more of the people and more of the songs.

The second act was where it ramped up a notch. Candi Staton came on to sing You Got the Love. Yes. THE Candi Staton. And then Percy Sledge came on and sang When a Man Loves a Woman. Yes. THE Percy Sledge. And then Ben E King came on and sang Stand By Me. Yes. You see where I’m going with this? And then the Temptations came on! (Ok admittedly only 1 of them is an original Temptation but still.)

I couldn’t believe my eyes. It started to dawn on me just how amazing it was that I was there. Just how lucky me and my friend are that we didn’t know what we were coming to. Had we realised it was a soul concert, chances are we wouldn’t have gone, thank goodness we didn’t know what we were letting ourselves in for!

I’ve seen Percy Sledge sing When a Man Loves a Woman. Can’t get over it.

And at the beginning of the 2nd Act they showed some film of a documentary that is coming out soon, I think on Channel 5 he said, that David Gest has put together about Michael Jackson. He grew up with the family and produced some of Michael’s concerts and he has all this footage of him interviewing Michael. It was quite touching. After a few minutes of that David came out and asked us all to give a round of applause to Tito Jackson. He was in the audience!

The night kept getting stranger and stranger.

But this was nothing compared to some of the hilarious ‘celebrity’ spottings we made during the interval:
- Vanessa Feltz and boyfriend Ben from Phats & Small (I’ll be the first to admit I was a little sceptical when they got together, especially as he’s much younger but let me tell you. They are. in. love. It melted my cynical little heart right away watching them dancing together to When a Man Loves a Woman)
- Matt Willis from Busted (and winner of I’m a Celebrity Get me Out of Here when David Gest was on it)
- Chico. Yep. As in, it’s Chico Time.
- Ben from ages old boyband A1
- Leigh Francis (of Avid Merrion and Keith Moon fame)
- Woman from Loose Women but we don’t know her name. The grouchy one. Is it Carol?
- Donny Tourette from punk band the Towers of London (actually he’s not so much a celebrity but I find him hilarious. He went on Celebrity Big Brother and was a right nincompoop and then he was on possibly the funniest episode of Never Mind the Buzzcocks ever when he behaved like such an idiot and Simon Amstell just relentlessy took the mick out of him. It was so so SO funny. And if you wanted to watch a bit of it then go here

I think if I had to pick a word that described the evening it would be RANDOM.

But in a good way.

We came back to my friend’s flat in St John’s Wood, somewhat bemused by the evening’s activities. There was time for a quick chat and then unfortunately it was to bed because I had a train to catch and my friend had to be at work.

The trip was only slightly mired by the fact that I appear to have caught some kind of horrendous cold from someone at work that has an accompanying cough which I’m pretty sure is going to result in the regurgitation of one of my lungs at some point. It also has a little friend with it known as THUMPING HEADACHE which I tried to keep at bay with the mighty paracetemol warrior.

Right I’m off to look for some cough medicine and make myself a badge that says Tube Champion.
Because if I don’t, who the hell will?!

Can’t believe I’ve seen Candi Staton sing You Got The Love.


The Curious Cat said...

Ah! Sounds like you had a wicked time! Lots of celeb spotting and great music! :)

Sorry to hear you have a cold now though - poor you! Get yourself to bed and get warm - lots of fluids!

As for why people rush in London - I think this is why: when you have to spend sometimes up to 3 hours of your day commuting back and forth on the goddamn underground (where it is sweaty, stinky, foul air etc etc) 5 days a week -sometimes 7 if you want to go out at the really don't want to be there for any longer than you have to be. Time is precious in a city where it takes hours to get anywhere...hence the rush...

Also hence why I need to leave here soon for a little while...It gets too much after a while! xxx

PinkCat said...

What a fabulous evening - sounds like it was quite amazing. Sometimes it's nice not to be quite sure what a show will be like a have a complete surprise. I'm disappointed I didn't know it was on - it sounds great!

I'm just down the road from Hammersmith - so appreciate the London Tube scrum. I do like the fact that I can just walk to work now, but miss my reading time and people watching on the Underground!

Have a relaxing weekend and get well soon! x

Diane said...

Wow you tube champion!!! The show sounds very bizarre - I think its just been in Sheffield. I loved your previ9ous post about Hull fair - it looks immense!!!