I always enjoy visiting London and I’m lucky that when I do I also know a lot of lovely, friendly, funny, engaging people who I can meet (I’m still trying to fathom why they keep agreeing to it, and can only presume that it’s some form of charity outreach program?). The reason for the trip this time was to catch a comedy show organised by one of those lovely, friendly, funny, engaging people I mentioned. More on that later.
First, a confession.
I’ve become increasingly glib about travel. Rather than stress about every detail of the entire trip I have a much more relaxed approached these days, presuming that each leg of the trip will take care of itself. I may need to revisit this attitude.
I booked our room for the weekend, at a new budget range of hotels called Tune, back in November last year. I knew I had the confirmation email so thought nothing of it until Thursday night when I was checking the location of the hotel to figure out the train journey from Heathrow. I do remember, on Thursday night, thinking:
‘Hmmm, that’s a bit further away from the Theatre than I thought… must’ve been a really good deal!’
And so it was that, after an uneventful flight, a quick train ride to Paddington and then a few swipes of our Oyster cards, Kirsty and I wandered out of Lambeth North tube station, crossed the road and went to check-in at a hotel where they knew nothing of my booking. We checked surnames, booking references and, finally, the address of said hotel.
Yes, that’s right, we were in the wrong Tune hotel. The one we wanted was just off Liverpool Street, which was considerably closer to the Theatre than the hotel were standing in. In my defense, the hotel I had booked has only been open for 3 weeks and didn’t show on Google Maps, hence my confusion… that and the fact I’m a knob, of course.
The show we were there to see was called Comedy Sex and was the ‘baby’ of Zoe Margolis who, according to her tweets, finds it very straightforward and relaxing to organise such an event. Or, you know, the opposite to that… regardless, the night was seamless, the acts were brilliantly entertaining and there was a definite ‘here to have fun’ vibe from the audience. It was all in aid of Brook, the UK’s leading sexual health charity for young people, so kudos to Zoe for pulling it all together for charidee (more on the stellar lineup in a moment).
Before the gig we met up with @miketd and his lovely partner @ktd, @jonnyb, @andrewviner, @stevenixon and @jtopper, a few light ales and some food later (in a rather nice pub called The Harrison) and we were on our way to Bloomsbury Theatre where we got to say hi to @lipsticklori and @manda_jones before the show started (more on those two later).
Not knowing many of the acts other than by name, I wasn’t really sure what to expect but Al Murray proved to be an excellent host, keeping the evening moving along nicely. Standout acts for me were Scott Capurro (tears of laughter!) and Helen Arney, but the calibre on display was excellent, not a dud amongst them: Al Murray, Helen Arney, David Baddiel, Mitch Benn, Scott Capurro, Richard Herring, Robin Ince, Shappi Khorsandi, Matt Parker, Jay Rayner, Kate Smurthwaite and Catie Wilkins. Billed as a “one-off” event, I sincerely hope it isn’t!
Post-show drinks in the Phoenix Arts Club (where we also met @encratica and bumped into @mrangry) was a fun way to round out a wonderful evening of filthy laughter in the company of lovely, friendly, funny, and engaging people.
As no member of my family has ever said, Ye cannae whack it!
Knackered and at just the right stage of happy/tipsy Kirsty and I gave up about 1.30am, stumbled out into the cold London air and headed back to the (correct!) hotel.