Room 317 and a couple of Asian guys

This weekend was ridiculously busy. On Friday afternoon I came home from work and baked two cheesecakes for a friend. That took a couple of hours and then I needed to pack for the weekend. I was leaving at 7pm to travel to the ExCel Centre in London for a rowing competition where I was looking after some kids for the weekend. I packed all of my stuff up and started on my travels to get to the ExCel centre.

Chocolate cheesecake
New York cheesecake

We got there, signed all the kids in and got them settled down for the night in what is essentially an aircraft hangar – I do not envy them sleeping in that. They were all shouting and screaming and generally making a nuisance of themselves, so we left them to it and made for a bar. We went to one of the hotels nearby and got a couple of drinks. Two drinks cost £19.25 – I was aghast! £19.25?! You must be having a laugh!!! Thank God I wasn’t paying because I probably would have had a heart palpitation at the bar.

Still reeling after the price of the drinks, we headed outside to grab a seat. I spied a table where there which looked like it was taken, but no one was sitting there, so I sat down there, because I am just like that. I like to see what happens when people come together unexpectedly and this is a great way to force an interaction. So, we sit there for a couple of minutes and these two guys head towards the table we are sitting at. They come up to the table and start taking their stuff of the table, at which point I say “OMG is this your table? I am so sorry, please, let us move!”, like I didn’t already know. The guys actually asked if they could sit with us instead and of course I said yes.

Packing light

Meet Mandeep and Suraj. Mandeep and Suraj are a little bit on the merry side and they have just returned from the bar with a glass of Japanese whisky each. We get to talking and it turns out they are good mates who haven’t seen each other in a couple of years and they are here to catch up on old times. They insist on incessantly pointing out that they are Asian, but not at all religious which I find terribly amusing, and point out on a number of occasions that “God doesn’t go here” – whatever that means. We chat about any old thing for a couple of hours, me coming out absolutely side-splittingly hilarious quips and them falling about laughing over my sarcastic tone and dead pan delivery (that’s how I remember it anyway).

Somehow it comes up in conversation that Suraj is here and staying at the hotel because he’s upset his wife. He won’t go into any great detail over exactly what he did (even though I tried my best to force it out of him), but I naturally assume it is something sordid – because a tiff just wouldn’t be interesting. He then starts saying about how he could be out sleeping with other women and getting up to mischief, but instead he is here with one of his mates, having a chilled night at the hotel. This makes me even more sure it has to be something like an affair, because why would you even mention it otherwise? After this, he starts getting a bit cuddly and putting his arm around me, and then the other guy makes his way round to my side of the table and sits next to me. So, I’m the filling to a manwich at the moment, and a manwich that is getting decidedly drunker by the second.

Morning glory?

His mate starts getting a bit on edge and gets up to go, he’d been looking at his phone on and off for a few minutes, so I assume he must have got a better offer. Once him and his mate have had a bit of a spat about him leaving, I ask Suraj what he would be doing this evening if he hadn’t met us, and the following dialogue opened up:

S: snorting cocaine and watching porn in my hotel room.

B: what sort of porn?

S: anything.

B: that’s a bit broad isn’t it?

S: maybe I’m into some freaky stuff, you don’t know I’m not.

B: maybe you are, but I seriously doubt it.

S: I could fuck you until the cows come home, you know that right? I could absolutely fuck you until the cows come home.

B: A charming sentiment indeed, but I don’t eat beef.

At this point my eyes were watering because I was laughing so hard internally. This guy was being deadly serious and it was taking all of my power not to laugh in his face. Myself and my mate (whose name is Nick by the way, I just realised I forgot to mention that) gave one another the eye and we stood to leave. I wasn’t overly keen on being fucked until the “cows came home” by Suraj and neither was Nick I don’t think.

We said our goodbyes and Suraj seemed very keen on coming to watch the rowing comp the next day (as if he actually was) and he wanted to know where he could come and watch (as if he actually did), and promised he would be there the next day (as if he actually would). We said goodbye and hugged it out and Suraj said rather loudly in my ear “my room number is 317, if you want a comfy bed for the night”.

The bed I actually slept in – 317 might have been a shout

Bonnie

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Jazzed for jazz @ Ronnie Scott’s

Jazz, jazz, jazz. I like jazz, not all the time, but a lot of the time. So I was jazzed for it when I was asked if I wanted to go to Ronnie Scott’s to see Mingus Big Band play. Having never been to a jazz club, I was pretty excited, and I had visions of a dimly lit space, frequented by jazz lovers; reclining on seats covered in red velvet.

I had to get the train straight after work, meaning I had to interview a potential candidate at the speed of light to make sure I got out in time. Fortunately we rattled through my set of interview questions pretty quickly, although, I made sure I saved time for my fave question “what would you say is your biggest failure?”… awful, aren’t I?!

As soon as we were done, I legged it out of the interview room, grabbed my rucksack and raced to the car. I drove as fast as was allowable and parked up near the station. Because I’m tight, I refuse to pay for parking, so I parked away from station, meaning a walk up the dreaded hill. I was running a little late by now, so I picked up the pace and started on up the hill. I was really running late now, so my fast walk turned into a bit of a trot and I imagine I looked like a ginger Shetland pony making its way to an evening of jazz.

Legit me

I arrived at the station, grabbed my ticket and raced down the stairs in time to meet the train as it was arriving at the platform. Seated on the train, I thought it wise to make myself look somewhat presentable by putting some makeup on. Due to some recent late nights, I was sporting a bit of a panda look. I got as far as putting on a lick of mascara, before a man in an interesting fleece sat down in front of me, and proceeded to stare intently at me whilst I was coating the lashes of my left eye. That put paid to the application of makeup, so I stared out of the window instead, trying not to catch fleece mans eye.

I get off the train at Tottenham Court Road and begin to wind my way through Soho. Obviously I get lost, because if you don’t get lost in Soho, did you even go to Soho?


Eventually, after walking around in a bit of a circle, I meet Gail, Les & Co. outside Ronnie Scott’s. We go in, and it is EXACTLY how I imagined it. The lighting is low, everything is intimate, with dimly lit corners and the seats are upholstered in red velvet. It’s the best when things are exactly how you imagined them to be.

The classic bathroom selfie

We take our seats on the lower level, right in front of the stage. I quickly nab the seat facing the stage as close to the middle as I can get (sorry, not sorry). We order some food and drinks, and at this point I must mention that the prices are a tad on the high side. I had a cocktail called a Watermelon Man, which, surprise, surprise, had watermelon in. This cost £11 (ouch) and I had the cheapest thing on the menu what wasn’t a burger, which was tofu, at £17.50 (double ouch). I know you need to expect these things to be expensive, but still, £11 for a cocktail is a killer.


Anyway, minor moan over – lets get to the music. It was SO GOOD!! I knew it was going to be good, I had never doubted it was going to be good, and yet I was still surprised at how incredible Mingus Big Band were. And to make a great night even better, the guy on alto sax was pretty easy on the eye. Oh, and he had the BEST facial expressions – I spent more time than I should have done, watching his sarcastically raised eyebrows.

Such a hunnaaaaay

I’m always in awe of anyone that can play a musical instrument (as you may know, I certainly cannot) and I love watching people do something that they so clearly enjoy. I love live music in general, and I will listen to pretty much anything, but listening to these guys (and girl) do their thing, was absolutely incredible. I enjoyed it so, so much and I will definitely be going again as soon as I can.

Take a look at what is coming up here – I might see if I can get tickets to go and see the Blues Explosion! Can’t wait!!


Bonnie

Review: Pink Floyd – THEIR MORTAL REMAINS exhibition 

So this was incredible. Far and away the best exhibition I have ever been to and I would thoroughly recommend you go. It’s at the V&A museum (get off at Knightbridge tube station and walk for a couple of mins) and it’s pretty busy so I’d suggest you book online beforehand and pick a slot. I went for the 11:30 slot and I was a bit late, but fortunately they give a 15 minute window for each time slot to give everyone a chance to queue up and get a headset. 

‘Oh god, a headset!!’ I hear you cry. But don’t worry, it’s not THAT kind of exhibition, it’s not one of those ones where you have to type in the number of the display you are looking at to hear an electronic voice drone on in your ear about a particular 16th century piece changing the face or modernism or something. Everything is automatic; I’m assuming it’s done on sensors or something and when you walk past a display or a screen you hear what there is to be said about it. Coupled with the fact, that there is Pink Floyd in your ear hole pretty much all the way round. 


So let me give you a quick walk through the exhibition. There are crazy painted telephone boxes throughout with all bits of memorabilia in them, there are photos, album covers, videos and props from their shows. The exhibition walks you through the age of Pink Floyd, starting at the first concert and ending with the last. It talks you through the changes in the group and all of the incredible artistry that went into producing their great works. 


In the final room you take your headphones off and you can sit and watch their last creation on big screens with a psychedelic light show. Everyone lays on the floor and looks up at the screens and just enjoys the moment. As it says on the website, it’s an ‘unparalleled audio-visual journey’ and I couldn’t agree more. 

Bonnie