So, five nights of Well, it’s Woody under our belts, average audiences just over seven, and average, split-two-ways takings, fifteen quid (plus one US dollar). And a few walk-outs, including tonight’s which I liked to think was due to being offended by my rendition of Hamish, the teenage masturbation pome, but may just have been part of this growing trend of seeing forty minutes of a 55-minute Free Fringe show and leaving to avoid making a donation.
Isn’t politeness odd? It feels less rude to leave during a performance than to walk past a starving artist with a collecting bucket and not put anything in. From the receiving end,it feels ruder (just in case you were wondering).
We do it to entertain. If we also get money so we can eat occasionaly, that’s great, but there’s no need for awkwardness or embarrassment just because you’re a tight-fisted bastard.
Anyway, back to my London trip … where were we?
A former member of the now defunct Albemarle Club, one Oscar Wilde, said, ‘only dull people are bright at breakfast’, and despite (or because of) its theme of sodality, the Savile has a ‘no talking at the central breakfast table’ rule. As there was no one else there, I had my fruit and yogurt in silence anyway.
Then I headed off into town. On Jermyn Street I bought a shirt in the Scottish Arts Club colours of pink and blue (despite the heat, I had to wear jacket and tie for my visits, and I sported the Club bow tie at the Reform, see pic) and then a Gatsby from my old favourite hat shop (see pic).
No wonder I had to take an Elsie with Geaorge ‘Beau’ Brummell …
A friend of a friend, who’s a friend on Facebook, works as a volunteer at the Tate, so she got me in free to All Too Human (the body in art, mainly in British art, Sickert, Spencer, Bacon, Freud etc) and Aftermath (art in and just after 1918).
And then I met with my old colleague, John ‘Bonker’ Harries for part two of the gastronomic pilgrimage: the Savoy Grill, for a meal starting with Omelette Arnold Bennett, made for the writer in the 1920s and a permanent fixture on the menu ever since, and a dish I have often cooked for myself since I came to live in the land of smoked fish.
Absolutely delicious, though their modern, starter, take is lighter and smaller than my old-fashioned main course version, which I tend to call Omelette Gordon Bennett because of the mess I make trying to serve it up neatly (which they get round by serving it in the pan). The guinea fowl which followed was equally delicious as was John’s liver (not in the Hannibal Lecter sense f-f-f-f).
Future visits to a bar in Buffalo (chicken wings), a convent in Mexico (molé poblano) and a Piedmontese battlefield (chicken Marengo) will probably remain flights of fancy.
Back in the real world, we then headed out to Tunbridge Wells, where Bonker (now retired) lives. In the evening, we went down the area known as the Pantiles for an evening of outdoor live jazz and to meet Doreen, his lady-love.
Over swing jazz and a pint or two, we discussed the trip he and I were to go on in the next instalment …