I had a pretty standard week, Rad Spanish, the shelters, some evenings in with N, before escaping work early on Friday to meet up with K and another friend mid-afternoon at Gordon's Wine Bar to celebrate her birthday: N joined us for a bit, then wisely left us to it as we careened off around the Strand and Old Compton Street, picking up a random Mancunian from the Retro Bar on the way, then back to a hotel-room in Southwark to dance around to 90s tunes until the early hours.
We parted ways after some brunch, then I engaged in some productive domesticity before heading down to Leatherhead to watch the Godalming Operatic Society's production of The Grand Duke, one of Gilbert & Sullivan's most rarely performed works. The audience and ambience were much as you may expect but, although the singing by a couple of the men could have been stronger, the production values were actually pretty impressive. On Sunday a bunch of us met up for a tour of the Roman fort gate which it turns out exists locked in what is essentially the back office of a car park next to the Museum of London: it felt like the tour could have had more substance to it but it was definitely worth a fiver to see. I headed on to the pub for our Empire group's pre-season planning meeting then on from there to the shelter in the evening.
With M and C from Book Club, I took advantage of The Royal Court's £10 Mondays again to see Caryl Churchill's Escaped Alone, a shortish piece interspersing four old ladies sitting in a garden and nattering over cups of tea with lurid post-apocalyptic monologues, which was better than it may sound. On Tuesday I was at The Lexington for a consistently impressive line-up of oddball-duo Her's, confident, soulful singer Tom Grennan, chirpy band Motes and finally Yonaka, who I'd come to see, having caught them as support somewhere before: they were thrashier than I remember and no worse for it.
A straightforward and successful cooking session at FNB on Wednesday gave way to an exciting coda as some local chancers tried to extort £150 out of one of my fellow volunteers to return the keys he had lost; I did a lot of standing around guarding his bike in ill-lit New Cross backstreets whilst he went off to tense rendez-vous, but it all ended happily. I checked out the Whitechapel Art Gallery's late-opening Thursday with N, where their little exhibition on the Kindred of the Kibbold Kift captured my attention far more than any of the art, and was gigging again last night with ketchgirl: one-girl-and-guitar Charlotte Carpenter had a good voice but struggled to keep the crowd's attention, an issue that energetic purveyors of Bedfordshire bluegrass, CC Smugglers, did not have any problems with.
This weekend's going to be pretty uneventful: M and I are spending it starting to decorate the hall (the last room that needs doing!), although I mixed it up by going off to work at the shelter this evening.