Sunday, February 08, 2009

Lunch & Dinner

Friday was a strange day. I started the day really not wanting to play; on the train into work I was contemplating whether to just phone in sick and spend the day messing around in the city. In the end I just took a slow stroll along the riverfront to the office, enjoying a mocha and Danish along the way and got on with it.

The day turned out okay in the end – I got stuff done. Gavin brought in doughnuts which was nice. I took a stroll across the river to organise some Euros for Rosie and then detoured into St Paul’s Cathedral for a peaceful few minutes. By the end of the day I was fairly cheerful again.

Saturday morning I was up late after a good night’s sleep. I was meeting Joe R for lunch in Soho. After our first choice restaurant was unavailable, we headed along to Dean Street to try Steph’s, only to find that it was gone and had been replaced by a place called Prix Fixe. The name didn’t inspire confidence, but the menu looked good – a favourite Polish speciality catching Joe’s eye – so we headed in to eat. My starter wasn’t at all impressive; the crayfish and avocado salad with mango cream, turned out to be a fancy way of saying prawn cocktail, but the rest of our choices were good.

After leaving the UK to travel for a few months, Joe had finally found a job and settled in Paris back in October. He’s finding it a bitter-sweet experience (largely due to his failure until now to make much effort to learn French, I suspect!) but so far the ‘sweet’ is outweighing the ‘bitter’, so no changes are imminent. We spent a while catching up on each other’s lives and then a time contemplating our own mortality – or at least our middle-age. Now that he is settled again – and only a train ride away from London – we will probably have more frequent opportunities for this in future, which is a good thing I’d say.

Having intended only to have the set two-course lunch menu, I caved and ordered dessert too, along with the dessert wine which was delicious. That, plus he waiter bringing us complimentary cognac, meant I was quite jolly by the time we were done so didn’t mind so much that the cost of lunch had ended up closer to the cost of a reasonable dinner out!

I headed home and snoozed for an hour or so before it was time to start getting ready for our evening out.

We had tickets for Spring Awakening at the Lyric Theatre with Rosie & Mikey, the latter arriving (late) from an LGBT Educational Conference draped in a Pride flag signed by Sir Ian McKellen which he wore for the entire evening…

The show itself, “High School Musical meets Bertold Brecht,” didn’t impress me as much as I had expected. Having read only one review and knowing it had won several awards on Broadway, I had been expecting to be blown away – but wasn’t. In the end I think John H summed it up rather nicely in his comment on Brett’s Facebook status; “It's fab if you read the Independent or Telegraph whose ageing critics are desperate to be seen to be hip, but crap if you follow the Standard, Times, FT, Guardian all of whom thought it was average at best. Mostly, it's inaudible or at least indistinct, so you're spared the banality of the lyrics. But the staging is good and those kids from Arts-Ed give it all they've got, some of the boys are comely, and a couple of the choonz are OK.”

I thought the staging was interesting – although I didn’t quite get the need for so much neon in the auditorium. Seating the cast in the audience between their scenes reminded me fondly of our school production of Unman, Wittering and Zigo where, as John Ebony, I was the only character actually on the stage for most of the show, the pupils being sat in the first two rows of the audience.

This morning I had another long, enjoyable lie-in; I didn’t get up until gone 10am. The good intentions I’d had of getting either Ruth or Mikey to sit for a portrait shoot hadn’t come to anything, so the day was spent reading and then doing chores. The reading was self-indulgence but the chores were long overdue.

This evening we had a date with Rod & Jess for dinner at their new place in Wimbledon. It’s a lovely basement flat in an old Rectory with lots of quirky features and lots of space. They’ve only been in it a week, so they were still getting sorted but I think they’ll be very happy there. Jess cooked up a lovely seafood pilaf followed by blackberry cheesecake. There was also some lovely wine which I could only have a few sips of as the designated driver…

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