I was walking between the two main Framestore offices to pick up my bike at the end of the day and could hear lively brass band music. I turned the corner into Noel Street to find a large group of people with cans of beer following this band around.
It turns out that they are the Hackney Colliery Band who I had heard several times on The Craig Charles Funk and Soul Show (which I highly recommend) on 6 Music. They were launching their album, which came out today, by playing a gig at Phonica Records on Poland Street. I bought the album on the spot and have been listening to it all evening.
I know this kind of stuff happens in other cities too but I seem to stumble upon them more in London.
Leicester Square is famous for hosting red carpet movie premieres with the stars but it also hosts screenings for less famous members of the crew. Admittedly our screenings are usually early on a Sunday morning before most people are up but they are often several weeks before the actual premiere. The glossy invites and a trip to Leicester Square add a little glamour to our job and feels like a little reward after months of hard work.
I know we already mentioned shows previously but I wanted to give a specific shout out to the little gang of theatregoers we joined forces with a few months ago. Overwhelmed by the number of plays we wanted to see but feeling too busy to get down to arranging anything, our friend Tom suggested a few of us form a Google group to get ourselves along to the theatre in a more organised fashion. So me, Con, Tom, Petra, Ben, Steph, Matt, Irene and any other comers all meet in the pub, suggest things to see, take turns organising ourselves online and booking for the group and it’s worked brilliantly. It means we’ve seen some great plays and managed to book some really sought after tickets way in advance, like the amazing Kevin Spacey in Richard III at The Old Vic, which we saw on only its second night last week. And just for the record, I’ll also be missing the generous Mr Spacey and his seemingly boundless personal support for London theatre. Top bloke.
Moving to London from Brussels, leaving behind Belgium’s delicious bière, frites and service à table was a difficult wrench. Luckily, the Lowlander Grand Café on Drury Lane has been a brilliant substitute for me for the last four years. It’s the kind of place where somehow you always manage to find a table no matter how busy it is, where you turn up for one drink and stay all day, where inevitably you end up spending far too much money working your way through the extensive Belgian beer menu and soaking it up with good hearty food. Here’s hoping they do Belgian beer in Canada – and just because I love the place so much, here’s a picture of what I’ll be missing:
It might be touristy and expensive but I like Covent Garden with its boutique shops and grand piazza.
The Eurostar has played a big part in the last six years of my life. I used it almost every two weeks for two years when I was coming back from Belgium to visit Con during my stint at the EU. I even slept in Waterloo station once when I missed the last Eurostar home. Since we moved to London and the Eurostar moved to St Pancras, it has been my lifeline to the friends I left behind in Brussels and I travel back to see them every few months whenever I can. When we leave London, I’m going to miss being able to hop across the channel whenever I feel like it and I’m going to sorely miss being able to see some of my best friends so easily and so often.
Not only is St Pancras one of the grandest buildings in London, both inside and out, it is also pretty cool being able to jump on a train to Brussels or Paris after work on a Friday.