Sunday, 31 March 2013

Take in Pint and a Performance - Revisited (35/1000)

(#344 in the book)

Back in early February I popped into the Old Red Lion Theatre with @londonfox@chrisnotwell and @DChristie83 as part of our Chinese New Year pub crawl. As we hadn't planned on popping into the @ORLTheatre that day, we weren't able to do what the book requests - have a pint and watch a performance. This means I had to come back to watch a show...

So on Thursday, 28th March 2013, myself along with @londonfox, @chrisnotwell and @DChristie83 went back to the @ORLTheatre to watch "The Play That Goes Wrong".

Now you might remember the inside photo of the pub from my previous entry, there was rugby on so the big screen to project it onto was down, so you weren't able to see the full pub. On Thursday night I was able to take a picture of the pub in its full glory...

So the play...

The doors opened to the theatre at 7.30pm, so off we trotted up the small narrow twisty stairs to the first floor, and handed in the reusable tickets.

The title is pretty self explanatory, this is a play about a play that goes wrong... without giving too much away, it's about a small dramatic society putting on a murder mystery whodunit play - where things don't go quite right both on and off stage.

When you get into the theatre, the seats are in an L shape on a corner, and to get to the furthest side you basically have to walk across the stage. 

This was described as a comedy play. It wasn't funny, it was hilarious. Absolutely hilarious. I must have laughed for a good 85-90% of the play. Real belly laughs where you're actually in pain where your abs hurt so much. By the time I'd left the theatre I had a very sore belly and cheeks!

The actors were so very very good. To be able to pull off some of the miss timings of things takes a lot of skill.

Guys you were amazing.

The show was put on by theatre company Mischief Theatre. They were brilliant and I highly highly recommend seeing them if you get the chance. Sadly we saw this show 2 days before they were about to finish a 3 week run, so you're not going to be able to see them at the @ORLTheatre now. But do keep an eye on them via twitter @mischiefimpro and via their website. I certainly will be and hoping to see more of their shows in the future.

So I am glad to say that I was able to come back and do this entry properly. Have seen two plays here now and both have been very good. Tickets are very reasonable, the ticket for this show was only £15 and not many places you can get a good night out for that kinda money.

If you get the chance, keep an eye out on what shows the @ORLTheatre are putting on (this is their website) and come have yourself a visit. They're based at 418 St John Street, London EC1V 4NJ, which is just a 5 minute walk from Angel tube.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Royal Opera House

The Royal Opera House is in the 1000 Things book and the Under £10 book twice (to do a tour and to see a show for under £15), but this post is not about either of those. I shall be doing them at some point. This post however needs one all on it's own.

A month or so before Christmas, the tube was covered with posters for charity Contact the Elderly.

I've been interested in volunteering for ages now and thought this was a fantastic idea. The basic's of the charity is this - either, once a month you drive an elderly person to a tea party, or host a tea party for them twice a year. As I live on the first floor of a block with no lifts, I applied to be a driver. After getting a couple of references done and having a CRB check completed, I was accepted as a driver and had my first tea party at the beginning of February. Awsome stuff. I'll explain more about this lovely charity at the end of this post.

Last Saturday, 23rd March 2013, the charity was given the opportunity for their elderly members to visit the Royal Opera House to watch the matanee performance of Alice's Adventues in Wonderland by the Royal Ballet. And in order for the elderly guests to get there they needed drivers - cue me :) I have always wanted to come here, so when I was asked if I'd drive, easiest answer I've ever given!

So after picking up our assigned members we drove to the Royal Opera House and arrived at 11am. The lovely Sam who works for the Royal Opera House was there to greet us and take us to a function room - the Conservatory Bar - exclusively for us!

The Conservatory Bar is on the 1st floor of this photo.

When we were all settled down in the Conservatory Bar, the equally lovely Victoria who also works for the Royal Opera House came over to tell us a bit more about the day. We also all got given a free programme and an insert that had only been printed a little while before so we could see exactly who was performing.

We then were inundated with posh sandwiches and cups of tea and coffee... my idea of heaven :)

At about 11.45am, we were extremely lucky and had David Pickering who is a soloist and teacher within the Royal Ballet to come and speak with us. Can I just say that David was due to be in the show we were going to be watching at 12.30pm - cutting it fine! He mentioned such things as a general day in the life of a ballet dancer - holy cow they are extremely dedicated and focused (I don't think I have that amount of love for anything) - a bit about the show and then answered any questions. He was very nice and was very good to be able to get that close to one of the dancers!

David Pickering
Another round of sandwich's down and it was time to go to our seats to get ready for the show.

Holy cow.

What amazing seats we had. BEST (and most expensive!) IN THE HOUSE. It was fabulous! Our seats are usually worth about £100 each at the ballet and £200 at the opera...

My Group - Sheila, Harry, Tania, me and Joyce
Now you know when you're at a posh ballet because they have 2 breaks compared to the usual 1 interval. We had extra special breaks though because we were able to go back to our private reserved area and have more tea/coffee and more importantly CAKES. And lots of them!!

Sadly I forgot to take pictures of the cakes but we had macaroons, mini scones with jam and cream and a delicious, and I mean DELICIOUS, walnut cake. I *may* have had about 8 slices. 

But during the 2nd break, the main interval, we were extremely lucky to have Kevin O'Hare to come and have a chat with us. Kevin just happens to be the Director of the Royal Ballet. The Director. Talking to us. Awesome.

Kevin O'Hare
After the 3rd Act the show was finished and I'll be honest, I was a little upset. It was the best ballet I have seen so far (and I'm lucky enough to say I've seen quite a few). It was just so so so good. Amazing in fact. Absolutely amazing.

As the dancers were taking their bows, I saw some people taking photo's so I thought I'd better get in the act too! So below are a few shots of the cast. Are they called the cast still...? I'm thinking ensemble now... Anywhoo...

The whole cast/ensemble
If you look closely at the 7 of diamonds, that's David Pickering
And that was it. Show over. Sigh.

Due to the nature of why we visited, we let all the rest of the audience go so we could let those who had problems with walking take their time, and then made sure everyone was ready to leave - toilet trips and the like. And when we returned back from the loo, everyone had gone and we got to see a little bit of behind the scenes which we, the public, never usually get to see. So I took a sneaky little shot... I never knew just how deep the stages go back.

What an amazing AMAZING day. Everyone had just a brilliant time and that would not have been able to have been done if it wasn't for the people at the Royal Opera House and those involved at Contact the Elderly. All our elderly guests had a truly memorable day out that I'm sure they will remember for a long time to come. I know I certainly will.

Sam and Victoria from the Royal Opera House were incredibly friendly and a big thank you to them for making us all feel so very welcome. I have wanted to come here for a very very long time, and now I'm unsure I'll ever be able to return. How can I possibly top off this experience? Come back to watch a show right at the very top? Not sure if I can do it... only used to the BEST here!

Now, back to the wonderful charity that is Contact the Elderly. As I described at the top of this entry, the premise of this charity is simple - to take a vulnerable or lonely elderly person (or persons if your car is big enough) to a tea party once a month. Or if you aren't a driver, host a tea party once or twice a year. Simple. A few hours of your time once a month can make such a difference to someone's life.

If you happen to want to volunteer for this lovely charity, have a butchers at their website, tell's you all about how you can volunteer. There are groups up and down the country, so no one is allowed to use that as an excuse! They're also on twitter @contact_teas so why not give them a follow?

Big thanks once again to everyone involved in a very very successful day. Here's to the next one!

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Go Deco! Part 1 (46/1000)

(#368 in the book)

This section of the book is in reference to art deco buildings... there are 10 mentioned in the book in total and the one I went to on Tuesday just gone, 19th March 2013 is the fabulous BBC Broadcasting House.

My trip here was to see a pilot @BBCR4 radio show being recorded called James Acaster's Findings.

As explained in my previous Roundhouse blog entry, when you apply for tickets and you are successful, it doesn't actually mean you will get to see the show. They over issue tickets so that if people don't turn up, there will still be a full audience. 

The doors opened for this show at 6.15pm, and I arrived at exactly that time and joined the end of quite a long queue. Thankfully I was sucessful and was the 162nd person through the door. Yay!

I've previously been here twice before to see two other @BBCR4 radio show's be recorded, Dilemma and The Guns of Adam Riches and they were much easier to get in to. This is because the TV section left at the BBC in London was still at BBC Television Centre over in Wood Lane/White City. This week however BBC Television Centre closed and they moved over to Broadcasting House... so queue added security! So unlike the previous two times where I virtually walked straight in, this time we had to put our coat and bag through security x-ray thingies, and be scanned all over your body with a metal detector.

Once we got all that over with you go and sit in the Media Cafe and wait to be called into the Radio Theatre. As Broadcasting House now has all the people that was left from the Television Centre, they also brought over some new bits to sit and greet you in the cafe...

Time and Relative Dimension iSpace - or TARDIS to us normal peeps
You also get a pretty good view of the new BBC Newsroom (which was also on air, pretty darn cool!).

At about 7.15pm, they start to call people into the Radio Theatre, for a 7.30pm recording time.

To make it fair, you get called in the order that you arrive. So first to go in is 1-50, then 51-100 and so on. I was the 4th lot to go on and this is the view that I had from my seat...

Over all the theatre fits about 300 people I think. I was 162 and I was probably 2/3's of the way back on the seating and there is also a bit upstairs too.

And as this post is about art deco, the pic below is of the lights that go around the theatre and well, they're pretty art deco aren't they?

So the show...

It was @JamesAcaster telling us all about his findings with regards to bread. Yup, you read right, bread. And it was absolutely brilliant!! I laughed so much I can't tell you! @JamesAcaster is a very funny guy and I really want to see him do his normal stand up show. 

James Acaster's Findings goes out on @BBCR4 at 11pm next Tuesday, 26th March 2013. Please please give it a listen. Appreciate it's quite late on, but there is always @BBCiPlayer so no excuses! And if you do enjoy it (which you will!), you need to let the BBC know as then they might let him do an actual series!! 

Again, if you wanna know how to apply to get tickets, go on my Roundhouse blog and stroll straight down to the bottom which tells you all about how to apply. I'm only letting you all stroll straight down to the bottom of that blog as you've all obviously read it... right?

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Who's Feeling Generous?

Ok... so I know this blog is for things to do in my amazing city of London, but I need to go off on a slight tangent for this post.

So my bestest friend in the whole wide world @londonfox is a little bit mental and going to run the Brighton marathon in just over 3 weeks time on Sunday, 14th April 2013.

Let me just reiterate that... she is runing a 26.2 mile marathon. 26.2 MILES.

Route of the Marathon
She is running for Cancer Research and I'm basically on the scrounge on her behalf. We need to raise lots of cash and I am asking you lovely lot if you can help.

There are two ways that you can...

1) Sponsor her online via her JustGiving sponsorship page.


2) Donate some raffle prizes to be raffled off on 6th April 2013.

So who's feeling generous?

I know how tough it is out there money wise at the moment, but if anyone can help at all from either of the above ways she would (as would I and @CR_UK) be incredibly grateful. If you can donate anything, please email me at

Any way we can try and get rid of this terrible disease has got to be tried but that takes money... am sure we have all lost or had someone we know suffer with cancer. Personally I lost a family member to the dreaded disease only last September, and a good friend of mine @firstimehitched is currently on the backend of some pretty intensive treatment. 

Thank you all for reading this and hopefully some of you will be able to help :) Would be grateful for any retweets or if you can share this amongst your circles.


@londonfox and me!

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

BBC Radio 1's Hackney (Big) Weekend

(Not in the books)

Be warned now people... this is going to be a loooooooooooooooong post...

Ok, so remember last summer we had the greatest show on earth come to London? To celebrate that, @BBCR1 and @1Xtra put on their greatest Big Weekend to date. On the weekend of 23/24 June 2012, the Big Weekend came to my little home borough of Hackney. AMAZING!!!

Trying to get a ticket wasn't easy, you first had to register online, upload a photo etc first by a specific date. Then on a separate date you had to try and  actually apply for tickets. As I was living in one of the Olympic host boroughs, we had a large allocation of tickets, so I was really really hopeful that I was going to get one. The time came to try and get a ticket... and the system crashed spectacularly because SO many people were trying to get tickets. This worried me greatly as I feared I wouldn't be able to get a ticket.

Thankfully I did! Yay! Cost me a whopping £2.50 though... usually the big weekends are free but with the size of this weekend (usually it's 20,000 people a day and this time it was 50,000 people a day!!) they had to add a booking fee. And for all the amazing artists that I was going to see, £2.50 wasn't a bad price to pay.

A few weeks later I got this in the post.

As you can see I opted to go for the Sunday rather than the Saturday, as for me the line up was better (and a lot more of the artists were originally from East London). Although the Saturday did have Kasabian, Ed Sheeran, Example, Rizzle Kicks,, Calvin Harris and Swedish House Mafia who I'd love to have seen. But I'd already seen Example and Rizzle Kicks before, and because I only lived about a 2 mile walk away from Hackney Marshes, I was lucky enough to be able to hear both of them from my garden when they were on stage anyway :)

The weather was meant not meant to be all that great, lots of rain along with some sunshine too... the Saturday had had lots of rain too, and as this was being held on marshland, it was time to wear my awesome wellies... and well, it wouldn't be a proper festival if it wasn't all muddy right?

Cool eh? Oh come on, this was all to celebrate the Olympics and I was just starting to support Team GB already! 

So you were advised to get there early as there was so many people to turn up. So I got there at 10.30am expecting it to take up to an hour to get through security - which is what we were told to expect.

10 minutes later I was in.

Hmm... now with the first music act not coming on stage until mid-day, I had quite a while to wait. So of course I went a grabbed myself a beer and had a wonder around the massive site.

There were 6 stages in all...

DJ Stage
Dance Arena
1Xtra Stage
BBC Introducing Stage
In New Music We Trust Stage
And finally... the Main Stage
To get an idea of just how big these tents are, the photo's below are of them fairly empty... 

Now imagine them full with people... awesome :)

While wondering around, I brought myself for all intents and purposes a programme. Not a paper one but a lanyard. Now, it was about £7 I think, but was so useful as it told you what times things were on and you could clearly see if the artists you wanted to see were going to clash.

Now I had this I was able to see when the acts I wanted to see were on stage, and fingers crossed they weren't going to clash with each other. Sadly there was a couple of acts  I wasn't going to be able to see, but in the majority I was going to get to see all everyone I wanted to. EXCELLENT! Some acts started and finished at the same time, so some I had to cut short, but at least I'd still get to see them.

Soon enough it was almost mid-day so I wandered over to the DJ stage to watch the legend that is Tim Westwood in action.

Tim was on until 12.45 but over in the In New Music We Trust stage, Bombay Bicycle Club were due on at 12.45 so off I went about 12.35 to go have a listen to them on the other side of the area.

I'll be honest, don't know all that much stuff from them, but what I had heard on the radio I'd liked. They were pretty good. They also saved me from the downpour that happened while they were on stage... some serious rain!

I couldn't stay for their whole set, because at 1.15pm (when they were due to finish) the first act was due on the main stage. So off I trundled in the puddles and mud... go watch local Hackney lad Professor Green!

Pro Green was brilliant. I really really really enjoyed his set. And although it rained for the majority of the set, that didn't dampen anyone's spirits. There is a video below, but apologies for the poor quality of sound. It was so loud that the microphone on my camera couldn't handle it.

Once Pro Green had finished his set, I had half an hour to waste until the next act I wanted to see was on stage. So off I went to the DJ Stage again as there was a sound off between Vernon Kay and Charlie Sloth.

Nothing quite like having a rave up in the early afternoon in the middle of a field :)

About 2.10pm, I headed back over to the main stage as at 2.20pm one of the main acts I'd come to see was due on stage. The awesome Plan B.

Plan B came on stage and there were technically issues. Boo! It had been (and still was) pouring with rain so I'm thinking that was a lot to do with it. However, luckily for us, Plan B has a resident beatboxer, Faith SFX so while they were trying to sort out all the technical stuff, he was our entertainment - who needs other stuff when your voice is all you need. He was very good.

Finally everything was sorted out and Plan B was about to come back on stage and do his thing. The first half of his act was from album, The Defamation of Strickland Banks.

And the second half was from Ill Manors.

Plan B was just immense. I enjoyed his set so SO much. Especially when he did the song Ill Manors, the whole crowd went absolutely mental. 

The video below is a official BBC montage of Pro Green and Plan B  much better quality than my vid's sadly :( It also has people like Jessie J on it, so you can just skip past that rubbish.

I wanted to see Sub Focus next, but they weren't on until 3.45pm so I had a little time to kill. Maverick Sabre was going to be on the 1xtra stage at 3.35pm so I wandered over there. He's not my first choice of artist I must be honest, but he was born in Hackney so I felt obliged to go! 

He wasn't bad, but I left after a song or two as I wanted to get my rave on to Sub Focus in the INMWT tent. I can't even remember how I got to find out about Sub Focus, but I'd known about them for a good 18 months or so before the big weekend. Rave was on and this really got me in the mood for my final act of the night.

All sorts of ages enjoy a bit of dance :)

Up next for me at 4.40pm was Tinie Tempah on the main stage, who I was really looking forward to seeing.

Some people weren't so sure about him when he first came about with Pass Out but I was there from the beginning. And I'm glad to say he didn't disappoint me :)

Two of my favorite tracks that he has done is Miami to Ibiza with the Swedish House Mafia and Pass Out (as mentioned above). Have got a couple of clips that I took of both these songs below. Again, apologies that the sound isn't that fantastic on them - but you more than get the idea of what a great time we all had!

Miami to Ibiza
Pass Out

Well done Tinie Tempah - you totally rocked it!

He finished his set at 5.20pm, and there wasn't anyone I was interested in until 6.05pm when Florence and her machine were due on the main stage. I did pop along to see Lana Del Ray for a whole 5 mins or so, but she was pretty pants so I went and sat in the sunshine for a while.

Soon it was time for Florence to come on stage, so after my spot of sunbathing I took myself back over to the main stage.

I'll be honest, although I like a few of her songs, I wasn't sure if she was going to really be my cup of tea, as she's well, as nutty as a fruitcake.

How wrong was I. Ok, so she is definitely nutty as a fruitcake, but boy can she sing and she has this amazing stage presence.

I do think she thinks she's some sort of fairy... which there is nothing wrong with! I'm not farist (that's a word right?) or anything like that. She was just truly incredible and I loved her whole set. Below are a couple of clips I took... you know the score - bad sound, but awesome atmosphere!

Shake It Up
You've Got The Love
Dog Days

Dog Day's is my absolute favorite Florence song, and she belted it out. Great show.

If you wanna have a look at her set properly and not my rubbish filming, have a butchers at the YouTube clip below from the BBC.

She finished at 6.50pm and I had fair bit of time ahead of me. There was a "Surprise Guest" on at 7.30pm at the main stage, so I had half an hour or so to kill. So I went off exploring for (what felt like) the 100th time. Did come across some sights though...

This was by far my favourite one... guess this dude felt it was easier to walk barefoot in the mud rather than try walking in shoes... unless he didn't have shoes to begin with... Hmm... I think he lost a bet personally! He was either very clever or very stupid to walk in it barefooted!

Anyhoo, about 7.15pm-ish I wondered over to the main stage to find out who the special guest was gonna be. And it was...

Now initially I was really excited to see him, but you know what? He was quite disappointing for me. I think I expected a lot more from him and he didn't deliver it for me. Although gladly everyone else seemed to be enjoying him.

After 15 mins or so I left all the people above to Dizzee and I took myself off to the INMWT stage to get ready for my favourite act of the whole day due on stage at 8pm - Chase and Status!

I'd seen Chase and Status at the @RoundhouseLDN before, so I knew what to expect and I'm so glad they didn't let me down. I had an hour of getting my rave on majorly and loved every second of it!! As did everyone else in the tent.

And this was the only act that I saw all day to have a mosh pit... which I avoided at all costs! :)

Chase and Status were everybit as fatastic as they were at the @RoundhouseLDN. And having so many people there too made the experience all the better. The clip below has the worst sound of all of the clips I've added on here, but the atmosphere was just the best as the clip will show.

Let You Go

And for those of you who'd actually like to hear and see them properly, here's another BBC YouTube clip (which is only marginally better than mine! :p) of the whole set.

Chase and Status - legends.

Sadly they finished at 9pm. Rihanna was on the main stage from 9pm, but I decided to catch the last 10 mins of David Guetta in the Dance tent.

Ideally I'd have liked to have seen a lot more of him, but with Chase and Status on stage at the same time as him I only got to see the end. Although if I'd known before that Dizzee would have been such a let down, I would have gone see the beginning of David Guetta's set. Bad judgement call from me on that one.

What I did see of him though I enjoyed. Bet he's relieved about that!

Rihanna really isn't my idea of a good artist, but I couldn't not go and have a look at her set before I went home. Although she isn't for me, she is one of the biggest artists in the world and she was in my little borough! So off I trotted to the main stage for the last time...

She had quite the set with some Egyptian Spinx... as you do.

And I did get to hear her do the only song of her's I really like - Where Have You Been. So that was quietly cool... but sssssh don't tell anyone!

Where Have You Been

I left not long after. Apparently Jay-Z came on stage with her, but to be honest, I wasn't at all bothered. As I was walking home, I could hear them singing anyway.

So there you have it... my experience at the @BBCR1, @1Xtra and BBC 3 Hackney Weekend. Something that will never ever be repeated and I got to go. Such a very lucky girl I was. Was truly one of the best days of my life, but left me totally knackered at the end of it!!

I know I'm soooooooooooo late to the party with this, but a massive thank you to everyone at the BBC and Hackney Council for putting this awesome weekend on in my wonderful little home borough of Hackney. We showed the rest of the UK that Hackney (and East London in general) is actually a very awesome place to be from - not that I didn't know that already. Am proud to be from Hackney and always will be.

Hackney, I heart you.