Part 1 of 5
In which Leynos arrives, gets lost, meets the Singing Handyman, sees a play and gets drunk.
Lost in Transition
I stepped out of Leicester Square Underground station, and still slightly dizzy from all the beer drunk on the train, I started to wonder around aimlessly.
Erin, my sister, had said to meet at the All Bar One in Leicester Square. Now, erm... Where is that? Not really sure where I should be going, my wonderings took me down a rather pretty lane, lined with what appeared to be nothing but shops selling collectables. Coins, books, records, stamps, toy cars, you name it. That's something I like about London: the way streets and precincts become devoted to a single branch of commerce. Saville Row for taylors, Tottenham Court Road for electronics, Camden Town for cool gothy shit, etc. it's almost adorable. Streets in Edinburgh never become quite so single minded.
So, as you'd expect, I got a little distracted, which was kind of the idea anyway. Eventually, I found Leicester Square. All Bar One still eluded me however. I wound up sipping a glass of bourbon and ice in a chain pub that might as well have been All Bar One. Given the weather, I'd have preferred to sit outside, but a window seat had to suffice. Erin arrived at five o'clock, and we headed for her flat in Woolwich to ditch luggage.
Just to prove that crazy goings on happen all the time, as we left the Square, Darin-esque crooning lilted through the air. The source soon became apparent in the form of a smiling chap singing from the cab of his dinky toy van into a PA system. Ladies and gentlemen, may we present The Singing Handyman.
Voted small builder of the year no less
At Charing Cross Station, my sister informed my, much to my dismay, that my shiny new Ken Livingstone Card
would be of no use on the overground trains to Woolwich. Drat. Back to bits of paper with magnetic strips.
Tartuffe had been my suggestion, albeit one made without much fore-knowledge. The synopsis sounded agreeable, and I knew that it had run at the Lyceum in Edinburgh with much prominence. I don't actually go to the theatre normally, but seeing a play in London had been recommended by a number of people. As it turns out, the play was running in the Greenwich Theatre rather than the West End. Although that just made the whole thing even more fun. Like shunning the famous pubs to find a cosy tavern in a quiet back lane.
We both enjoyed the show, as we were treated to a masterful comedy of deception. The use of rhyming couplets in the writing worked delightfully to accentuate and mock the characters speaking the lines, and the writing positively dripped with erudite wit. The elabourate setup in the first half paid of spectacularly, as the sly villain got his comeuppance in the end, but not before the dull-witted figurehead of the play nearly saw his world collapse around him. Praise must go not only to the 17th century author, but to the translator of this new version, which connects with the audience and delivers impeccable humour whilst retaining the feel of a play from four centuries past.
End of the night
My sister's boyfriend joined us for drinks in a bizarre establishment in New Cross that purported to be an Irish pub. Before long, two guitarists on stage, the guy on the left looking strangely like on of The Proclaimers, had launched into a set of surprisingly passible pop covers.
I guess that this is the South London equivalent of a piano bar. As the night ran, the place slowly began to fill up, and then people started dancing. Before long, the floor was shaking. My sister suggested, "I bet you didn't think you'd see everyone in here dancing like this." An accurate observation I have to say.