We all spent a terrific evening in Hyde Park at the first of a series of Thursday Night Lives – essentially live versions of the Robert Elms’ radio show with a few extras, all set in the stunning surroundings of the new Hertzog-de Meuron-Ai Wei Wei pavillion in front of the Serpentine Gallery.
As if the surroundings weren’t perfect enough, there was a brief respite from the monsoons that have plagued us daily since the moment the Water companies announced there would be drought conditions at the end of March. It was a classic, beautiful Summer’s night in London, sunny till late, a still wind, warm and slightly humid air. I did feel a drop of water on my forehead at one point but looked up and could see no clouds in the sky whatsoever. It was then that I saw a duck sitting in the pond-as-roof of the pavillion giving me the evil eye and flicking water on my brand new whistle.
My bit on The Stones On Hyde Park 1969 went down rather well, I’d like to think, my only evidence being I was accosted by three people in the interval who had actually been there for the Stones in the park in 1969 who were kind enough to say that my telling of the story was spot-on. I then got to sit back and watch everyone else perform: singers, magicians, Maxwell Hutchinson in a boater, my old schoolmate Wayne Hemingway and Gary Kemp, leader and songwriter for Spandau Ballet who played three classic Spands tunes on what is probably the most beautiful guitar I’ve ever seen. A Gibson J2000. And a very nice arrangement on To Cut A Long Story Short if I may say so, sir.
Predictably of course the biblical rain returned overnight but for a few hours it had been a Summer’s evening and a very fine Summer’s evening at that. Fingers crossed for the next event – with Chas Hodges no less! – on July 19th.