I’m not a religious man but the Weather Gods or whoever-is-upstairs-controlling-the-weather-although-I-don’t-really-believe-in-that-kind-of-thing must be smiling kindly on Robert Elms and his attempts to recreate his radio in the stunning surroundings of the new Serpentine Pavillion in Hyde Park.
We were in the Park two weeks ago for the first of eight weekly shows and miraculously the biblical rainfall took a 12 hour break and blue sky reigned rather than grey sky rained. Against infinite odds, the same thing happened last night. Any and all squalls over London were redirected by some celestial air traffic controller to be – I assume – pouring themselves over Kent or Hertfordshire or Essex and most definitely not over central London.
There was another interesting and eclectic list of guests: me on first talking about Hyde Park’s free concerts before Jason Solomons with a run-down of the Top Ten London films of all time, a rather clever magician and Asif Kapadia, who directed the film ‘Senna’, which was so good I thought he might survive at the end. As I sat at the back with a (free) beer, I noticed an odd guy standing next to me in a tatty jacket, espadrilles and what was clearly a prosthetic face and a wig. Turned out this was Barry From Watford, a stand up comedian who struggled a bit but was such a likeable character that in the end he went down really well.
Last on was Chas Hodges, fine raconteur and even finer piano player who chatted about his 50 year career as a musician, playing sessions for Joe Meek, Heads Hands and Feet and Chas ‘n’ Dave before finishing the evening off with a terrific knees up at the joanna. Health & Safety may even have been hovering as it was getting close to 10.30 by the time he put his piano down.
There’s another one next week and it’s sold out apparently. Suggs is headlining.