As well as the very commercial pop acts that sweep through the uk on tour that are regular chart toppers, there are also just as successful, legends that quietly pass through doing their shows that you’d only know about and attend if 1-you really know your music. 2- you want a night with fellow hard-core music lovers. So imagine how excited I was when leaving the 02 arena a few weeks ago and being handed a flyer promoting the ‘’QUEENS OF AMERICAN SOUL’’ -Gwen McCrae (All this love that I’m giving) , The Jones Girls (Nights over Egypt) , and Jean Carne (Don’t let it go to your head) all in the same show! The one person I knew who would know and be excited alongside me was friend and colleague Trevor Nelson who expressed delight too. The night was the most fun, old skool classics were sung amongst a beautiful crowd and all was good in the world of real soul music. Watching the oldies kick back, sing and dance with their two-step was sweet and made me yearn for yesteryear where men and women two-stepped with each other all night.
My once-upon-a-time fellow ballet student and teacher Gavin roebuck invited me to see the Mikhailovsky Ballet (from St Petersburg. Russia) at the stunning Coliseum theatre in Covent Garden where I attended the opening night of the great classic ‘’Swan Lake’’ alongside Hugh Grant and Cilla Black! It was my first time seeing a bonafide Prima Ballerina (the young diva Polina Semionova) perform live since my dancing days years ago when I used to practically stalk ballerina Darcy Bussell . Polina was breath takingly beautiful and divine. The evening was magical and a much-needed refreshing bit of cultural entertainment that had us enraptured from the moment the live orchestra struck up their first note. There is something so traditionally quaint and classic about attending the ballet. If you love great live music that will touch your soul and admire the elegant lines, technical skill and beauty of the dancer then a night at the ballet every now and then is a great thing to share with a loved one.
The much anticipated Nas and Damian Marley concert finally took place at Hammersmith Apollo which was packed to the rooftops with a mix of hardcore hip-hop aficionados for Nas and weed smoking rasta heads who rocked up for Damian son of the almighty Bob. The anticipation for the concert had reached fever pitch by the time I rocked up to the HMV Hammersmith Apollo. It was packed to the rafters!!
With a line up like this you know it wasn’t going to be just any UK support act who had paid to get on the bill. Kicking off proceedings were Ty and rebel Akala with their positively progressive hip-hop stance. Things just got hotter as sound clash master David Rodigan selected some classics! Next up DJ Green Lantern took to the wheels of steel. It felt like a blues as the herb smoke rose and the crowd swayed, putting their lighters in the air and did I mention it felt like 100 degrees in there. ‘As We Enter’ blasted out and the flagman was in full swing with the Lion of Judah; there was a roar from the audience as The Distant Relatives emerged. The magic in the air was electric. What followed were two brothers so naturally interconnected in sprit, you saw them lean on each other and laugh, throwing meaningful looks between them as they weaved between solo performances and collaborations. Nas’ ‘You Can Hate Me Now’, ‘Made You Look’ and Damien’s ‘Jamrock’ brought the house down. ‘Road to Zion’ and ‘War’ showed them ease between verses. We went back stage (where everyone on our scene seemed to be) and watched from the side of stage. Damien stood opposite me had locks that reached his ankles and his proud stance felt regal while Nas retained his crown as rap’s favourite son. They mashed up the dance with the multicultural crowd jumping, dancing and singing every word. This was the gig of 2010 and the fusion of these two giants proves positivity in music rules!
I ended the week at the annual Windsor Cartier international polo day at Windsor Great Park where the England team were playing new Zealand. This is a very long and fabulous day where women spend days in preparation preening themselves with hair and make up artists at their beck and call and spent thousands of daddies money on a sexy frock to strut amongst their peers and get trollyed out of their minds by 3pm. The day begins with a champagne breakfast at the open bar area where still hung-over from the previous night Henrietta’s and Sebastian’s all chortle and toast their spectacularly wonderful lives. At 11am the first match begins after which is a 4-course lunch in the grounds of the tres exclusive china white tent. Post lunch there was yet another match by which time the grounds are packed with jewel coloured frocks of every assortment and men in typical Ralph Lauren meets puff daddy attire. I managed to drown a pint of Pimms in the heat and then watched enraptured as riders thundered along the pitch , one strong arm controlling the speedy horses, whilst the other swung the stick to whack the ball into the goals. The excitement and danger of the game makes it extremely sexy to watch and that coupled with alcohol made this upper classed crowd extremely frisky!. At 6pm the party begins and for a furiously noisy 5 hours the guests get through 50,000 bottles of champagne, shots and goodness knows what else. I of course found myself in the vip amongst the music heads like Wileys manager John Woolf and record label head Clive Black as we caught up and giggled at the madness surrounding us. I spotted a couple of England footballers, a lot of young lords and ladies and a lot of chancers who were hoping to bag themselves a rich partner. Thank goodness DJ Sam Young played the first part of the party with great music or Pete Tongs main dance music set would’ve finished me off!. It occurred to me as I left that unlike the festival scene which had now been taken over by our urban music strong hold, the Polo arena is ripe for the picking and having the occasional NERD or Dizzee performing to this crowd would be a good new untapped venture.