Okay, so this post is late. Like, very late. Like, approximately three weeks late. But it’s not like I could let a genuine once in a lifetime opportunity pass by without a blog post, so you’ll all just have to deal with it.
I would like, if I may, to take you on a journey into the past. Let’s take it back three weeks.
*Time travel arms and sci-fi music*
So. We’ve had a pretty big development in Fionaland. I moved to London. Hooray!
And my lovely, lovely dad drove all of my stuff down to London. He and the little sister dropped the boxes at my flat and we headed into town for a date with a very special lady…
But before we could head for our final destination, there were a few very important things to be taken care of. Namely, eating and drinking ourselves into an early grave. We headed for Bill’s in Soho, where we took up residence for a couple of hours.
Firstly, and most importantly, I’d like to shake the hand of whoever thought of putting leek in macaroni cheese. Assuming that it was Bill, I take my hat off to you, sir. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Bill’s juxtaposes bright, rainbow coloured tin with rustic scrubbed wood, squishy armchairs and opulent chandeliers. It basically feels like the coolest, cosiest family-run restaurant you’ve ever been to. We settled in with a round of Hedgerow Fizzes, featuring prosecco, elderflower cordial and frozen blackberries. And then we had another round. And then another for good measure. Then we reasoned that maybe we should slow down if we didn’t want a repeat of the antics from Sophie’s birthday. So we decided to overindulge in food instead. Sophie and I both went for the macaroni cheese with leek and asparagus, and enormous cups of chips. Dad went for a pie that I’m pretty sure took him to another plane of existence. After those enormous portions, there was no way we were managing a dess…wait, pecan pie on the menu? Down it goes.
Absolutely stuffed and in desperate need of a lie down, we decided to go check into our hotel. The Doubletree Hotel at the Tower of London boasts the kind of understated luxury that I’ve come to recognise as standard for Hilton hotels. Dad went to the desk to check us in, and Sophie and I decided to nosy around the lobby. There were about four books tastefully decorating the shelves, and I was very excited to note the significance of one in particular.
After lying down and making star shapes for a while, we headed up to the very top of the hotel to check out one of my dads favourite London haunts, the rooftop bar. With breathtaking views of Tower Bridge and the Shard, and umbrellas fitted with patio heaters, I could have stayed there for hours.
Yes we did steal my dad’s iPad and upload this photo to his Facebook. Muahahahaha.
A quick lipstick reapplication and we were ready to hit the town again. This time, we headed for Mark’s Bar in Soho, the edgy cocktail bar underneath Hix restaurant. Enormous leather sofas, bar billiards tables and verging-on-dangerously-low-lighting set the tone for this seriously cool bar. The cocktail menu is as baffling as it is fabulous and more than once, we had to call over a bartender to explain an ingredient to us.
My cocktail had smoke as an ingredient. Like, actual smoke. We also indulged in a little trio of bar snacks, which stubbornly refused to be photographed, but which included chips and curry sauce, slabs of pork crackling and chicken popcorn, which turned out to be actual chicken flavoured popcorn. Wild. I could try and explain this place to you, but I’ll never do it justice, so just go. The staff are ridiculously nice, and get genuinely excited when they have to explain the cocktails to you, unlike a lot of places that would immediately write you off as a philistine and refuse to serve you.
After the cocktails, it was finally, FINALLY time for the main event. For tonight, me and dad were scheduled to spend three hours listening to the unrivalled, incomparable Kate Bush.
I know. Touch me.
This was probably the first gig I’ve ever been to where the ticket touts outside were frantically trying to get hold of tickets, rather than get rid of them. We muscled our way through the crowd, which apparently included Kylie Minogue and, wait for it, Mel from the Great British Bakeoff, to take our seats in the gallery.
The curtain rose, the lady herself took to the stage, and so began three of the most bizarre and spellbinding hours I’ve ever spent in my life. The show is primarily made up of two separate performance pieces, the Ninth Wave and a Sky of Honey. I absolutely adored the Ninth Wave, the maudlin tale of a woman drifting in the ocean after her ship sinks, unsure whether she’s going to survive the night. Having read my programme from cover to cover, I have since learned that Kate got hypothermia filming the video sections of the piece, after spending seven straight hours in a water tank. That is commitment, people. Probably also insanity, but what’s genius without a little insanity? I don’t want to say too much about the show itself, because I don’t want to spoil it for people who have yet to see it. If you have yet to see it, you’re in for a treat, you lucky, lucky thing. No one commands a stage like Kate does. Her voice has deepened and enrichened (that’s not even a word, but I’m going to leave it there) with age, and now forms a seriously powerful instrument. Even the old, familiar songs sounded different to me. It was an absolutely amazing show, and I feel genuinely privileged to have seen such an absolute master perform. Actual once in a lifetime opportunities don’t come along all that often, and I can safely say that this is one I will remember forever.