london (well, hackney) calling…

By amy ~ June 24th, 2012 @ 10:58 pm

Since I’m a couple of days behind, a quick update having just returned home from my third hotel of the week over in the unfamiliar (to me at least) postal district of E1, after spending yesterday evening rounding off my latest trip at the BBC’s Hackney Weekend – woohoo!

For those not aware of the shindig which is winding up as I type up on Hackney Marshes with many more acts of the day I’ve never heard of (and plenty I have, I ought to point out) it’s been a huge free music festival to celebrate, well, everything really – I arrived a little later in the day than most having spent the earlier part catching up with Kinky La Rue (no link nowadays, and for anybody who was wondering, she is doing very nicely indeed) where we took in the Picasso exhibition at the Tate Britain, cackled over lovely tapas at La Tasca and resolved to catch up again soon (my WeightWatchers Plan Manager is looking decidedly sorry for itself all round this week, but more of that later).

Having said my goodbyes at 4-ish, I hotfooted it back to Hotel 2 to grab the suitcase, cabbed across town to another (far less expensive, but very pleasant indeed) hotel (#3) to re-dump it and quickly jumped on the Central Line to Stratford, bottled water and woolly hat safely stashed in the satchel bag and with fingers crossed it wouldn’t rain (it did, but at least it waited until after I’d finished my cheeseburger). And a fine time was had by all!

Definitely worthy of mention would be the 1 Extra stage which was my first port of call after the portaloos, burger stand and Mr Whippy van; on when I arrived was D’banj, known to some as the African Michael Jackson (and far easier on the eye, it has to be said) whose ‘Oliver Twist’ I happily recognised from the radio, and a little later, an extremely talented gentleman whom I cannot say had particularly registered on my radar before but turned out to be a real (and unexpected) highlight which I thoroughly enjoyed, unlike Nicki Minaj, who kept me interested for about three quarters of a song before I got bored and wandered into the new music tent on the off chance, just catching The Vaccines instead (think early Beatles). They were good too, and far more fun than second-on-the-bill Kasabian, whose songs many people would be familiar with but whose stage presence left a fair bit to be desired (we ought to be grateful they condescended to perform for us, I think) and whose appearance was something of a surprise, looking as they did like a Sunday night pool team. I do hope they waited around to see Jay Z.

And speaking of the man himself, I can honestly say I have never enjoyed jumping around in a muddy field wearing ox-blood Doc Martens and a bright blue plastic bag (yes, it did rain enough to justify the poundshop poncho to be employed) quite so much, or at least I didn’t think I had until the encore when not one but two gentlemen took to the stage and before long it transpired that none other than Kanye West had happened to be passing and popped on to do a few numbers as a surprise. Gosh.

Needless to say, a lot more enthusiastic jumping about was done (including by the very fabulous Beyoncé, aka Mrs Jay Z and another favourite of mine, who had put on her wellies and commandeered a spot in the mosh pit so she could join in) before the end when my usual head-down-quick-march was employed to useful effect and my little legs got me back to the shuttle buses, Stratford station and eventually my Liverpool St budget-pod room in comfortably under an hour – just long enough for me to realise that I’d been on my feet for six and my genuine bewilderment that they were starting to throb a bit was probably a little naïve. Since throbbing they still are, hot chocolate and the end of the football are the order of the day for now. Proper write up shortly when I’ve done all the laundry and settled back in, and with sincere apologies to those for whom it’s All Just Noise…To the very tall, immaculately turned out and übercool black gentleman behind me who had nodded along solemnly throughout only to shriek like a little girl when Kanye West appeared (which made me smile once I’d finished doing likewise) it’s definitely more fun not to be too cool, innit?

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