At Redemption, a small group of us did come together and form a plan to meet in London on March 10. And to see Jacqueline Pearce in Aphrodite Blues on that date, and to afterwards enjoy merry companionship at Pages Bar. And Steve R was charged with fulfilling this plan, and it was done.
That Saturday dawned pleasantly mild, a source of relief to me as I wanted to dress glam, not warm. The chosen outfit of black layered upon black was donned, an elegant feathered collar completing the effect, and I caught the train to London.
Upon boarding the tube to Hampstead, I discovered that an 'incident' at my destination had closed that branch of the Northern line. This necessitated a more ad lib approach to transport from Camden Town. An obliging cabbie was able to transport me to Hampstead High Street, where the traffic was so congested that it was deemed expedient to pay the fellow off and walk the remainder of the way. Pausing to buy a disposable camera to replace the more conventional one I had inadvertently left at home, and to phone Steve with reassurances that I wasn't stuck in a tunnel somewhere under North London, I strolled up the hill to the Duke of Hamilton, the venue for our rendezvous. I got several photos of the emergency vehicles outside Hampstead Tube as I passed - it was these that were causing the congestion further down the hill.
Ika and Steve were already at the pub when I arrived, and we had a drink and took some photos while waiting for Paula. She, too, had been delayed by the tube crisis, and arrived just in time for us to move next door to the New End Theatre, where we took front row seats for 'Aphrodite Blues'. Not wishing to give away the plot, I'll simply say that the play was very funny (particularly Act 2), and well suited to those with smutty minds. As in, if you didn't get the jokes, you probably wouldn't have been offended by them. The entire cast gave excellent performances, and JP was stellar. Her character had a rather martial attitude to male-female relations, and many of her lines sounded just like something Servalan would say. The New End Theatre is quite small and steeply raked - patrons sitting further back would have good sightlines to the stage, those in the front row were just about *on* the stage.
After the play we were joined by Diane Gies, two junior Gieses, and the divine Miss Pearce, who came back to the Duke with us for a drink. Jackie was charm personified, posing for photos, signing autographs and chatting away with us until it was time for her to return to the theatre and prepare for the evening performance. Jackie briefly mistook me for Fran, and graciously posed for a photo with me. Fingers crossed it comes out!
At this point, Steve, Paula, and I headed for Leicester Square and a quick meal, then on to Pages Bar where Una and Tavia were already waiting. Rita and John soon arrived, and we quickly fell to chatting, later having to shout over the music, unfortunately not unusual in Pages. There was also plenty to look at, including a very spooky Patrick Stewart doppelganger at the next table.
All things come to an end - in this case, the evening timetable for trains back to Cambridge - so we eventually said our goodbyes and went our various ways, to recover from the excesses of the day. Here's looking forward to the next!
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Last updated on 30th of March 2001.