Sunday 04th December

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The Review that Never Was

| Comedy, Hidden London, Pubs, Special Events, Theatre, Things to do, Venues | 23/06/2014

The writing was on the wall
The writing was on the wall // Photograph by Martin Slidel

Arrived at the Oxford Arms to a review a fringe production. Usual enough. Long day at the office followed by an inspirational exhibition of children’s art that I’d been invited to by a local secondary school. Spent my time and money staying out, traipsing around my old (very old) stomping ground of Camden before time to venture forth.

The house was in the throes of some football or match or other. Couldn’t get in. “I’m press,” I explained, “I have a press ticket.” As if regarding a lunatic, the young blonde responded “Wot! They don’t ’ave press tickets ’ere!” I was instead advised to try the door at the side. I walked to the other entrance and no farther than a disinterested bouncer. He slyly advised a different side door although on further inspection I found a locked-up, bolted-up Beer Garden.

Back where I started. Attempt number four. This was a play in itself. You can guess the genre. Same lass. Same chat. Only, this time I was made to wait behind a readier punter with readies at the ready. Why anyone pays to watch TV at a pub is beyond me. Let alone England. Geez. Though the tribal faddish-laddish-ness of that less-than-beautiful game goes way above my head.

Now, I sensed another game afoot… Despite my lack of shiny nylon attire, did they think I was cheating the fee? It would, after all, be typical behaviour for a nerdy wordy. I canned the can and pulled my beer-belly in. Alas. We never made it beyond “They don’t ’ave press coming ’ere.” Palms (and spirits) emptied in exasperation, I accepted defenceless defeat. Footie 1 – Martin 0. What an end to my day.

I contacted the venue and they advised that if I’d persisted, to reiterate my ‘story’ an essential fifth time, the spell would have lifted. And as if by magic: Open Sesame! That’ll teach me for not accustoming to local customs. It always happens to me. It never happens to me. The review that never was. Don’t ask about the pub, the theatre, least of all the play – which I’m sure is a corker – surely it gets no better than this.

PS Congrats Uruguay.

Let in free at the Drayton Arms, opting out of the widescreen provision

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