20 hours in London


Yesterday I headed to London to see a live show of the popular podcast “The Complete Guide to Everything”.  If you don’t listen to the show (like most I know!), you won’t get the excitement, but I was very keen to see these guys in the flesh, after listening to them every week for over a year.

After a featured period on iTunes UK, the guys suddenly became very popular in the UK, and had their first “meet up” with UK fans in October 2010.  Then last year, they performed their first “live podcast” shows in New York and London, which sold out. So they came over to do it again.  Tuesday night they were in Manchester, then they had two nights of shows in London. I attended night one only, purely because the first gig they announced was London on the 12th, then after that sold out, added the show on the 11th. I planned my trip around that show before Manchester was announced (which is closer and easier, but oh well!) and if I’d realised I could have had Friday off as well (which I now do!) I would have gone to both London shows, as they ended up releasing more tickets for tonight! Ah well.

So that’s how I ended up spending just 20 hours in London.

Yesterday I planned out my morning to get the airport bus from near my place to the train station, and left with loads of time. I had laid out my train reservation, accommodation details and had packed everything I needed. Except my TICKET to TCGTE!   I remembered in a cold panic on the bus by the zoo, and had to get off, call a cab, get it to take me home then to the station. He was an amazing cabbie, though, and got me there with a few minutes to spare to pick up my tickets and board the train. £17, though!

Laptop ready to go
Leaving Newcastle
Coloured field and clouds

I had a pleasant journey, running to time of 4 hours 45.  Once I got into Kings Cross it was a very simple hop onto the Victoria line south 2 stops to Warren St, then a 5 minute walk to my accomodation, which was on the beautiful Fitzroy Square in Soho.

It was a lovely night with just a soft breeze so I headed out to Itsu, which was supposed to be a superhealthy Japanese place.  Unfortunately all of their hot pots had mushrooms (and annoyingly couldn’t be prepared without it…) so I ended up with an amazing salmon sushi set..:

On my walk back I was really amused to see how bundled up the Londoners were (as they were today as well) – so many layers. It was 12C! I was very happy, after last week’s snow.

After getting ready using the awesome No. 7 lighted makeup mirror (see left, I want one!), I headed out at around 6:45, back to Kings Cross then over to Kings Place, the theatre for the show.  And here is where my latest bout of self-confidence really helped: I approached two random young guys at the bar who looked a bit lost, and asked them if they were there to see the show. Luckily they were, so they joined me for a few drinks.  They were from Reading, a half-hour train away, and one was a fan, the other just along for the ride.

Show time!

At 8pm, we were seated and ready for the show.  It was great, like watching two friends talk shit on stage and full of old, inside gags and fun.

At one stage, Tom was doing the Tim & Tom Solve Your Problems segment with a guy named Neil, who’d been sitting right in front of me. It was quite fun having part of the show right next to me!

It was also kinda fun to see Tom up close. Little did I know, I didn’t have to try hard to do that..

After the show, we headed back to the bar, and not too long afterwards, the guys came in. After they’d been chatting to others for a while and had a free moment, I went up to say hello. I started by telling them how far I’d come to see them, which they were impressed by (Tim: “You’re crazy”.  Tom: “5 hours is how long I travelled!”) and then mentioned that I was the one who had written their drinking game.  After which the following conversation happened:

Tim: What?
Tom: Wait. Wait. What’s your name?
Me: Kat!
Tim: Oh yeah!
Tom: Oh we love you! You’re awesome!
Tim: Yeah, that was amazing! And you’re always tweeting such hilarious stuff at us!

After which my brain imploded. And I died. Post over.  No wait.

We chatted the rest of the night, on and off, with them circling the bar chatting to lots of fans. Occasionally one of the staff would hang around, and Tom would be like, “Oh hey, by the way, this is Kat. She’s awesome.”  It was so surreal. Sure, these guys are random internet quasi-celebrities, but their podcasts have been a big deal to me, and a huge source of entertainment and laughter in shitty times.  Their voices are distinctive in my mind, and standing in the bar talking to them after so long, and having them think I was awesome and worth introducing was really brilliant.

They also obliged me by taking a photo:

So all in all, it was a really fun night and well worth the trip.  We continued drinking until around midnight when the bar kicked us out (venue closing), and I headed back to my room.  Buzzing from the evening, I slept about 1:30.

The next morning I had plans to visit the London Jewish Museum, and have a wander through Camden Markets. I left the flat at 9ish and grabbed some breakfast before getting the tube to Camden Town. It was only 9:40, so things were just starting to open up. I got some cheap sunglasses at a stall, then headed to find the museum.  I arrived at 9:55am, so walked around the block a little, where the blossoms were out in full force:

Albert Street has these great knobbly trees that remind me a bit of Levin, New Zealand (a pass-through-only town). I was happy to sit and wait for opening in the sun.
After planning an hour or so at the museum, I spent nearly two.  The history parts were great, the festival section had some amazing pieces in it (including a ridiculously-beautiful ark from the Venice ghetto), and I spent some time in the Holocaust section, which chronicled the life of Leon, one survivor of Auschwitz, whose wife and young son were gassed and after he was liberated from the camp, he spent the next 60 years of his life making sure everyone knew his story and what had happened during the Shoah.  He never remarried, and he had an amazing vibrant personality.  The video interview with him was incredible, and I held it together until he pushed up his sleeve to show the camera his wrinkled and faded but still very visible tattoo: his number. 98828. What a man, what a story.
After that I was pleased to get upstairs to the photography exhibition by Judah Passow. Called No Place Like Home, it had captured “moments” of Jewish life in Britain, and it was just truly astounding. When the book is released, I will definitely get it.  It’s there until June 5th, and I strongly urge any visitors to London to go.
In the gift shop I purchased this wonderful bag:
Can’t wait to take it shopping!
After I left the museum, I had just enough time to go back to Soho, get my bag, get accosted with a pro-life pamphlet outside a women’s centre (see below!) and get back on the tube to Kings Cross.
Oh, this was my room, and one of the pieces of art! The gay couple I was staying with had loads of brilliant pieces.
And then it was back on the train, and back to Edinburgh.
But what a trip! what fun. I’ll be back in September, probably staying at the same place (Airbnb = awesome).

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