When I first started at Porter Novelli towers, my new work mates, being generally nice, took me out for a few get-to-know-you drinks. As my new line manager handed over a pint of cider he said something along the lines of “Well soon have to get you out of that habit and onto drinking lager”.
Which is not an unusual reaction, most people think it’s a tad weird if you’re still drinking pints of apples after you’ve left university. If I had a quid for every time someone told me about the time they got sooooooo drunk on cider when they were a teenager and haven’t been able to touch the stuff since, well I’d have about £150 and then some. So I must admit I did feel rather smug/ahead of the curve/vindicated when Magners hit England a couple of years ago and it became trendy to drink cider. I also felt happy because it’s rather nice. Traditionally your average cider drinker has had cock-all choice, most pubs have one brand on draft, usually strongbow, and perhaps a few bottled choices. The former is a tad too dry for my taste, and the bottles can be a bit bland, plus I didn’t escape my youth completely unscathed by over-indulging and I have a slight aversion to the bottled stuff. Magner’s however is pretty spot on, plus I like crunching ice.
I must admit I was less enthralled with its pear cider, but this is mainly down to being an unremitting pedant, there is no such thing as pear cider. Cider is made from apples and perry is made from pears. This is something I pointed out when @magnersuk started following me on Twitter, and which it kindly said it would get back to me about. It hasn’t (nudge, nudge) but it did get in touch and ask if I fancied VIP tickets to the Grace Jones gig at Somerset house last Thursday. Admittedly I’m not a massive fan of Ms Jones, but I love live music, in particular outdoor concerts, and freebies. So I said yes and duly got told to pitch up and utter the magic phrase of ‘I’m on the guest list’.
So last Thursday found me and a mate trying to find the back of Somerset house, after flashing ID at the nice man we were tagged, told that the main set started at 9.15 and pointed in the direction of the VIP bar. As could be expected we missed the support act, if there was one, we were told that there was one but well, it had been a long day and it was so nice to be able to sit outside in London and have a couple of cheeky ones. After a the cheeky ones and at the allotted time we wandered through the courtyard and saw… nowt.
Well actually I saw Alan Carr hanging around the merch stand but there was no sign of Grace Jones until about 9.45, when she finally kicked off with…I wish I could tell you what with, but there’s a reason why I’m not a music journalist, and to be honest I was rather distracted by the foot high Mohican she was wearing. Fortunately she discarded that for the second song, a rather fine rendition of Demolition Man, and that set the tone for the rest of the night. She changed headgear in between every number, keeping the crowd entertained with a string of comments about the change and encouraging her helper. It was a short set, over just after 11 and featured a gem of a rendition of ‘vie en rose’ but the best was the encore. During a rousing rendition of ‘Pull up to the Bumper’, Jones got a group of people up to the stage and was promptly out-danced by some lanky bloke who was very reluctant to give up the pole Jones had been using for the rest of the evening.
However this was all topped by the penultimate number, ‘Slave to the Rhythm’, now wearing a golden leopard mask, Jones took centre stage with a pink hula-hoop slung casually over one-shoulder. She then asked the crowd to excuse her as she genteelly emptied both nostrils, explaining that it proved she was singing well. Once the nostrils were suitably empty, she went on to hula hoop throughout the entirety of the song and lengthy introduction to the band. I’m still not quite sure what I find more impressive.
All in all a throughly entertaining night out – so ta Magners