Friday, September 11, 2009

Prince’s Trust Concert Day

Time seemed to pass so quickly and, finally, the day that we have all been waiting for has arrived. Wednesday, September 9, Mark Knopfler performing in the Hurlingham Club – a charity concert for the Prince’s Trust.

Shortly after 12:30pm, I met with Jeroen Gerrits came from The Netherlands for the show. It was great meeting with him, as always; we proceeded to the Trafalgar Square area, catching up with what’s been going on recently. Few groceries from a nearby Pret-A-Monger and we were sitting at the Square, chewing and talking, not necessarily in that order.

I was also expecting a shout from Daria. Daria is an extremely nice & pretty Italian woman whom I got to know last year; she was following my KTGC blog and we kept in touch over e-mail ever since – and today we were going to meet for the first time. Finally, after a couple of hours involving following the wrong directions to her hotel (the so-called “Warwick Rd. vs. Warwick Ave. incident”), we met in Earl’s Court. It was very exciting to meet with her, at last.

We decided to hit some place for a quick early dinner before proceeding to the show. The VIP section, for which I had a ticket, was to start at 7:00pm and it was already 4:00pm or so and nobody wanted to take chances. Got back to our hotel in Russell Square, picked up the tickets and went to have an early dinner in “The Diner of Bloomsbury”, the same place I had that fantastic goat-cheese-covered hamburger during my first night in London.

Aimee, our waitress, recognized me from my first night. She’s in London to attend college, studying English. She was very nice to us so I decided to make her famous:


Early dinner was great and then we proceeded back to the underground, to catch the 40-minutes ride to the Hurlingham Club. We arrived at around 5:30pm, only to be informed that doors are only going to open shortly before 7:00pm. We went looking for a place to sit down and chill out with some coffee – to no avail. Either we were looking at the wrong places, or the Putney Bridge area (where the Hurlingham Club is located) is not one’s best choice for leisure activities. The former is probably the case.

While waiting for the doors to open, Daria, Jeroen and myself came to know a young Italian couple (the guy’s name is Giuseppe, and I never got his girlfriend’s name). Daria was apparently very happy to have someone to communicate fluently with, and the trio commenced on a long discussion involving multiple finger-pointing gestures towards me, sometimes accompanies by laughter – not anything I’m not used to already.

Near us, there stood quietly this superbly-beautiful lady who appeared to be a bit out of touch with what was going on. Of course, myself being an extremely curious individual, I struck up a conversation (I attribute my ability to strike up a conversation with total strangers solely to being a Canadian resident for such a long time). Her name is Zuzana, originally from the Czech Republic. I took a picture with her after the concert… see the next post.

Finally, the time arrived. Around 7:00pm, the doors were opened to the VIP ticket holders. Giuseppe, his girlfriend and myself were the only VIP ticket holders within the group of people with which I was familiar. We made our way through the club towards one of the buildings, in which the concert was to be performed.

The Hurlingham Club in London (close to the Putney Bridge) is, by far, the most impressive sports club I have seen in my life. I simply cannot imagine any place more inviting and inspiring to get into shape. Super-fine tennis courts, swimming pools… Google it up and read about it in Wikipedia.

So once you read about it, you may get excited and want to become a member. Well, unfortunately, for most of us, that would be as far as we would get. As it turns out, the club has a few thousand members and the process of becoming a member is quite… how to say… peculiar. First, you have to find two club members that will “sponsor” (or: recommend) you. Then you pay a 250 pounds enrolment fee, in order to earn the right to get into their waiting list.

Now comes the fun part. This waiting list is truly full of waiting. People who became members in January 2008 have done that after being in the waiting list for – wait till you hear this – 7 (seven) to 9 (nine) years. However, they were actually lucky. Being on the waiting list for a longer stretch of time – say 17 (seventeen) years – is not very uncommon. One reason for this is that the club is extremely reluctant to admit a wider audience into the club, in order to keep the experience “unique”. However, the primary reason for the waiting list is that children of members receive preference in becoming members themselves.

And so we were walking through the club – Giuseppe, his girlfriend and myself. At some point, we crossed a tiny bridge over a narrow creek, heavily populated with ducks. Giuseppe points at one, and draws my attention to the duck with his second hand. In a thick Italian accent, he mentions:

“Look-e, Duck-e!”

And then imitating the action of hunting one using a rifle. I looked at him and told him that this is just as Italian as you could get, and we both burst into laughter as Giuseppe’s girlfriend slapping him for showing any sign of animal cruelty.

We arrived at the door, which was closed and slated to open at around 7:30pm. There were maybe 20 people there, which made us feel quite unique, however that has quickly changed in a way that somewhat told us that what was going to happen was quite different than what we expected.

(Continued at the next post)


dee said...

also on behalf of Giuseppe and his girlfriends I just want to make the point that gesturing and laughing is quite tipical italian and does not imply offensive intentions... btw I was only promoting your blog, cheers daria

PS: the Warwick incident was not due to my faltering english, I seem to recall:-)

Anonymous said...

I've been looking all over for this!