18/6/07 London

To London on Saturday for a weekend of visits and the reunion show by Dr Strangely Strange at the 12-Bar club, arranged by my friends Adrian and Deena. The show was crowded and the club almost unbearably hot; the band’s sense of fun prevailed over a somewhat shaky grasp of some of the songs. They stayed on the endearing side of ‘unrehearsed’. Like many bands with a cult following, the cult knew the scriptures better than the guru, but that’s not the point. I overhead a conversation as Ivan Pawle left the stage with a lady who’d come to the gig with her  daughter; she reminded Ivan of the Strangelies playing her home town in 1969, and how much the gig had meant to her. They’d asked the audience if anyone could put them up. ‘Did I stay with you?’ asked Ivan. I wondered if he was about to be declared the father of the daughter, but she just said no, and said more about how much she’d enjoyed the gig. After she’d left I told Ivan what I’d thought and he was thinking the same.

After visiting friends and relations in Hamton Court and Harlow, I ended up in this hotel by St Pauls, in preparatin for a work meeting today. Last night, leaving my room for a walk, the lights in the lift flickered and died and the lift stopped moving. Through the slit in the door I could see that I was at a floor rather than between floors but nobody responded to the emergency bell (fortunately I could find the switch by the light of my phone) or to my banging the door. AFter a few minutes someone said something curtly through the slit but I couldn’t make it out. I was reduced to phoning home and asking Madame to phone the hotel to find out what was happening. After fifteen minutes, while Madame in Queensferry was still trying to find a pen to write down the name of the hotel (!) firemen opened the door. The whole hotel – indeed the whole block – had lost power. I went for a walk to calm down and, returning an hour later, there was emergency lighting in the rooms but nothing else. I made some points to the receptionist about how to reassure someone stuck in a lift that you know he’s there and that someone’s coming but I don’t think she was listening. I’d heard the firemen asking in vain for ‘someone in charge’ so I don’t think it was her, but she seemed to be the only member of staff on duty.

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