Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Being a jazz cat

Apologies for the skip in post yesterday, I was at an all-day off-site workshop, so I was away from my computer. To make up for it I'll double post today. Enjoy! :)

-tSH
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In all truthfulness, I am not someone who enjoys jazz. It's 100% true.

I know, I know. All people who really love music love jazz, right?

That's probably true, actually. I would never pretend to claim that I am someone who knows a lot about music or who particularly has good taste in music. This has never been something that I have pretended to be. Aspired? Maybe. But pretended...meh, only sometimes. When I'm trying to impress a cute boy or something. But not lately. Not for a long time at least. That got left behind when I left Randy Ego. 

Anyway, when Turkish C asked me if I wanted to go out for a night on the town and listen to some sweet jazz, I kind of wondered if I would really say yes. I love hanging out with my girlfriends, especially girlfriends I now rarely get to see because they're still with Finn and I'm here with Don...but jazz just really isn't my thing. I find it...confusing. And not altogether comfortable. I should also probably admit here that I am an adamant disliker of the saxophone. I think it's cheesy. This is no lie.

Anyway, my interest in hanging out with good friends and continuing to put myself out there in a new social scene won out, and I decided to spend the slightly exorbitant 30quid in order to see said live jazz in a snazzy jazz club in central London last Friday night.

The plan was set and I met Turkish C and who was supposed to be the housemate who threw the smashing Mexican-themed birthday/housewarming party last weekend who I am had met (we bonded over a love of throwing dinner parties and an interest in cooking), but unfortunately he got sick and decided to stay in for the night, so it was just us two ladies before two (actually three) of his other friends decided to show up and fill in for his tickets instead (he had reserved us tickets ahead of time).

Those three friends, unfortunately, like me, had no appreciation or love of jazz either. And were already quite drunk when they arrived. It was going to be an interesting night.

But before they arrived, it was just Turkish C and I checking out the digs, and the digs at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Bar are pretty sweet:


Be proud to see this pic, dear readers, since it seems photos are completely forbidden at this venue. Turkish C and I were one of the few people who were not shushed immediately when taking out our phones to take pics of each other and of the place (even though we were there early and there was no one there).

Anyhoo, it's a gorgeous place and it was a perfect place to spend a Friday evening after a long work week. Before the boys arrived it was peaceful girl talking and more catching up (yes, Turkish C and I work at the same place, as many of my girlfriends do, and yes, we'd had cute coffee and cake dates all week...but we still had more things to talk about, as girls always do).

I ordered a glass of white wine off of their extensive bar menu and Turkish C ordered a fabulous winter martini (this meant it had lemon and something else). Not too sharply priced either; I think my glass was 7,50pounds. Not terrible.

To the music. The music was..

fabulous.

Absolutely breathtakingly fabulous.

Admittedly it wasn't real jazz, but I was still impressed with my ability to take something in a jazz setting and completely enjoy it.

What it was instead: blues. Which I have probably in the past loved just as much as jazz, but I do understand it more. And so I did. This night's first artists were called Blue's Explosion (god, I know), but they were actually quite good. The lead singer looked like Jesus and played the electric guitar of some kind. The pianist was extremely talented as well. Well, hell, everyone was really talented (isn't that how it always goes with bands of this variety?).

But the one who stole the show, and who was lovely all around with her sass, was a woman singer who came on a bit later. She sang the most wonderful edition of Etta James' "I'd Rather Go Blind." It was hearthbreakingly good. I've always loved Etta James, and she really has always had a special place for me, but this was wonderful. This girl could sing it too.

Unfortunately this was slightly ruined by our male counterparts, who were talking loudly most of the time and unfortunately upsetting the parties around us (they were shushed a bunch of times and asked to speak quieter, as others were also trying to enjoy the music), but well, drunk is drunk. Some of their conversation was actually quite interesting, so I won't blame them for everything, but well, I had to admit, the music was pretty good.

And then the first band was over. 

Now you must keep in mind that they didn't start until around 11:15pm. So by the time their set was over, it was around 1:30am or so, maybe later (I'd had two glasses of wine during that time, both of which were very good). 

Anyway, by 2:30am we decided that we should move to another venue and find something else to do for the night. I was fine with listening to more music (it was a great venue and the tickets weren't exactly cheap), but Turkish C was in the mood for dancing and the guys were just getting rowdier and more rude to those around us (and I hate to admit it but I feel awkward about upsetting people around me when they start to get annoyed), so we went.

Where did we go at 2:30am on a Friday night/Saturday morning in the middle of London? The real answer is that I'm not really sure. We were in a taxi for 25pounds worth of fare (clearly my sense of direction hasn't improved with my moving, and London's a big city with a lot of neighborhoods), and our options were limited. It seems you have to plan out your nights in London otherwise things are sold out or you'll just end up standing in line somewhere without getting in (no Helsinki mentality about that, I guess).

So we went to a warehouse party. I'm not sure what it was called (though I'm sure I could ask one of the guys we were with), but it had an entry fee and it was...

...weird. It was like walking into a highschool prom that allowed their kids to drink and smoke. And when we originally got there, also buy food (like grilled food).

We were all a bit put off by the whole thing, since it was a bit trashy and young for our taste (everyone in our group was older than me, up to the ages of 34 or so, so it's not that I was just being snobby about the age thing)...everyone there looked to be about 19. And very covered in glitter.

But we threw our concerns to the wind and danced anyway. Because we'd come there to dance. And the music was decent (as it always tends to be around young people...weird how that doesn't seem to change from city to city), and so we danced and partied until the wee hours.

Eventually I got tired though (just in general, not from anything in particular) and called it a night. I finally arrived home around 4:30am.

And thus ended a very interesting Friday for me. I have a feeling there will be many more nights like this with Don, but hopefully they'll be better planned next time. At the very least I'm proud of myself for giving jazz another chance (even if it was technically blues...it's in the same family at least), and knowing that I could make the best of a situation and dance through another highschool prom (I had a great time at my real one).

And there you have it. Don, things are looking up.

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