I enjoyed dining alone last night - swanky hotel, glass of London Pride, a Hungarian dish (Pike) followed by a good cheese board (and a reasonable house Trebbiano Chardonnay by this time). The sauce was a little too smeggy for my tastes and the service could have been quicker - I like to drink the wine WITH the main dish.
Who on Earth thought that I, and my fellow diners, would want to be entertained by a man sitting at a Casio keyboard playing cheesy versions of songs from the shows? What the hell was that all about?
As I glanced over towards him once or twice, I thought I recognised a look in his eyes that said, "that guy over there thinks I'm a twat." He wasn't wrong. He may have been Rick Wakeman's more talented brother for all I know but all I'm hearing is soft, heavily chorused chords with lots of quavering synthesised pan pipes. I was looking forward to the cheese board and a Spinal Tapesque drummer's end to him. He was right. He was a twat.
The "jazzy" version of "All I Want " (or is that "Wouldn't That Be Luvverly"?) Then, an unbelievable "If I Was A Rich Man" - how ironic. Baby, you'll never be a rich man. This was the most cheesy OTT lift muzak I've ever had the misfortune to listen to. I've sat through some awful music in my life. And I've seen Hawkwind live. And some really awful Special Needs "hip-hop rapper" (or somesuch) from Manchester at Jimmy's Farm last year. Then he re-set his keyboard to "accordian" setting to give us a rendition of "Hello Dolly". "Mack the Knife" for Christ's sake. I had visions of Lotte Lenya stabbing him - God alone knows what Ute Lemper would do to him!
For an encore - honest, I'm not making this up - he played "The William Tell Overture" as a disco version. Oh my . . . we used to play better versions of this by flicking our cheeks with our fingers. Surely, he's given up all semblance of actually playing, I think it's on the demo setting.
"Don't Cry For Me Argentina" as a morbid dirge was his rousing goodnight. I wrote in my notebook:
It's like a barrel organ where the monkey thinks, "While the cat's away . . ."
Actually, my only experience of busking (at the Tower of London) was rather spoilt by an organ grinder and his monkey. But that's a tale for another time. Goodnight one and all, rant over.