The Day I Met John Paul Gaultier

To say that this weekend has been one of contrasts in a bit of an understatement.

On Saturday it was my birthday… one notch closer to the fearsome 5-Oh! but thankfully still quite a bit of time to go before I meet that particular milestone!

I celebrated it in a low key way on Saturday itself.  I’d always wanted to go to Borough Market, and being complete foodies we imagined ourselves to be in foodie heaven.  When we arrived out of London Bridge station, we were faced with the biggest erection in London… The Shard.  Tourists were stood directly outside the station blocking the way and generally doing what tourists do!  We manouvered our way past them and found the market right next door… a couple of fruit and veg stalls selling the freshest looking strawberries, asparagus, cherries etc.  We pointed out some of the more unusual fayre to our son.  He definitely knows that chips come from potatoes which grow in the ground, and not from McDonalds in a cardboard cup!

The market was beginning to get busy.  We bought our boy a sausage on a bun, freshly cooked with Cumberland sausages, fried onions and tomato ketchup.  He wolfed it down and we each had a bite too.  It was very tasty.  Wandering thru the market there were lots of tasting opportunities which delighted me no end.  Some delicious paella here, Comte cheese there, and Black Pudding over there (which I bought although it was in a most unusual terrine shape… when I asked the seller why that was, he shrugged his shoulders and said “I don’t know”… so much for a plethora of knowledgeable individuals who cared about the wares they were selling!!  Myth exploded….)  We found a stall selling Portuguese Tarts, a delicacy we had enjoyed very much on a family holiday 3 years ago, to the Algarve.  The snappy seller bit my head off when I pointed out the particular tarts we wanted.  Needless to say she got short shrift from me for that outburst, which I felt was completely unnecessary! 😉  This visit was turning out to be quite disappointing; not the friendly bunch of fellow foodies I was imagining.

After wandering around for a bit more, we bought some fresh seasonal asparagus and a punnet of cherries.  Some of the terrine shaped black pudding completed the total of our haul.  Quite pitiful really as we were planning to spend lots of money!

We decided to have a wander around the vicinity; London is great for stumbling up on places you didn’t know existed, once you scratch the surface and explore.  We went into Southwark Cathedral, which was very nice inside; much as you’d expect any Cathedral to be with the exception of “purchasing a permit to photograph”.  Even the Church of England has cottoned on to commercial savvy-ness!

Walking away from the Cathedral and towards the Thames we found the Golden Hinde, nestled between the buildings, “The Clink” (a prison museum), and on the Southbank itself, The Globe Theatre, not far from Tate Modern.  We sat on the bench outside the art gallery where a young accordion player was setting up.  I was delighted to listen to his accordion music, and when he sang, he sounded just like a Russian Patrick Wolf!  I loved him and showed my appreciation in the international way of thanks…. by giving him some money.

We went home and ordered a delicious traditional Chinese meal (no takeaway usual fayre for us… my hubby is Chinese, so it has to be good, and it has to be authentic!) and after putting our boy to bed, chilled out on the sofa.  Comfortable, cosy, low key and lovely.

The next day, Sunday, I had been invited to see Boy George by my Facebook and Twitter friend Stu Powell.  In usual social networking style, we’d exchanged many messages and even sent each other cards and gifts in the post, but hadn’t yet met as Stu lives in North Wales, and me, just outside London.  Our paths hadn’t crossed in “real life” and I was delighted that I would be getting to meet not only Stu, but also Debs, and Monique who were also attending the gig.

The Boy George community is pretty much like the Marc Almond one in that all the fans seems to know each other, and some had traveled far and wide; Canada, USA, France, even Singapore, just to see their hero sing.  Marc also has fans who travel equally mind- boggling distances, such is their love for him.

I offered to be chief photographer for a lot of Stu’s friends who wanted their picture with him.  One such French fan (who shall remain nameless) was talking to me.  We also sat behind them in the Queen Elizabeth Hall.  So I was even more curious to know why this person, who I had had ‘just’ encountered, had blocked me on Twitter two weeks beforehand!  People are strange. and social networking is even stranger!

George himself was fabulous.  He performed lots of new material which his fans sat and absorbed intently.  A few old favourites were thrown into the mix; a new arrangement for “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me” which I remember watching on TOTP back in 1982, “Victims”, “Karma Chameleon” and “Everything I Own”.  Most of the arrangements on George’s songs were reggae-based and this seems to be the direction he is maintaining with his new material.  There was one country-based song thrown into the mix (a song which George said his mother likes very much).  All in all he gave a good performance but I feel that the mix of old and new songs which a bit disjointed and the audience didn’t know how to react; listen and enjoy the new songs, then go wild for the old favourites (which in hindsight might have been better lumped together so the audiences could get up and stay standing/dancing for a block of songs rather than just the odd one or two…)

After the show I saw that Simon Calder (the travel journalist) who was sat two rows behind us.  He bolted off to the exit, never to be seen again.  In the foyer I saw my new BFF Wayne and his new bf Michael, who is also very nice!  I also saw my lovely friend BeN, and we agreed that a proper catch up was in order… Hope to see him properly again very soon!  I then saw Monique, Deb and Fiona and was telling them about Simon Calder.  “John Paul Gaultier is over there” said Fi.  I looked across the foyer and such enough was the internationally renowned, and famous fashion designer himself.

I thought to myself “I’m never going to get the opportunity to talk to this man again” so I sauntered over and politely touched his arm to gather his attention.   I introduced myself and said hello.  He asked me if I enjoyed the show and we chatted briefly.  His companion Constantinos told me that JPG was putting on an anniversary show/exhibition at the Barbican next year.  That’s definitely one to look out for as I’m a big fan of his designs.

In hindsight I should’ve asked for a photograph with him!  Why didn’t I do that?  I suppose I didn’t want to intrude on his privacy too much, although five minutes later tonnes of people were having photos taken with him.  I cursed my politeness and felt I’d missed my opportunity as the crowds hoarded round him desperate for a shot committed to digital image… ah well… I was thrilled enough to have met him an talked to him…. something to tell the grand-kids, about the day I met John Paul Gaultier.

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