This weekend I attended a fundraiser evening in aid of the Amy Winehouse Foundation at the Black Cap. It was organised by my friend, and Mayor of Camden, Jonathan Simpson and with a star studded glitterati line up in the world of drag artistes, it promised to be an epic Gala Evening.
I bought my ticket a few weeks ago when the event was first announced, and three of my friends also said they’d like to come. After a couple of changes due to unavailability, the final line-up was myself, John-John, Paul and Pedro.
I arrived at Camden over an hour early so had plenty of time to kill. Getting into town when you live outside of London, can sometimes be somewhat of a challenge viz a vis public transport. I had planned to drive to Epping, and catch the Central Line from there, however due to weekend engineering works and the ensuing bus service between Loughton and Bethnal Green, I had little other choice than to drive to Harlow and take the train service from there. It’s a much more expensive option and one I usually avoid, if it can be helped.
I parked my car, bought my ticket and made my way to the platform, thinking I’d missed the half past train. However once I’d walked down the steps, the Stansted Express train (thankfully not one of the old rolling stock) was still waiting on the platform. I got onto the train, sat down, the doors closed and we were on our way. With it being the Express service, and only one stop en route, we arrived at Liverpool Street station 35 minutes later. A perfect journey so far!
I walked towards the Central Line to get the tube from Liverpool St to Bank, intending to change for the Northern line to Camden Town. Each time I arrived at the platform, a train was just arriving/waiting in the station to leave. This is practically unheard of… perfectly timed connections AND I managed to get a seat on each train! After the tube journey from the Gods, I arrived a Camden 50 minutes after I’d left Harlow. I can almost guarantee that will never happen again in my lifetime!
I texted a few people to see if anyone was around to go for a drink but they were all en route. I spotted a Costa coffee shop across the road and decided to decamp there to kill the time. After buying my usual caffeine loaded tipple, I found a seat in the window and with iPod plugged in to the dulcet tones of “My Life Story” I watched the world go by on the Camden streets.
Camden is a vibrant and diverse borough of London, some might even go as far to say THE most vibrant and diverse. An array of interesting looking people walked by my vista and held my interest. Within a couple of minutes of people watching, a guy walked past me who was the double of a younger David McAlmont. I had to look twice to be sure it wasn’t David, and then, most curiously this guy held my gaze, still walking, then turned around and smiled the widest smile ever at me and waved at me. In a Pavlovian response, I immediately waved back, still not quite sure in my own mind whether I knew this guy. He turned back and continued walking along Camden High Street and out of my view. The bloke sat next to me glanced over… I had a smile on face in only the way some unplanned attention can. Lord only knows what he was thinking!
Then, a couple of minutes later another bloke waved at me from the pavement side of the window. I laughed this time and by now the chap next to me was sideways glancing, trying to determine whether I was someone he should know!! Very funny and completely random! I guess you had to be there….
With my confidence levels boosted, the next 50 minutes passed without too much incident. My neighbour left, leaving behind his newspaper, which I picked up. It was the Sunday Mirror and I idly started to flick through the celebrity-laden, salacious news “stories”, searching for a glimmer of something worthwhile to read to pass the time. Another bloke came and sat next to me. I folded the newspaper up in exasperation and asked him if he wanted to read it, which he was delighted to.
At 6.25pm I got up and walked the 2 minutes across the road to meet my friends outside Camden tube station, our designated meeting point. Pedro and John-John were already there. A few minutes later we saw Emma and Toby who were also going to the Black Cap. No sign of Paul but we received a phone call to say he’d got on the wrong tube train so had disembarked and was getting a taxi instead. We arranged to meet him outside the Black Cap and all made our way there. Eventually we all trooped in, leaving our coats and the world outside, at the door.
As we walked into the Black Cap, I saw Janis Winehouse, who said hello to me. I also saw a group of friends I hadn’t seen since the summer and we chatted briefly whilst Paul got the drinks in. I also met Pam, a long standing friend on Facebook and Twitter who I’d not yet met until Sunday evening. We’d made many plans to meet at Davd McAlmont gigs in the past but never quite made it, so it was especially lovely to see her too.
I then saw Mitch and Jane Winehouse who both kissed to greet me. This evening was to be the culmination of a month’s worth of fund raising activity for the Amy Winehouse Foundation to mark what would have been Amy’s 30th birthday. It was great that Amy’s family could be there to support the event. In another fund raising event, Janis along with 30 other brave volunteers, were due to jump out of a plane that morning, but due to the windy weather it was postponed to a later date. Other events have been a celebrity-fest gala night at Gilgamesh (which I was due to attend but sadly had to drop out at the last minute), an “Amy Shop” selling related artworks and products, a gallery opening, among other events in September in and around Camden. Jonathan (and his team, including Margaret) has put a lot of hard work into these events and I hope he gets the praise he so rightly deserves for all his hard work and commitment.
After a little while the evening’s hosts came onto the small Black Cap stage, in the form of Myra DuBois and Sandra. They were absolutely hilarious, especially Sandra with her salacious comments towards Mitch. Then ensued a full programme of a variety of well known drag artistes from all over the world, including Le Gateau Chocolat, Tina C, Titti La Camp, Lady LaRue, amongst a whole host of others whose names sadly elude me. It was a full, pacey programme filled with glamour, sequins, songs and smut! My kind of evening!
Pam left a little after 10 o’clock and I left shortly after that. I was sure that my journey home couldn’t run as smoothly as my journey there. However I was wrong, and I managed to get to Liverpool Street station with 15 minutes to spare til the Stansted Express service whizzed me back to Harlow, and onwards to home.
I uploaded my photos from the evening, as I unwound on the sofa with a much needed brew made by my bemused hubby, regaling the fabulous evening I’d just had the pleasure to enjoy.