Monday, 28 November 2016

Up the Albert

At the weekend I got to go to the Royal Albert Hall! We were the guests of one of Mr Robot's business contacts; it was very kind of them to invite us.

The dress code was smart casual, so I wore my House of Foxy Hostess dress. Mr Robot gave this dress to me last Christmas and it has become my go-to for 'nice' events. While it's 40s in style, the shape is classic enough that it won't scare non-vintage-lovers, the navy colour is appropriate for virtually any occasion, and the fabric – which I think they no longer use, sadly – doesn't crease, so it's fine for events like this where I spend several hours on trains beforehand. I wore my old Hush Puppies 'Freya' shoes and carried the 1960s Eros bag I found in a charity shop. Then, because it was cold, I plonked my fair isle cardigan on top. I don't care if it ruined the effect a bit, I hate being cold.


(Sorry if you're fed up of seeing things like that dress and cardigan a lot. I don't own masses of clothes, so the ones I do own get a fair bit of wear.)

As we got into London a bit early, we had a ponk around the V&A. We had planned to go to the Natural History Museum, but the queue was horrendous. In the past few years I've learned to get into the entrance hall at the V&A and NOT head to the back. I always used to go to the back and end up in the sculpture area and see the same things on every visit. Now I know better, and get to see different things each time. This time we went left from the entrance hall, to the British galleries, and saw decorative things from the Tudors onwards. Textiles, ceramics, furniture... It was fascinating. There were even a couple of complete rooms, the Norfolk House Music Room and the Henrietta Street Room. After whizzing through Britain from the Renaissance to Georgians, we found ourselves in the Silver Galleries, which are full of dishes, ornaments, and wine coolers large enough to bathe in, then headed off to find a pub for a drink before going to the Royal Albert Hall.

That part of Kensington is great for museums but it sucks for pubs. We did find one in the end – hooray for smartphones. We'd never have found one without Google Maps.

And then on to the Royal Albert Hall. It looks cool from the outside, but London is so packed with larger dramatic buildings that perhaps it doesn't have the same impact it did when it was built, though when you get up close it's beautifully detailed, in the way only Victorian buildings are. Nowadays we seem to have lost the ability to build things that are impressive from a distance and really engaging and interesting up close. The Victorians built to appeal to both masses passing by, and individuals interacting with structures. Inside it is, as the support act Jack Lukeman pointed out, 'like being inside a Faberge egg', round and gilded and lovely.
We were there to see Jools Holland. He was with his rhythm and blues orchestra – basically a big band – and had some wonderful vocalists (Ruby Turner, Louise Marshall, Beth Rowley). What we hadn't realised, though was that he also had The Selecter as guests. Who doesn't love a bit of 2-Tone ska, eh? It all combined with Jools' new songs and some jazz standards to make for a brilliant evening. I don't think anyone had a bad time. I'd definitely go to see Jools again.

I hope your weekend was as much fun.

16 comments :

  1. You look lovely and I don't think I'd get tired of seeing you in the same dress as you style it differently each time. That cardigan is so beautiful it deserves loads of wear.

    Glad you had a good time.

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    1. Thank you! Being fairly (for a vintage lover) minimalist, I do worry that people see the same things over and over.

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  2. Aren't The Selecter great? We saw them in August and Pauline Black's as fantastic as ever.
    Glad you had an ace time, you looked lovely and we read your blog to enjoy your writing and adventures, it doesn't matter how often you wear something. xxx

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    1. They were great. Pauline Black's voice is still perfect. Loads of people in the audience got up to dance when they were performing.

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  3. That does sound like a brilliant concert and yes I love 2 tone ska!

    When I was at school we went to the Albert Hall every year for the UK National Gymnastic finals. It's a beautiful building.

    Would you believe that I've never yet got to the V&A? It's on my list of places to see. I've wanted to go for years and now I'm retired I really don't have any excuse.

    I think your outfit looked lovely and the fair isle cardigan looked great with the dress - as if they were made for each other!

    Have a good week

    Veronica

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    1. Oooh, the V&A is super. The jewellery galleries have some amazing pieces in.

      I used to wear the cardi with a teal 40s-style dress by Collectif, which I (rather stupidly) got rid of - the paler teal in the knitting went perfectly with it). Still, I'm sure the charity shop gods will send me something else.

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  4. Who needs a lot of dresses if you have a few that fit you as beautifully as that one does!
    I've never been to the V& A but it sounds fascinating.
    What a great concert too1

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    1. The V&A is amazing, it's all applied arts. Everything from ceramics to sculpture to fabrics. I like it because it's all about the design people live with. They also do amazing exhibitions; their recent David Bowie one was massively popular.

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  5. I don't think I'd seen this dress on you so I was pleased to see a peek! It looks nice with that cardi. I can't abide being cold either. Looks like you had a lovely time x

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    1. It's such a good dress. It's so versatile.

      Last week I realised I could wear a couple of dresses I hadn't been able to get into, so I'm feeling very pleased. I don't know if it's because I've switched to salads at lunchtime (the M&S calorie-counted ones) or because I've been doing hip circles every morning to help my waist, but I'm not as tum-tastic now, so hopefully I will be able to show off some other dresses.

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  6. First of all, you are looking lovely in that dress, and in fact I think it's great with the fair isle garden on top. Would have loved to see Jools Holland and I was quite a 2-Tone ska fan at the day. I've never been to the V&A, but it's on my list for when I next visit London. xxx

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    1. You'd love the V&A. It's got so much fascinating stuff in it.

      I'd definitely be tempted to see Jools again. He gave the impression of simply doing what he loves and having a great time.

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  7. Love your outfit. I think the Cardi makes it

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  8. I'd love to see Jools! He came to the Marlborough Jazz Festival a few years ago but the tickets sold out so quickly. I bet it was a great night, especially with the likes of Ruby Turner and Beth Rowley performing. I love both of those gorgeous ladies! xx

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  9. You were so super-lucky!!
    Royal Albert Hall looked like a fairy-tale place to me, as I was growing up watching a lot of BBC's shows that took place over there.
    Now, now.
    Not owning a lot of clothes - a great thing. Have a small, yet valuable collections of clothes that we actually WEAR - to me, that is the most important thing. It's rather useless to have a bunch of garments that don't fit me. :)
    Huge hugs.

    Are you counting the days until Christmas?!
    Any idea on a present?!

    M.

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  10. Ooooh... The V&A museum, I've wanted to visit it for longer than I care to remember! So envious! And the night at the Royal Albert Hall sounds divine. I rather enjoy living in a small town but there's no denying that I miss out on things.

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