London is a city rife with attractions for the intrepid adventurer. On Sunday, for instance, I got to ride on a funicular railway.
You might say there is no place in London with a funicular railway. Well, gentle reader, you would be wrong, for there is one beside the Millenium Bridge on the St Paul’s side. No, it is not just a disabled lift. It is an inclinator, which is a special kind of funicular railway (a short one.)
I was there with my friends Paul and Hannah, wending our way upstream towards the Wonderground Festival for the Fitzrovia Radio Hour (yes, yet again–read my prior reviews here, and here, and here, and here, and here.) Little did I know, oh reader, that sundry delights awaited me on the way to the performance as well as during.
Paul insists that the only way to ride the inclinator is with a bold stance, like George Washington crossing the Delaware. I personally went for more of a John McClaine Die Hard running-without-shoes look. In our bold stances we saluted everyone who passed us on the stairs, but they didn’t notice. When we arrived at the top we saw that two people must have witnessed the fun and japery to be had in the inclinator and decided that they too must ride it. It’s the only way to travel, really.
I should point out that Hannah retained a firm grasp on decorum through our antics, looking on with an eye of genial tolerance. Or possibly with thinly-veiled embarrassment, I can’t be quite sure.
When we arrived at the Wonderground we were joined by more intrepid explorers, in the end making up a rather large party of nine. Safety in numbers, after all. Especially when facing Fitzrovia Radio Hour–demonic tiny footsteps in the dark, Irish jewel thieves, sarky Afrikaaner boxers…the Fitzrovia Radio universe is rife with dangers!
The Spiegeltent at the London Wonderground is a thrilling venue, all red velvet and mirrors and muted globe lights and a beautiful wooden bar. It is, however, a tad warm. Paul came prepared with a fetching hand fan, but I hadn’t the necessary equipment with me. Ever resourceful and creative, I was folding my program into an optimal air-wafting shape when Paul said, “Do you want to borrow one? I have a spare fan.”
“You have a SPARE FAN?” I exclaimed loudly, causing several people in the first row to whip round and frown at my violation of decorum.
“Well, you should always have a backup,” said Paul mildly, proffering it.
I accepted and spent the show merrily poking the glowerers in front of me in the back. They didn’t retaliate so I can only assume they were overcome with lassitude in the heat whilst I remained sanguine due to my new cooling device. A fan also serves as a valuable melon and cabbage deflection device during the more high-spirited portions of the show. Handy tip for when you go, dear reader.
Afterwards eight of us (one, I assume, was devoured by the spectre of little Timmy on the way) repaired to a nearby watering hole to discuss. What capers! What hijinks! The sound of boiling water made with a metal pipe! The belly dancing with a bunch of jingling chains! The silly accents! It was agreed that in the office (several of the explorers were from the office) we would no longer type on keyboards but from now on make the sound of typing using staplers. And we would institute gin breaks! (The sound thereof, anyway.) Getting in the spirit of the thing, the boss has now bought us rather charming cocktail umbrellas with which to adorn our glass full of pencils. Our gin-glass-tinkling technique as yet leaves something to be desired.
On the way home Paul and I weren’t quite ready to dispense with the glitter of fairy dust and greasepaint, so Hannah was subjected two a two-person rendition of the songs from ‘Oaklahoma’ belted with more enthusiasm than skill. There may also have been dancing at a bus stop but I couldn’t possibly confirm.
I was informed that Paul frequently breaks into songs from a wide range of musicals. “Is that why you married him?” I asked.
“No,” she replied thoughtfully.
Perhaps it was the bold stance.
(Atmospheric photos generously provided by Paul! You can follow his blog here.)