Going to the ball

June 16, 2011

This is a bit of a belated update, and I must admit I only really remembered to post it because it’s the same dismal weather here again today, but on Sunday we went to Capital Radio’s Summertime Ball.

I used to listen to Capital as a teenager – I even won a T-shirt in a phone-in competition once, gasp – so I love the fact that I now sing along to it with my girls. Especially after eight years of Radio Contact in Brussels, which has to be the cheesiest station in the world, so cheesy that cheese strings virtually burst out of the car radio as you drive along. Capital, by comparison, is as slick as a bar of soap and we really like Johnny Vaughan and Lisa Snowdon during the morning battle with London traffic.

I’ve tried to get tickets to Capital’s various balls before, with no success – don’t they know who I am?? – but this time we got six tickets with no problems at all, so I wasnaturally  a bit worried that all the acts would be rubbish and that other Londoners knew something I didn’t. But by the time we got there, it had reassuringly sold out and people like Jennifer Lopez were in the line-up, so we knew it would be good.

What we didn’t reckon with, of course, was the London summer weather, which was absolutely freezing cold, and drizzling when it wasn’t actively lashing with rain. If it had started hailing or even snowing, we wouldn’t have been surprised. We were lucky in the cheap seats right at the top, which were covered, but the poor old VIPs, who’d paid astronomical sums to be right in front of the stage, were seriously risking hypothermia.

I was proud of London, though, as everyone rose to the occasion and decided not to let the rubbish weather spoil their day. There was a stiff upper lip, ‘don’t mention the rain’ attitude most of the time, with singers like Nicole Sherzinger prancing about in heels despite rivers of water on the stage. Ceelo Green wore a lovely parka with a fur-trimmed hood, which we were all very envious of, but J-Lo of course wore next to nothing, in an amazing Barbarella-style silver mini and thigh boots. I suppose if you’re jumping about like a, well, perfectly-toned goddess, you probably get quite warm, unlike the middle-aged mummy watching her, whose only exercise came from chomping Pringles and trying to force my offspring to buy me more tea.

There were 75,000 people watching and, though I’ve always felt I didn’t like crowds, the atmosphere was entirely benign and good-natured. The whole thing was a billion times better as an experience than the first (and last) time I saw a band in my teens. It was the Police, and I remember they looked like tiny ants from where we were sitting, you could hardly hear a thing, and what you could hear sounded nothing like the record. On Sunday, you could watch all the action on huge screens, everyone was note-perfect, the sound was deafening and the whole thing was like the X-Factor final, only better. Progress, definitely. I’m not saying I’ll be rushing to the next one. But it was fun, all the same.

For some reason, this picture has come out sideways and I can’t edit it. WordPress really sucks, I must say. My whole blog crashed last week, I find it impossible to put pictures into sidebars – you wouldn’t believe the pages of instructions I’ve been sent about it – and now this. Grrr. Anyone with any tips, do get in touch.

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  • Tania @ Larger Family Life June 16, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    Capital Radio! Now there’s a blast from the past. I won tickets to see Cher with them in 1990. Now I feel old…

    • Dulwich Divorcee June 20, 2011 at 11:04 am

      Well one thing’s for sure, you’re not as old as Cher 🙂

  • Milla June 16, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    Feel intense gratitude that need never go to a gig / band again. Hated them when young though did I ever do my time? From the huge (Rolling Stones – on some sort of comeback tour even then …) to the small and grim. All shared the horrors of NOISE, crowds, evil loos, claustraphobia, hours getting home. But don’t think I ever went so far as rain, too. But that’s June for you.

    • Dulwich Divorcee June 20, 2011 at 11:05 am

      You’re so right, Milla, I was actually dreading it. The last big crowd thing I went to was the Notting Hill Carnival years ago and I hated the crowds/noise/music, though I know you’re not supposed to say that … but this was completely sanitised, a bit like listening to a greatest hits record … probably not as ‘authentic’ as the evil loos etc but a lot easier to deal with for me!

  • Emma June 16, 2011 at 8:35 pm

    Gosh you are brave! We were in London on Sunday morning and I was thanking the lord that we didn’t buy tickets… was freeeeeeezing and extremely wet! Glad that you had a good time though xx

    • Dulwich Divorcee June 20, 2011 at 11:06 am

      It was incredibly cold, in fact I now have manflu and I’m sure that’s why, but the girls loved it and are still talking about it so I suppose it was worth the snuffles …. a bit xx

  • Metropolitan Mum June 17, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    75k people?? I went to the Jazz Cafe (capacity about 350 pax) and thought I was oh so young at heart, gently swaying to the tunes of Angie Stone. You’ve outdone me big time 🙂

    • Dulwich Divorcee June 20, 2011 at 11:09 am

      Oh yeah, baby, I’m really like a gig person …. actually yours sounds a lot more like my cup of tea 🙂