The last two weeks in the world of has been pretty full on and I would say surprisingly enjoyable for what can often seem a bleak time of year. The snow has brought out the inner child in many a moaner and the blanket of White (until it reverts to brown sludge) can soften the harshest corners of the urban landscape.
On a chilly Monday evening I crunched my way to the Kids in Museums event at the Royal Academy. Super sleuth/art detective Philip Mould, child poet laureate Michale Rosen, RA boss Charles Saumarez Smith and the mellifluous Mariella Frostrup all took to the floor in celebration of the charity's 10th anniversary. Kids in Museums was set up by Dea Birkett in 1993 after her 2 yr old son was thrown out of the RA for loudly exclaiming "monster" at an ominous Aztec figure. Ten years later she returned to the scene of the crime to commemorate the charity's success in getting museums to proactively engage with children in their heritage and culture. Other highlights that evening were the RA chose the event to announce free museum entry for kids and I helped Frostrup with her son's art homework. Thank God the question wasn't too challenging to save me from being exposed as an art blagger.
Curzon Soho, Soho Theatre and Soho House - a Soho trio
On Wednesday my Mum kindly takes Josh (my son) for the night for his weekly Thursday of being thoroughly spoilt and entertained by his grandparents. This year my resolution is to enthusiastically grab the opportunity with both hands. So who better to choose as my co-pilot but the tarnished knight? He suitably mounted his steed and rose to the challenge organising a trio of Soho entertainment. First stop was Curzon Soho for the beautifully shot and acted but morbid film Amour fortified by a supersize coke cup cunningly disguising a bottle of Rioja and some cashew nuts. Next stop was The Soho Theatre for a comedy gig performed by Danny Bhoy to lift our heavy hearts and our final destination was Soho House for martinis. Quite a night - it felt like a week of entertainment condensed to one evening. Thank you as ever gallant knight.
Underground Dining in Brixton
Saturday night I had a rendezvous with fellow Musette Claire, as well as Masterpiece's gastronomically motivated creative director Thomas Woodham-Smith and digi entrepreneur Glynn Jones. Whose new app Scoopt is helping a select group of savvy experience hunters discover all the best kept secrets..... The supper club was a 7 course extravaganza hosted by Basement Galley in a flat in Brixton for 14 fairly random guests. There was a strong contingent of Italians with banker turned pasticeria Max, leading the pack and soon to open Dolcezza - a Stockwell based homage to sweetened ricotta and melt in your mouth pastry. The supperclub was run by Basement Galley duo Alex and Tom who describe it as a hybrid of a secret supperclub, cutting-edge pop-up and culinary education. I wasn't overwhelmed by every course on offer, but I loved the chorizo and chestnut soup as well as the deconstructed cranachan in honour of Burns Night, but the show stopper had to be their signature gin and tonic jelly. It literally fizzes on the tongue.
Celtic cartography at the Caledonian Club
Sticking with Scotland a few nights later The British Library and Daniel Crouch Rare Books held a private drinks reception at esteemed tartan central, the Caledonian Club. Timed to coincide with Burns' Night, they had put together a wonderful exhibition of rare maps and pamphlets relating to Scotland and Scots abroad dating from 1578 to 1828 including a fine collection of pamphlets and maps relating to the disastrous Darien Scheme - Scotland's attempt to become a world trading nation by establishing a colony called "New Caledonia" in the late 1690s.