Posted by: jackterrett | April 6, 2010

Week Five: Easter Weekend with Kaufman and Westwood

Happy Easter!  What an amazing Easter weekend it was for me – spent with two respectable, leaders of men: Dan Kaufman and Tim Westwood.  Dan arrived on the red-eye at a bright and early 5am on Saturday morning in London – the start of his weeklong European extravaganza.  I met him in busy King’s Cross Station, 3 and half hours later (he slept on a bench, shivering from the cold).  We went off in search of some food and stumbled upon a café where Dan was able to enjoy his much dreamed of Full English Breakfast (sausage, egg, beans, toast, so on and so on).  While we caught each other up on how our lives were going, we journeyed through the capital, hitting up all the traditional tourist destinations – Piccadilly Circus, Covent Garden (we were there so early the market hadn’t even been set up yet), Trafalgar Square (and Nelson’s Column – holler at yah Nathaniel), Buckingham Palace (where we saw a horse brigade and some unnecessarily armed soliders), and everything in between.  Turns out Dan is quite the London scholar and knew his way around better than I did.  Shameful.  We spent the rest of the morning at the Tate Modern museum where we scoffed at modern art, but had a lot of fun walking through a pitch black container (special exhibit apparently) trying to scare people.  Lunch was a delicious affair, bought off stalls at Borough Market (Wild Boar for Dan, Chips and Muffin for me…no surprise there) and had a friendly chat with a man from the Czech Republic who’d lost his passport and needed some financial assistance so he could survive for the next three weeks before he got another one.  Whether or not he was telling the truth, he’s now our homeboy and he told us to call him up if we’re ever in Prague.  Following lunch, we stopped by the Golden Hinde and St Paul’s Cathedral (where we frolicked joyfully outside underneath the blossom trees) and then explored Harrods where we walked through almost every section and tried not to get kicked out for taking photos (oh and the humongous Easter egg was still there…).  Later that afternoon we headed West to watch the annual Oxford-Cambridge boat-race, a bit rushed due to having had so much fun in Harrods.  We arrives at Putney bridge just in time it seemed and ran onto the bridge as we watched the two teams row casually underneath.  They clearly hadn’t started so we settled ourselves comfortably overlooking the East side of the river.  After a while we got suspicious, as the other side of the bridge was packed with people, four rows deep in places, whereas on our side, we had any spot we desired.  A little worried, I asked a nearby police officer whereabouts the race was going to start (note, on our side of the river were loads of press boats, and throngs of people on both banks, so surely I thought something must occur here).  “Officer, which side does the race start on?” I inquired.  “Over there” he said, pointing to the other side, “but it goes under the bridge, turns around and then goes back over to the other side”.  “Umm…are you sure?” I said, thinking that it is very unorthodox for a boat race to turn around in the middle, especially one of such significance.  “Oh yes” he confirmed.  “Hmm, ok.”  Being the trustworthy people we are, Dan and I stuck where we were and even remained unphased after we heard a loud cheer and saw the helicopters overhead gradually disappear into the distance.  Turned out the race didn’t turn around.  I hadn’t thought so.  Nevertheless, we managed to watch the finish on one of the big screens set up for the occasion and enjoyed the cheer of the Cambridge supporters once the race was won.  At least we saw them warm up…for about 5 seconds.

After a marathon effort, Dan passed out for 15 hours back in Welwyn Garden City – entirely deserved and needed.  On Sunday, we ran around the Welwyn area (mid-afternoon at this point) and came across a funfair but unfortunately we had no money on us to pay for the dodgems or merry-go-round.  Just as well really, as we needed to save our energy and enthusiasm for that night.  That evening, we took the bus to the University of Hertfordshire – we had tickets to a club where a very famous British DJ was performing.  TIM WESTWOOD.  I cannot really do him justice in a written explanation, so look him up on Youtube and imagine listening to him for a good three hours.  As you would suspect, it was a pretty funny experience.  He’s such a playa that he even let me have a photo with him (see above) and give him a hug! – unfortunately, however, it turns out he only smiles if you’re a girl.  Definitely worth it though.  The majority of his set comprised of dance/hip-hop remixes followed sporadically by questions I cannot repeat here.  Basically, they all followed the same form, “If you want…(insert various sexual act here)…make some noise!”  What a classy gentleman.  But everyone did, in fact, make some noise…  After the show was out, rather than taking a taxi (which, in retrospect, would have been the logical choice), we decided to walk home from the University.  It was about 4.5 miles.  When we eventually made it, we were very glad to get to bed.

Not surprisingly, we earnt our second lie-in of the weekend on Monday (Easter Monday = no work for me again!).  Following a slow start, we headed back into London (but not before tuning into Victor Guevara’s radio show: “Special Guest Appearance” on WRMC 91.1FM, Champlain Valley, 8-10am EST on Mondays, or listen online http://wrmc.middlebury.edu/ – he gave both Dan and I a shout-out…it’s only fair to reciprocate…).  We spent the majority of that afternoon scalping for West End tickets and as we were extremely undecided on what to see, it took a long time.  We eventually settled on the play ‘The 39 Steps’, a comedy with a 4-member cast in the style of Alfred Hitchcock – £15 each!  Dan had yet to experience a true English pub on his visit, so we grabbed some dinner at what we thought was a “true English pub” in Soho.  Turned out we were conned just like all the other tourists seeking a “true English pub” – it was full of foreigners, both staff and customers…an imitation English pub!  Oh well, if it serves pints of beer and ‘Ploughman’s sandwiches’, it’s all the same to us I suppose.  The show was terrific – I’d highly recommend it.  Our “limited view” (the reason for the huge discount in price) was actually not so limited – true, there was a thin pole which blocked a tiny bit of the stage, but it came with the added virtue of no one else sitting in front of us…therefore, clear view!

Tuesday rolled around and it was back to work for me.  Dan headed off to meet up with Donny and Stanis in Berlin where I’ll be joining them all in a couple of days.  Now, I’ve just got to get through this three-day week…

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Responses

  1. Oh Jack, how could you possibly have believed that copper – he must have seen two gullible US tourists and thought he’d take you for a ride. And Cambridge won – yeahhhh! Your presence (and naïveté) must have brought them luck – so some good came of it!!!

  2. It’s the Kingpin of the Card Game, the Big Dog. Rolling with his homie from the WGC hood, Jack.


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