Wk 5 Stats
2) 2 (wishing it was a bit higher)
A night with Mari Wilson
Crouch End is such a wonderful place to live. It’s absolutely North London but with a beauteous community feel. People remember you, and not just your immediate neighbours, which in some parts of London is a feat in itself.
Within a minutes’ walk from my flat is a brilliant coffee shop/cafe called The Haberdashery where this spirit is not only embraced it is celebrated. They continuously and tirelessly have events on showcasing and celebrating all kinds of arts and community projects.
I saw an advert in their window ‘One Night Only – Mari Wilson in Concert’. Now I was aware that Mari was a local, and followed her on Twitter. Just What I Always Wanted was one of my favourite tracks of the 1980s. So that was an easy decision and I was booked to go with two friends. The evening cost £35 which included a two course dinner, glass of bubbly and the concert. Bargain.
It was one of those occasions which you could really look forward too. A starlet performing in a local, cosy venue. In all there must be no more than 15 tables.
I tweeted Mari to say I was looking forward to it, and she tweeted back ‘I think it will be great fun!’
Saturday 9th March soon came around, and despite some teasing sunshine and a rise in the temperature to something that resembled spring this had been short lived. So what to wear? I wanted to look cool but not as if I had tried too hard, so settled on a pair of grey skinny Republic jeans, with my polka dot creepers, black shiny Zoo York baseball jacket and cool t with a tattooed 50’s singer stencilled on it, think Imelda May. It may have been cold but I was ready with a spring outfit, and even if I got cold this would only be for a few yards!
I met my two friends for a quick sherry in The Queens, and quickly switched to wine as their sherry is only served in half measures!
Side note – Why does everyone always look at you strangely when you order a sherry in a pub?
We arrived for a start time of 7.30pm and the atmosphere was already abuzz, and took our table which was delightfully positioned with a full view of the stage area. The stage area had been constructed at the front of the cafe with fairy lights, a red curtain, and room enough for a keyboard and a mike and stool.
Sitting next to me was a glamorous middle aged lady looking too cool for school. She was on her own and after we had smiled at each other twice, I engaged her in conversation, and learned that she was an old friend of Mari’s who had been living in LA for 22 years, ran her own business and travelling home to visit family and friends after trying to make sense of suddenly losing her husband last year. She was awaiting the arrival of her daughter. I carried on talking to her until her daughter arrived, initially I thought to make sure she was not alone, but had the fringe benefit of chatting away to a wonderfully entertaining beautiful inspirational woman.
The main course arrived which was a delicious salmon which we washed down with Rioja. (Should have been white with salmon but we were all feeling rather red!)
Then, Mari and her keyboard player were introduced and came to the front. Mari was instantly chatty, relaxed, and joked at how close she was to the audience and that she might sit on one of their knees! Everyone roared with laughter and it was clear we were part of a very special moment. Her star quality was infectious and mesmerising.
Mari told us that she would sing from her back catalogue, her current covers album, and tracks from Dusty the Musical (which she had starred in). And did she deliver! WOW! What a voice, and all songs sung with divine tone and emotion.
There was a break halfway, and everyone clapped, cheered and whistled enthusiastically. I went to the back to use the bathroom, and Mari appeared. I smiled and said the first set was amazing. She thanked me graciously and said she recognised me from Twitter. Now she is not a megastar with millions of followers but to remember a random stranger from Twitter was special!
The second half mirrored the first, and the singing ended with a rousing encore mashup of Cry Me A River and Just What I Always Wanted (Glad it was both as my friend Steve had called for Cry Me a River, and lady on the table behind said ‘NO! Just What I Always Wanted’ – I had suggested ‘Both’ before it turned nastyJ )
Amazing but it got better as Mari spoke to the punters on several of the tables, and then got a glass of bubbly and sat at our table chatting and laughing, sharing where she was going musically, sharing Crouch End stories and our love of the Haberdashery, and photographic evidence to prove thus. I stopped short of inviting her back to my flat with the boys for a port! Another time perhaps…
Here’s the YouTube link to a short video of the evening! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlOfobyzsbw
Superstar gracious lady, you have a new super fan J She may be the Soul Queen of Neasden but now also the Queen of Cool Crouch End.