Monday, October 18, 2010

The Chicken Vindaloo and Lager Show

I got my early knowledge of London and the Thames from the many great British movies that were made in the 30s, 40s and 50s. This for me was the heyday of British cinema and many of the films made in this era became classics, which I still watch when I can. 

So when I first got to London I felt as though I already knew lots about it – and indeed had already visited and lived in many areas of London on film with people like Stewart Granger, James Mason, John Mills, Laurence Olivier, Greer Garson, Michael Wilding and many, many others.  

To me London in the 80s always seemed a bit drab. It was swinging in the 60s and 70s but I missed those years and it had well and truly swung by the 80s. Part of this was to do with Margaret Thatcher but I was also always traveling on business so did not get to potter and about as much as I would have liked - and my visits could not often be undertaken when the weather was warm.

I spent every spare moment prowling the streets of London and walked it from end to end and side to side. At one time I knew a fair bit of the history of London and could tell you how streets and districts got their names. This information has disappeared so I enjoy reading about it again when I go there. My favorite part of London was of course the river and I loved prowling up and down it – both sides. I took the boats to Greenwich and Richmond whenever I could because the river is the life of London and always has been.  

As I was always travelling on business I spent an inordinate amount of time in restaurants – usually very good ones – and bars – usually not very good ones. I only got to the theatre occasionally and the occasion I remember best was when I asked my colleagues in the office in London to book tickets to a West End show for me and my then girlfriend (who incidentally ran off with another man - but that is for another day).

When I arrived they produced tickets for something called ‘Starlight Express’. This remains to this day the single worst theatrical experience of my life. It is a musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber. The singers are on roller skates. Jesus Wept!

As the curtain rose on this skating extravaganza the man sitting in the row in front of us – and one seat to the right – put his head between his legs and deposited his dinner (possibly a Chicken Vindaloo and 10 pints of Lager) on to his feet – and the feet of those on either side of him. 

He was very full and it took him some time to do this. He took a couple of short breathers before continuing – with appropriate sound effects. It was a brilliant performance.

You have to admire the stoicism of the British because no one moved – including the vomitor – of course he would have been a bit faint after his exertions and probably needed a rest.

After 10 minutes the vomitor got up and squelched his way out of the theatre (probably on his way to another Curry and Lager festival) but the vomitees remained. I was desperate to leave but could not convince my popsie that the piece of crap we were watching was not worth the stench.

During the intermission the staff put newspapers onto the enormous pile of vomit. Everyone stayed.

It was an excruciatingly awful piece of gruesome schlock.  Apparently it was one of the longest running musicals in the West End with 7,461 performances and is the most popular musical show in Germany. 7,461 performances and I get Mr. Vindaloo. How’s that for timing!

When I was roller-blading seriously a few years ago I could never strap them on without getting a slight whiff of vomit.


  1. Starlight Express! My grandfather took me to see that as a child; I should probably see it again as an adult.

    I saw "Jesus Christ, Superstar" in the Czech Republic on English (language) night. I felt bad for the actors: their accents caused a few extra syllables so they were always a beat or two behind from the music.

    Although nothing as exciting as curry vomit ever happened.

  2. Jessica: Hmmm.... I am not sure it is worth seeing again ... but it's your call. let me know how it goes.