Metropolitan Musical Oddities

Humus. A salty paste beloved many That Londoners.
Humus: A salty paste beloved by many That Londoners.

Over our time down here in That London we have seen and done a lot of strange things. We’ve eaten hummus, we’ve ridden trains that only go underground, we’ve bought expensive drinks and we’ve tried out strange exercise techniques. However, none of these exotic pursuits have ever been quite  so unsettling as our experiences of That London’s entertainment scene.  One such strange encounter was our recent journey to see a curious band called Gentleman.

We were initially attracted to this performance troupe by their homely name – “Gentleman”. Tired of the strange characters we encountered in our daily That London pursuits we were excited by the prospect of sitting down for a couple of hours with some light entertainment from the aforementioned Gentle Men. Unfortunately, the night turned out to be in no way like an ‘evening with Fred Dibnah’, and its fair to say these members were in no way like the Gentle Men we had expected to meet.

Indeed, the oddities began even before the Gentlemen played their first note.  Unlike the classy pubs of the North, the venue for the evening’s entertainment  had decided to use its cellar space not for the storage of good beer, but actually for the staging of the Gentleman’s performance. Perturbed by this strange arrangement but still keen to sample exotic That London music we journeyed into the cellar and were immediately greeted by the second oddity our evening. The Gentlemen themselves. Each member had hair longer than a sheep’s in a Yorkshire winter and were each frocked in sparkling suits that would have put even the most committed Butlins performers to shame.

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These fine Northern Performers would seem positively underdressed next to ‘Gentlemen’

With such strange chaps on stage and without an Accordion or a Ferret in sight we knew this would be a strange night of ‘entertainment’.  The Gentlemen, we were told by a man in a wax jacket and voluminous hat before the gig, were a ‘psychedelic-indie’ group. We were unsure what this That London phrase meant and were completely unprepared for the noises we were about to encounter.

As the band began to play it became clear that the Gentlemen’s music was completely alien to that played in the working mens clubs of Rotherham or Worksop. The lead Gentle Man embarked on a long screeching song as the Gentle Man to his left, a synth-player with a dazzling suit, pulled a face at him as if to say: “God, aren’t we are great at playing music!”.

The Gentlemen continued with their ‘psychedelic-indie’ noises long into the night pulling faces and brushing their strange suits. We were wowed by their efforts but ultimately left the venue feeling more confused about That London life than we were when we entered. Nevertheless we had an enjoyable evening and after some time spent recovering from the strange experiences now feel ready to face the oddities of That London once more.  

If you would like to try and figure out the Gentlemen for yourself you can, by clicking this link to their teletext page.

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Gentlemen, Really not that bad at playing music.
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Metropolitan Musical Oddities

Hot Yoga- That London’s Favourite Alternative to Pub Darts

Northern Grandma
Northern Grandma’s Festive Advice “Don’t Spend it all at Once”

As you will all know the year 2013 has arrived and so it is as the chimes of That London’s favourite clock, the Big Ben, finally fade away Northerners everywhere welcome in a new year. Having now returned to the great metropolis after an all too brief respite in the loving arms of peaceful Bradford, we find ourselves in a contemplative mood.

The year of 2012 was certainly a tulmutous one for us- one of great highs and but also terrible lows- it saw joyous joy as the sporting achievements of Northern Peoples everywhere were finally recognised by the rest of the country  and rewarded by erections of golden postboxes in many of our fine Northern cities.

Yet, 2012 also brought with it great sadness. Non more so than the shocking news that Bill Tarmey, a.k.a Jack Duckworth, the much loved star of Northern evening television passed away whilst enjoying the Spanish winter sun. Without a doubt, the man who brought pigeon fancying and general Northern joviality  to the rest of the UK will be sorely missed; as will all the other admirable Northerns who have lost thier lives fighting to spread our fine ways with the rest of the U.K.

A Northern Giant is laid to rest.
A Northern Giant is laid to rest.

Despite the gloom we have valiantly returned to That London. Where we hope to continue our vital work investigating the busy city and spreading our honest Northern values to the frowning collection of people who make up the city that Oliver Twist  once called ‘ome.

In this week’s investigation we are turning our Northern peepers onto London’s crazy world of fitness. Having greedily eaten our way through many a pasty upon our festive return to Northern climes we now find ourselves requiring of a spot of exercise. This being the mega-town of That London, however, any normal means of fitness have been woefully hard to find. Nowhere in this City is there space for one to pursue the classic Northern sports of sunday afternoon of mining, ferret walking or light husbandry. Instead the people here have had to find new ways to keep fit. One such sport we have found bares the very odd title of “Hot Yoga”.  This perplexing name is not a London alternative to Yorkshire tea, as we had first thought, but in fact something much, much more alien.

An Actor re-enacts a scene from our Hot Yoga session
An Actor re-enacts a scene from our Hot Yoga session

In essence Hot Yoga is a sort of long dance conducted only in the more affluent villages of That London. However, unlike the dances common to the North, such as the Hokey-Cokey or the ‘Bassline dip’,  this particular set of movements is accompanied by no music whatsoever and in the absolute absence of alcohol.

Carried out in a small room hotter than a Gregg’s Pastry oven the session was led by a strange man, native to That London, who only spoke through inspirational quotes and complex metaphors.

Placing himself on the floor next to a mat, this man started the class by breathing in and out very heavily. Rather than showing concerned for the man’s obvious discomfort and erratic behaviour, however, the collected group of That Londoners actually began to mimic his curious actions. Though it went against our caring Northern instincts, we also thought it prudent to resist helping him and so continued to try and join in with the class as best we could.

Love Your Sweat
Unsure quite why we were meant to be so hot, we continued, ever mindful of “loving our sweat”.

As things progressed, the room heated to a temperature that would crisp a Toad-in-the-hole in mere milliseconds and the man’s actions became stranger still.

For the following forty-five minutes were we led through a series of irksome stretches by this crazed Londoner, each more unusual than the last, until finally, he came to his senses and decided to stop. Much to our relief. The class ended with the man inviting everyone to lay on the floor. He told the assembled crowd of That Londoners to breath in and out to forget the worries of their day, which they did dutifully. We also did the same. Loudly exhaling in and out as we tried to forget about the hard water that plagues the cups of tea we make in the city and then, sure enough, our troubles drifted away.  The strange man had cured our London woes, temporarily at least, and for that we were grateful.

In summary then, our first experience of a traditional That London exercise was a profoundly strange one; but not wholly unhappy. The total lack of ales and the absence of darts was very difficult to get our head around at first but we nevertheless left our class feeling jovial and bendier than ever. And so it is, after a cup of tea and a rest, we are ready to go out into That London once more to yet again uncover the strange things the city has to offer. You will no doubt hear from us again soon.

Hot Yoga- That London’s Favourite Alternative to Pub Darts

Musical Exploration in That London (Part1)

During our time in that London, there have been many things that have bemused our Northern senses. Like the fact that all our attempts to make a proper tea in the city have been scuppered by a mystery substance that covers our favourite ‘northern phrases’ mugs, with tough, hard to clean limescale; Or the fact that the commuters in the City use small plastic cards, enigmatically called oysters, which they angrily use to travel around the City, such is the extravagance of its Mayor, Ian Beale.

Like many things in London, these mugs are frowning; the culprit? Limescale.

Strange though these facts are there is one thing in That London which continues to phase us. That is the Night Life. High-brow sounds like that of Baseline are yet to arrive in the city, still incubating as they are in the cultural powerhouses of the North, like Sheffield and Bradford. Stranger still is that people in That London avoid the shinning comfort of clubs like “Tiger Tiger”, and the ever exotic Tokyos, to dance in strange rooms under the arches of train stations, in venues that don’t even serve John Smiths, or John Smiths extra cold, on tap or in a can.

Here’s a visual illustration of the sound of Baseline.

Such is the bemusement that this has caused us, we thought it might be helpful to provide you with a few tips on what to expect, should you ever find yourself lost merry-making in this urbane megalopolitan. Therefore, over the course of the next few weeks, we will be going to some of That London’s nocturnal escapades to try and get better understanding of ‘going out’ in That London.

Rudimental, Star of Kings, King’s Cross

Here is a flyer for the night in question, unlike the Northern cities, London has more than three clubs, so it can be tough for people to know nights are on without ‘flyers’.

On the first of these adventures we will be going to a ‘house night’ in the That London for a look around. The night in question is called “Rudimental”, in the burghal of Islington, and we have been told it is representative of a traditional London knees up, so we will be compiling a report on our visit tomorrow detailing all that any self-regarding Northern explorer should know. We expect our small northern minds to be throughly expanded so do check back in a couple of days for our complete report.

Musical Exploration in That London (Part1)

Essential Items for Survival in That London (Part 3)

David Hockney, Bradfordian and Painter of Fine Northern Scenes

During our research we have consistently found That London to be a profoundly bemusing place. Full of strange characters and oddities, everything there can seem very different from the tranquil beauty of the North. The people walk twice as fast as is normal, drinks cost as much as a Four-Bedroomed house in Bolton and it can take at least an hour to cross the road.

With so much that is different, we thought it would be useful to produce a small guide on overcoming the challenges any northern explorer will surely face on their own journey to That London. In this, the third part of our guide, we will be explaining some more of the differences that exist between That London and the North.

However if you’ve not read our guides on previous topics they can be found by following this link.

Fashion-

A Return of Week One’s Famed Flat Cap Wearer

Despite their hectic life-styles the people in That London still find the time to dress in outlandish outfits which they take great pride in frowning around the busy streets in. Watching these people can be great fun but you must be aware of a few things in order to avoid embarrassment. Unlike in the North where you would no doubt be congratulated for pointing out a stranger’s unfortunate clothing malfunction, the people of That London purposefully seek to create them. Most noticeably people sometimes fake ocular problems and wear glasses without proper lenses in them. Do not point out this obvious fault in eye wear to the owner as it is done intentionally to fain intellectual prowess.

London’s Areas-

Representatives from the borough of Chelsea, frowning intensely

We have discovered that because a great many people live in That London it is more helpful to imagine the city as a series of small interconnected ‘villages’ rather than one great sprawling metropolis. These villages must not be confused with with those you may be familiar with in the North, some contain more than one post office for example, but nevertheless the types of houses and people that live in them does change from area to area.

The ‘village’ of Chelsea is perhaps most unlike the North. There are absolutely no Gregg’s to be found in the area and it is possible to buy Cristal, Jay-Z‘s Champagne of choice, at most corner shops in the area. Despite Chelsea’s differences with the North there are nevertheless quite a few people in the area who drive Range Rovers and other 4X4’s that wouldn’t look out of place on a Farm or small holding in the rolling hills of Skipton. However, these people must not be confused for friendly farming types and attempts to begin any chats with them about the weather or the declining price of wholesale milk will be met with a steely refusal to engage.

Architecture-

This Giant Pen Lid has not been made with any Yorkshire stone, to its obvious detriment.

Much like the fine industrial towns of the North, That London has a diversity of buildings which make interesting places for a quick look around. Unlike the North however the buildings are both absurdly tall and never made of fine Yorkshire stone. This can make those used to more open spaces feel rather claustrophobic and all that metal and glass is often uneasy on the eye. That said, Westminster Palace, former shouting ground of Mine Closer Margret Thatcher does bare a slight resemblance to Bradford town hall and we have found it rather pleasing to go to the gates of the palace whenever the hustle and bustle of That London gets too much.

Bradford Town Hall’s nickname of Northern Westminster is wholly deserved.
Essential Items for Survival in That London (Part 3)

Essential Items For Survival In That London (Part 2)

Unlike the North That London has a notable lack of good grazing land.

Whilst the rumours we had heard about the people of That London have proved to be largely unfounded there is nevertheless much different in the city of eels and mash that any would-be-Northern explorer should be aware of. In order to help others in their own expedition southwards we thought it would be helpful to issue a handy ‘Survival Guide’, full of do’s and don’t’s to aid your own journey into the metropolis commonly referred to as That London or the ‘Big Smoke’.

Due to space requirements on our Teletext pages we have serialised this guide. Today’s section will aid your interaction with London folk by providing a selection of tips on the cultural norms commonly employed in That London. If you’re interested you can also find the previous instalments of our guide by following this link .

  • Familiarise Yourself  With The Local Dialect

If a person is born within ear-shot of the bells of the St. Mary-le-Bow Church, in the East End of London, they are said to be a Cockney. Cockneys speak gibberish as an unfortunate result of their birth in such close proximity to the clanging sound of these bells. At least 90% of all people born of That London adopt some degree of Cockney gibberish into their own vocabulary so it is vital that you acquaint yourself with some key Cockney phrases to avoid complete confusion. There is a useful teletext site, ran by Mayor of London Ian Beale, that will help you to prepare some useful phrases and this can be found by following this link.

Famous Northerner Lord Prescott demonstrates his patented device which translates Southern dialects into English in real time. If you can’t afford this device then read our guide.
  • Prepare Topics for Conversation 

Unlike the North where strangers happily chat with each other whilst on buses, in the shops or scrubbing the front steps of their homes, people in That London are often markedly taciturn. For example if you are traveling in a tunnel underneath That London on something called the ‘Tube’ you will notice that everyone is quiet. If you do try to speak people will often stare at you or rustle newspapers loudly to make you stop. Whilst it is impossible to converse in this situation, once above ground there will be occasional times when you can speak to people. It is best to prepare some acceptable topics for such conversations.

Jamie Oliver. A large tongued chef who often cooks naked, is much loved by people in That London and any praise of him and his time saving approach to food preparation is well appreciated by That Londoners.

Boris Johnson. When Ian Beale is not available to perform his Mayoral duties, professional bungler Boris Johnson is in charge of administering That London. Often found dangling from zip-wires, Boris Johnson is a local sweetheart and is very popular with exactly half of That London’s population. His revolutionary ideas to make bus travel in the city more expensive than Marks & Spencer’s Merino wool jumpers have  garnered support from some and censure from others. Regardless of people’s opinions on the Scarecrow Impersonator you are sure to find that everyone will have something to say about this albino gorilla.

Boris Johnson, Albino Gorilla
Here is Boris throwing a red ball at a child’s head as the child has forgotten his Oyster card.
  • Practice Frowning 

Mayor Beale has made it compulsory for all people living or working in That London to appear both disinterested and irritable between the times of 8:30 am to 17:30 pm each work day. In order to avoid appearing as though you are a grinning simpleton whilst on your expedition you should endeavour to appear downtrodden between these times. As such it is important that you rigorously practise the expressions of anger, annoyance and being in a rush regularly in a mirror. Though this will be difficult if you are still in the tranquil environment of the North you must nevertheless try to perfect these expressions. If you are finding it difficult we suggest that you read the following news story about the sinister disappearance of a significant amount of racing pigeons over the North of England. The said news article can be found by following this link.

Lord John Prescott
John Prescott has perfected his That London frown, though he appears downtrodden & unhappy, you will notice his thumbs up show he is in fact happy.

As is again the case, our teletext page will not allow us to give you any more information at this time. Rest assured that more tips will be made available in the near future. To make sure that you keep abreast of all the latest information as soon as it becomes available may we suggest that you follow our Teletext Updates by clicking the links below.  

Essential Items For Survival In That London (Part 2)

Essential Items For Survival In That London (Part 1)

If you’re going to That London you must be prepared.

Though it had not occurred to us Northerners before our temporary migration south, much is different in the areas just beyond Wakefield that are collectively referred to as ‘Greater That London’. Therefore, we thought it may be useful to issue a brief guide on the essential things that any intrepid Northerner should bare in mind before setting out on their own journey South. Here is a guide to the things you should and should not do if you hope to travel to That London while maintaining any contact whatsoever with your Northern sensibilities.

  • Take Tea

It may seem unthinkable whilst you are sat at home reading this on the Teletext but in That London there are only 3 people who regularly drink tea. Therefore, your own supply of Yorkshire teabags is essential. Be careful however as this strong bled of leaf has been known to harm the local peoples, keeping them up for days with its firm flavour and restorative effects.

  • Print A Greggs Map

Its a scientific fact that there are only 14 sausage rolls on sale in the whole of That London at any one time. Most local people eat at a place called ‘Pret a Manger’ (Pronounced Pret a Manager) which sells wildly expensive prawns and a selection of cold soups which a man in an apron will warm up for you. Whilst these shops make for an exotic visit it does mean that getting a nutritious meal can be a real nightmare. Luckily however Gregg’s the Bakery has charitably set up some pastry shelters in the city which you can visit for a normal meal. Regrettably they are of a limited number and can be difficult to find. Therefore we recommend that you follow this link to Gregg’s Teletext page where you will find a map of all the Gregg’s in London. You should print this out and take it with you. If you don’t have a printer your local library can do this for you.

  • Dress Lightly

As you step off that lightning fast train from Leeds to London, still marvelling at the fact you’ve just been whisked all the way down the country in the time it takes to watch the Coronation Street omnibus, you will be struck by the oddly warm weather. Without the rolling hills of the Dales or Pennines to protect them with cooling rains, the citizens of That London have to endure high temperatures for most of the year. This can be a nuisance for the Northern explorer but is easily combated by sensible actions. Dressing lightly is the key here. Pack lots of T-shirts, few flat caps and perhaps only the one fleece (for special outings) and you will be fine.

Due to spacing requirements on our Teletext pages this is the point at which we will have to leave the survival guide for today. Do come back soon however because the second issue will be put up shortly so that you may embark on your journey to That London safe in the knowledge you’ll be fully prepared for what ever the place may throw at you.

Essential Items For Survival In That London (Part 1)

Aye-up, Hello and Welcome

Ever since the East Coast Mainline first provided us with ‘quicker than horse and cart transport’ to the warmer regions of the British Isles, notably that London, Northerns have been allowed to mingle with the rest of the population easily and without gripe or set-back.

Selflessly we have shared our Northern ways with the rest of the U.K:

We have shared our fashions. Just look at the northern influences this young fashionista has adopted in donning that old time northern favourite, the Flat Cap.

We have also shared our beverages. That tepid pint of pale brown water isn’t called a ‘Real Ale’ in the North. Its all we’ve got. That London born fellow below may be drinking his real ale out of a jam-jar to be ironical but in the North thats all we do and we’re proud of it.

Heck, us Northerns have even selflessly shared our hate figures with the rest of the U.K. Though in the picture below she has adopted a subtle disguise in the form of a trendy London beard, who doesn’t love to hate this well known mine closing, milk stealer pictured below?

And yet, despite all of this altruistic sharing, Northerns are still persecuted. Crippled by the taxes charged on our much loved pasties, mocked for our time-saving approach to speaking words without vowels and our top-rate holiday destinations disregarded because of unfounded claims about the weather, something must be done to change the way we are received. This blog is the answer. We have removed our flat caps, put away the racing pigeons for the winter and eaten our last pies in order to infiltrate That London and report back on what we find.  Each week we will post things (probably on a Wednesday after ‘Corrie’) about our secret lives in That London so we might understand what we Northerners must do to be better accepted.

Aye-up, Hello and Welcome