Going to the ball

This is a bit of a belated update, and I must admit I only really remembered to post it because it’s the same dismal weather here again today, but on Sunday we went to Capital Radio’s Summertime Ball.

I used to listen to Capital as a teenager – I even won a T-shirt in a phone-in competition once, gasp – so I love the fact that I now sing along to it with my girls. Especially after eight years of Radio Contact in Brussels, which has to be the cheesiest station in the world, so cheesy that cheese strings virtually burst out of the car radio as you drive along. Capital, by comparison, is as slick as a bar of soap and we really like Johnny Vaughan and Lisa Snowdon during the morning battle with London traffic.

I’ve tried to get tickets to Capital’s various balls before, with no success – don’t they know who I am?? – but this time we got six tickets with no problems at all, so I wasnaturally  a bit worried that all the acts would be rubbish and that other Londoners knew something I didn’t. But by the time we got there, it had reassuringly sold out and people like Jennifer Lopez were in the line-up, so we knew it would be good.

What we didn’t reckon with, of course, was the London summer weather, which was absolutely freezing cold, and drizzling when it wasn’t actively lashing with rain. If it had started hailing or even snowing, we wouldn’t have been surprised. We were lucky in the cheap seats right at the top, which were covered, but the poor old VIPs, who’d paid astronomical sums to be right in front of the stage, were seriously risking hypothermia.

I was proud of London, though, as everyone rose to the occasion and decided not to let the rubbish weather spoil their day. There was a stiff upper lip, ‘don’t mention the rain’ attitude most of the time, with singers like Nicole Sherzinger prancing about in heels despite rivers of water on the stage. Ceelo Green wore a lovely parka with a fur-trimmed hood, which we were all very envious of, but J-Lo of course wore next to nothing, in an amazing Barbarella-style silver mini and thigh boots. I suppose if you’re jumping about like a, well, perfectly-toned goddess, you probably get quite warm, unlike the middle-aged mummy watching her, whose only exercise came from chomping Pringles and trying to force my offspring to buy me more tea.

There were 75,000 people watching and, though I’ve always felt I didn’t like crowds, the atmosphere was entirely benign and good-natured. The whole thing was a billion times better as an experience than the first (and last) time I saw a band in my teens. It was the Police, and I remember they looked like tiny ants from where we were sitting, you could hardly hear a thing, and what you could hear sounded nothing like the record. On Sunday, you could watch all the action on huge screens, everyone was note-perfect, the sound was deafening and the whole thing was like the X-Factor final, only better. Progress, definitely. I’m not saying I’ll be rushing to the next one. But it was fun, all the same.

For some reason, this picture has come out sideways and I can’t edit it. WordPress really sucks, I must say. My whole blog crashed last week, I find it impossible to put pictures into sidebars – you wouldn’t believe the pages of instructions I’ve been sent about it – and now this. Grrr. Anyone with any tips, do get in touch.

Leave a Comment