So you are coming to this year’s Bash. You’ve dug out your best hat, because Sacha is a stickler for standards, polished your shoes (Ali, ditto) and invested in a Kevlar jacket (to deflect the ferocity of the Hugh Hug – he’s not known as the Swansea Strangler for nothing). You will be arriving in the great souk that is London on a Saturday morning, when all sorts of ne’er do wells and foot-pads are abroad, determined to discombobulate you and deflect you from your Pilgrimage.
So how can I help ease some anxiety? How do you get to
Grange Wellington Hotel
71-72 Vincent Square, London, SW1P 2PA, United Kingdom
Where this door awaits. What is behind it? Who? Why? All will be revealed on Saturday. Well not all. Hugh’s tattoo has been known to melt people’s sinuses. Viewings are strictly by appointment.
Your grail is but a tube journey away. Wherever you land in our magnificent metropolis you will be within a gnat’s gusset of a tube station. And even the most unsophisticated of arrivistes (and let’s face it, you blog, therefore you are used to solitude and a sepulchral indoorsy existence) can find a tube entrance with one of these jonnies above it.
Descend into the Stygian depths, oh brave heart, for there, and beyond, lie riches outwith mere mortal contemplation – aka a squee of delight when Sacha realises who you are which, be warned, isn’t a given since she’s a blind as a myopic cabbage on a first date in a Reykjavik rave during the midwinter gloaming and a power cut.
You will need a ticket thingy. For the tube. Queue or cue or even Kew, though don’t actually go to Kew, nice though it is at this time of year. Buy a ticket. They take cash and cards though be warned when they say ‘ we take cards’ because they mean it; you may not get them back. You can get an Oyster (other crustaceans are also available) card if you intend popping up to the surface with the regularity of a neurotic meerkat. But let’s assume one ticket, a single that takes you around zone 1, for that is the ZONE OF JOY for today (who writes this tosh?).
Here’s the helpful bit. They close different bits of the tube at weekend’s while they look for auntie Margaret’s dentures. Here is a link to the status updates. Worth a dander so you don’t assume a route only to find the miserable toads have stymied you.
And then you need to get to grips with the map. This
or maybe this
Easy, huh? You need to get on the blue line only there are two of them and since I don’t know your range of pigmentary perception, me saying ‘the light blue’ may be as useful as a chocolate teapot, but suffice it to say it’s blue. With Victoria as its title and that is a clue. A plot spoiler if you will since, when choosing the venue, I was given one requirement (well two is you include a supply of endless peach mojitos) and that was that the journey there had to be idiot proof.
Here’s the hint
Sort of Gone Girl meets The Famous Five. And it’s not a she, it’s a thing. Though maybe stations are female. It’s certainly woody name with tinny undernotes, which I think is quite important on a Saturday when there isn’t an R in the month and, even though May is over, she might still be with us, though the Polls (or the Poles – other central and Eastern European nationals are also available) suggest she is still only a May and by no means the Will she herself assumed and certainly not a Must.
Victoria station is, frankly a mess. They’re rebuilding around it and any one with half a brain would not have chosen this as the place for a big meet up of a group of introverts who think cutting the crusts of cucumber sandwiches the height of sophistication. But then you’re not me, are you?
You will emerge into chaos, corridors with dripping pipes and ceiling lights that seem about to drop to the floor – kind of like how Alien in Gotham might look if directed by a Christopher Nolan/Ridley Scott love child.
But nil desperandum, my peeps for life is simple – you need to head up the stairs/escalators towards the mainline station exit and then onward towards platform 3; there, with Maccy D’s in sight
do not be tempted but instead, bear left and seek out the neat little passage in the wall well to the left of the Arched Emporia of Fine Burg-shite.
Yep, go towards the home-grown-healthy-if-you-close-your-eyes eatery, the Cornish Pasty stand and there is the exit… Take it. Take it now. With alacrity and a certain self possession. You are The One, The Bees Knees, the Cat’s Whiskers, the Bat’s Biceps, the the Big Cheese
Relief is at hand. You will emerge, phoenix-like, on Wilton Road
and into the freshest crispest air that toxic diesel engines can provide. With the Apollo Theatre to your left and more bloody roadworks…
Ah me, no doubt a metaphor for our election…
You are making for
and a road under a building – technically a left turn, though, that isn’t likely, at least not this Thursday…
past this pub… are you familiar with where the expression ‘it is cold enough to freeze the knockers off a brass monkey comes from? No, well, there’s your first question for the panel on Saturday.
onto Vauxhall Bridge Road. You are heading south. Ah the Beautiful South. Paris, Madrid, Penge…
But not today.
There are a few dull roads in London, I grant you. Edgware Road is probably numero uno for somnambulistic kerbside conventions. But VBR is really lacking a certain vibrancy, a tad passionless. So hasten, quicken the steps.
After all this is merely a means to an end. Or mean to the end. Like Kyle Pattinson who I was at school with (with whom I was at school) who never bought his round and who, as a result ended up servicing gas boilers in Daventry. Just saying.
You need to cross said Vauxhall Bridge Road at some point but be safe. The traffic is unforgiving and most of the drivers are probably taking advantage of some free bets on the French Open.
You aren’t far from your goal, your Olympus, your Nirvana. By now Hugh has warmed up for your initial hug. He has also a line of seemingly innocent questions he will ask as he films you for the Post Bash Post. Hence the hat; you’ll want to look your best as you go viral.
Skip across the first junction you come to – you are not for turning. At this point you will have ‘done a block’, as they might say if from the US though if you are from Walthamstow ‘doing a block’ is more likely to suggest you have just conquered some rather tenacious constipation.
The next turning is the one for you.
Though you can go on to the next left – Hatherley Street – and go left there. Meah. Whatever.
It’s easy now.
Your destination is ahead, on your right if you turned left first and on your left if you didn’t. Sort of. Look, I didn’t ask to do this, you know. Last year I ran BOOB – Back Off Our Blogs – trying to stop the whole shebang. But they captured me and have subjected me to their egregious if rather stimulating experiments involving a prophylactic half-filled with lime cordial and a copy of the Treaty of Lisbon. And no you don’t want the details.
They told me this is my only way out, writing this. And organising the venue.
Anyhoo, there’s this green open space thingy that’s actually closed
Makes for a jolly vista.
So, go on, in you go. Once inside they’ll be on your right, all that hugging and smiling and having fun. Laughter and friendship and joie de vivre and bonhommie.
And if you’re still confused, well get a bloody cab, cheapskate.