Sunday night at the London Palladium

I'd bought a £30 ticket for John Shuttleworth and Friends in aid of MS charities at the London Palladium, so I thought I'd make a day of it by seeing the Eric Ravilious exhibition at Dulwich Picture Gallery too. It was going to be a complicated day. I'd bought a ticket to London in advance, thinking I'd get to Dulwich on my bus pass and avoid that walk, but in the event got the Orpington train from Victoria, paid for with my Oyster card.

First though, I rode my electric bike to Brighton station because I'd be getting a late train home and didn't want to walk. I was pleasantly surprised when the new bike hub opened its doors for me (with my Key card) so I could leave it safe along with lights and helmet, something I wouldn't do outside.

At West Dulwich, it's a bit of a schlep to the gallery and it was a hot day so I was all sweaty when I got there and the air conditioning was a welcome relief. My new National Art Pass got me in half price (£7) and I headed for the Ravilious exhibition.

I love Ravilious and it was great seeing so many works here, also appreciating how many there were yet to see, probably tucked up in the vaults of the Towner, Eastbourne. It started with a room of quirky objects plus a few wood engravings and his designs for the alphabet mug and numbers handkerchief. After that the rooms were themed: interiors, landscapes, and finally his war paintings for aircraft and dazzle ships. Lots of local (to me) scenes too - the Long Man of Wilmington, Beachy Head, Newhaven harbour, etc. They're all big for landscapes and you can see the detail in the pencil overlaid with looser watercolour in his dry brush cross-hatching style.

After a look round the gift shop (where I bought a £25 catalogue) and a coffee plus almond slice at the 'artesan bakery' in the grounds (the cafe was too posh for the likes of me), I went in for a second look and to find the ones on sale as postcards that I'd missed. It was poignant that so many were painted in 1941, the year before he died! No photography allowed!

So, I caught a P4 from right outside, to Brixton, where all the shops were shutting, and a 159 (?) to Oxford Circus where I had a look for a decent pub before settling on the Argyll Arms opposite the Palladium. I managed to find a seat outside when who should come along but John Otway, who gave me a crib sheet for 'House of the rising sun' (which I got signed). I had a pint of Robinson's  Iron Maiden Trooper (at London prices) then a pint of Everard's Tiger, which I preferred.

So, to seat N33 on the left aisle. First up was guitar virtuoso Gordon Giltrap doing some holiday theme tunes, then Jon McClure (Reverend and the Makers) and Martyn Ware of Heaven 17 on a hi-tech organ, Sooty and Sweep (with Sweep in the Royal Box squirting the audience with a hose pipe - Ken Worthington was spotted up there later!) and Toyah (I went to the Gents while she was doing 'Serial cereal eater'). Or did Bill Bailey finish the first half? The running order is a bit hazy now. John broke Bill's guitar by tripping over a lead, but he was hilarious!

At the interval a bloke behind me had collapsed so was stretchered out as everyone tried to get to the bar. Badly Drawn Boy opened the second half (or was it Chas Hodges of Chas and Dave? who did 'Shopkeepers of the North') and was telling a long story about his train journey (that was leading up to 'Can't go back to savoury now') when someone heckled him to get off, so he called him some rude names, sang about the 'Man who lives on the M62' and another, then kicked over his glass of water and threw his guitar down so hard it smashed!

Jon Otway followed, then Jilted John! Lorraine Bowen sang 'Crumble'. Then Leee John (of Imagination) sang a slow version of 'Disaffected youth' and 'Body talk' in a rather show-bizzy set and John finished with a medley of hits ('Y-reg', 'Save the whale' and 'Here comes Midweek' but no 'Pigeons in Flight'!) It finished around 11pm, I made a dash for the gents again, then a 73 bus to Victoria and the 12.32 train home, stopping at every stop. I was so glad to have my trusty bike to take me home! In bed by 1.30am.