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15 November 2001
Issue 92
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- Clubs
- A Clown in Our Midst

- Hotels
- Music
- Theatre
- Clubs
- Cinema
- Latest news from London
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- Readers say their piece
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CLUBS: Xmas and New Year Highlights
Read our guide to the best selection of club nights for the Christmas and New Year break.

LONDON DIARY by David Clee

A Clown in Our Midst

There was a clown at the bus stop one morning this week. Not some clumsy amateur in fancy dress, but a genuine, baggy-trousered, thick-lipsticked member of the falling down club, quietly smoking a cigarette.

When I got to work I hurried to the desk of our theatre guru, who assured me she knew of no Festival of Not Very Funny Physical Comedy about to stun London and, as far as I know, circuses don't run a morning show, so this could mean only one of two things. Either I had stumbled apon a cunningly disguised Osama bin Laden, or this clown was suffering from an inability to distinguish between reality and fantasy.

The fact Coco fished out the full 70 pence fare from his outsize pockets rather than a brown envelope stuffed with anthrax would seem to suggest the latter; a shame, in a way, because the reward for returning a runaway clown to the circus is reckoned by military experts to be considerably less than the 25 million Dollars on bin Laden's head. In another, quite important life-and-death kind of a way, of course, it was not such a shame.

Anyway, be it bin Laden or Been Juggling, what I found amazing is that no-one else seemed amazed by the clown in our midst. They all just carried on with the usual harrumphing every time the bus had the temerity to hold up their journey by stopping at, you know, bus stops.

I can promise you that I am a long-term student of the meaning of minor muscle ticks of the human face and can spot it a mile off when people are just pretending to be uninterested. No, my fellow bus passengers were genuinely blasé about the whole Clown In Unnatural Habitat incident.

It was then that I had one of those dry-mouth moments of bitter self-knowledge. Even after spending the best part of four decades in this city, I am still not as cool as a bunch of old age pensioners on the downstairs part of a double-decker bus. The clown in our midst was me.
David Clee ([email protected])

News Headlines

- Music
- Theatre
- Clubs
- Cinema

HOTEL NEWS by Peter D. Clee

It's Getting Better All The Time
IT COULD be too early to call but I sense a certain return to normalcy right now. The Taliban are toast, Tony Blair's finally had a decent night's kip and Germany and Brazil really did qualify for the World Cup, albeit eventually.

London hotel bookings are up too. The air of desperation in the industry has been replaced with a determination to pull together and get on with things. Some hotels have chosen to close over the winter and undergo substantial renovation. Others have slashed prices to maintain occupancy levels. Even in a crisis it seems we all find a way of coping and these troublesome times are proving no different.

I'm particularly pleased to see that The Gore has picked up too. It's our longest serving hotel and is particularly popular with our American cousins so had thus seen it's share fall off considerably. Their champagne filled New Year deal is worth a close look too.
The Gore:

I'm off to New York in a couple of weeks to take a look at our new hotels in the city for our sister site Hotelgenie. It's something I have been planning for a while and with greater urgency ever since the 11th of September. I haven't been for ages so I'm looking forward to meeting old friends and making new contacts.

Drop me a line if you have cool recommendations in the city, be they hotels, restaurants or bars and clubs. Who knows, maybe a few of us can meet up (naturally preference will be given to sassier members of the fairer sex... yeah right; some chance, eh).
- Peter D. Clee
([email protected] / [email protected])


This week's hit-parade of the most popular hotels featured in our secure-booking site:

LondonNet's Top Five Hotels*:
1 (2) The Columbia
2 (-) Hazlitts
3 (5) Lincoln
4 (4) Chesterfield
5 (-) Halcyon
(*based on bookings between 1-14 September 2001. Previous issue's figures in brackets)

Related links
For the full range of London hotels now on offer please see:
For details of our office hours and contact info see our Helpdesk page at:
For details of over 300 European city hotels available on our sister site see:
Wishes: With a luxury hotel break up for grabs in each issue plus features and news, it's time to get your copy of Wishes,'s regular newsletter. To subscribe click here:

LONDON MUSIC by Catherine Chambers

The White Stripes
Wednesday November 21

Unless you've been living under a rock these past few months, you may have noticed that there's a rock 'n' roll revolution going on. First it was New Yorkers The Strokes that were hyped up to high heaven. Five smartly-dressed young blokes that were as hip as they come. Now it's the turn of Detroit's White Stripes. Except there's only two of them!

Jack White is one half of garage-rockers The White Stripes. The other is his sister Meg. Their dress code is red and (now here's a surprise) white. Instruments of choice are guitar and drums only, but the bass isn't noticeably absent thanks to JW's relationship with his six-stringer, shredding like there's no tomorrow. And the way Meg belts those drums is something else.

And they've mastered the art of unbelievably catchy lyrics, ones that float around in your subconscious. Such as those that make up the current single Hotel Yorba - "Well it's one two three four, take the elevator to the to the Hotel Yorba/I'll be glad to see ya later/all they got inside is vacancy." You'll be singing it for days, trust us.

For the lucky blighters who've managed to grab themselves a ticket, get ready to be blown away at one of this year's highly anticipated gigs. For those that missed out, well you'll just have to put up with pals banging on about how amazing the White Stripes were. The words 'meteoric' and 'rise' spring to mind. Watch them go.

Related Links:
Music Tickets:
You can book tickets for many of the top gigs in London through our online ticket shop:
Music Listings:
For our music guide see:

LONDON THEATRE by Helena 'Spid' Thompson

In the spotlight

'Much ado about nothing'? 'All's well that ends well'? As theatreland rocks to the shock of September 11 even the Bard's words fail to ring true. Yet current productions of Shakespeare say a lot about the state of London theatre.

Kiss Me, Kate is one show that positively sings the praises of Shakespearean theatre. For a feelgood musical whose pathetic pre-show sales had West End producers quaking in their seats, Cole Porter's crowd-pulling revamp of The Taming Of The Shrew has turned into a true success story.

But other versions of the Bard tell a different tale. The Reduced Shakespeare Company's once packed show is now half full as bomb shy tourists flee the theatre - and even the solvency of the Royal Shakespeare Company looks questionable. Will strikes prevent the RSC Hamlet from coming to London? Will artistic director Adrian Noble actually desert his Barbican base in favour of more West End shows?

Though no show has all the answers Shakespeare on stage certainly promises plenty to think about. Laughed, spoken or just plain said the Bard remains the best barometer for a changing theatre scene.

Up and Coming
Umoja, The Shaftesbury Theatre, Holborn tube

A South African extravaganza to celebrate the spirit of togetherness. All-singing, all-dancing performers bring village life to life.

Kiss Me Kate, the Albery Theatre, Leicester Square tube

Cole Porter's musical revamp of The Taming of the Shrew is back from Broadway with a cluster of US stars. It's time to brush up your Shakespeare.

Theatre Choice
Best Musical: Cats -
Lloyd Webber tames Eliot's feline poems
Best Play: Art - The value of modern art throws relationships into jepardy.
- For details, tickets and reviews see:

LondonNet's Top Five Shows*:
1 (2) Starlight Express
2 (5) Art
3 (1) The Lion King
4 (-) Les Miserables
5 (-) Kiss Me Kate
(*based on bookings between 1-14 November 2001. Previous issue's figures in brackets)

Related Links:
London Theatre Menu
London Theatre Tickets

THEATRE: Group Bookings
OVER the past few months we have been doing an increasing number of group bookings. So we thought it was about time LondonNet had its own group booking page:

Group bookings normally require between 10-15 in the party (depending on show) and usually attract handsome discounts. If you are planning a works party, school trip, birthday treat or laying on corporate hospitality please get in touch.
Email: [email protected]

LONDON CLUBS by Catherine Chambers

Club Night of the week:

Chew The Fat
Friday, November 16
Venue: The Bar, St Matthews Church
8pm-5am, UKP12

This weekend it's all happenin' down in Brixton as Chew The Fat celebrate their fourth birthday. Resident DJ Paul Arnold is joined by Layo & Bushwacka and Tayo dictating the sound of UK breaks at a tasty all-nighter this Friday.

Brainchild of Paul Arnold, Chew the Fat has been dishing up a wild mix of breakbeats since 1998. From nu-skool to young skool, CTF straddles all beat styles and plays host to decknicians that'll have you dribbling. No less than Adam Freeland (or Adam F as he's known as) a, Terry Francis and Tom Middleton have ventured down to South London's break-beat bonanza.

Clued up clubbers have been heading down to the same venue every Friday night for the past four years and you can bet they'll be doing the same this Friday moreso considering that the birthday celebrations witness Layo and Bushwacka making a rare joint appearance in London (other than The End) to mark the occasion.

Are Yule Ready To Party?
- Check out LondonNet's guide to clubbing over Christmas and New Year

Related Links:
Club Menu
Club Tickets - You can now book tickets for many of the top clubs in London through our online ticket shop:
Club Previews

LONDON CINEMA by Catherine Chambers

Film of the Week:

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone ****
Director Chris Columbus

It would please the cynics greatly - and conform to a certain industry tradition - if Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone failed to live to the hype. Although the media circus surrounding this hot property isn't fully justified, it's refreshing to report that the film doesn't cheat its audience...more (PG)

Other top films out this week:
Ghost World ****
My Brother Tom ****
Disco Pigs *****

For reviews and details see:

Cinema Menu
Film Listings - Full London listings with our easy to use guide


News from London

News Headlines
Drug Secrets of Britain's Snorty Somethings
- Managers rival students in narcotics league table
Big Screen Welcome to Afghanistan
- Michael Winterbottom to make film on conflict in the Middle East
News Talkback


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Theatre Competition:
Win an all-inclusive Theatre package:
£70 worth of Theatre Tokens
1 x Drinks & Programme Voucher
1x Showstopper Voucher
1 x Box of Chocolates
1 x Bottle of Champagne
Return (Standard) Rail Travel for two people
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Prize courtesy of Theatre Tokens. (
Qu: Name the on-off female lead of My Fair Lady?

HOW TO ENTER: All you have to do is send an email with your answer and the subject header "Theatre Tokens Compie" to:
[email protected]

NB Include email, telephone number and postal address (which will only be used for this compie-guaranteed). If you don't include your address we can't send you the prize!

RULES and INFO: First correct answer out of the Editor's hat win a prize, details will be sent to the winner. The Editor's decision is final. Closing Date: 24 November 2001.
Theatre Guide:

Last Issues Competition Winners:
(1 November 2001, Ahoy)

Trams Compie
Kathy Edge (Surbiton, Surrey)


AHOY! Readers say their piece: Send mail to [email protected]
Notes: The Editor reserves the right to amend your contributions for reasons of elegance, space, legality and plain sheer bloodymindedness. The following letters have been received direct here at Ahoy! Talkback or on our News Talkback forum. Join the diverse debate by sending us an email or posting a message on the forum:
We welcome your views on any subject, questions about your visit and of course feedback about the newsletter or website.

Hi LondonNet,

Hey, someone is taking Eurostar on! Here's my story of why I refuse to use them, even after all this time (and it was, admittedly, a long time ago).

A few years ago when I was still living in Paris there was this
transport strike in France. Eurostar were unaffected, because they just used their Belgian and UK hires to keep things going. Then, the French strikers occupied the Lille switching station (this is what I was told - whether it's true or not I haven't a clue). So Eurostar cancelled all trains.

Here's the good part.

Did Eurostar help me get back home to Paris? Not in the least. The
excuse I got, and I quote: "we are a train company, not a transportation company". I'd call them something else, but it's not printable. I got left stranded in London and had to make my own way back to Paris. They didn't even have the courtesy to provide numbers for alternative transportation customers - just this person at a desk saying "go away". Instead of hiring buses or even pointing us in the right direction so we could get home and generally taking care of their customers they just abandoned us, utterly and completely. I had to convince a local bus company to put on a couple more buses. I guaranteed they would fill them. As it turned out I almost didn't get a ticket for those same buses, but that's another story.

I will *never* use Eurostar again. That total lack of anything
resembling customer service back then makes me unwilling to trust them again. I'd rather fly, and to be blunt it's almost the same price. I wrote a letter of complaint to them at the time, and another one later when I got no reply, and never got so much as an acknowledgement that anything had been received. Nothing. They didn't care then, and from what I've heard others saying since then they only seem to know how to do one form of customer servicing. Well, screw them.

Marc Donovan


Of course Eurostar should have cheap standby and budget fares and should make up reveue by selling good food and on board facilities like a news paper trolley.A study of the budget airlines success would show what commonsense can do.We would all go much more often too.It feels like it's run by peole wih no imagination.

R Catling


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