I’m really, really bad at taking advantage of the fact that I live in one of the world’s greatest cities. Sure, I walk in the parks and travel around central London for work, noting the architectural of glories of, say, St James’ or the Palace of Westminster as I whizz past in my car or the back of a black cab, but I rarely book tickets for fun things, or make time to go to the theatre or visit galleries.
This summer I’ve been trying to remedy this: I took my beloved godmother Rosalind to the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy last week and for afternoon tea at The Delauney afterwards. On Saturday night I was given seats by Amazon Tickets to Beautiful: The Carole King Musical at the Aldwych Theatre (excellent, go), and Emily I had a wonderful evening, singing under our breath and bopping gently in our seats, before heading to Balthazar for tarte tatin, a raspberry vacherin and Prosecco to celebrate getting out of our respective houses on a Saturday night, and this coming Thursday I’m taking Briony to a press performance of The Kinks musical, Sunny Afternoon, at The Harold Pinter Theatre.
So last night I jumped at the chance to attend one of the Somerset House Summer Series gigs. a show by four-piece band Everything Everything. I seem to be forever in and out of the courtyard of Somerset House, heading to meetings, dinner at Spring, or press shows in the many high ceilinged rooms in the wings, but I’ve never been to an event outside there. (I’m drawing a gloss over the years of London Fashion Week there, as I was always so manic that the surroundings just blurred into so much grey.)
The view from the Enhanced Bar across Somerset House’s courtyard
Last night Chloe and I were guests of The House of Peroni, who this year are running the private (but bookable by the public in advance) Summer Series at Somerset House Enhanced Bar in the left hand wing of Somerset House.
For anyone that missed The fabulous The House of Peroni Amare l’Italia six-week residency at Proud East last month, the Enchanced Bar continues The House of Peroni Amare I’Italia theme: There’s a drinks menu featuring Peroni Nastro Azzurro-infused drinks created by award winning master mixologist Simone Caporale,
and a beautiful Italian al fresco garden, curated by Margherita Maccapani Missoni, where you can have your photo taken and enjoy the fresh ingredients used in Peroni’s food and drink offer.
It is an entirely civilised place to hang out before – and during if you are so moved – a gig. Obviously there are no seats in the courtyard for waiting between sets, so it’s pretty damn nice to be able to hop across to a calm, cool, chic bar.
(A limited number of Summer Series GA Enhanced tickets are available for an additional £20 for the duration of the Summer Series – tickets are still on sale for James Morrison, UNKLE, and St Germain amongst others) which give holders access to the private The House of Peroni Enhanced Bar plus a free drink. – on balance it’s well worth it as you’re bound to buy a drink anyway, and this way you get the fab place to hang out – and if it rains you will be all the smug.)
Drinks done – I had a Sorbetto Spritz Infusion, a cocktail of Peroni Nastro Azzuro, Aperol, bitter lemon, and blood orange sorbet, we headed outside to watch the band. I’d heard Everything Everything‘s big song Cough Cough before, but wasn’t hugely familiar with their songs, so I read the blurb for the band:
Everything Everything are on a never-ending quest to bring experimentation and creative ambition back to pop music. Last year they launched their third album Get To Heaven, which reached the Top 10 of the album charts and included the unforgettable No Reptiles. This album is an intricate snapshot of contemporary culture within a sonic landscape. It garnered the finest critical reception of their career to date and established them as one of the most progressive, inventive and exciting bands in British music.
In my years of gig-going ‘experimentation’ and ‘progressive’ often translate in reality to a case of aural terrorism in front of an audience of geeky music guys, wetting themselves over long extended solos, and a lack of danceable melodies. Happily, this wasn’t the case, as Everything Everything manage to find the balance between excellent musicianship, and songs you can dance as well as listen to.
It was a perfect evening – the courtyard space is intimate, you can move around freely, the surroundings are ravishing as the sun goes down, the music was fantastic, and I got to sit in a beautiful bar with a cocktail whilst I waited for Chloe (as opposed to propping myself against a cold stone balustrade).
A limited number of Summer Series GA Enhanced tickets are available for an additional £20, giving holders access to the private The House of Peroni Enhanced Bar plus a free drink. Head to www.thehouseofperoni.com for more information.
This post was written in association with The House of Peroni