The Delights of Purgatory in London: Circuses, Flamenco, Rock, Opera’s and some much more

I am still in London, even though in December I was told that I would be in Brazil (or the Emirates or Portugal). This unpredictability can very grating especially if you are trying to plan the next couple of months which include a wedding. However, London, in this sense is a great halfway house to be waiting for something to happen (gloomy weather aside).

I don’t enjoy living in London for extended periods of time, but do enjoy what the city has to offer. Culturally this city can be a Mecca, offering a multitude of activities. It was one of the few reasons I missed this city. Every time I return here for extended periods of time, I try and do as much as I can.

While I’ve been here this time round, I’ve attended a smorgasbord of performances and events. I tried to do the same when I lived in London, but that’s not always easy as not all my friends would be willing to be dragged to a Gypsy music concert or Desert Blues masters from Mali, though there were always a few who would join me for my eccentric tastes (Thanks Luisa!)

This doesn’t mean that things change when you are a relationship, as your partner is not always going to be crazy enough to indulge you in your musical, performance tastes. However in my case, I am quite lucky as Raquel loves the cultural offerings of this city and has been more than happy to do these things.

Last year while I was here in limbo waiting for work, we made the most of it by seeing and doing a few different things from ballet, theatre, secret cinema etc. so we tried to pick up from where we left off.

This time round we started our smorgasbord with Cirque do Soleil’s Totem, at the famous Royal Albert Hall. Neither Raquel nor I had seen any of the troop’s performances, so we made a point of getting tickets as soon as they went on sale. They don’t come cheap, but if you like being blown away by incredible performances, then it’s worth the expense. Totem follows and depicts the evolution of mankind with different acts ranging from Chinese unicycle and bowls to Hoop Dances. I’ve never been at any kind of performance where you can hear the “oooooo” and “aaaaahhhs” all the way through.

For Valentine ’s Day I took Raquel to a Flamenco play, Fuentovejuna, at Saddlers Wells. I love Flamenco and thought it would be something different. This had been the first time both Raquel and I had been to Flamenco dance performance. I have been to a performance of Flamenco guitarist, Tomatito, in Abu Dhabi, which I thoroughly enjoyed, so this play was something to look forward to. The play, based on an historical incident, tells the story of a commander who died at hands of the villagers he mistreated. The play was great, the music and fantastic and the dancing awesome. If you are in London, I highly recommend going to Saddler’s Wells for the Flamenco festival (click here for more).

I love concerts, and when I was London, I attempted to go to as many (of bands I liked) as I could, so when a band I was introduced to last year came round to London, I really wanted to go. The band is called We Are Augustines. It was great performance by the band and I suggest you go and buy their album which has some great songs!

Finally last weekend, Raquel and I went  another must-do on our list: The opera! Not just any opera, the famous Aida, written by Verdi. The opera is set in ancient Egypt and the Royal Albert Hall was transformed to accommodate the performance. Neither Raquel nor I had ever been to the opera, so both of us were left in awe after the performance. For more details on the opera, click here.

Aida at the Royal Albert

All in all, this has been some time well spent doing what we enjoy: exploring the great cultural offerings this city has to offer!

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