Almost seeing Nigel Kennedy

A friend of mine wrote to me recently about her comedy-riddled efforts to see Nigel Kennedy at a late-night Prom this year; her heroically doom-destined story was so good, I had to reproduce it here (with her permission, of course). Honestly – you couldn’t make this stuff up if you tried…

Thought you’d like to hear my tale of going to see Nigel Kennedy at the Proms ( before the riots.)


Nigel Kennedy: image BBC Proms

Concert started at 10pm on a Saturday. No Picadilly Line between Cockfosters and Kings Cross (our nearest tube line) due to planned engineering works. No overground from Enfield into Liverpool Street – same excuse. So decide to drive to High Barnet tube, park and travel to Kings Cross on Northern Line and get onto Picadilly Line from there. Do recce run in the morning to check parking in nearby streets. Locate various suitable roads close to the tube out of restrictions at the time we will be parking.

Leave home at 8pm. Drive to High Barnet takes 20 minutes. Can’t park anywhere when we get there due to an afternoon/early evening event in a nearby park called ‘Ghana in the Park’. The whole Ghanaian population of London was in High Barnet. Forced into the station car park. Pay £1.50, display ticket in windscreen which is valid for the Saturday up to 23.59. Notice CCTV and dire warning notices about parking without a valid ticket.

Go to tube station and see 1,000 people queuing at the machine for a ticket. The ticket office is closed, there are no underground staff in attendance, only police guarding the barriers. I have an Oyster card so don’t need to queue for a ticket, but C needs a travel card. He tailgates through with me as buying a ticket means we’ll definitely miss the concert. We get away with it.

Journey underway, and I remember the expiry time of the parking ticket and realise that the likely time of return to High Barnet will be after midnight. Ask C if he has a credit card with a spare £250 or so worth of credit on it to pay the clamping release fee when we get back to the staion after midnight. He doesn’t and we argue about how much seeing Nigel Kennedy is actually worth.

We decide that I will leave the concert at the interval to ensure a timely return to the car park and C will stay for the whole thing, which is scheduled for an hour excluding encores.

Get off at South Ken, C is allowed to buy a travel card after a lengthy discussion with an official about why he hasn’t got one. Walk fast like maniacs through the underpass as we’re pushing it to make it for 10pm now. Get to the Albert Hall in time, but out of breath.

Need not have rushed.

Queues going round the Hall twice – the earlier concert still coming out, the Nigel audience trying to push through. 10.20 and we’re still caught in a crush in one of the corridors trying to get into the auditorium. Officials can’t say when it will start now.

C getting worried that it may not end in time for the last tube back to High Barnet. We discuss the possibility of night buses, decide instead to concede defeat and head straight back to High Barnet.

Thankfully got to the two Stravinsky concerts – the Rite of Spring and the Firebird without a hitch.

(Names have been changed to protect the innocent. Eat your heart out, Alan Bennett…).


One Response

  1. And I thought booking for rock festivals was bad enough!

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