I have always tried top organise my days to listen to the show ever since. The reason? It is far and away the best way to get to know London. A couple of years ago, one of my Aussie Cousins emailed me to say she was coming to London. She asked what to do when she visited, I said "Listen to Robert Elms for a month before you come and you'll know as well as I do". She did and now is an avid listener in the outback of Queensland!
As I was involved in the Mill Hill Music Festival, I didn't get the chance to write this blog last week. I thought I'd catalogue the ten best things I've done in London as a result of listening to Roberts show.
1. The Elephant. This was a giant, mechanised elephant stalking the streets of London. Like many things, when I first heard about it, I thought it was bonkers. But curiosity got the better of me. It was a spectacle beyond belief. London does such things in an amazing way.
2. The reopening of Borough Market. After the appalling terrorist atrocity, Robert's show did a piece on the reopening, speaking to market traders. The market was shut for a couple of weeks for forensic purposes etc. As I mentioned, I used to work in Park St and use the food court regularly. I made a special trip to show my solidarity. I bought a stack of cheese, fish and meat and had lunch. A couple of the traders said that the response of Londoners was amazing. I wouldn't have known about the reopening without his show
3. Crossbones Graveyard. I used to work in an office in Park Street, just around the corner. I'd never even heard of this spot. Robert had a guest who had an installation at the site. It was amazing and learning about London history is one of the best aspects of his show.
4. Mikel Murfi at The Tricycle Theatre performing the Man in Womans shoes. This is the best thing I've seen at a smaller theatre venue. Robert had someone on the show talking about the Tricycle Theatre and as a result, I've kept an eye on whats on ever since. It is amazing how many little gems like this are only around the corner. We go quite regularly, it is now called the Kiln Theatre. You hear of all sorts of such places on his show.
5. A Tale of Two Barnets at The Phoenix Cinema. Back in 2012, we had a packed showing of the documentary film I produced with Charles Honderick at the Phoenix. The cinema was so packed we had to have two sittings! I got the idea when Robert interviewed someone from the Cinema, who mentioned that the cinema had many private screenings as well as showing all the best films. It had never occurred to me that you could simply rent a cinema and show your own film!
6. The Punk Exhibition at The British Library. As an ageing punk, this was a joy. I don't keep an eye on the shows at the British Library so this would definitely have passed me by.
7. Oil City Confidential at The NFT. The Feelgoods film, followed by a gig featuring Wilko Johnson and Alison Moyet. This was an amazing night, and I heard about it on the Robert Elms show, as did a few friends. A large contingent attended this amazing night.
8. Greenwich Royal Observatory - There was an amazing show which we took the kids to, probably about 2004, which we'd heard about on Roberts show. When you have small children and want different things to do, such tip offs are vital.
9. Richie Havens at the 100 club. There are many gigs I've seen over the years, and I keep a very close ear to the ground, but I've heard of 100's of these from Roberts show. If it wasn't for Robert I'd never have seen Richie Havens at the 100 club. I was listening to the show, he mentioned the gig and within 10 minutes I'd booked tickets. Richie was a hero of mine and I'd have missed him if it hadn't been for that moment. I probably book 10 shows a year as a result of tip offs from Robert and his show.
10. Whitecross Street food market. I was working around the corner from this near Moorgate for a while and was unaware of the amazing array of different street foods on sale. A throwaway comment about places with good street food caught my attention. I think a listener said it was the best and cheapest food to be had in Central London. A quick trip confirmed this. Even better you could get the food and eat it over a pint in the Two Brewers. A fantastic way to while away an afternoon!
There are plenty more things, I've no idea how many gigs, albums etc in total the show has introduced me to. We recently booked up for the Ronnie Scotts big party at the Albert Hall as it was mentioned on his show, so we'll be off to see Van Morrison. I hope that the show has another 25 years left in it. I think it is actually a far better show than when it started. Like a fine wine, it has matured.