Magazine article The Spectator

Mine's a Lasagne

Magazine article The Spectator

Mine's a Lasagne

Article excerpt

Tickets for Who's the Daddy? , which ended last Sunday, were like gold dust.

Even co-writer Lloyd Evans couldn't help.

I rang and rang the King's Head box office hoping for returns. And then I rang again and the cheerful, cynical lady who answers the phone went away and I heard voices off. When she came back she offered me a pair of tickets very reluctantly, as if strictly speaking she was issuing them in contravention of fire and safety regulations, English common law, and all known laws of science and nature. The tickets were for Friday week. Would we be dining in the theatre beforehand, she said, and, if we were, would we be having the lasagne or the roast lamb? I was so happy at being vouchsafed tickets I would have gladly had the mutton rings. Yes, we would be eating, I said, and the lasagne would be grand.

Friday week came. Just before lunch I was standing on the boundary of the cricket pitch in front of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, fielding for The Spectator XI. The Economist batsmen were hitting our bowlers all over west London. My phone rang. (Mexican Hat Dance. ) It was the lady from the King's Head box office. Had we said we'd wanted the vegetarian lasagne or the meat lasagne? Another stratospheric six went sailing over my head. 'Meat, ' I said. 'So that's a meat lasagne for both of you?' After lunch it was The Spectator's turn to bat. But, alas, our replying innings was as short, ephemeral and essentially tragic as the life of the mayfly. After the match sorrows were drowned in a small boozer round the corner. And after that a Spectator colleague and I took a cab to the King's Head, which turned out to be a spit and sawdust sort of a pub with a restaurant out the back that doubles as a small theatre.

The bar was seething with middle-class people desperate for drink. We reported to a lady seated in her own small oasis of calm beside the door to the restaurant/theatre. 'You two look like you've been enjoying yourselves, ' she said. It was the cheerful, cynical lady from the box office.

She consulted her handwritten list and her expression changed from mock officiousness to perplexity. We weren't on it, it seemed. 'We're having the meat lasagne, ' I said, helpfully. But not only were we not on the meat lasagne list, we weren't on the theatre ticket list either. …

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