The Festival of Britain, on the south bank of the London River, had been a triumphal two-fingered salute to brutalist reality, a barely bridled moment of joy sandwiched between a bleak past and an even bleaker future. The sole survivor of that forlorn gesture against the post war gloom was the Festival Music Hall, now standing in solitary majesty amidst a spiritual wasteland of reinforced concrete. Sam and Consuella regularly performed there, though it had so far avoided the misfortune of a staging of the Kittens of Chaos’ Giselle.
They are booked in for a short run during the post-panto season next year – tickets still available.
Some weeks before Slasher McGoogs’ visit to the penthouse bedsit Boz was visiting the South Bank for a lunchtime concert in which Sam was to play alongside Jools Holland – and after the set he took a stroll along the embankment. The wide promenade is a venue for second hand bookstalls and he was idly fingering through various shop-soiled tomes when a thin, red cover caught his eye. It was an Ordinance Survey, One Inch to the Mile, Series Seven map of the Southern Pennines and Derbyshire Dales, Sheet 111. Printed on almost indestructible fabric-backed paper, it dated very much from the time of the concert hall’s inauguration and seemed irresistible – red AND indestructible. His purchase was to prove serendipitous in ways he could not have foreseen.