Top Gear and Peter Kay – London, November 2010

November 6th 2010

After the concert and finishing our food, we headed back to the hotel. Whilst the sensible thing to do would be to go to bed in preparation for what we all knew was to be an early start the next morning; we in fact did the opposite. A prior trip to the shops had resulted in the procurement of a case of Cobra lager and a bottle of vodka. These were started upon with fervour as we discussed the concert and what we were doing the next day. 

Our plan all along had been to visit a comedy club, and have a chilled out night watching comedians and a few drinks. Glen now decided that he wanted to go to a music club and was becoming more and more vocal in his protestations. Paul and I were of the viewpoint that we’d just spent the entire evening at a concert, and we didn’t want to go to see music again so soon. The arguments become more intense, until I said why don’t we just go online and see what was available for, what with it now being the early hours of the morning, later that night. I found a couple of events, but eventually it came down to the straight fight between two – Peter Kay and Bill Bailey.  

Paul sat on the fence, Glen screamed and shouted for Peter Kay and I caved in and agreed. Tickets for Peter Kay were booked and at 4am we finally headed for bed. 7am arrived all too soon and it was time to get up. 

Queasy stomachs, spinning heads and a distinct lack of sleep were all complained of as we set about preparing ourselves for the day. Glen suffering more then most, looking on the point of collapse throughout breakfast. At 9am we made the short walk to the Earls Court Exhibition Centre for Top Gear Live. Then we made the much longer walk to the back of the queue. Judging by the size of the crowd, I think half of London had decided to come along as well. The queue, progressed smoothly despite its enormous size. Time passed quicker as we realised that Glen had pretty much no idea what we were here for. 

“Top Gear” he pondered. “isn’t that a TV show?” 

‘Yes’ we replied

“But this isn’t that Top Gear. I mean Clarkson’s not here is he” the confused man continued. 

“Er, yeah he is. They all are. We’re seeing a Top Gear stage show, basically the program on stage. Do you think we paid £65 just for a motor show?” 

“A motorshow?!? So this is just like cars and shit?” he cried out sounding more confused then ever.

It was at this point that we got him to confess that he genuinely didn’t know why we were here. He’d just handed over the money on the assumption that whatever Paul and I decided that we’d book would be pretty cool! 

We made our way through the motorshow to the back of the building, where we joined another huge queue to get into the Top Gear show itself. The Exhibition Centre is vast, with huge amounts of empty space, this despite stadium style seating had been erected for thousands, the stage itself being big enough for multiple cars to drive around and of course the entire back stage area. 

The show itself was enjoyable, but I think suffered a little from being quite so huge. Of course they’d never be able to replicate the intimacy of the TV program but they gave it a shot. They chatted to people in the audience and we all got to participate in the Cool Wall. There were plenty of stunts, which while impressive got to be a little repetitive. After all there is only so long you can watch a car doing powerslides in a small area. That doesn’t mean it was not a great spectacle though. A trials bike riding and jumping over a moving JCB being a particular highlight. They of course had some staggering cars on stage as well, and once the show had finished we’d get to head back out in the main floor and see them close up. 

Seeing all these amazing and exotic supercars was good fun. Certainly the opportunity  to see cars like the Buggati Veyron; something that I’d be very unlikely to see elsewhere, was great. But the thought kept nagging me that what we were seeing was like seeing wild animals in a zoo. The Cheetahs in the sanctuary in Nairobi were magnificent animals, but when compared to those we say in the wild they seemed to be missing that spark. What I really want to see is these amazing cars on a track. Some of them are beautiful objects, but they were created to be driven hard, not just looked at. 

We stayed at the show for quite some time before heading back to base, freshening up and then making the journey across London to the O2 where we would be watching Peter Kay. The journey was uneventful and we arrived in plenty of time to have a meal before the show. We had a Thai at one of the restaurants in the O2. The food itself was nice, but the service was terrible. Proper service with a scowl. The waitress wouldn’t answer questions about the menu, and when she eventually brought some water to the table; she spilt it all over and then disappeared. We has presumed she was grabbing a cloth, but nope she just covered the table in water and left without a word. 

Peter Kay just Rick-Rolled 10,000 people. That was my immediate thought when Rick Astley was introduced to the stage as the warm-up act. Well played Peter, well played. Our three reactions couldn’t have been different. I thought it was amusing. Paul returning from the bar did not have a clue who he was, and Glen was simply bouncing in his chair like an excited schoolboy repeating ‘it’s Risk Astley’ over and over again. It was brilliant just to see him so excited. 

The show was great, with some real belly laughs. Some of the jokes went over my head, particularly a lengthy skit about Sky Plus and certain programs on ITV and Channel 4. As someone that rarely watches TV and doesn’t own Sky Plus I genuinely had no clue what the hell he was on about. However, Paul turned to me tears of laughter in his eyes and said “that’s just like it is at home”, so it was a hit with its intended audience. He then did another skit with misheard song lyrics and this time it was my turn to have belly laugh. 

Peter Kay wouldn’t be my first choice of comedian, but credit where credit is due he does put on a fantastic show.   

We headed back to Earls Court and ended up in a small bar/club not too far from the hotel. A great many drinks were had before heading back home and polishing off the rest of the Cobras and vodka.


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