February 8th, 2005


Freudian Slips

Thanks to white_hart's timely posting last November, I got tickets for the recording of Just A Minute at the New Theatre, Oxford, last night. kharin and I took a half-day and proceeded at a leisurely pace, taking the scenic route from Reading.

Arriving in Oxford as tourists this time, it seemed a good idea to climb Carfax Tower for once. The view was pleasant rather than stunning; in particular, on a slightly murky day the John Radcliffe Hospital looked like a white city floating in the clouds towards Headington. We indulged in the QI bookshop (no, it has no website; addedentry comes top of Google), where I added John D. Barrow's Imposssibility (from the section THE BIG PICTURE) to my reading stack. I seem to recall that, during my time in Oxford, the site was that of the Taj Mahal restaurant. The bookshop is a nice idea, though it's very small and I imagine the adjunct cafe that is obligatory in a bookstore these days may well bring in more revenue. As the Ashmolean was shut, we passed time by a walk through The Parks and back via Jericho, to eat at the Cafe Orient - good portions, service and prices, though the seaweed I picked out as an add-on was probably a mistake.

It was a slight surprise and disappointment to find Paul Merton not on the panel, but we did have speeches from Pam Ayres, Clement Freud, Tony Hawks and Julian Clary. It must have been one of the few occasions when it was safe to be in the front row of the audience as we were, with Mr Clary on stage, though nowhere in the theatre was safe from his single-entendres. Clement Freud was, as ever, unstartable; Pam Ayres surprisingly accomplished, with lots of local support in the audience. I'm surprised how little material they recorded; there can't be much editing down, so it will be very interesting to hear the programmes in a few weeks time.